If you’re a woman who’s been out of the dating world for a while, it’s not unusual to feel like you’ve missed out on a whole new way of communicating with men. But the reality is that, at its most basic, dating really hasn’t changed.
There may be a bit of new technology involved here and there, but the key requirements for finding and deeply connecting with a truly great guy are the same as they have been through the ages. Jody is on the right track, but she’s struggling with bouts of shyness as she gets out there again…
It’s been nearly two years since my divorce, following a 20 year marriage. We met at college and it’s really the only relationship I’ve ever had. My trust was shattered by his cheating, and I stayed another 10 years trying to “save” my marriage “for the kids,” when really I just didn’t believe in myself, or think I was strong enough to do it alone. My divorce, as the majority are, was very messy.
I’ve done a lot of soul searching and have had a lot of spiritual and personal growth, to where I’m finally able to be proud of who I am. I’m ready for another relationship, but don’t know how to date. The very few I’ve been on, I ended up being extremely shy. How does someone — at 44 — begin to look for a trustworthy, quality relationship, when everything is new?
It all feels so new for you, Jody, and I totally understand that. But I have good news for you: Most people think they need dating skills after a divorce, but what people really need are solid relationship skills.
Dating is not something you need to fear or even practice. Dating is simply relating, and you already know how to do that! Remember, you spent 20 years with a man raising children. Yes, you spent this time with one man, and it had its ups and downs, but because of that, you have relationship skills many women of your age lack. So don’t interpret your shyness as a lack of skills.
When you’re shy, it simply means you’re focusing on yourself too much.
Next time you feel yourself going there, make a conscious decision instead to put your focus outward. Be inquisitive, share when asked, and above all, don’t put any pressure on yourself.
The dates you go on don’t need to have an outcome, nor do you need to figure out if any of these men are future candidates for a serious relationship. Just enjoy the experiences, and continue to work on personal growth, as this will serve you well when you begin to make choices in men. Finding a trustworthy, quality man is a lot easier when you know who you are and what you need to be happy, and when you have a full understanding of how you’d like to be treated in a relationship.
Trusting a man is great, but it begins with trusting yourself and your own instincts.
My advice to you, and all women who are coming out of a long marriage, is not to rush into a new relationship. If you’re still feeling the negative emotions that came with an affair or difficult divorce, it’s better to fill yourself up with people and experiences that lift you up and inspire your happiness. Spend time with great girlfriends and loving family members, take a yoga class, go on a trip, read great books, go for long walks. A new relationship will be at your door before you know it.
Make yourself a priority!