- Gender and Relationships
Too old to find love?
Too old to find love?
One of my readers recently sent me an email concerning the distress she was feeling regarding her recent break-up. I was quite sad to read that she felt like she was "too old" to find love again; even though she didn't tell me her age, I suspect that she wasn't a day older than 45. Too old? At 45? At 60? At 70? I will have none of this nonsense! Love is possible at every age, some people find their soul mate in their 20s, others find it later in life, but yes, there are some reasons why love seems to get more complicated as we get older.
Why is finding love more difficult when you are older?
1. Lack of time and opportunity
As we grow older, it may feel more difficult to find love, opportunities to meet singles seem fewer and far apart, raising children takes up more time, and you may feel you are just too tired to date.
2. Accumulated heartaches
Chances are you've accumulated disappointments and heartaches when it comes to romantic relationships and your self-confidence has taken a beating. As adults, we don't approach love in the same way we used to when we were in our 20s. All too often, experience has taught us to be wary of love, because when it hurts, wow does it ever hurt. Hurtful things may have been thrown at you during your last relationship, or being rejected after you've opened your heart made you feel like trusting someone with your heart is a "dangerous" thing. Unfortunately, this is likely to have happened to your new potential partner as well, so approaching each other may feel like two porcupines trying to hug each other; while you both want love, it's hard to get closer.
3. Higher expectations
Also, as we get older are expectations in romance are drastically different than when we were younger. In your 20s, someone who make you laugh and wants to do fun activities with you is good enough. As we get older, expectations get higher, we hope for someone to build a family with, someone to move in with, someone who is independent financially, someone who will love your children like you do, someone who wants to travel with you etc. You may also find you are more selective when it comes to what type of person you want to date, you may not want to date a person who has children, or doesn't have children, a person who is too serious, or no serious enough etc. While being discerning is a good thing, first dates can sometimes feel like an interview. You won't even give some people a chance because you hold preconceived ideas about certain types of people (i.e. divorcees, certain ethnic groups, bald guys etc.).
Yet, we have all heard the story of that person who found love after divorce, or after losing a partner. We've even heard those stories of people who find love at 80! So what are you to do? Well, first, start to believe that love is still possible for you, that you can love again and be loved again.
Finding love when you are older
1. Create opportunities to meet new people
Create opportunities where you can and when you can. Smile at people at the grocery store, ask them a question about a particular item in the store and get the conversation going. The supermarket is full of single people. Attend a community event, join a jogging club, go to the library, join a choir, date online, look up interest groups in your neighborhood, or volunteer to help at a local sporting event, or at a charitable organization. The point is, you have to get out of the house, you won't meet anyone sitting in your living room. You have to get out there and meet people to meet your future love, and having a tight budget should not be an excuse, all if the activities I just suggested are free or very low cost.
2. Do anything and everything to boost your self-esteem
Before you jump into a relationship, make sure you have healed most of the pain from your previous relationship. You already have a person to reassure you and love you, and that is you. What? Yes! You. Think highly of yourself and here is why. If you feel your emotional needs are valid, then you will gradually allow yourself to express those needs to someone else in an open and direct manner. There will be much less "game playing" if you are able to assert yourself and respect your own personal needs and feelings. If it is difficult for you to heal the pain you hold in your heart, seek help for a certified psychotherapist, see it as an investment in your well-being and happiness.
3. Know what is and isn't important; know when it is important
My partner is not perfect, he doesn't have everything on my "ideal partner list". But he has all of the important qualities that I am looking for. Having a clear idea of your own emotions and personal needs is VERY important, but don't cheat yourself out of meeting someone really amazing because you have an infinite list of criteria your next partner should meet. A first date is a time to have fun, a time to know the person in front of you, to enjoy a nice meal, to enjoy going out of the house, and have a good time; it is not the time to crack-out the list of things you expect in a stable relationship (however some things, such as disrespect, are clear deal breakers). Why do you want to know right away if the person in front of you is looking for marriage or children or to move in with you? YOU DONT EVEN KNOW THIS PERSON YET! You might meet someone tomorrow who rocks your world, it might not be this person in front of you, so relax, have fun, enjoy a nice evening. The only reason you are trying to verify if this person meets all your criteria is because you've been hurt before or because "you don't want to lose your time", having a positive answer to your "questions" will give you a false sense of security, which is comforting and comfortable for the time being. But come on, do you really think a guy telling you he wants something "stable" on the first date protects you from being hurt again? Judge people by their actions not their words, and certainly not or your predetermined beliefs. I have a friend who won't date anyone who is younger than her, not even a year younger than her, because she believes younger guys can't be as "mature" and "stable" as older guys. By doing this, she is excluding a huge chunk of potentially wonderful partners.
4. Be nice!
Too many people leave a first date that didn't meet their standards feeling frustrated. So it didn't work out? Big deal! No need to be unpleasant about it. I have seen women and men be really rude to a nice person who was trying to approach them. They shoot them down, and almost laugh at them for even thinking they might have a chance seducing them. Then you hear them complaining that it's so hard to meet people. We'll maybe people would have more confidence in approaching others if they weren't humiliated when they try. When a person is clearly not to your liking, but was brave enough to try to approach you, let them down nicely, tell them that their gesture was nice and that you appreciate their compliment, but it won't work. Be decent with everyone you meet. If your date wasn't a match for you but still was friendly and respectful, be nice. You never know this person might have a colleague, a friend, or a relative which would be a great match for you. They'll never introduce you to this person if you act all entitled and frustrated after they've met you. Let them know nicely you don't think you are compatible, but don't slam the door in their face, you never know, they might invite you to a BBQ where you'll meet your life partner.