Dating after 40

Dating after 40 is way different than dating in your 20's or even 30's.  First, it's much harder to meet people.  In my 20's, it was easy to meet single people through friends, in a bar, at the beach, because there are still a lot of single people in their 20's.  In your 40's it's much more difficult to meet single people.  Of course there's online dating (which wasn't even around in my 20's) and I've met several people who had success going this route, I have not.  I have had more success meeting people through friends and most recently, through the studio where I teach (he's a keeper, but more on that at a later date).  No matter where or how you meet someone after 40, there are some things you need to know.  Ok, really just one thing, after 40, we ALL have baggage!  The only thing that varies is the type of baggage we carry.

I like to classify the baggage in 3 different categories.

  1. Carry-on baggage - these are people who have been divorced for many years and have worked through their issues (for the most part).  They may or may not have kids, their divorce was as amicable as it could be and they have a stable career.  These people are hard to come by but when you find one, it's like finding a unicorn.  You might want to hold on to this one.
  2. Checked baggage - these people definitely have kids, did not have an amicable divorce and were quick to jump into a relationship as soon as their divorce was final (or sooner).  They have done some work on themselves, they have come to terms with their ex-spouse and are able to communicate without too much screaming about the kids.  They have gotten their financial house in order or are on the upswing to doing so.  They most likely learned from their past mistakes and will take those lessons into a new relationship.  Be aware though that old patterns may rear their ugly head...proceed with caution.
  3. Steamer trunks - these are people who have not worked through any of their issues, and they have ALOT! They bad mouth their ex-spouse constantly, they are quick to start dating as soon as they are separated, but they'll tell you they're 'divorced'.  They are either very wounded and need constant reassurance or they're very self-absorbed...and need constant reassurance.  I'd avoid anyone with steamer trunks, but I know you won't listen so don't come crying to me when I turn out to be right.  You've been warned.

You can definitely have success dating after 40, you just have to decide how much baggage you're willing to deal with in the process.  


Online Dating Part Two

Two years ago I joined an online dating site.  It was quite eye opening.  You're basically shopping for a date.  Once I got into the flow of it, I had a few first days and I think one second date.  During the whole online thing I met someone through a mutual friend.  The online dating stopped.  Now here I am two years later giving it another shot.  Several friendsphoto encouraged me with 'why not, what do you have to lose'.  And it's true, what do I have to lose.  I'm ready to find love so I need to be open to it in any form it may take.  It is challenging to decipher the guys who are serious and those who are just trolling.  It's like a job, sorting through profiles, emails, likes, winks, etc.  But I've decided to just go for it. There are several guidelines I have set for myself.  When I'm interested, I'm going to send an email and if he responds, we'll see where it goes.  If he's not, move along.  No hurt feelings.  When someone reaches out to me and I'm not interested, I'm going to tell them right away.  No need to string anyone along or settle for anything that doesn't feel right.

Who knows what will happen.  Maybe I'll meet someone online but maybe I'll meet them in the grocery store or coffee shop or walking down the street.  I will be sure to share more here.

In a Word - Love

IMG_4006For the past 4 years, I have chosen a word of the year.  Or more accurately the word has chosen me.  Last year my word was TRUST.  I had to learn to trust myself again; trust my instincts; trust in other people; trust in the Universe; trust that I was on the right path.  Looking back at 2014, Trust was the perfect word.  I did learn to trust my instincts, I listened to my gut (or maybe they were my angels & guides, right Grace?!) and I made some necessary changes to put myself on the right path.  I moved to a place that has opened up my social circle to include people I probably never would have met.  I've become more involved coordinating events and bringing people together, which is something I had always done but had lost that part of me for awhile.  I feel like I'm back on track.  I'm so much more comfortable in my own skin and am trusting myself and my choices. This brings me to my word for 2015, LOVE!  Again, this word has chosen me.  For awhile I wanted the word to be Abundance but kept coming back to LOVE.  Doesn't it always come back to love though?  I ended my year trying to spread more love, to myself and to others.  I'm more meeting new people, trying new things, having new experiences, and most important, to finding LOVE...the romantic variety.  I am ready!  How do I know I'm ready?  Because I am really comfortable being single, I enjoy my own company, I have learned to love myself and I am taking care of myself - emotionally, financially and physically.  I don't NEED to have a partner in this life, I WANT one.  I know because I'm ready to receive love in my life.  I've been really good at giving love but found it harder to receive it.  I'm ready because I know I will choose only the best and am not willing to settle (any potential partner will choose only the best too).  I'm ready because I'm open.  Open to the possibilities, open to the disappointments, open to the good, open to the bad, and most important open to falling in love.

