Last week, I was sitting at my desk reading recaps of the previous night’s controversial Bachelorette finale. Although I didn’t watch this season and therefore can’t comment on whether Bachelorette Rachel made the right call choosing the eerily smooth-talking Bryan over salt-and-pepper haired fan favourite Peter, one thing I know for sure is this: we live in a culture that’s completely obsessed with finding “The One.”
While I love the idea of finding “The One” – that one human that you want to spend the rest of the your life with – I’ve also been around the block enough to know that for some people, that’s simply not realistic. Life is complicated and messy. I like to believe that it’s possible to have several “Ones” and that you can find love again at 40, 50, 70 and even beyond.
Deanna Cobden, a Vancouver-based dating and relationship coach encourages her mature clients to be optimistic about finding love later in life.
“It’s never too late to find love! I have a client in her 70’s recently get engaged. Love is always available to you if you want it,” says Cobden. She says, singles need “to understand that dating has changed, and not be afraid to try new things such as posting a profile on a dating site.”
Single, looking and over 50? Here’s what the experts have to say.
START BY RECONNECTING WITH YOURSELF:
The old saying, “you need to love yourself before you can love anyone else” applies regardless of age. “If you are newly single after being with one person for a number of years, you sometimes have to reconnect with who you are as an individual again. Revisit your dreams and desires, and be open to dating new types of people. This can really help you get clear on what makes you happy, and what your needs and wants are in a partner and in a relationship,” says Cobden.
CUT YOURSELF SOME SLACK:
You’re going to make mistakes. Remember to be kind to yourself and to breathe. As Cobden points out, “just like anything new, dating has a learning curve, don’t have unrealistic expectations or put too much pressure on the outcome of the date. Instead show up with the mindset that you’re there to meet someone new and interesting and have a good time.”
DATE MORE THAN ONE PERSON:
Yes. That’s right. Sandy Weiner, a love coach for women over 40 and the Chief Love Officer behind the popular site lastfirstdate.com, encourages mature singles to date more than one person. “In our 20s and 30s, most of us dated one person at a time. To find love after 50, date a few people at a time until you’re ready to become exclusive with one. Keeps the anxiety levels down, and helps you focus on the qualities that truly matter,” says Weiner.
DON’T RUSH INTO A NEW RELATIONSHIP:
Weiner also encourages people to take their time getting into a new relationship. “We’ve all got baggage at this stage in life. Don’t bring your fears and hurt feelings from past relationship to your present relationship or date. See each potential partner as a clean slate,” she says.
Knowing what you want out of a relationship and being able to communicate effectively is so important says Cobden. “After years of being with one partner it can be daunting to think of opening up to a new person. Communication is key, go at a pace you’re comfortable with but don’t be afraid to connect and be vulnerable,” she says.
Resist the urge to immediately plan your future together and instead, focus on enjoying the dating process. “Stop expecting every date to be your future partner. That’s a quick road to disappointment and burnout. Instead, view each date as an opportunity to have fun, be present, and learn something new about yourself and others,” says Weiner.
EXPLORE YOUR OWN INTERESTS:
Cobden encourages singles to meet people both online and in person. “Online Dating is great because it opens you up to a pool of other singles that you would otherwise normally not meet,” she says.
However, also allow time to explore your own interests. As Cobden points out, “after being in a long term relationships people can get into ruts, revisit old passions or try something new: dance classes, travel, Meetup.com events, volunteering, adult education classes or wine tastings for example.” Building a fun, happy single life on your own terms will help attract people who’ve done the same.
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