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September 20, 2017

Midlife Dating: From Solution to Evolution

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , , , — admin @ 11:16 am

Few people have a long range goal of dating in midlife. To the many who find themselves faced with the possibility, midlife dating can seem like a mystifying, even overwhelming, journey to find a partner.

The reality is that despite the horror stories of friends or the fictional depictions of perfect couples repelling down snowy peaks, the experience of midlife dating really depends upon your goal.

When you expand the goal of midlife dating from finding someone to finding and re-defining yourself, the experience changes. Instead of a solution to being alone – midlife dating becomes an evolution of self.

Why Midlife Dating?

Usually something has or has not occurred in the lives or personal relationships of people ages 40- 65 that makes midlife dating a consideration. Some have left a troubled or contentious marriage; some feel they have been the one left; some have never looked up from a career; some have weathered the illness and death of a partner; and some have decided they are finally ready to settle down.” Most don’t want to be alone.

Some Important Considerations

Notwithstanding these different starting points, here are some common issues worth considering as you take on midlife dating as a personal experience.

Everyone is Anxious – No One is Perfect

If you are anxious with even the thought of midlife dating – it fits. Dating at any age conjures up feelings of insecurity, fears of rejection and worries about whether you or anyone approaching you will be desirable. When you introduce dating into the reality of midlife, the worries increase and the assets are too easily forgotten.

“I haven’t dated since high school – I can’t do this.”

“Have you seen ‘Sex and The City’ – where do you I fit into that?”

“What would I say I’m interested in – my kids?”

“Who wants a guy on medication?”

For too many, Bob Seeger’s famous lyric applies, “I wish I didn’t know now, what I didn’t know then!”

In fact, if people accept their personal best, remembering the experiential benefits they have acquired and re-focusing the goal from fear of judgment to curiosity about the experience, they can often lower their anxiety enough to find out that no one is perfect. They often find that many share similar feelings, differences can be interesting and age is not an issue.

Everyone Comes with Baggage. It’s What You Do With It That Counts

Many folks approach midlife dating with the pain of lost or broken bonds. Understanding what you carry can often help you use rather than misuse your history.

Death of a Spouse or Partner

Midlife dating can be difficult in the aftermath of the death of a spouse or partner. Regardless of what friends and families think, people grieve in their own way and in their own time. As one young widow answered in the book by the same title, “I’m grieving as fast as I can.”

Often the wish to meet, to begin a new chapter, to reduce the loneliness conflicts with the feeling of disloyalty to the deceased. In this regard, others who have had a similar loss can be immensely helpful. As one widow in a bereavement group said to another, “I’ll never replace him in my heart but he would have wanted me to have a life.”

Often when they find that they really like someone they are dating, a widow or widower will be overcome with renewed sadness and the yearning for their deceased partner. This is not a signal to stop but a verification of something special which reminds you of what will always be special.

A trap in dating after the death of a partner is the wish to replace him/her in body and mind. To do so is to derail the possibility of a new and different experience with a person who matches the you “now” – older, wiser, and probably different in some special ways.

Divorce of a Spouse – Breakup of a Long Term Relationship

Divorce is so common in this culture that most people know of the guilt, rage, rejection and devastation that both partners carry in its wake. In a study of “Divorce at Midlife and Beyond” based on 1,147 respondents between the ages 40-79, the greatest fear reported was of being alone ( 45%) followed by the fear of failing again (31%). That said, the question of how unresolved feelings of self and other will color the decision to date again becomes an important one for divorced folks to consider.

Some who feel rejected generalize their negative feelings to any man or woman they date. In a sense they are still married to the anger which inevitably gets in the way.

Some want to review the story of their divorce and unwittingly turn the first date with a new person into a viewing of their painful marriage – never a great date as it brings in a third unwanted party.

Some want so much to right the wrong, to erase the feeling of rejection that they accept too little from the first person they meet and give too much only to feel rejected again.

It is not a great feeling – but it is not the end. It is a lesson that can expand self especially if it makes you want more and know that you deserve it. Your ex-spouse has no claim on your self-worth – no one does but you. Believe it and others will reflect it.

Some who end a marriage or relationship finally feel free to be themselves. Others are haunted by what was lost. In either case, most are very driven to begin dating – to start again.

Dating can be a valuable and constructive opportunity if it facilitates self-understanding and clarification of needs.

Without self-reflection (self-help books, groups, consult) there is often an unwitting re-play of the same script with new partners. “How do I keep picking selfish women?” “Am I the only woman who gets fooled by narcissistic men?”

