Wednesday, September 24, 2014

We Must Heal From Past Love to Open to New Love

In my experience with both coaching and dating, I've found that one of the most-common reasons people can't attract healthy new relationships is that they haven't yet healed from an old one.

While navigating the 5 stages of grieving the loss of my last relationship, I've been soul-searching and struggling for ways to make the process easier and faster, even though I know I can't rush it. I have to take the time to sit with the feelings and gradually release the love I had for that my heart will be completely open to somebody new.

My roots as a writer date back to 1965 when, at age 12, I wrote my first poem. Since then, I've written poetry at times when I had deep emotions I needed to express. It was always a helpful, therapeutic release. This poem is what came out when I sat down this afternoon to express my feelings about the relationship I ended 3 months ago today:

Spirits from our past who won't move on
Thinking it comforts us to have them near

Lovers from our past we can't let go
Wishing we'd forget them yet paralyzed by fear

Attachments of the heart...stronger than time
Keep spirits trapped on earth, lovers drowned in tears

Your head said you'd grieved the sudden loss of your wife
But your heart won't release her and open to new love in your life

So she stayed by your side and pushed others away
You tried to love again but could not find a way

Then, not just your heart was broken; mine was too 
But I've now forgiven you for what you didn't intend to do

Perhaps one day she'll move forward and into the "Light"
But I am long gone, exhausted from that fight

We each had our ghosts we hoped to leave behind
so we could attract the love we'd been yearning to find

Peace to you, old friend, may your heart soon be free
of the spirit whose embrace kept you from loving me.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Why Do Baby Boomer Men Resist Dating Older Women?

Just about every woman over 45 who hires me for dating coaching asks the same question: "Why won't men consider dating women around their age? They all seem to want women 10-15 years younger." And my reply is always the same: "If a man is attracted to you, your age isn't the #1 concern. Post a great photo of yourself on your profile and write to men you think are compatible with you. You'll be surprised at how many will write back, even if you're a few years older."

This has been true in my dating life. Of the 17 men I've had relationships with in the 41 years since my first love at age 19, 53% (9) have been younger, 23% (4) have been the same age, and 23% (4) have been older. My second husband was 43 when I met him at age 50, but there was a lot of commonality because we'd been divorced about the same length of time, our kids were similar ages, and we shared several hobbies. He told me age wasn't an issue for him; he just wanted to date someone he was attracted to and felt comfortable with.

I think this is generally true of most people in the dating world. When you meet in person rather than online, people don't know your age. So they chat with you if they feel attracted in some way...period. So why do midlife daters fixate so much on age?

Well, there are many reasons women tell me about. A common one is a preference for healthy men who won't need someone to take care of them; and they figure younger men are more likely to be healthy and energetic enough to want to go out and do things, travel, and enjoy life. The reasons men tell me they care about a woman's age is that younger women are prettier/sexier and more likely to look up to them and help them feel needed and important. These are generalities, of course. But some 2014 research seems to concur:

A recent article in Etc. Magazine cited OKCupid statistics that showed that 40-year-old men are most attracted to 21-year-old women, while 40-year-old women are most attracted to 38-year-old men. Quite an age gap! The website's studies showed that men in their mid-40s rarely messaged women over 30, and many of them continually date women 10 years younger. However, the data also showed that, eventually, their tactics started to fail, since the younger women they messaged rejected them by not writing back.

The result, the article said, is "a lot of 40-year-old men and women who find it hard to get a date." Sad, in my opinion, to let age be such an important factor in choosing dates. After all, it's really just a number. You're as young as you feel and act. I know a lot of women my age (60) who are in great shape, very active, sexy, healthy, fascinating, and fun. And I also know active men my age who are in good shape, dynamic, interesting, and on the go.

I'll admit that I shy away from men more than a year or two older than me because I've found over the years that men older than me were more likely to be sedentary and less interested in trying new things. However, the 4 men I did date who were older didn't fit that stereotype, so I now try to be more open minded about age. 

How about you? How has the age factor played out for you in the dating world? I'd love to hear your stories!