My latest episode of Generation Sex, about midlife dating, was the most fun to shoot thus far. I found myself completely surprised by my guests' attitudes about dating. I was honestly shocked that contemporary women aren't willing to let a man know they are interested in him. I've never been shy about give a man the signals that I'm open to getting to know him. I was also surprised how much dating changes for men as they age. My guest Barry Selby, an author and love coach, proved that men are more open to love than we paint them to be. Midlife dating, in my humble opinion, is not like dating as a young person. At forty-five years old, I'm not willing to wait around to be chosen by a man. I remember years ago sitting by the phone, hoping he'd call. Or even worse, crying my eyes out because he hadn't called, and I thought for sure he was the one. I bet I thought this about a hundred or more different men. Today I can look back at who I was in my twenties with love in my heart and gratitude for journey I've taken to get here, to my true authentic self.
So many of us are surprised to find that we are back in the market, having discovered that happily ever after sometimes means happy until you're not any more. In fact, for over 50 percent of us, divorce happens, and that means we get to do it over. And the best part about doing it over is doing it differently than we did it the first time around. We have a chance to date with new eyes and new attitudes about life.
My main suggestion for midlife dating is to date with intention. For instance, when I date now, my intention is to always be authentic, have an open heart, and have fun. We call ourselves forward with our intentions, and when I say forward I mean just that. We don't get to hide from ourselves or keep secrets from ourselves when we set an honest intention. For instance, when I was younger, my intention in dating was to get married. That was it; I wanted to get married. This meant I had an intention that required someone else's participation for its fulfillment. That was pretty dangerous, because we can never control what others want or desire, and we're sure to have many disappointments when our happiness is attached to the choices of others. I think an intention should be something we desire for ourselves that we can partner with the universe to create. With an intention that puts me at the helm of my experience, I'm not waiting or needing anyone be anything but himself, and I'm being myself in order to have a good time. And don't kid yourself that you have to be some "ideal" person to get someone else's interest; I've had more second dates, proclamations of love, and requests for long-term commitment now that I show up with an intention to be authentic.
I heard a guest on Bethenny suggest that men love women who are indifferent to them--therefore a "take it or leave it" attitude is the way to "land" a relationship. But to me this advice might fly in the fact of one's authentic self. We can't really fake indifference. I can't tell you how many people told me years ago that I should act like I don't care. "He will come to you if you can just act cool," they'd say. But is "acting cool" who we really are? Either we feel coolly toward someone or we don't. If we're too thirsty, we're too thirsty. The best thing we can do is bless it and keep it moving. If we try to be someone we're not, it's bound to reveal itself in the long run. It's like holding pee, the need might go away for second but you know it hasn't actually left. The only "cure" for being desperate and thirsty is acknowledgment and self-love. We must love ourselves right where we are, release the tendency to judge and blame ourselves as often as we need. And when it's time this energy will release us into fulfillment and bliss. (Therapy might help also!)
Midlife dating is proving to be very fun for this girl. I love meeting new men and having great conversations. I'm relishing how surprising life can be, and I've realized I don't know half as much as I thought I did. I've gotten to the point where even my bad dates are good, because these experiences just give me more information for the next time. And it's entertaining--I couldn't make up some of the stuff I've been through...