Yes, this will be the year of LOVE for me...and I hope for you too!


A Stigma

photo I have herpes.

Just writing that down is freeing and terrifying at the same time. I’ve shared this information with my dearest friends and I don’t have a problem discussing it in person, (although I do tend to change the tone of my voice when I say it, herpes, like a whisper), but telling the world at large is a bigger deal.

Most days, I really don’t think about it, but as soon as I start dating it’s like a dark cloud that hangs over me. Even though 1 in 4 people have herpes, there is still a stigma attached. Anytime I hear a joke about herpes, I cringe. And, of course, anytime I start dating someone I feel the need to share this information almost immediately. Maybe it’s a test to see how compassionate or honest or brave the person is. Will it change the way they look at me? Will they want to move forward?

The man I fell in love with last year…he asked questions, did his research and we had a very loving, active, safe sex life. But my latest dating experience was different. We met through a friend; he was intriguing so I was interested. Since he lived a bit of a distance from me, we talked quite a bit on the phone and it seemed we could talk about anything. On the third date I told him about the herpes. He had married young and was married for twenty-five years, so he had not had any exposure to any information about herpes. We discussed it further; he did some research and was surprised to find out how prevalent it is. It did not, however, deter his interest in me. When we finally did have sex, he still had some questions, but we used protection, and all was good. Or so I thought. While we were still lying in bed, his fear began to mount. He brought it up, we discussed it again, and I explained that herpes does not define me, it’s something I have and something I have to deal with but if we were careful, he wouldn’t contract it. He still felt afraid and needed to try and wrap his head around it. I said that was fine, to take his time.

It’s been over three weeks now, without any communication at all from him. It is disappointing, but I know I’m in a good place because I am not letting this deter me in any way. Honestly I don’t blame him for his fear. A herpes flare can be very painful but there are ways to minimize them. There are prescription drugs available and I take a Lysine supplement every day that boosts my immune system. I’m also experimenting with essential oils. The oil that has been known to help with flares is the Melissa oil. How funny is that?!

So now you know the most personal thing you could possibly know about me. I’m hoping that this post will resonate with some of you and may help anyone who is dealing with some sort of stigma, whether it’s herpes or something else.

I have been debating discussing this topic for a while now but I was afraid of what other people, including you, would think of me.   But I kept waking up, writing the post in my head. Then recently, I received a random e-mail with the title “An idea for your site” and this opening sentence, “I hope I've found the right person to contact. In doing some research for a project in my human sexuality course, I found your page here…my project is based on spreading awareness of important sexual issues in our society. I've chosen this comprehensive guide on safe sex as the focus for my project.” I’ve also been working really hard in letting go of worrying about what anyone else thinks (a daily practice, I must add). And this is the ultimate test in not worrying about what anyone else thinks.

For those of you who are single, married, in a committed relationship, whatever your status and are concerned about STD’s, here a link to reference site I was emailed as part of a class project. The only think this student asked was for me to share the link on my site. I’m still not sure what made him choose my site but it was the catalyst to me sharing this information.

If you want to start a dialogue or have questions, I’d be happy to do that too. In the meantime, I am hopeful and confident that there is someone out there for me who will accept ALL of me.

Taking it Lightly


Part of the reason I moved to this new apartment was to meet new people and hopefully start dating again.  Since my break up last year, I've had exactly one date who was a friend of a friend and it was clear from the get-go that neither of us had any interest.  So last weekend when I ran into one of my neighbors and he clearly expressed interest, it was refreshing and totally flattering.  We've hung out a couple of times and while there is an attraction, it won't go any further than friendship (with a bit of flirting thrown in).  Why?  Because I've made a rule that I will only get involved with someone who is totally single, already divorced or if they are separated, then it's only a matter of signing on the dotted line.  I've had a bit of experience with men who were separated but not divorced and it never ends well.  He's only recently separated and clearly not in a place to be dating, so we'll stick with rule on this one.

