Dating like a grownup means taking responsibility for your own happiness.
I’m often asked what I mean by Dating Like a Grownup. It’s obviously a great question that I probably should answer every so often. (I am, after all, the CEO of Date Like a Grownup!) I’m going to give you my definition, and then I’m going to tell you about a great book I’ve read that does a terrific job of discussing dating and love for grownups.
To me, dating like a grownup means taking responsibility for your own happiness. It means getting past the men suck/I-have-no-control-over-this part-of-my-life nonsense. It means approaching men, dating and relationships with consciousness; allowing you to balance your heart and your head.
Some key ingredients to dating like a grownup:
- Understanding that your happiness comes first; and the rest of the good stuff will follow.
- Staying open to new information and new experiences no matter your age.
- Taking some risks.
- Making decisions that are good for you in the long term and not giving in to short-term pleasure or ego driven choices.
- Maintaining perspective. (18 year olds have none; 50 year olds have tons; we just sometimes forget to apply it to our dealings with men.)
- Investing in yourself to become your best You, knowing this is what attracts the best men.
- Showing kindness; both to yourself and the people you meet.
- Learning to receive graciously and accepting others' support.
- Keeping your eyes on the prize and not giving up or giving in.
Whew! That’s off the top of my head, but I think that covers a lot of it. Easy, right?
Now…let me introduce you to a great book for you to read on this topic. Love for Grown-ups: The Garter Brides’ Guide to Marrying for Life When You Already Have Got a Life is a new book written by three very talented, very cool women. Ann Blumenthal Jacobs, Patricia Ryan Lampl and Tish Rabe are girlfriends who all found love later in life.
They wrote this book because, like me, they are on a mission to help other women in their later years find fantastic, forever love. Not only do they share their experiences, they share those of several dozen other women who found grownup love. I know you'll relate to their stories, just like I did. (They all found love later in life, I did it, and so can you, sister!)
I read their opening paragraph and knew we were simpatico:
"It’s a luscious experience, falling in love as a grownup. You're wise to the relationship hazards that used to snag you, you know what's important in a partner and won’t settle for anything less and youre ready to meet a man as an equal on every level, including horizontally!"
They (very smartly) start off with helping you take a fresh new look at dating. Here are a few of their great tips:
- Say good-bye to good-for-now relationships.
- Bad boys are time wasters.
- If you get advice, consider the source.
- If your sex life has been on the back burner, heat it up!
- Happiness is attractive.
- Check your anger at the door.
The book goes way past helping you meet and date. There is juicy discussion of the real grownup stuff that comes as you get to know each other, meet each others’ friends and family, face challenges with finances; blend your families and make lifestyle and living decisions…all the while growing your love.
(As an aside, I love how they talk about wearing white on your wedding day [gasp!] and making the day exactly how you want it. As a 47 year old first-time bride I approached my 77-year-old dad before walking down the aisle together and he whispered: You look beautiful in your white dress, honey. Don’t worry: I won’t tell anyone!” He cracks me up.)
The same basic principle that I use in my coaching guides the advice in Love for Grownups: These are great years to meet the man of your dreams! When you choose a man and approach your relationship like the grownup you are, you can handle anything…and it's fantastic doing it together!
Anyway, if this sounds like a book review, it kinda is. I do encourage you to get the book. I know many of you feel alone, but you are definitely not, and the stories of these other women will make you see that and warm your heart.
I also know that many of you feel like your 18 year old still controls much of what you do with men. Well, these gals are telling you what I tell you every chance I get: it doesn't have to be that way. Your grownup girl is lurking. You just have to grab her, give her a big hug and GO FOR LOVE!