Many years ago, a man who had ended his marriage but who was aware that his prior fears of inadequacy had played a part in the dissolved relationship, presented me with a stack of all the responses he had received from a personal ad he had placed. He reported that he was both terrified and overwhelmed – he felt he would never be able to choose a suitable person because he feared he would be taken with any w omen who seemed enthralled with him. What was planned was that he start by not looking for a new partner; but instead, looking for himself in the eyes of different women. Having never dated in his young years – this was an opportunity to learn about himself without the instant fix of someone claiming to love him- a problem when he did not yet know or love himself.

Truth or Dare – The Fear of On-line Dating

Although they join some 5.5 million single people who use online dating, many midlife daters have some initial apprehension about how deceptive people will be on dating sites. A recent article in The New York Times addressed this very question with reported research. The article suggests that there is actually less deception on sites where people are seeking long term romantic partners -given that the initial meetings eventuate in face to face meetings.

There is some deception but it is relatively minor and seems driven by the wish to make a positive first impression. Women, for example, describe themselves as 8.5 pounds lighter, men lie by 2 pounds about weight and men lie more often about height, rounding up a half inch. Few lied about age (something more obvious when one meets) and no one seemed willing to talk politics (probably wise). What is interesting for midlife daters to note is the suggestion that people probably make the same kind of minor adjustments in reality when they meet people face to face.

Notwithstanding those occasional people who clearly misuse the dating sites with no intention of appropriate connection, most midlife on-line dating as reported and written about offers positive opportunities.

While it may not be for everyone, one midlife dating author reports that one out of every five marriages are between two people who met on-line.

The Acceptable vs. the Authentic Self

The question of deception and on-line dating is important in that it illuminates an age old dilemma pertinent to midlife dating-the effort to balance an acceptable self to the prospective partner with an authentic self.

If we re-define the goal of midlife dating as not simply the search for a partner but a journey of re-definition and expansion of self then we need room for flexibility when deciding who to date as well openness to the thoughts and feelings of others.

So maybe you don’t describe yourself as a skier but as someone who would like to try. Maybe you date someone from a different culture and find it very interesting. Maybe you are considering being more intimate with someone until you realize that this person will not talk about or be flexible about sexual connection. Maybe you hold your core values even as you explore and expand.

Often when we are excited about re-defining ourselves we become more visible to others and they become visible to us.

September 19, 2017

Internet Dating – Awkward or Awesome?

Filed under: dating, friends, internet, meeting, online, people, single — Tags: , , , , , , — admin @ 10:17 pm

By Anna Turner

I constantly hear my single friends complain that they never meet any other singles in this town.

The bars have gone, young people are bleeding out of the city and it seems Cantabrians just don’t date.

The answer, it appears, lies in internet dating.

Many people I know are turning to their computers in search of online love. Internet dating is no longer reserved for online geeks and social pariahs – it has become a popular way to meet people outside your own circles (when you’ve exhausted your friends and your work, where exactly are you supposed to meet people?)

A friend recently signed up. Let me just say this first – she’s awesome. Funny, pretty, nice, outgoing – she has no trouble getting dates. But, having just moved back to the city, she wanted to meet some new people and thought it was worth a try.

We sat down with a wine while we made her profile and had a quick browse of her potential matches (there were many I, myself, would have been keen to meet).

Within hours of setting up, she had messages, winks and smiles from many single men in the area.

Maybe it’s just a natural progression. We already use the internet to make our lives easier in so many ways, why not dating? It’s pretty convenient to be able to browse the potential meat market from the comfort of your own home.

However, there’s still a minefield of potential awkwardness attached to internet dating – who can see your profile, how do you know they are who they say they are, is everyone just after sex?

I have a couple of friends who broke up recently. It was amicable and they’re still friends and are now both trying to move on – except they both moved on by deciding to do internet dating. And, guess what, they came up as each other’s ’’matches’’.

Then there’s a guy I know who met up with a girl he was infatuated with from the internet and had spoken to on the phone several times. He went to their meeting place, only to find she was about 20 years older than her online dating profile. Seriously, that happened.

My friend was even kind enough to still pay for her meal before firmly wishing her farewell.

Others have had messages from those who are only on the website for a “certain kind” of relationship (ie, I want to suck your toes). Upgrading to a paid “gold member” can weed most of these guys out, I’ve been told.

Horror stories aside, I know plenty of couples who have met online and are living happily ever after.