I'm hoping to meet more new neighbors and maybe one of them will turn out to be more than friends, we'll see.  Just the other day, one of the girls in the leasing office mentioned that maybe I should get lost on the fourth floor because someone new moved in that I might be interested in.  Haven't met him yet but I may just have to hit the wrong button on the elevator.

This move has been the right one for me.  And even if my dating life doesn't improve, that's ok, my social life has and spending time with friends is way more important anyway.  Although I think I may wander up to the fourth floor just for fun.


Moving Slow

Slow Burn If you've been a frequent visitor here, then you know about my dating shenanigans.  You read about the 7 dates in 10 days, the blow off via text message and then deleting my online profile.  During the online dating trial, I met someone through a mutual friend.  She'd been trying to get us to meet for about a year and we both, separately, kept saying no, just not ready.  When we finally met, in the midst of a bunch of first dates, I thought he was nice but would just be a friend.  Someone to grab dinner with or a glass of wine, with no pressure.  Fine by me!

Well the more time we spend together, the more we learn about each other, the more we like each other.  I can't remember the last time things have moved slow and developed naturally, no forcing, no trying to race to the end, just taking things one day at a time.  I really like the pace and I really like him, more each time we get together.

I honestly don't know where things are going and I'm not getting ahead of myself.  I'm trying to be present in each moment and enjoy it for what it is.

Leaning In

Sailboats on Jordan Lake, NC taken from a helicopter On Sunday, I went for my first ride on a motorcycle (and helicopter for that matter) in a very, very long time.  As we went around curves in the road or made a turn, I didn't even think about it, my body just leaned into it.  Because that's what you do on a motorcycle, you lean into the turns and the curves.

I keep thinking about how I can embrace this in my life.  Lean into it, instead of fighting it or doing things that I think I 'should' or 'should not' be doing.  See how it feels to Lean In, to embrace THIS life in THIS moment.  Don't look too far into the future or back into this past.  BE in the moment and lean into it.

On Being Alone

IMG_0710 Most days I enjoy being alone.  I like coming home to a quiet house, well except for one very whiny cat.  I can eat the almond butter out of the jar without worrying about double dipping.  There is no one home waiting for me so I don't have to check in with anyone if I'm going to be late.

And yet, I miss having someone to check in with if I'm going to be late.  I miss coming home and having someone to share my day with and to hear about theirs.  I love my quiet Sunday mornings but they would be more enjoyable with someone here to share coffee and read the paper side by side.

If you've been reading lately, you know I decided to do the whole online thing to get back out into the dating world.  I have since decided to deactivate my online profile.  It was beginning to feel a bit 'yucky', for lack of a better word.  I may go back to it but for now, I'm taking a break.  I was beginning to see old patterns emerge, feeling a bit like I was desperately seeking someone.

So for now, I will come home to a whiny cat, eat my almond butter straight out of the jar and enjoy by Sunday coffee and paper solo.  I know I will meet will happen at the right time...until then, I am just fine being alone.

7 Dates in 10 Days

IMG_0780 Yes you read the title correctly...7 dates in 10 days.  The title was suggested by my friend Charlie who said that I HAD to write about my dating adventures.  So here's the lowdown.  I've been having fun!

Yes, dating can be FUN!

I think its all about the expectations.  For the most part (I'll get back to that later), I have gone into this with very little expectation that anything will come of it all.  I needed to get back out and meet new people so that's what I've focused on.  And I have met some very nice, super interesting people.

Date 1 was an Opera singer in his early days, we slugged through the mud on a trail with his dog and learned more about each other.  Then sat for a couple of hours and had some really interesting conversation.

Date 2 was retired from the same industry I used to work in, construction, and was super nice but just didn't have too much to talk about.

