Ask Marisa: Returning to dating scene? Go with the flow

By Marisa Peer

Q: Dear Marisa:

Just over 12 months ago my husband told me he didn’t love me anymore and ended our 20-year marriage. His decision was very much out of the blue, and I felt I had no control over the situation as he moved out of our family home very quickly without any attempt to try to fix things or reconcile. We are going through a divorce.

While it left me devastated at the time, I have taken time to heal and rediscover who I am as a person beyond the wife and mother role I knew for so long. Now, I am at a point where I would like to get out and potentially meet someone.

My children have left home, I run my own business and work the hours I choose, so I feel like I am in a good place to dedicate time to a new partner.

However, the reality is that I am 54 years old, haven’t dated in over 20 years, and the prospect of getting back on the horse terrifies me!

I am considering online dating, as it seems to be how you meet people these days, but it all seems a bit frivolous, whereas I would really like something meaningful and a long-term relationship rather than a fling.

Even writing a bio for a profile scares me. I have no idea what to say or how to “sell” myself. Is this a nonstarter?

Please help, Marisa!

Ms. Independent, Mesa

A: Dear Ms. Independent:

If you feel you are ready to start dating again, a good starting point is to consider what you’re looking for in a partner.

Focus on what is important to you, energizes you and brings you joy. What are your values and beliefs — and is it important that a partner shares these? This will help you get a clear idea of what you want (and don’t want!) next time around.

When it comes to dating sites, you’ll find several dedicated to over-50s dating, so consider registering with one of these if you are looking for someone of a similar age who also has relationship aspirations.

Remember, 50 is the new 40! It’s much more common for people to date in their 50s now, as there is less of a stigma attached to people separating later in life. It’s actually a great time to start a new relationship because, at this age, many people have had families, their children have flown the nest, they have a plethora of life experience and know what they want. You also have the freedom and possibly the financial stability you may have lacked earlier in your life. I got married at 50, and for me it was the perfect time.

As for your dating bio, my best advice would be to keep it simple — just be yourself. Give a brief outline of your interests, key values and beliefs. Explain what lights you up and what you are looking for. Give your profile a little flavor of your personality. Don’t think of it as “selling” yourself; think about it as a way of drawing someone who matches your energy to you. Your photo is important, so make it natural and smile.

Enjoy the process — don’t make it all about the end goal of a relationship. Instead, relish getting dressed up and meeting new people. Don’t put pressure on yourself — or your potential partner — to be “the one” the first time you meet. Go with the flow!

Dating sites are just one option. Taking up a hobby can also be a great way to meet like-minded people in a fun, relaxed way. We all have things we have wanted to learn — be it a new language, French cuisine or photography — so now is the time to try it while building a social circle and maybe even finding love in the process. One of my friends met her now-husband while volunteering at an animal shelter, another while walking her neighbor’s dog, and a third in a running club. When you are involved in doing what you love, you become a compelling person to date. You can also meet people through your existing friend set, so work on expanding that.

Most of all, go out and enjoy yourself. Don’t hang everything on a relationship. Live your life, be active and get out a lot, and often love finds you where or when you least expect it! Even in the aisle of your grocery store. Believe you are absolutely worthy of love, and that will radiate from you.

If you feel there is still some unresolved emotional trauma from the past, a rapid transformational therapy (RTT) session could help, particularly if you have previously found yourself  repeating negative behavior patterns. RTT gets to the root cause of the beliefs and behaviors that may be holding you back and gives you the understanding you need to move forward more constructively.

Lots of love,

Marisa x 

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“Tell Yourself a Better Lie: Use the Power of Rapid Transformational Therapy to Edit Your Story and Rewrite Your Life” is available on Amazon.