How women over 40 can overcome their dating ruts for true love and happiness.
I'll spare you the details, but there is still one pretty big thing I want, no I NEED, for me to feel like I can be really happy for the rest of my life. Accomplishing this is within my control. I know the basic how-to steps to do it, and intellectually I know I can do it. It seems like everyone else can do it, and I'm the only one who can't figure this out. So why aren't I just doing it?!
The answer, I suppose, is because I get stuck. I get scared. I beat myself up. I start feel positive and hopeful, until I don't. Can you relate? Are you stuck in a rut? Maybe a love and dating rut? I thought it was time I share some of my top tips to help get (us) unstuck and moving toward our ever-so-important goals. You know, those goals that are absolutely key to our happiness for the rest of our life.
1. Restart Your Clock
Let's say you were working with an expert who is teaching you to play the piano. For years you've been dabbling (as a kid you did chopsticks!) but never tried any formal or fully informed way to learn. So you're sitting with your teacher on your third lesson, and you say to her: "I've been doing this for 30 years! I can't believe I don’t know how to play a sonata!" You'd be kinda crazy, right? You haven't been playing for 30 years. You're actually on your third lesson.
Well, how long have you been dating like a grownup? No one ever taught you how to know a good guy when you see him, how to attract men wherever you go and be a good picker or how to make sure you get the second date...all the things that lead you directly to the man who will share your life. Even though you're dating over 40, you've only been working at this a short time. When you feel impatient, remind yourself that you have not been dating this way for long at all. Allow yourself to restart your "I cant believe I'm still single" clock. This feeling, like it's been so long and you can't seem to get it right, creates that hopelessness and embarrassment that causes you to get stuck in fear or simply give up.
2. Be Kind to Yourself
Like other times in your life when you're working toward a better future and achieving positive change, you have to allow yourself room to learn and improve. Show yourself the kindness you deserve by giving yourself second chances and allowing for (perceived) mistakes. You know, like you do for other people?
Every new man you speak with, every date, every email — it all takes some faith and courage. Just keep this in mind, and remember that there is a learning experience in every single effort you make. And the size of the prize is HUGE! If you want to be sure you remain your best friend: be your own cheerleader. Harsh self judgments are most often your insecure 18-year-old talking to you. Tell her to just stop! Have those needed conversations with yourself about how much you have overcome and achieved in your life, how much you know and can do, and what a deserving and remarkable woman you are.
Remind yourself that, as an accomplished and independent woman, you are not defined by one act or what one man thinks of you. And celebrate every step forward, no matter how small. You can also build a support squad. Have friends to call on when you need a little support. They want to be there for you. And don't look to those friends who respond with the requisite "yah, he’s a jerk" every time you have a bad experience. Your real friends — the ones that are wise and really want you to find that wonderful man — will also point out when you are in need of a positive shift or a good jolt that knocks you out of your pity party. If you don't have these types of friends, seek the support of family, a therapist, or a coach. Not showing yourself the understanding and kindness you deserve simply sabotages your efforts, or even worse, paralyzes you.
3. Stay in action
Here is a great quote from Maxwell Maltz that I really love: A step in the wrong direction is better than staying on the spot all your life. Once you move forward you can correct your course as you go. Your automatic guidance system cannot guide you when you're standing still.
It's like playing tennis: the best way to win is to keep shuffling your feet. Why? Because it's easier to get to the ball if you're already in motion! I suggest you stay in motion. Do things and learn things that put you in a position to meet your man. Find someone you trust who has shown herself to be a reliable source. Learn how she did it. Learn more about understanding grownup men, learn techniques that help you stay positive and hopeful, get online, and tell friends you are open to meeting someone. Do something every day that keeps you positive and hopeful and improves your chances of attracting your Man.
If you stay stagnant and keep just wishing, blaming or avoiding, I think you know by now that he's not showing up. Keep those feet shuffling!
More dating coach advice on YourTango:
- How I Became An Online Dating Coach
- 8 Modern Dating Rules Every Single Should Know
- Dating After Divorce? 3 Pitfalls To Avoid