Following the death of my husband, there came a point in time where I decided to enter the dating world. My social life had been reduced to people I saw at work and my kids’ friends. Living in a small community combined with being self employed, I realized I was becoming a bit of a recluse.
I knew I had to make some changes in my life in an attempt to move forward and not remain stagnant. It was a bit daunting, being single and dating after having been married for twenty years.
Whoa! This is Dating Now!
The first thing I discovered was that dating had changed drastically from what I remembered. Everything associated with online dating, dating services and matchmaking services felt foreign.’ It left me feeling oddly out of place for a woman who had not participated in any type of dating for twenty-five years or more.
My initial thoughts were that it would be a relatively uncomplicated means to boost a sagging social life. Yes, I admit to being naïve.
The Online Dating Experience
I soon discovered that with online dating, “normal” took on a new definition. I was blithely unaware that some would view my boys, ages 12 to 21, as liabilities, even though I had no intention of searching for a new “father” for them.
In filling out dating profiles, I was scrupulously honest, however, I learned not everyone followed this rule. By now, I suspect you the reader may be wondering in what sandbox my head was buried all these years.
For some reason I attracted men who didn’t know or care anything about commitment, caring or long term relationships. The more I talked to other daters of various ages and sexual orientation, I was surprised to discover similar experiences across the board.
The New Dating Dilemma
I had to wonder how had dating become such a dilemma? Dating in the 21st century seemed rather hit and miss. Many times it’s an opportunity to get what you can and move on. I hated feeling like I was at a smorgasbord and in danger of being passed over for a newer, tastier dish.
By the time most of us have reached fifty years of age, life’s experiences have wounded us in some way or another, which of course colors our thoughts, feelings and relationships. However, I was still a bit taken back to discover some “fifty-somethings” have let basic courtesy, caring and honesty skills fall by the wayside.
What I Know Now
I learned to steer clear of emotionally unavailable partners; men still “attached” to other women and men who dated but obviously preferred to remain loners. Many men were good men in their own right, but not right for me.
I began to ask myself, why be with someone who contributes nothing to my life? I deserved better.
My early dating experiences reinforced the notion that a relationship should begin as friends, letting a partner show true interest and caring before jumping into any intimacy.
It took several unhappy experiences before I realized being true to myself is my real power. After dating for two years, I made the decision not to date superficially, but find instead a man who will enhance my life as I will enhance his. Why should anyone settle for less?