With the divorce rate being what it is, and many of those divorces coming when couples are somewhere in their mid life range, it pretty unsettling to think about going back into the dating scene after years of being in a relationship or just “not dating”. Dating is often seen as a black hole of everything “scary and unknown” and the anxiety can be pretty overwhelming. No matter if dating was comfortable for you in your youth or not, the time span from then to now, can leave one wondering how to muck through.
So, let’s break this down a bit. No matter what age bracket you are in, men are still pretty much men and women are still pretty much women. People usually mature as they age in certain aspects, but the basic personality was formed somewhere in the early teens and is pretty much set for life. That doesn’t mean likes and dislikes can’t change, life situations can’t change or certain habits can’t be changed, but the basic personality of who they are, how they think and what they hold dear, is, truly, pretty much set for life in the early years. Of course, there are exceptions, people have “reinvented” themselves for one reason or another and that has to be taken into account but basically we only grow deeper into our personalities over time, not out of them. With that knowledge, the dating individual can rest assured that “shopping for someone” is pretty much as reliable a process as it always has been, poeple are still people and finding out who they really are is a process that can be broken down into manageable pieces.
The first thing a person has to do when choosing a prospective date is ask themselves, “what attracts me to this person?” Whether it’s the picture, the profile or some knowledge you have about them, SOMETHING has to draw you in. If you choose someone purely based on their photo and never look any deeper, well, you may or may not luck out finding a good match and you are certainly slowing down the results. A much better practice is to let the photo be your FIRST draw, but see what the person says in their profile to see if you really might be compatible. If the attraction is something based on BOTH their photo AND something they say about themselves, then take the time to make sure it’s really a part of the person you zeroed in on by simply paying attention during your interactions with them. Read a person’s profile, read it several times. Is the tone possitive, negative? Do they care about how they spell or put sentences together? Do they use grammar correctly? What seems to be important to them in life? Do they appear to be wild or conservative in their actions and attitudes? These things can tell you things about a person like what value they put on education, what value they put on how they present themselves to others, what value they put on life in general. Many a bad relationship could be avoided if people would step back and actually pay attention to the overall impression another makes and evaluate that against what they want in life and what kind of person they, themselves are. For example: generally speaking someone who is sloppy in their written attitude certainly cannot be called a “perfectionist” or type A personality and if you are a high strung, perfectionist type person who drives everything to a certain level of expectation…………that may not be a good match. You may think these “small things” are not what ruins relationships, but the divorce courts will attest to a different truth. It’s not usually the big things in life that kill romance and relationships because they just don’t happen that often, it’s the day after day little things that bug you that eventually either go away and are no longer a passing thought, or they sit just under the skin, simmering, until something makes them explode.
Once you weed thru the people you feel you may be a good match with and after the initial contact, meet…….etc. don’t stop paying attention just because you are now seeing them regularly. Human nature being what it is, it’s pretty common for profiles to “not exactly” portray someone completely accurately, remember, the person themselves is filling it out and even though they are, hopefully, being 100% honest, their perspective on what kind of person they are is slightly skewed, just as yours is.
So, the next step in the dating game is to give the new connection time, time to see if the person is, on a day to day basis, who they say they are. For example: you choose to meet this person because they said they are a “familiy oriented” person but you start to notice over time, that this person doesn’t spend any time with family members that are physically close enough to spend time with and they never talk about what is going on in their families life. Might be a red flag that “family” really isn’t that important to them and you might want to reconsider if family is a big deal to you. You have to know that there are many, MANY such things to pay attention to……what is the person’s reaction to those frustrating things in life like a flat tire, or a water heater that goes out? Does the person pay their bills on time or make the effort to get to work on time? It’s all those little, day to day things that can and will affect YOUR LIFE, if you should, someday, make the situation permanent so you better pay attention NOW. And DO NOT get in a hurry, people are always on their “GOOD BEHAVIOR” for quite awhile when dating and it usually takes several months for a person to show their true colors. On that note, be prepared to “walk away” from a new relationship if it is not panning out to be a good match for you. Plan on it, you will more than likely have it happen more than once, and it’s ok, it’s just part of the process toward finding your true match. And never forget, you DESERVE your true match!
The biggest mistake couples can make is to base their relationship on sex. No matter how great or not great the sex may be and no matter how important or unimportant sex is to you, SEX is not a maker of relationships. The best way to describe the place of sex in a relationship is “sex is the icing on the cake of a relationship”. You will notice that “cake” is the bigger of the two things mentioned……….cake is the day-to-day, in-and-out of every day life with this perosn that is the foundation of your relationship……the icing may be the “sweetest” part, but if the cake wasn’t there, the icing would just run off and that is pretty much how sex affects relationships. To be good and lasting, it has to have a foundation.
The next biggest mistake couples can make is in looking for “perfection”. Forget it, it does not exist and I hate to break it to you, but you yourself are not perfect.
The key is to finding imperfections you can live with, and knowing which ones you cannot live with. And not being afraid to admit it.
However much time it takes to find someone that is a true match for you is immaterial. If it’s going to actually work out, the process has to be followed, there are no shortcuts so don’t try to bypass the steps or hurry it along. A good relationship begins with a first date……and then it’s just paying attention to the things that happen between the two of you over time until you feel you actually KNOW a person inside and out by the CONTINUITY of their actions, not their words.
Most importantly, do not get discouraged. The making of a diamond takes thousands of years so hang tough and go the distance and remember, like the Loreal commercial says……..”You’re WORTH IT!”