Date 3 was a Scottish lad who was super smart and thought pretty highly of himself but again, very nice guy who was totally into his son who I could see he adored.

Date 4 was on Valentine's Day.  Talk about a recipe for disaster.  Instead it was the best date of the week, we laughed and talked for hours.  We've since had our second date, more on that below, and are working on our third when I return from CA.  Taking it slow and seeing where this goes...stay tuned

Date 5 was retired Navy who worked in Intelligence and travelled all over the world.  Another super nice, interesting guy and a total gentleman.

Date 6 was more of a get together with a couple friends who have wanted me to meet their neighbor for years.  The four of us drank alot of wine and laughed and talked and then I don't remember much was A LOT of wine!  Another nice, very interesting guy but, I'm sure much to my friend's dismay, there wasn't really an attraction there*.

Date 7 was a Law Professor who got his Phd from Oxford, was a Rhodes scholar and really, really smart!  Very interesting conversation, what I understood of it, and super nice guy.

Then there is bonus date 8 which was with Valentine's day guy.  This is where expectations creeped in a bit...and the nervousness too.  What if the attraction that was there when we first met was all an illusion, what if we didn't have anything to talk about, what if???  As I said earlier we have a third date scheduled so those what if's were a non-issue.

There have been many messages on the dating site that I have not responded to because the notes did not seem genuine or more than one word.  It can be quite daunting to sort through the profiles that have some substance and those that lack detail.  I almost feel sorry for those people who aren't sure how to write a profile, have trouble expressing themselves and unsure how to reach out and have a meaningful conversation.

Over the past couple of days I've wondered if there was an opportunity to start a dating service for normal, every day people just looking to find love that was more personal than a dating site but way less expensive than a matchmaker.  Or maybe just to help people write their profile and coach them on how to compose an email that will get someone's interest and then how to behave on a date.  Maybe I'm crazy but I keep thinking about it.  What do you think?

So that's the latest on my dating adventures.  I'm pretty sure the first dates will slow down as I explore things with Valentine's Day guy (not ready to share any names at this point) and we'll see how things progress.

If anyone needs help navigating the dating world, let me know...I've got a little experience under my belt now!


*since this post, I have spent alot of time with Bachelor #6 and the attraction grows more every day.  So I guess you need to give somethings a little more time...

Word of the Year - PLAY

Play Yes its February and I'm just now sharing my Word of the Year.  But it seems appropriate to do so now since I received my word bracelet from Kolleen yesterday and I was reminded why I chose this word.

I grew up a little too fast.  My parents divorced when I was 13 and when my mom went to work I took care of my little brother.  My mom would probably argue that it wasn't my responsibility and she never asked me to do it but I somehow felt the need to take on that role.  And my brother would always say to me..."you're not my mother".  I was always a pretty cautious person, still am, and I don't like to "break the rules".  When there's a sign that says stay off the grass...I wouldn't dare step on the grass.  And break a law...would never even consider it!

Last year, my word was EASE.  And even though the year had some challenges, I dealt with a sense of ease.  So this year I needed to shake things up a bit.  I need more Fun and more Joy in my life.  I decided that Play encompassed all of these.

Play to me, means to lighten up more, have fun, try things I might not normally try, let loose a bit.  So with that in mind, I joined a dating site, I bought a hula hoop (which I still have not learned to use) and I vowed to say yes to more play.

Ah yes, the dating site.  In several previous posts I stated that I would probably not be writing about dating stories because I met someone who sparked my interest.  Well, as quickly as that began it has since ended.  There are several reasons but needless to say I am back into the dating pool and we shall see what happens.  So I may be sharing some fun dating stories after all.

I also hope to be sharing more PLAY-ful posts.

Did you choose a word of the year?  Care to share?

Opening Up

IMG_4767 There is trust involved in opening up to someone new.  Letting them see the good and the bad.  Letting them know your hopes and fears and dreams.  Trying not to let your past influence your present.  Trying to be in the moment and not thinking too far ahead nor looking back at how things unfolded before.  Letting go of the fear of getting hurt or worse yet hurting them.  Keeping the fears at bay.

Opening up your heart to the possibilities.  Letting love in.

