The end of a relationship creates apprehension at the mere thought of dating. Middle age is no exception. You lose your confidence in attracting someone—self-esteem can evaporate in seconds. Here are some things to consider when planning your new dating life. People imagine flawless partners; dream lovers with looks, interests and character traits perfect for them. Just a question though: If you actually met the imaginary person you have in mind, would you actually want to date or be involved with them? The answer might surprise you!
“Dating is about finding out why you are and who others are. If you show up in a masquerade outfit, neither is going to happen.”
— Henry Cloud
It feels great having someone in your life, but don’t go overboard by going out just for the sake of going out. Use discretion when selecting who and what you do on a date. You don’t have to prove yourself with lots of dates, or become someone you are not. We all hope our date likes us, but remember that no one is perfect for everyone. Have the expectation of a good time; enjoy the experience for what it is. If it leads to another date, or even more, wonderful! Setting your expectations too high can result in disappointment.
Negative thoughts and feelings won’t help either. Change your thoughts into positive ones. Love the person you are. Focus on your good qualities. Remember, you have something to offer. Think well of yourself if you want your date to follow suit. Need improvement? Take steps to achieve your goals and be happy that you started. Self-esteem builds by focusing on good qualities.
People also often express romantic interest in a stranger, someone they see only briefly, if that person was described on paper as having the characteristics they desire (such as with online-dating). Real life interactions change everything. People in person gave fresh impressions, the traits they reported wanting no longer mattered as much to them. Listen to that little voice.
So meet them, put some time into your choice, know that it’s possible to start over again, and actually enjoy yourself! Dating after 40 can be a tricky endeavor, but it does not have to be frustrating.
This piece originally appeared in 008 Magazine – Baton Rouge, a new publication in the city in which Frank Hopkins is featured in each issue providing life coaching for common problems.
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Frank Hopkins is a certified Professional Coach (CPC) and certified by the Institute for Professional Excellence in Coaching (iPEC). He is a certified Master Practitioner (ELI-MP) of the iPEC proprietary assessment tool, the Energy Leadership Index and offers seminars on Energy Leadership. He maintains memberships in the International Coaching Federation (ICF) and the Institute of Coaching (ICPA).