In the summer of 2019, I was dating and talking to a few men. I actually started dating soon after I asked my ex-husband to leave our home. While dating soon after the end of a long-term marriage/relationship may not be the recommended thing to do, it is what I felt I needed to do to help me move forward. A year and a half into the dating world, I was getting discouraged. I really wanted a relationship where we both wanted to spend time together, go on dates, and just have some companionship. I had met one man fairly soon after I started the online dating apps. We would reconnect off and on, but for whatever reason, he wasn’t really ready to offer what I wanted.
So summer of 2019, I was trying to decide if I wanted to continue to date or just give it a break for a while. Dating can be both encouraging and discouraging. I think the biggest thing I learned about dating is that you have to be open to possibilities, you can’t get your hopes up too soon, and you have to figure out what your personal boundaries are and be okay with the decisions you make. This is your life after all and if you choose to sleep with someone on the first date, just know what the risks are and take the proper precautions to stay safe.
One of the pitfalls I ran into is that I would start connecting with someone and then I would start building future plans in my head with this person. Then when it didn’t work out, either because we met and there was zero connection, or I would get ghosted (which is very painful when you’ve been abandoned and/or betrayed), or for any of the various reasons it didn’t work out, I would spend some time mourning that “loss.” Depending upon how long I was talking to that person, it might be a brief sadness or it might be spending the day in bed crying.
As a 50 something woman, I really had no idea if I would find someone again. We are often told as women that as soon as you hit forty, you are no longer viable to the other sex. We are told that men want younger women because it helps their ego. I ran into some of that in the sense that the options available to me of men within my age range was somewhat limited. Then you run the other end of the spectrum with really young guys being into the whole “MILF” and/or “GILF” fantasy. I went on a few dates with men much younger than me just to have the adventure and (probably) to boost my tattered ego. None of these younger men though were what I would want in a long-term relationship.
That’s why it is so very important to look at dating as a way to find out what you want and don’t want, have fun and not take yourself and the men you date too seriously. It really is a numbers game. The more people you date and the more you expand your scope in dating, the more likely you will end up finding someone you really connect with. You can still be picky and stick with what you want in a partner, but you also can’t be so picky that you end up not dating at all. Dating helped me determine what I both wanted and didn’t want in my next relationship. I became more willing to let someone go if I didn’t see it working and not worry about bruising their male ego. I always tried to be honest with my intention and tried to never lead anyone one if I didn’t think it would work for me.
Even though I was having fun and not trying to take things too seriously, I was ready for a break.
I would agree that dating is (or can be) mostly about self-discovery. We want different things from relationships and having those goals in common with our partner is critical. I wasn’t out to get married again or have a “roommate” and have enough friends and activities that I didn’t feel desperate to meet anyone. That was very freeing. There were many nice men I dated where there ended up being no chemistry or I discovered deal breakers. (distance, politics, selfishness, etc) I met the guy I’ve been dating for over 2 years right after my prior relationship of over 2 years tanked. It took me a while to heal from that, but John was very patient.
I’m so happy for you Margaret. You deserve all the good that’s going on for you.