You’ve been separated/divorced/widowed “long enough” (whatever that is) and you’re starting to think that you’d like to get back on the proverbial horse and try dating again. You might think that it will be easy and you envision galloping off into the sunset with Mr. or Ms. Right. Well whoa there cowboy/girl, let’s get our expectations in check. Dating is simple – but not necessarily easy. Perhaps there’s a knight on a horse or a princess that needs an evil spell to be unbroken, but let’s get real. So, let’s examine our expectations and let us begin with a trot. (OK that’s it for my equine analogies!)
(Notice, I didn’t say “saddle bags!”)
At our age, we all have them, however, some have a fully packed set of luggage left over from their bad marriage (anger) or from losing their loved one (hurt). Unless they work on unpacking, it will be hard to establish a relationship with them. Time helps heal for most people but there are some that harbor anger and hold onto it like a drug. They know it’s no good but they get off on it. STAY AWAY! Then there are those who have present day “baggage” such as kids at home, caring for elderly parents, financial concerns. Depending on the depth of it, it could at times prevent them from making you a first priority. Those with present day baggage have to pack and unpack depending upon the day. If you can, I say roll with it, otherwise seek someone with a carry-on bag. BUT ….. Before you dismiss someone because he/she has baggage, take a look at your life. How full is your suitcase?
♫ Is this the real life? Is this just fantasy? ♫
I’ve come across both men and women that think because they are on a dating site, they can not only describe their ideal version of a mate but actually expect to find it. Get over it! Be real. Ideally we want ♫somebody to love♫ and to love us back. What does that look like to you? Does it look like John Travolta or Christie Brinkley (get real)? OR does it look like someone who treats you with kindness and respect? STOP putting emphasis on how they look and invest in how they make you feel. (thanks to the one and only Freddie Mercury for 2 musical inspirations).
Let’s get real.
First, look in the mirror. Then, think of your former or late spouse. Odds are that you met when you were young and you grew older together. You became accustomed to what they looked like. Their face, their body, their smell. Would someone who had wrinkles like their wrinkles or a body like theirs be automatically dismissed by you on a dating site because it isn’t your idea of “perfection”? OK, now go back to that mirror. Try to be objective. Do you live up to that ideal of looking like you did 30 years ago? Of course you don’t! Every single person on those sites (in our age range) was young once. None of us can undo what age and gravity have done.
Make a list of the traits that are important to you and also the deal breakers. What creates chemistry for you? Is it someone’s creativity? Their sense of humor? The way they speak about their kids, or grandkids? Their music preferences? Their politics? (these days that has shot to the top of the list for many people) What are your deal breakers? Again, is it their politics? Is their religion important? Is it smoking? Is it an allergy to cats or dogs? After you write these things down, show it to someone who will give you an honest and objective opinion. Keep some, ditch others and get ready to write your online dating profile!
Start with one of the free dating sites to get your feet wet. Plenty of Fish (pof.com) lets you browse and communicate for free. Don’t fall for their upgrade. It doesn’t offer much so why pay if you don’t have to! Complete your profile. Use current photos. Aaaaaand GO!