But as common as online dating is becoming, there still seems to be a certain stigma attached to it. Several people I’ve mentioned internet dating to say, “What’s wrong with him/her; can’t they get a date in the real world?” Or, “There are only losers and solo mums on dating websites”.

A couple I know, now happily engaged, met through internet dating. However, I’m one of the few people who know how they actually met. They’ve concocted a fake-meet story (involving a chance meeting over the courgettes in the vegetable aisle), because they’re embarrassed and worried people will judge them for meeting online.

Being happily in a relationship, I can safely say “if I was single I’d do it”, but if EK suddenly up and left, would I really be brave enough to try internet dating?

I’m not sure.

All in all, I think there really are some princes online if you’re willing (and brave) enough to wade through some frogs first.

What do you think? Have you ever tried internet dating? Would you? Do you think there is a stigma attached?

September 17, 2017

Is Internet Dating Destroying Love?

Filed under: dating, internet, love, matchmaking, online, people, websites — Tags: , , , , , , — admin @ 3:17 am

The internet is changing the way society communicates, processes information and knowledge, and configures its relationship towards authority. Some of these developments are exciting and challenging, but in one particular sense the internet poses a fundamental challenge to the way humans interact. The following criticism and concern regarding online dating is not at all intended as a criticism of good and heartening personal stories – I, too, know people who have met their significant other through online dating.

Today, internet dating has become more or less accepted as a way of forming relationships. There has been some criticism, but it has usually been of the functional and operational kind, regarding subscription costs or users providing false pictures or information. There has been little thought or comment on why matchmaking websites might be a bad thing per se.

Online matchmaking is premised on the notion of making rational choices. It is perhaps fitting that the language of economics and business has finally – in our late capitalist society – permeated the most irrational, the most human of all areas: the interpersonal. Internet dating is like shopping at LoveMart. We watch and read the adverts (people’s profiles) and – based on what we are told is factually relevant data – we then, allegedly, make a rational decision to try the product. The more choices available (ie the more popular a matchmaking website), we are told, the better for those making the choice. Yet it is these intrusions by business speak into the very inner workings of society that should be of great concern.

This is further emphasised by the manner in which these processes are explained by proponents of online dating, as “opening up options” and “putting yourself out there”. One site, match.com, offers both efficiency (“Receive your compatible matches straight away”) and informed choice (“Choose who you’d like to get in touch with”). The irrational and unpredictable nature of something very human – love and the interpersonal – is turned on its head and transformed into a rational product.

Furthermore, the way dating websites calculate matches distorts the very core of interpersonal relations. Online seekers of partners and friends rely on computer calculations of a set of hard questions. There is little room (if any) for subtlety, deviance, or exploration. The questions that many of these websites use are so mind-numbingly awful (“Are you happy with your life? A. Yes, B. No, C. Most of the time”) that it cannot even be claimed to replicate real conversations. If I were asked most of the questions used to calculated compatibility on a normal date in a pub, say, I would run a mile. And that’s the point: this is not an extension of humanity and human interaction; it is a fundamental shift. Interpersonal relationships are being transformed into products that can be (supposedly) objectively measured and objectively chosen, even though such relations represent the exact opposite.

In his book Eloge de l’amour (2009), Alain Badiou noted two slogans for two online dating websites. The first claims that one can have love without the unexpected (“Ayez l’amour sans le hasard!”). The second promises that one can be in love without falling in love (“On peut etre amoureux sans tomber amoureux!”). Love – this great irrational driver of humanity – has become an object, which people wish to be fully informed about, choose rationally, and not suffer any unexpected disappointments from. It is, as philosopher Slavoj Zizek has noted, like caffeine-free coffee.

September 9, 2017

Is It Just Too Soon, Or Will It Just Never Be?

Filed under: dating, family, friends, kids, relationship, together — Tags: , , , , , — admin @ 8:18 am

Q. More than a year ago I began dating a recent widower who had lost his wife less than six months prior. I knew him vaguely through work; I never knew her. At the time, I had sworn off dating and was pretty focused on raising my kids and enjoying the occasional weekend when they were with their dad. But I agreed to a date under the pretense that this would be dating, no relationship, no happily ever after. Then those pesky feelings got in the way.

So the issue: When we are together, we have a great time. We will have three to four great weeks, then he’ll suddenly pull back. I’ve got some severe whiplash. Since we’ve been together, neither of us has dated anyone else, and we are viewed by friends and family as a couple. We talk every day and see each other two to four times a week.

