The challenge of middle-aged dating

One of the reasons that I would love to be in my 20’s again is the fact that dating is so much easier and less complicated. If you do not look like a monster, have a job and seem to be a fairly nice person, you will probably get many chances to meet members of the opposite sex. Those chances seem to diminish as you get older. By the time you reach your late 30’s, you are dealing with bunch of bitter, hurt people who view dating as something they are obligated to do whether they like it or not. Yes, if you find yourself suddenly single at age 40, dating is not as easy as you may think it is. It is not as easy as just snapping your fingers and finding that next flame. It poses may challenges that catches many off guard.

Dating sites are filled with tons of people who fall into the category of recently divorced. And many of them just happen to be middle-aged. I don’t know about other singles, but I approach a woman who has been recently divorced with extreme caution. Are they indeed ready to date again? Whether that anger or breakup will affect a potential relationship are all questions that run through my mind. Maybe they are just using me to get back at their ex. Or worst yet, I have feelings that eventually they will get back together and I will be left out in the cold.

Children and especially young children are another challenge that people face when entering the dating scene during middle-aged years. You feel like you are not only dating them, but their kids as well. Most singles in their 20’s do not have these issues. You wonder how their children perceive you. Some are so traumatized over a divorce that they cannot accept another person entering their parent’s life. Sometimes you get attached to a young child or children of whom you’re dating. Then suddenly the relationship ends and you feel like you are breaking up with numerous people. That only intensifies the pain of a relationship ending.

Many middle-aged people are extremely stuck in their own ways and lifestyles. They have been living a certain way for so long and relationships can force a slight lifestyle change. Suddenly that weekly golf outing with the guys becomes less frequent because you are in a deep relationship with someone. Most people talk about how lonely they are, but they are not willing to give up some freedom that might result from being in a relationship.

Lastly, there are the careers and time issues to consider. Many singles in their 40’s are very invested in their jobs and careers, probably more so than when they were younger. Dating takes a lot of time and energy for someone who is slowly losing that energy. With that new person in your life, your time that you spent relaxing and sleeping on the weekends might just go away. Can you afford that?

Do not come away thinking that I am some bitter middle-aged single myself. I think the maturity level among singles in that age demographic results in a better understanding on how to make relationships work. Many have met the love of their lives in their middle ages or even longer. But there are definite challenges that lie ahead anyone who is thinking about jumping back into the dating scene again.

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“The Bachelor” and the very sad side of dating

“How could he be so cruel and heartless”, “What a game-playing jerk” were just a few reactions to the latest episode of the hit reality show “The Bachelor”.  In the last show, the young gentleman, who is the bachelor, proposed to a young woman, who appeared to have won his heart over several other very viable contestants. Shortly after that proposal and out of nowhere, the happiness and joy that woman must have experienced turned to heartache and tears. He changed his mind and dumped her. Instead, he ran off with some other contestant. I think so many of us so-called normal people can relate to exactly what this woman went through. It is perhaps the most painful thing about dating; the process of having your heart broken suddenly and without any warning. So many promises and memories of you guys together, then suddenly those dreams of a future together are gone by one single phone call or meeting.

As bad as it may seem, I do not feel totally distraught for this young woman. “The Bachelor” is a show dealing with breaking hearts and dreams of many people all of the time. How can anyone be serious about finding their true on that show? The guys who get picked as the bachelor are not exactly those one woman guys are in it for a commitment. Who are they trying to fool? All of these guys are players, pure and simple! I would like to know how many of these so-called romances between these contestants even last more than a year. Furthermore, if a marriage results from this show, how long does it last? I have my serious doubts.

Fortunately for the young woman who was dumped, she was named as “The Bachelorette” in the next series and rightly so. Now she will have a number of very good-looking eligible bachelor chasing her. And somehow I do not think will have any problems meeting some very desirable guy since she seems to a dream gal for many guys. Heck, I dream to have a woman like that! I am sure the disappointment that she experienced will long be forgotten very shortly.

I have often found in my own life experiences that karma often happens in the world of dating. Eventually those who play games and are dishonest get their just rewards. What goes around often comes around. Who knows, this bachelor may end up getting dumped and have his heart broken down the road as well. For those who get dumped and are heartbroken, just remember that in dating, when one door is closed and another one will open. The young woman who was inexplicably rejected might someday view this latest episode as a blessing in disguise for more reasons than one.

The best gift on Valentine’s Day is free

Well it is that time of the year when many guys are filled with a tremendous amount of anxiety and stress. Valentine’s Day is just around the corner and you cannot escape the constant non-stop advertisements for that day. Everything from chocolates, jewelry, flowers and pajamas are gifts suggested for that desperate guy who is trying to score for some major brownie points for that special gal. As someone who is currently single and has been through all of this before, let me offer some advice, please be creative with the gifts and also do not forgot another gift that will leave a bigger impact on her than all of these gifts combined.  It is free and simply comes from your mouth. No I am not talking about some deep and passionate French kiss. I am talking about the words that you say to your sweetheart. Never underestimate how important they are to win her heart.

