Midlife Dating: So Many Questions, So Few Answers
How did I, a happily (or so I foolishly thought), married woman of almost eighteen years, devoted mother of three, and dedicated career woman, get to be a forty-year-old divorced single parent? How did I end up at midlife, dating. How did I get here, and more importantly, now that I am here, what do I do? I had “forever” on my list of things to do with my husband. This midlife dating thing is definitely not what I had planned. So my posts are not about marriage, commitment and love. They are about the survival and reinvention of a forty-year-old woman thrown into midlife dating.
Midlife Dating: Why Am I Here?
My husband dismissed me, our marriage, our children – a commitment we made to each other long ago – for another woman. Packed his bag, yes one bag, and left on a Sunday morning in September, never to return. When you’re hit with news like that, it’s difficult to scrape yourself up off the floor, to put it all back together. Eventually, I got my feet under me, but my self-esteem had taken quite a hit and I couldn’t imagine being “something” to anyone. How do you go about picking up the pieces; shedding old habits, old wardrobes and a mind set in complacency? Where should I go for advice? Is there a guide for this unexpected detour into the “amusement” park? Where do I start? Where do I learn the rules of dating at midlife? I didn’t purchase a ticket for this roller coaster ride but what I got was a speed pass from the start of the first date directly to the highs and lows of a crazy ride called, “Midlife dating”.
Midlife Dating: The Big Change
I have to admit, for the first two years, I had blinders on. I was so bitter and angry and hurt that a potential Mr. Right could’ve been right there in front of me and I wouldn’t have known it. It wasn’t until a friend told me I was unapproachable that I decided to take a look inward and decided to make a change.
For me midlife dating online began with a gentle nudge from a well-intentioned friend, a woman named Mary who’d been there and had tested the waters before me. She shared similar values and ideas regarding life, parenting, and relationships, and in general followed the rule “Be the best you can be!”.
She tested the water for me and actually came up breathing! Not gasping or choking but she came back with proof that, “He” existed – yes with faults – but with proof that he is out there. I took her advice and jumped in. I held my breath for a long time but to my amazement I didn’t struggle or drown – I just coughed up a little dirty water.
Midlife Dating: The Big Plunge
I entered the anonymous, mysterious, secret world of online midlife dating one night when my children were with their dad. I pulled down all the shades, locked the doors, shut off the phones, went to the kids’ costume bin and disguised myself. By now you may be familiar with what a profile is from your own online dating experience. Or maybe you’ve overheard others talking about it. Perhaps you sat there half-listening, afraid that you’d look too eager if you showed much interest, but deep down, you were curious about meeting someone online.
- “How can they do that?”
- “Isn’t that unsafe?”
- “Aren’t there predators, molesters and creeps on-line?”
- “You’d better be careful. You’re not going to tell them your name, are you?”
- “You didn’t put a photo on there did you?”
These were the questions I was asked.
But what were the choices I had for finding “him”? It was either sink or swim. Be alone or join the crowd. It was time I took the plunge. I was nervous, no doubt about that! There were so many personal questions and surveys to answer in an effort to find your perfect match in this midlife dating world. I failed this part miserably. After I chose thirty or so odd things that I did/did not want in a man, I had to start over. I discovered that I was only allowed ten choices. Okay, deep breath. Start over. Think: “Not your ex!” Think: “New guy, new relationship, new me.” After what seemed an eternity, I completed the survey and hit ACCEPT at the bottom of the page. It was official. I was online and now EVERYONE would know.
…To be continued. See you next week for another chapter of Losing Him Finding Me.
Feel free to add your dating at midlife tips. Who knows, maybe together we can write the guide.
For the first installment and introduction to this series click here