Sunday, April 5, 2009

Divorce and Dating For the Over 40 Set

Dating in your forties can be so much fun, instead of worrying that the hair on my head is neat and tidy...I'm more concerned with trimming the hair in my nose and ears. I posted my thoughts on Facebook a while back, before I'd started this blog...about the joys of dating in your forties, so I figured why not post them here.

By no means do I consider myself to be an archetype, after all everyone's situation is different. Obviously there are a myriad of life experiences that those of us in and around 40 have that those younger wouldn't understand. Being around 40 puts me in an interesting nexus. Some in this age range have young children, while others might be grandparents already.

Given our modern age 'Internet dating' is very popular with plenty of choice when it comes to sites that all claim to be the latest thing is ensuring that you'll meet the man or woman of your dreams. Almost all are 'free' when it comes to posting your availability, but if you actually wish to contact someone...well then there's usually a cost involved. One site charges nothing however, and its very popular. I've spoken to some women though who prefer what I'll call 'premium sites', the thought being that they attract higher quality men, ones who are actually willing to pay to talk to them. Some might take that as a commentary on the women themselves who prefer those type of 'pay' sites, but I'll leave it for each individual to decide.

A relatively common thread I've found amongst both men and women, particularly those of us who've found out our long term partners were cheating on us, is something I call 'revenge dating'. We might fool ourselves into thinking we're looking for a relationship, but in point of fact we're simply out to prove ourselves capable of still attracting and bedding a member of the opposite sex, or same sex if that happens to be one's preference. As a general rule I think it wise for those looking for something long term to avoid those who have recently ended a long term relationship... meaningful connections are not something that happen overnight.

As for other 'general rules' or guidelines...well there seem to be as many as there are individuals. I think women, being the more cerebral of the sexes, tend to have more rules. Among some that I've heard:

  • I'll never date a Scorpio/Leo/Aries/Pisces...(the sign of the ex)
  • I'll never date a "Bob"...(name of the ex)
  • Nobody in sales (job of the ex)

I think you get the idea. Men on the other hand, I think we have far fewer rules....our goals are much simpler. Finding a woman who can tolerate us, and one who will go to bed with us at least occasionally. I recall an episode of the TV show Frasier in which Daphne tells Frasier that its not just women who use sex to get what they want, that men as well will use sex to get what they which Frasier excitedly replies.

"Don't be ridiculous, how can men use sex to get what we want??? SEX IS WHAT WE WANT"!!!

Dating in your 20s or even 30s far different from being 40ish. When you're 20/30, for the most part, time seems to be on your side. If you're 25 and look down the road 20're looking at 45, which many still consider to be 'prime time'...(damn I love putting words in 'quotes'). At 42, in another 20 years I'll be 62...thinking about things like my Canada Pension and strategies for keeping regular.

I think those of us in and around this age bracket, that's there's a tendency to want to find short cuts. Strategies and questions designed to quickly weed out those who won't be a 'good fit'. With so many of us from broken marriages and relationships wanting that ultimate life partner...and with time seemingly at a premium, we're hoping to stumble up a magic formula for sifting through the dating pool. Again I find women are far more into this method, with a wide variety of 'rules' they've designed to help them zone in on that magic individual who will make them happy the rest of their lives. Guys? I don't think our expectations are that high, we're not looking for relationship Nirvana....its more a case of looking to avoid relationship hell.

A common thread seems to be 'the spark'. I've heard many times, "there has to be an initial attraction...a spark". For my own part I consider that to be very teenage thinking...that 'spark' is something called lust in my opinion, and its influenced by a host of random factors, not the least of which is how horny we are at the time of meeting.

Another frequent bromide is "he/she has to be into me". I've developed my own strategy when encountering this rule....RUN!!! I might be generalizing, but someone who wants me to be totally INTO them, they might just be a tad too needy.

In writing something like this....once you start its hard to sum everything up and tie it all up with a nice bow. And that's probably as it should be. As human beings we all prefer order to chaos, but anyone who says life is simple is either simple themselves or is residing in a mental facility.

At the end of the day I think the ultimate relationship involves 2 people who love and respect each other. Two people who have many common interests, but also areas of interest which are their's alone. And if they're lucky they'll be able to ride out the curve balls life inevitably throws at them, if not they can go back up to the plate hoping this time they'll get a pitch they can handle.

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