Don’t get me wrong, buying your lover a special gift on Valentine’s Day is very important. Women love to be pleasantly surprised with a well thought out gift. But it does not mean anything if you turn around the next day and speak to her in a very condescending manner about some issue. Or tell her how dumb she is for not following instructions on how to do her taxes. Perhaps you mockingly joke about her putting on a few pounds. It might sound funny to you, but to her, it is not and very hurtful. Those harmful words can pretty much eliminate any brownie points you may have garnered from buying her a nice gift.

On the other hand, a huge compliment will go a long ways in capturing her heart forever. On Valentine’s Day, make a huge effort to say something to her that will totally floor her. Maybe she is really big into volunteering at a local homeless shelter. Tell her what a huge heart she has. Or maybe she has a unique sense of humor that you cannot get enough of. Tell her that and make it known how important that is to you. Tell her that she often brightens your day with her humor. Or maybe her smile melts you. She will feel so special and important if you mention these things.

I know these things seem to be very simple things to think about in a relationship, but it is amazing how many guys neglect how important the words they say or not say. Building up your sweetie with compliments and kind words are lasting impressions, much more so than that same old box of chocolates. Never underestimate the value of what comes out of your mouth and your tongue. A kind compliment from you might be the most meaningful thing she will receive this Valentine’s Day. And it will not cost you anything! In fact, why not make it a point to compliment her everyday, not just Valentine’s Day?

A great time to get engaged

So you and your gal have been dating for a while and there is no doubt in your mind that you want to spend the rest of your life with her. You guys are madly in love and now is the time to pop the question. Wouldn’t it be great to do it during the Christmas season and create a Christmas memory that would never be forgotten by either of you?

I don’t know what other people think, but I regard the Christmas season to be a very romantic time of the year. I really cannot point to why it is so romantic; maybe many of the Christmas activities enhance those romantic feelings like driving around town with your sweetheart and looking at the beautiful lights or holding hands during a nice quiet walk at night with the snow gently falling down. It is a very festive season and those romantic feelings really come out in people. A proposal will only add to those feelings between you and your special love.

I know many guys including myself would never do this, but here is a great idea for proposing to your gal. I know many guys have to spend Christmas Eve or Christmas Day with her family. There will probably be a time when everyone gathers together to open gifts. Perhaps there are a few gifts from you that you want her to open first. Let that happen then after everyone is done unwrapping the gifts, announce to everyone that there is one more gift to open. The excitement in the room starts to build; what could this be? You pull out the ring, grab her hand and propose in front of her family. I cannot imagine a better Christmas memory than that one. Of course if she is really shy, that might not be such a great idea of putting her on the spot.

If I were to ever propose to someone, I would want it to be during a very special time for both of us. Doing what I just suggested would be Christmas memory of all time, not only for you guys, but for her family as well. Perhaps she grew up in that home and the proposal would only add to many memories of that home. I want to wish all guys who are thinking about popping the question this Christmas season the best of luck and congratulations.

 

Dating a fan of a rival team

So you met the girl of your dreams through a dating site and things are going really well between the two of you. She is everything that you look for in a woman. She is very beautiful, smart, kind, thoughtful, funny and you just cannot get enough of her. Then you discover something about her that totally breaks your heart. No, she does not have other boyfriends or she is actually married. She is a fan of a rival team that you cannot stand. For instance, she is a big Auburn fan and you are an Alabama fan. Or you love the Minnesota Vikings and she loves the Green Bay Packers. Now what? Is the relationship over? Can you marry someone who is loyal to such an evil team? There must be someone seriously wrong with this love of my life!

Believe it or not, this dilemma takes place more than you think. I live in an area that has a couple of professional football teams just 4 hours away from each other, the Minnesota Vikings and the Green Bay Packers. There are plenty of people living in my area who love one of the teams and hate the other. I personally know a few people who would never date a Packer fan. Yes, I know, that is being rather shallow. On the other hand, there are many married couples in this area where the guy in a Viking fan and the gal is a Packer fan or vice versa. I can only imagine what it would be like in their households on game day.

Can a couple of hardcore fans of rival teams co-exist in a relationship? Well of course. But you have to be very tactful in dealing with your partner and some people have this gift and others do not. For instance, suppose your team just beat her team on a last second touchdown. Immediately after the score, you get right into her face and taunt knowing it would greatly upset her. I don’t consider that a very proper way of handling a sensitive moment, in fact, it might show bad signs on your part of being insensitive. In my opinion, you should leave the taunting until well after the game is finished. Let things cool down a bit before you engage in some so-called good natured ribbing. Just a word of wisdom to you ladies out there. Please approach your man with extreme caution in delivering some gloating. Men take losses a little harder.

Probably the best way to handle a situation of dating a rival fan is having a good sense of humor about it. For instance, make a little wager. If your team wins, she has to wear your team’s apparel for a day around the house or better yet, she has to appear in a picture on Facebook wearing your team’s jersey. Or vise versa. Have some fun with the rivalry. After all, it is just a game. There are far more concerning differences to have in a relationship. And who knows, maybe she will come over from the dark side and eventually show allegiance to your team!