Swirling Energy

Over the last few weeks, I had a horrible pain in my left leg.  I could not figure out the origin point.  Acupuncture was helping for short periods of time but wasn't eliminating it completely.  A massage, however, did pinpoint the origin of was actually my sacrum that was way out of whack.  As I was laying on the massage table and feeling some relief, I thought about the sacral chakra and wondered if it had been blocked.  I don't know much about chakras except that they are energy centers in our body.  The sacral chakra is about feeling and sexuality and when the energy is flowing you are open to intimacy and passion.

Interesting timing.

The day after my massage, I had a first date.  I was unusually nervous that morning getting ready.  I couldn't stop shaking and I had no idea what was wrong with me.  I don't remember the last time I felt that way. So I headed off a bit early to meet my date...I just couldn't stay in the house any longer.

I'm not going to give you all the details of the date, just a few highlights.  We met at 1pm and parted ways around 9pm with plans already made to meet the next day.  We were both like giddy school kids.  The conversation was easy and the silences comfortable.  And the energy coursing through me never let up.  A brush of his hand against mine, and it just shot right through me.  That night I barely slept.  Logically none of it makes sense.  He says it magic and maybe that's it.

The next evening I talked to a friend who does energy work (he does more than that but its easier to say energy work) who explained that the energy I'm feeling is my chakras opening and the energy is flowing freely.  This immediately made sense to me especially after having my massage and thinking about my sacral chakra.  He gave me some great ideas on how to calm the energy enough to sleep, which helped immensely.

Now we're a couple days out from that first date and every time I get a text message or phone call, the energy intensifies...kind of like butterflies in your stomach but different.  I can't explain it and quite honestly I don't want to.  I'm getting used to this new way, this swirling energy, and I like this feeling.  I'm taking it one day at a time and enjoying each moment.

I may not be writing much about the online dating world but I have a feeling I'm going to be writing about other more exciting things.  Stay tuned...

Back in the Swing...

IMG_0442 I have been way too quiet here.  I am planning to remedy that...if anyone is still reading.  I want, no, need to make a regular practice of writing so here goes.  A quick recap of the end of the year and then some things that are happening now.

During the holidays, well the month of December really, I went into a bit of a depression fueled by some anxiety that I didn't understand.  I was also in some physical pain and it got to the point that I just wanted to sit and cry all day.  Instead I decided to give acupuncture a try and it has made such a HUGE difference!  I am so grateful that it has helped me.  I think the holidays can be hard for alot of people and I wish I had written here during that time but I was deep in my muck.  Which, looking back, would have been the best time to write.

Now we're in the New Year...2013.  We're half way through January and I feel like I've made some significant shifts already.  I've been clearing out...literally cleaning out closets, getting rid of old stuff that I no longer wear or fits...still more to do but getting there slowly but surely.

I've also been clearing out emotional space.  I have let go of a couple of relationships that no longer serve me.  I didn't even realize they were taking up any emotional space until I let go and then felt a lightness.  Its amazing what we hold onto physically and emotionally without even realizing it.

Now on to the fun stuff.  One of my dear friends called me on a Thursday around 3pm, hopped on a plan and was here a mere 5 hours later.  We had a great visit and it made me realize I need to be more spontaneous.  She left on Sunday and Monday morning I signed up for an online dating site.  Just jumped right in.  What does one have to do with the other...oh it was a topic of conversation over the weekend so when she left I decided to just DO IT!

I have been pretty much alone the last 2 years and I feel like I've need that time to become comfortable alone.  I am now and I actually like being alone and am no longer in the space where I feel like I need a relationship but I would like to share time with someone. this technological age, I asked a couple of friends which site is working for them, and I signed up.  Its been an interesting process so far.  I've gone into this with no expectations which makes it so much easier.  There have been some pretty amusing emails, messages, etc.  I am thinking about a blog series about it...I just need to figure out how to share some of these messages without sharing too much personal information.

Well that's a longer post than I had planned but there's a lot to say.  I will be back with my word of the year and hopefully some great stories from the world of online dating.  Until then...tell me what you've been up to.  I've missed it here...hopefully you have too!