With the possible exception of today's 20 somethings, most of us would like to be in a loving relationship. Certainly those of us in our 50's, desire the emotional intimacy and the simple joy of sharing life's journey with someone special.
After my marriage breakdown and subsequent divorce, whilst I certainly did not rush in to anything, I was well aware that eventually, that was what I was ultimately after. So, after a period of time, I felt myself ready to date again and delved into the scary world of online and speed dating.
But was I really ready for a relationship? The answer in hindsight was, No! This as it turns out, is quite the norm. Based on my own experiences and observations from the dating scene, I believe that there are in fact 4 distinct stages we go through on our road to a new relationship.
The first step, especially after a long term relationship is to rediscover just who you are and to lose the baggage left behind from your previous relationship. In a previous post, I discuss this further. However it is important that you accept that this is indeed a part of the process.
The second stage is to actually get out into the world and begin meeting new people.This can be very daunting and whilst it takes a conscious decision on your part, it is usually sparked by some prodding from friends, your feeling of loneliness or a mixture of both.
I tried several ways of meeting new people including bars, blind dates, online dating and speed dating. All of which for me took courage and a conscious decision to get out and about. From my experience, by far the most effective and fun way, was speed dating. I found speed dating a lot of fun, once I got my head around the concept. My post on speed dating contains a number of tips and hints based on my own experiences.
Unfortunately, simply getting out and meeting people does not necessarily mean you are actually ready to date and the same applies to those you meet. Being ready to meet people is different to being ready to date.
During my time at speed dating events, I met a number of wonderful people, who unbeknown to themselves, were not emotionally ready to actually date. So being ready to date is the third stage.
As a result of speed dating, I went on a number of actual dates with wonderful people that never eventuated into a second date. The reason was not always incompatibility, much of the time it was because one or both of us were not really ready to date and so without knowing it, we built emotional walls around ourselves. Again this is normal and something that will change when you are indeed ready to seriously date again.
The fourth stage is being genuinely ready and open to a relationship. This means that you brush aside commitment issues, the fear of getting hurt and the pain of previous relationships.
There is no shortcut to get here, nor is there a light bulb going off informing you when you arrive. What I found, was that dating was becoming more relaxed and comfortable, and that I was going on more second and third dates.
For me the end result has been, I am now 6 months into a relationship that sees me very happy and thinking, if only the two of us had met earlier. The reality is that had we met earlier, unless both of us were ready for a relationship it is highly unlikely that we would have progressed beyond a second or third date.
This is not because of a lack of compatibility, but because one or both of us were unconsciously not ready to risk the commitment a relationship entails. Time, as well as meeting and dating people is really the only way for your subconscious to break down the walls holding you back.
So, if like me you find yourself going on a few dates but not going any further. Don't beat yourself up, get despondent, depressed or give up. Simply accept that you or your dates are not quite ready, the timing is wrong and keep looking.
Regardless of the pain and hurt from your previous relationships, I for one believe that a relationship is well worth the struggle, the anguish, the self doubt and most of all, the risk. Just ask those around me who are saying that they have never seen me so happy.
Divorced and nearly 50 I rediscovered who I was.