Being married to yourself

I recently had a very interesting conversation with a good friend of mine concerning his new adventures with being single. After experiencing the heartbreak of going through a divorce, my friend decided it was time to get back into the dating scene and perhaps meet another special lady who will be a better fit for him. I asked him how things were going with his online singles site and he gave me a very fascinating response; “You know Mark, I was assuming that this site consisted of all single people, but instead, many of the ladies are married.” Huh? How can that be? Why would a singles site have a bunch of married people? I know it happens on occasion that some disgruntled still married individual will use a dating site to find an escape to an unhappy marriage, but is it really true there are that many? “Well Mark, so many are married to themselves” Oh I get it! And he hit it right on the head. Sometimes you have to wonder how serious some of these members are about meeting that someone special. A heavy challenge that people who sign up for these sites face is weeding out those who are basically married to themselves.

Normally if a person is said to be married, they have a union with a member of the opposite sex. There is some crazy new thing called sologamy which is indeed being married to yourself, but for the time being, lets talk about why some people are actually married to themselves without really being aware of it.

I have experienced the dating scene myself and I know exactly what my friend is talking about. When I meet someone for the first time, I wonder in my mind about how serious they are to really get to know me. One of my last dates was a prime example. Her lifestyle seemed to be perfect. She had a good job, lots of good friends and hobbies, and her schedule was always filled with fun. She appeared to really be married to her life. Now there is nothing wrong with that, but exactly where do I fit in if we happened to develop a relationship. Would that perfect lifestyle which she seems adore but affected by having me suddenly be a part of it?

I have to admit that how my life would be affected came up as well. I must confess that I am somewhat married to myself and my life as well. Would I have enough free time to go golfing on the weekends or spend time at the lake during the summers if we became a couple. What would she think about my lifestyle and what would I have to give up? I love my freedom as single, but somehow, I keep thinking in the back of my head that freedom will suddenly disappear if I get involved in a relationship.

Most people who join dating sites are aware of these or how attached or once again married to themselves and their lives. Going from being single to in a relationship can be a rather huge adjustment. Maybe you just want to chill on a Saturday after a long work week. Instead, you are forced to travel many miles to see her family who are people who you find rather annoying. Or maybe you will be forced to missed that important ball game because your partner wants to go see her niece in some play at the theater.

Most relationship experts would probably agree with 100 percent. In order to have a fulfilling and satisfying relationship with someone, you must first get a divorce. And that would be from yourself. Sometimes I wonder how many single people on those many dating sites are actually willing to get that divorce and get married the proper way as a union with someone else. The longer you are single, the harder that divorce from yourself might be. But in the long run, it might be well worth it.

Life’s biggest mistakes

Many young people will be graduating this month or next month from college and high school and the common theme that I hear at these commencement ceremonies are words of advice for the future. For example, many speakers talk about following your dreams, don’t let anyone tell you that you care not capable of something and so forth. These words of advice are great, but if I had to give some young person some words of advice, one of the first things that I would mention is something that does not seem related, but plays a huge role in your future. That is picking your friends especially who you will eventually settle down with and get married. It is one of the biggest decisions you will ever make and one that many people make huge mistakes in doing so.

When a young person graduates, settling into a good career is not necessarily a top priority. Many want to settle down and get married and have a family. They see their friends getting married and want the same thing. I know women who seem to be obsessed with having children right away after finishing school. They want more than anything to fall in love, get married and have children. There is nothing wrong with that except why rush into things? Especially with the wrong person.

That good-looking guy who you have been dating may appear to be the man of your dreams, Never mind the fact that he is a borderline alcoholic. That will change when he gets married. Sadly, it probably will not and Mr. Prince Charming may be your biggest mistake ever who affects you for the rest of your life. He is a thorn in your side that will never go away. You will have a lifetime of hate and bitterness towards him. Many young adults are blinded by who people really are and fail to understand the consequences of carrying out a relationship with them.

I know many want to have children right way after they finish school, but do you really want to be tied down with that awesome responsible? I have seen many women have limited career opportunities because they wanted to have children instead.  In addition, having children with the wrong person can lead to so many hassles and custody fights. It not only affects you but your children as well. Life is way too short to go through that crap. I would strongly urge people to wait and determine if that person is totally right before you have children together. Sometimes, that may mean waiting until you are about 30 years old.

Looking back at my life, some of my biggest mistakes have been with members of the opposite sex. Sometimes I wonder what I was thinking when I was dating so and so. I often wonder what would have happened if I married one of my exes. What would life be like? Chances are it would be a living hell with a few of them. Back then, I was terrible young and naive about things in life.

I don’t want this post to sound too much like a lecture and I certainly feel most people are smart enough to make their own personal decisions about who they will get involved with. Unfortunately, many young people are influenced by what their friends are doing. Others are downright lonely in life and having a partner seems like a great cure for those ills. When you look back at your life some 30 years later, you may wish that you had the foresight to break up with that charming guy who you knew was not totally right for you. Something was not right. If you are a young adult, just remember that there are plenty of fish in the pond to go fishing in search of that special person. You cannot afford to make that kind of mistake and ruin the rest of your life with bitterness and unhappiness.