After the latest falling-out, we spent a few weeks “not seeing each other’’ but still talking/texting daily. We both got to air a lot of grievances/fears, etc. In the end, he concluded that, yes, he did want me in his life. And he has made an effort to be more of a friend to me, be more supportive of my emotional needs. While he is seemingly doing what I asked, how crazy is it that I had to ask in the first place?

I’m struggling with how I feel about this summer’s vacation plans. The week my kids are visiting their father, new guy is going to an island for a week with six couples and their kids. I am completely understanding that these were couple friends. He went on this trip last summer and was miserable, feeling like the 13th wheel all the time. So, after what will be a year and a half of dating, am I wrong to feel left out on this trip?

We’ve spent holidays together with both sets of kids. I’ve met his family, and he’s met mine. I know all of the friends going and have bent over backward to befriend them (still way outside of that loop). I don’t want to sound whiny, but I rarely ever have time without my kids in tow (maybe two weeks total a year, usually in one-night increments). It seems to me like serendipity that I would be able to go … but no invite.

I accept the possibility that his kids are not comfortable, in which case I would understand completely, but he says they like me and are OK with our relationship. I find myself wondering if I am staying with him merely because it’s fun to get out. I will also add that this quasi-relationship is the longest one I’ve had, besides my marriage, so I wonder if I’m holding on to something that isn’t, just because he’s been around so long.

By Meredith Goldstein

September 8, 2017

The Dating Travails of Young Bankers

Filed under: date, email, mail, woman — Tags: , , , — admin @ 3:17 am

Between Excel marathons and 3 a.m. pitchbook proofreads, some young finance guys find the time to look for romance. But that may not be a good thing in some cases.

Two horror stories stories surfaced in media reports this week, both of which involve young financiers who took intense, possibly overzealous approaches to dating.

The moral of the stories? In dating, as in deal-making, pick your bankers carefully.

The first, a juicy yarn about a blossoming JPMorgan Chase romance gone wrong, was snagged by The Daily Mail in Britain. It features David Gray, whom the paper called a 28-year-old “wealthy American analyst,” and a former colleague, Daniela Rausnitz, 25.

According to The Daily Mail, when Mr. Gray, who had begun seeing Ms. Rausnitz when the two worked together in the firm’s New York office, found out that Ms. Rausnitz had another boyfriend in London, he reacted strongly, giving her “a relentless barrage of visits and messages.”

He deluged her with hundreds of texts, emails and phone calls as he repeatedly flew across the Atlantic to pursue her when their one-year relationship turned sour. Gray used his old key to get into her Chelsea flat, falsely said his sister had died and even claimed he was critically ill in a desperate effort to attract her attention.

The affair ended badly, according to The Daily Mail, when Mr. Gray was arrested by British police on harassment charges and barred from contacting Ms. Rausnitz on any future visits to Britain.

The second story came from Reddit, and involved what its submitter, who identified herself only as Lauren, said was “an investment banker’s cover letter for a second date.” (Not to quibble, but it looks to us like the sender, “Mike,” is more like a money manager for his parents’ money than a bona fide banker.)

Take it away, Mike:

Hi Lauren,

I’m disappointed in you. I’m disappointed that I haven’t gotten a response to my voicemail and text messages.

FYI, I suggest that you keep in mind that emails sound more impersonal, harsher, and are easier to misinterpret than in-person or phone communication. After all, people can’t see someone’s body language or tone of voice in an email. I’m not trying to be harsh, patronizing, or insulting in this email. I’m honest and direct by nature, and I’m going to be that way in this email. By the way, I did a google search, so that’s how I came across your email.

I assume that you no longer want to go out with me. (If you do want to go out with me, then you should let me know.) I suggest that you make a sincere apology to me for giving me mixed signals. I feel led on by you.

Things that happened during our date include, but are not limited to, the following:

-You played with your hair a lot. A woman playing with her hair is a common sign of flirtation. You can even do a google search on it. When a woman plays with her hair, she is preening. I’ve never had a date where a woman played with her hair as much as you did. In addition, it didn’t look like you were playing with your hair out of nervousness.

-We had lots of eye contact during our date. On a per-minute basis, I’ve never had as much eye contact during a date as I did with you.

-You said, “It was nice to meet you.” at the end of our date. A woman could say this statement as a way to show that she isn’t interested in seeing a man again or she could mean what she said–that it was nice to meet you. The statement, by itself, is inconclusive.

-We had a nice conversation over dinner. I don’t think I’m being delusional in saying this statement.

(It goes on. Way on. 1,200 words worth of on. But we’ll spare you.)

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