Single again? It's time to revive your dating mojo!
You never thought you'd be single at this age, nor did you want to be. Years ago, you gladly left behind first date jitters and the hunt for a hunk. But then life threw you a curve ball and suddenly you're back in the game, feeling ill prepared and out of practice. Mixing and mingling can be challenging at any age, but it's certainly more daunting when you've been off the market for a while.
Take heart! You're not alone—everyone feels awkward and unsure when getting back "out there." Consider the following to put your best stiletto forward.
Avoid bringing up your former spouse. When it comes to discussing your former spouse, remember that less is more. Of course, your past remains a part of you, but stepping into the dating realm signals you're ready for a new life and new love. To give your next relationship a chance—and to be fair to any potential partners—show respect by curtailing talk about your former husband.
After her divorce, Jana found herself over-communicating. "I kept talking about what a rotten guy my ex was because I wanted to be sure my dates knew the divorce wasn't my fault and that I was marriage material." Jana learned the hard way that bringing up her ex accomplished the exact opposite of what she'd hoped—men simply assumed she still had feelings for her ex-husband and that she wasn't ready to move on.
Understand the importance of "The Talk." For many divorced or widowed women, it's hard to remember that it's okay, even necessary, to date around. After a few dates with one guy, you may begin to feel like you're in a relationship and believe you should behave accordingly. But remember, you aren't a couple until you've had The Talk—i.e., the conversation that establishes the intention to be exclusive.
Newly widowed Pauline explains, "Greg and I had been seeing each other for about a month and I liked him a lot. So when Richard asked me out, I wanted to accept but I felt like I'd be cheating on Greg." Pauline eventually recognized that until she and Greg had The Talk, she definitely wasn't being unfaithful and in fact, her social life wasn't anyone's business but her own.
Re-examine your social circle. Whether widowed or divorced, you possess a social circle that knows you as half of a twosome. The familiarity of old friends may provide comfort—but then again, interacting with this group could bring up painful memories of "what was" and keep you stuck in the past.
Michelle puts it this way: "I thought I'd remain tight with the friends Bill and I had when we were together. And I'm still close to them—to a degree. But hanging out with them made me nostalgic for old times—plus, I found that introducing new boyfriends was a bit awkward for everyone involved. Bill's name came up a lot and it just felt weird." Michelle decided she could best move forward by reaching out to work friends and others who didn't know her as "Bill and Michelle."
Getting back "out there" after years of marriage takes pluck and moxie. Keep these suggestions in mind and tackle the dating scene in style.
This article appeared in Inspired Living Magazine, October 2015
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