Relationships should be life enhancing and ever lasting. That’s why if you are recently divorced, widowed or between relationships and are ready to start dating again, you should know what to anticipate and how to avoid the common relationship pitfalls.
For men and women, it is often frightening and maybe even devastating to find themselves alone and having to start over. After all, meeting new people in new social venues can be very scary. Yet, many single boomers are making choices based on what they consider important and essential for their well-being and mental health. They are trusting that there is a life out there better than what they had before. They are willing to take the risk and be vulnerable, again.
I recently had a 50-year-old client who was newly divorced and determined to get on with her life. She enrolled in several senior online dating sites, carefully worded her profile page, found a recent, attractive picture of herself and had fun perusing through the pictures of many eligible men. What she didn’t anticipate were the reminders of her past life and all the anger, mistrust and disappointment she never worked through.
You can’t expect things to run smoothly in your new relationship if old baggage is still lingering. Any unfinished business from your past needs to be cleaned up as part of the process of closure and moving on.
Here are the steps you can take to release your negative emotions so that your dating experience is positive and successful:
1. Identify your “issues “. Are you having trust issues because your spouse cheated on you? Were you a victim of physical or emotional abuse from a controlling partner? Are you so co-dependent that you don’t know how to live your own life?
It helps to pinpoint what areas are bothering you and identify your underlying concern. Notice any patterns you keep repeating and be responsible for changing what you can about yourself. At the same time, realize you can’t change anyone else. Therefore, don’t expect to “fix” your new partner, especially if he/she has no interest in modifying what they do.
2. Once you know the problem areas, feel the feelings associated with them. Are you feeling sad, angry, guilty, bitter, hurt, resentful or just plain disillusioned? Some external trigger, like a familiar song, a comment, a certain look, a meal, etc, will usually uncover these feelings and other feelings that are suppressed. Your new partner, unaware as to what is going on, will be a clueless recipient of your snide remarks and inconsiderate behavior. By getting clear on what triggers may be setting you off, you can neutralize your feelings, making those emotions lose their negative charge. In that way, you allow your new relationship to move ahead successfully, without the usual drama.
Remember, you don’t want to repeat your mistakes and blame others for things going wrong. Instead, take a look at what part you play in allowing any situation to develop. If you could do things differently, you probably would. Insight is the gift you get for learning your lessons and taking another path.
3. Finally, visualize yourself happy in a relationship. You know what you want and what you don’t want. Have a clear image in your mind of your desired partner and see yourself happy together. Feel how that would feel. The more genuine the feelings are, the more you will attract what you are looking for and what you most deserve.
When you release old baggage from your past, it is very liberating. You feel a weight lift off your shoulders, setting you free to have a healthy, long term relationship. The time you spend letting go of the past will make you and your potential partner grateful that you took the time to clear your mind, heart and soul to love again.
Amy Sherman is a dating and relationship coach. She is the co-author of “99 Things Women Wish They Knew Before Dating After 40, 50 and Yes, 60!” and “Distress-Free Aging: A Boomer’s Guide to Creating a Fulfilled and Purposeful Life.” Go to http://www.yourbabyboomersnetwork.comto get more information and to sign up for her free eZine. Amy can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org