When you’re part of a long-term couple you never think about the dreaded “D” word; divorce. But with one out of five marriages of couples over 50, ending in divorce, the safety we find in being a couple is tenuous at best. At some point any one of us can find ourselves thrust, unwillingly, into a “D” area—the dating game.” For many of us the idea of making ourselves available in the dating pool is daunting, if not downright terrifying. Again? I’ve got to go through the whole round of meeting someone new again?! Oh God!
What do you do when you’re no longer part of a couple? What happens when we suddenly reverts back to me?
After you get over the sadness or anger of a divorce, after you’ve done the necessary period of feeling hurt, what then? When you feel like it’s time you got ‘back-in-the-saddle’ (no pun intended), what’s the best way to prepare for dating again? How can you gear yourself up for the slightly uncomfortable act of putting yourself on display, with appropriate window dressing, yet once again, and enter the dating game?
First of all, look at the whole package you present as yourself. Are you the same person you were before marriage? No, you are not. Emotionally and mentally you have changed. You’ve matured, lived some, and have a better idea of who you are. That makes you a better, and hopefully wiser, human being.
What about physically? Have you kept your self attractive? Do you like what you see in the mirror or is it time for a change? Sometimes being in a relationship, especially a long-term one, makes us a bit careless in the looks area. You may need a change, even a small one. A new hairstyle or color, new make-up and clothes can make you feel and look good. The image you present to others will show in the confident way you handle yourself. It shouldn’t end with just some surface changes. Don’t forget that a good exercise and nutritional program can also do wonders for attitude and a glowing appearance. Healthy is attractive.
Are you contemplating a bigger change in your looks? A recent study by the Transform Cosmetic Group in Great Britain revealed that more than a quarter of the patients who visit plastic surgeons’ offices are newly divorced women. They are eager to re-enter the dating game looking as good as they possibly can.
“Some people call having plastic surgery a revenge makeover,” says my friend Casey who went through her own facelift three years ago, about a year after divorcing her husband of 36 years. “But, truthfully, it’s really about feeling and looking your best as you begin a new phase in your life. It’s not about dating, it’s about you.”
Whatever you decide about making changes, just be sure to be reasonable and not do something drastic. Start with small changes; they may be all you need.
Check your mental attitude. Are you still bitter and angry over the break-up? If you are, begin making attitude adjustments that will help you put that part of your life in an area that won’t impact your present and future. Learn from the relationship, take away some good memories, and then let it go. It’s called the past for a reason.
Be true to yourself. Ask yourself if you’re really ready to start dating again. Rushing into a relationship simply to avoid being alone is not beneficial to anyone and will likely end in disaster. Now is a good time to think about what you want out of a new relationship. Be completely honest about this. Decide what you want a new person to bring to the relationship table and what you are willing to bring. Be a little selfish and be determined to create a partnership that includes your own needs and wants as well as those of someone else. Know yourself and respect your own ideas and judgments. Don’t sacrifice what you truly want just to be part of a we again.
When you’re ready to begin meeting people, decide the best place to socialize. Make a list of your interests so you’ll find like-minded people. Explore new places and new interests too. You don’t have to stick with what you know—be a bit bold and daring. Never skied? You might want to try it. Interested in snorkeling or scuba? Take a class. You never know who you may meet.
Friends are great but you may want to avoid the same-old, same-old group you’ve been with before. Take friends’ advice, meet new prospects they may recommend, but make sure you’re the only one to make the final decision on a new date. Your friend’s buddy may be a ‘great guy’ but he may not be great for you.
All in all, the dating game doesn’t have to be horrible—just remember to please yourself and to have fun. It’s your life! Get back out there and go live it.
© 2018 copyright Kristen Houghton all rights reserved
Kristen Houghton is the author of nine novels, two non-fiction books, a collection of short stories, a book of essays, and a children’s novella. Her latest novel, DO UNTO OTHERS, is book 4 in her best-selling series, A Cate Harlow Private Investigation. The series has been voted one of the top five mystery/thriller series by International Mystery Writers.
She is also the author of the Horror Writers of America award-winning Quick-Read, Welcome to Hell.
Kristen Houghton has covered politics, news, and lifestyle issues as a contributor to the Huffington Post. Currently she writes the Savvy Author as well as trending articles for HuffPost.
Her writing portfolio includes Criminal Element Magazine, a division of Macmillan Publishing, Hartford Woman, Today, senior fiction editor at Bella Magazine, interviews and reviews for HBO documentaries, OWN, The Oprah Winfrey Network, and The Style Channel.