To mingle means to bring together two or more things. That sounds easy enough. Yeah, not so much. I was married for 18 years so when I had to start dating again, I thought it was to find another steady beau. I was wrong. So very wrong. Dating has drastically changed since I was um, younger. So I stopped dating for a while. A wise person once said that when you stop looking for love, it will come to you. I waited, love, did not come to me. I am questioning how wise these quote people are right now. You have to actually put yourself out there to find this love they speak of. I know first hand, dating when you’re 40ish is fun, but it can be brutal. I wasn’t ready.
The first thing to consider before you start dating again is, are you ready? If you are still dragging around the baggage from your last breakup or divorce, you need to get rid of that first. If you don’t, you will be too vulnerable. You may become overly attached too quickly to the first person who shows you the type of affection you so desperately wanted from that person who just broke your heart. You also risk judging your new partner based on the behavior of your last partner. After a breakup, you will be hurting, alone, and/or confused. It’s not fair to bring someone along for the crazy emotional ride. If you have been married for most of your adult life, you may be sexually naive and clueless about the modern dating world (I certainly was). A divorce after many years can leave you feeling shattered and uncertain about the future. You can also feel impetuous. All of these things can mark you as easy prey for the manipulative and devious. You may view this new love as your rescuer, while they will view you as easy prey. You should take enough time to heal and get mentally strong before jumping into your next relationship.
Once you’re ready, don’t start looking just to fill the position of boyfriend or husband. Don’t be so desperate for love, attention, and affection, that you lower your standards and “settle” for any relationship, just for the sake of not being alone. Know what you will and will not tolerate from anyone. Racism, hell no! Doesn’t like tacos, maybe? Put yourself out there and find someone that fits well with you and your lifestyle. Join a few dating sites, take up a few hobbies, or simply respond to the message request on the Facebook (they’re always there). Be ready and willing to date someone who doesn’t fit into your typical preference. If you normally date 6′ tall guys from the gym, try going on a date with a 5’9″ insurance salesman. It keeps dating fresh when you don’t always know how the conversation will go. Once you set up a date, don’t be disappointed when a few don’t hit the mark. It happens. Every potential date will not be the “the one.” I’m sure a few of my dates left disappointed, like this guy. I’m not for everyone, and I am perfectly fine with that.
When you decide to get back out there, don’t leave all the responsibility up to your date. Talk to your date, ask questions, and pay attention to their responses. Don’t be on your cell phone the entire time. Be yourself. If you’re sassy, be sassy. If you’re sarcastic, be sarcastic. Wear something that makes you feel comfortable both physically and mentally. Don’t wear clothing that constricts your breathing but do wear something that looks like you made an effort. Act confident in yourself and let your date know that you are aware of your worth, fake it til you make it if you have to. Use your body language to communicate your self-confidence. Be present and make the best of the current situation. Even if you arrived and there is no chemistry (it happens) be ready to have a great time and make a new friend. If you’re extremely nervous about setting up a first date with someone, a coffee date is always a safe bet. You can be in and out within an hour during the day. A coffee date is also perfect for single moms because they can do it during a lunch break while the kids are in school.
Now that you’ve taken the time to heal, you feel ready to date, and you’ve found an easy way to meet and greet a potential mate dating doesn’t sound so bad. But wait, there’s more. I discovered something called “ghosting” early on in my return to dating. Ghosting is when someone stops responding to your phone calls and text messages. They also stop liking your status updates on the Facebook and Instagram. They won’t unfollow you. And they will still watch your Snapchap and Insta stories until you die. They will not, however, return a text message. The first person I ever talked to after my divorce told me about this phenomenon and I was appalled. He ghosted me shortly after. At least he was kind enough to give me advance notice, right? I may or may not have used this technique on people I no longer wanted to text. There are countless reasons people do this (none of them good). To avoid the conversation, someone better came along, they got what they wanted, things got too serious, etc. Before they ghost, hell, before you even say yes to a date, you might be the lucky recipient of the nether regions. If this is part of your pre-game, cool. I don’t care to see Bobby Joe’s package. But I have. Randy Bill’s too. And this my friends is just the tip (no pun intended) of the iceberg.
Dating in these modern times has been very intriguing. What I have learned is to be aware, to pay attention to my expectations and especially my surroundings. I always meet any new date in a public location, and I never give anyone my address. I no longer go into every date thinking that A) dating is only for relationships or 2) dating is only for free food. Dating is for exploring and meeting new people, and I can buy my food. I am also aware of society’s views on single women. It may be a Southern thing but a lot of women have been raised to believe that they need a man and I have personally overheard someone say that we were put on this earth to procreate. I do not support either of these statements. Although, I have unwittingly fulfilled them both. I procreated a man-child. #winwin
Your turn: Tell me your dating stories in the comments. I want to know the good, the bad, and especially the funny! Are you dating? What tips or tricks do you have to help me find my next beau or chemistry-free man friend? Do you have any advice to help me avoid heartbreak?