Although I thought hell would freeze over before this happened, I decided to re-enter the world of dating last year, four years post divorce. It wasn’t an easy decision as my marriage included both physical and financial infidelity. That was a lot to digest at one time so I decided the best course of action was to take the message from the mess and focus on healing. It would be irresponsible to carry Samsonite into the next relationship and that would only result in more pain for all parties involved. I’m allergic to pain and try to steer clear of it at all times. While on hiatus I did a lot of soul-searching and realized my part of the failed marriage equation. My picker was dysfunctional and needed to be polished.
Dating in my 50’s has been like learning to ride a tricycle all over again. I have all three wheels which help with stability, but there is still a learning curve. I’ve found a few similarities between dating at my current age and as a young adult (condoms in the lady’s room at a music venue is STILL shocking but I guess those are for emergency purposes?), but there are two major differences for me.
- The first is that dating is a choice, not a necessity. I don’t NEED a knight in shining armor to ride in and save me from the enemy (sometimes the enemy is ourselves or drama we created). I can now spot red flags a mile away and investigate them further, when I was blinded in the past. I’ve learned to weigh the pros and cons of potential mates after finally accepting that I can’t change anyone. A person will only change when they decide it’s time, not when I decide. The positive side to dating is that I am also learning what I need in the process, which is totally different from what I needed as a young adult.
- I also believe a person will change for the right mate, so I don’t waste time and energy trying to convince someone. (As Dave Ramsey says, “A person convinced against their will is of the same opinion still”). I can move on to the next opportunity, accepting that I’m not “the one”. It might sound weird but now I appreciate that knowledge ahead of time rather than after I’m invested. As much as I love myself these days, I know I’m not right for everyone. Just like everyone is not right for me.
3. Self-worth is something I didn’t have before and was the main culprit that disabled my picker. I am now aware of what I bring to the table and what I deserve which is the same from others or a willingness to grow in the same direction. One of the hardest lessons to learn was that “nice” didn’t mean right (for me). It was sobering to realize that it takes a lot more than love to make a relationship work. As Iylana Vanzant stated so eloquently, “Sometimes you have to meet people where they are, and leave them there”. Mr. Right might just be Mr. Not Right Now. However, it is up to him to figure it out.
One never knows what the future will bring, but today I am taking things at face value. Remembering what I DESERVE has worked wonders for polishing my picker.