— Relationships —

Dating in Midlife

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Whenever it’s around Valentine’s Day, I get asked a lot about divorce and dating. I never know what to say. Yes, I’m successfully repartnered with the boy next door, but unless you’re prepared to buy a lot of houses next to recently single guys… I’m not sure that’s a surefire strategy for meeting your soulmate.

My friends are all very interested in online dating. I totally get the appeal: It seems like an LL Bean catalogue filled with men you get to take home.

But I want to tell them to tread carefully. A lot of creeps hang out online since it’s a very good place to hide.

Ironically the good guys online tend to be on those low-barrier-to-entry freebie sites without a lot of questions. They want to throw a winky face, arrange to meet, and let Mother Nature take it from there.

Women seem to be drawn more to the fancy paid sites, which ask question after question. Perhaps it stems from reading teen magazines in our formative years, where the keys to life are revealed in a one-page quiz. Plus these sites seem safer because you “know” someone before you meet.

The trouble is, you don’t really know anything. You are delivered a package of information with no idea how to separate the truth from the lies. Without the benefit of studying body language and letting your intuition have a crack at making a judgment call, you are operating on vapours. Even worse, you tend to let your guard down prematurely because you think you know a lot about someone. A good profile (and some are written by professionals now) can make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear.

The questions asked make anyone look like a well-rounded human. The reality is most creeps have no real heros, but when pressed to reveal who they respect, they will cast about to find someone they think will sound impressive. Be very wary of anyone who says they are just wild about Mother Teresa unless they logged some serious time working for an NGO.

I tell my single and searching friends to tell everyone they know they’re looking to meet someone–it’s much like finding a job–and to get out and live their life to the fullest. I hear all sorts of amazing cute meet stories. Love miracles can happen ever day.

If you do find yourself online, keep it light, and don’t get attached too soon. If they’re offering a ring too quickly, get out of dodge. Ditto if they tell you their ex-wife was crazy. It’s quite possible he made her that way. Don’t dismiss red flags or warning signs.

Most importantly, enjoy getting to know yourself. Deepen your friendships, invest in hobbies, and take some time to figure out your next few years. You are much more likely to meet a soulmate if you are walking on your right path.

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