After the trials and tribulations of divorce, it is best to recreationally date for a while; to just have fun. I call this Step One of the Dating Two-Step. When your life is back on track and you have mastered recreationally dating, you can switch to long term committed dating, which I call Step Two of the Dating Two-Step. At step two, you are looking for the love of your life. You will have certain criteria (more about this later) that must be met by the woman you're dating. Follow the five tips below to navigate your way across the dance floor with your Two-Step to find the dance partner of your dreams.
1. Are You Ready to be Authentic?
Long-term committed dating requires being authentic, and that takes self-confidence and high self-esteem. It means being vulnerable. Open up and honestly show your date who you are. If she likes the real you, great! If she doesn't like the real you, then move on. Isn't it better to find this out early on, rather than spending time and money in an ill-fated dating relationship? The longer you spend dating the wrong woman, the longer it will take you to find the right woman.
There is so much to be gained by being authentic and so much to lose by not being so. This is a great skill to develop. You can practice with a men's group or with a men's relationship coach. I can assure you that if you are authentic, your dating experience will be ten times better than if you are not. I can also guarantee you that if you are inauthentic, you will get yourself in trouble, sooner or later.
2. Are You Clear About Your Requirements and Wants?
Long-term committed dating demands that you are clear on your "requirements" and "wants". Requirements are elements that you must have in your relationship. They cannot be compromised; they are your deal-breakers. For many people, honesty and monogamy are non-negotiable requirements. Wants are things that are important to you for your relationship, but are not absolutes; there is some wriggle room. For example, maybe you want a non-smoker. Your date is a smoker. When you look underneath your desire for a non-smoker, you discover that the smell of smoke bothers you and you want to stay healthy. Your date is willing to work with you. She states that she will only smoke outside and will freshen up before re-uniting with you. That might work for you.
Examine your past relationships over the last 30 years. Make a list of all of the things that you liked about them. Put the qualities and traits that you cannot live without on your requirements list. Next, look at the qualities of past relationships you didn't like, or were negative. I suggest you turn these negative qualities into a positive spin and create additional requirements. For example, "can't be addicted" should be turned into "addiction free".
Now you have a complete list of requirements or deal-breakers. When you are in a long-term committed dating relationship, once you ascertain that a woman does not have one of the items on your requirement list, you must stop dating her. You cannot have a happy successful relationship when one of your must-haves is missing.
Examine you "wants", or the items that are important to you but are not absolute deal breakers. Create a second list called "Wants". Having your requirements and wants lists will help you sort through the women you meet in long-term committed dating. Remember, you cannot compromise on a deal breaker or requirement, but wants are more flexible.
3. Are You Clear About Your Sexual Desires?
There's a good chance that during your estrangement from your ex-wife and during the divorce you were not having sex. If you had a long dry spell, you may be anxious to have sex again. First of all, now that you're over 50, realize that things are not the same as when you were 20. Syphilis and gonorrhea have been joined by 18 to 23 other sexually transmitted infections/diseases (STI/STD's) and the number of people infected and are carriers has dramatically increased over the last three decades.
Be prepared to protect yourself. You may want to get a blood test to have proof that you are not infected. It is common for men going back into the dating world after a long dry spell to feel uneasy; concerns about rejection and sexual performance abound. Be easy on yourself. Once you start long-term committed dating, it is best to make sure you are with the right woman before getting involved sexually. Good sex, especially after a long dry spell, will make you think you're with the right woman... even if you aren't. Make sure you discuss the role of sex in a relationship with your potential partner to see if your opinions about it line up. Balance your heart with your mind. Know what you are looking for in addition to great sex, and don't settle unless you have both.
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