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Archive for March, 2011

The pain of dating and breaking up isn’t just reserved for the young. Singles dating in mid-life and beyond face the same heart-break, confusion and anxieties as those in their twenties and thirties. These challenges are compounded by the insecurities that frequently come with age, especially for women: am I still desirable … am I still attractive … will I ever find another partner?

Celebrity couples are no exception. After 24 years of marriage Tony Danza, age 59, filed for divorce from his 52-yer old wife, Tracy Robinson. Jennifer Aniston, who has been in the headlines with several unsuccessful relationships over the past decade, is now telling reporters that she’s happily single.

Recently celebrity couple Renee Zellweger and Bradley Cooper, considered one of Hollywood’s top power couples, broke up after dating for two years. When asked during an interview about the nature of their relationship Cooper mentioned that marriage was not in the picture. Chances are Zellweger thought she was in a different relationship – one with a more committed long term outcome. It appears both partners were not “on the same page.”

This is one of the most common deal-breakers for long-term relationships. Often couples get together and make assumptions that the other person shares their goals and intentions. But they don’t discuss these options and spell them out.  If you’re not both on the same page when it comes to monogamy, time spent together, decisions about raising children as well as other values and cultural beliefs, you set yourself up for disappointment and inevitable conflict.

Some other Success Tips for 40+ Singles Entering a New Relationship include:

1.  Be aware of unresolved baggage. Emotional scars and wounds from your past can easily sabotage any new relationship.  Take the time to identify unresolved feelings of anger, hurt, guilt and disappointment from the past and accept these feelings as lessons learned.  It then becomes easier to move on.

2.  Avoid “fairy-tale” thinking. It’s not your partner’s job to make you happy.  It is your responsibility to love and value yourself when you enter a relationship.  Dependency and neediness are not attractive qualities. It is also an illusion to assume any one person can meet all your needs or desires.

3.  Start with friendship first. This level of comfort translates into a solid foundation for love to blossom and intimacy to develop.  So be friends first before you open the door to the physical and emotional closeness that is so essential to a solid partnership.

4. Be sure your expectations are realistic. Are your demands about weight, age, height, financial success and other factors limiting your ability to find the right partner?  Being flexible, objective and fair prevents us from setting ourselves up for the pain and disappointment of unrealistic expectations.

5.  Communicate effectively by encouraging open, honest dialogue.  In addition to your words, be attuned to your partner’s nonverbal cues and body language.  Also be aware of your own cues that can trigger messages and unconscious signals to your partner.

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Rosalind Sedacca, CCT, is the co-author of the new book, 99 Things Women Wish They Knew Before Dating After 40, 50 & Yes, 60! Visit www.womendatingafter40.com to receive a complimentary Tip Sheet along with a Tip of the Week which spans every facet of dating success — from preparing for your first date to determining whether your partner is a “keeper.”

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People are attracted to confident, self-assured individuals. If you
approach dating from a place of insecurity and fear, it will project
to everyone you meet. A healthy woman is not looking for a father-figure
or someone to rescue her. She wants a mate, a confidant, a partner, and
friend in life. To attract that kind of man you have to come across as a
desirable, self-confidant woman, and that involves doing the inner work.

If your insecurities are substantial, get private counseling before
starting on the road to dating. If what you need is a spirit boost,
look yourself in the mirror and acknowledge all your desirable qualities,
then make a list of your many attributes, talents, and positive personality
traits. Start believing in yourself and knowing that there is someone out
there who will appreciate who you are.

Become aware of your self-talk. Catch yourself putting yourself down,
calling yourself fat, boring, stupid, or any other term you may have
previously used to make yourself feel less valuable to the world.
Start consciously calling yourself “a babe” or “a great catch,” and
begin visualizing yourself laughing and walking hand-in-hand with
someone special. Keep mentally affirming, “I deserve a great man, and
I’m attracting him into my life,” or some other phrase that resonates
with you. Start anticipating success and feeling like the woman you
want to be. Know you deserve to share your life and attributes with
some other very lucky person — because you found each other!

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I applaud parents who are striving to create a child-centered divorce. It’s not always the easiest path, but it certainly is the most rewarding in the long-term for your children/teens. It involves understanding and respecting your children’s needs whenever you are making decisions about your own life. As parents move beyond divorce and start thinking about the prospect of finding new relationships, there is much to take into account.

Here are some common questions I am asked and the advice I suggest.

Is it ok to date when you’re separated, or should you wait until you are legally divorced?

It’s always better to take some time to prepare yourself before starting to date – legally divorced or not. Are you feeling clear and complete regarding your divorce? Are you emotionally comfortable and ready to move on? Did you learn the lessons you need to learn so you don’t repeat past mistakes? Dating won’t resolve anger, conflicts and insecurities, so do the inner work first before getting out into the dating world – regardless of how long it takes.

How long should you wait before introducing your “dates” to your children?

Take your time and get to know your new partner very well before introducing them to your child of any age. Children are emotionally vulnerable when new adults enter their lives, especially when they’re dating Mom or Dad. Don’t create a revolving door of “new friends” for your children to meet. Wait until you know this is a very special friend worthy of their attention. And then take it very slowly.

Make sure you remind your children that no one will ever replace their “real” Mom or Dad (unless you are justified in doing so). The transitions are a lot smoother when the new “friend” doesn’t come across as a new “parent.”

On holidays, should you make an effort to try to spend time with your ex, to create a family-holiday atmosphere for your child?

In most cases the more time Mom and Dad spend “family style” with the children, the happier the kids are. If you can include your former spouse in holiday activities – even if for only a period of time – your children will appreciate that. You are modeling behavior your kids will emulate in their own lives. Give your children the gift of peace and harmony when you and your ex are together – and make it as often as possible!

Special events, graduations, birthdays and holidays can be so much more enjoyable when the kids don’t have to choose between the parents they love – and those parents behave like mature adults in their presence.

If you had a good relationship with your ex’s family, should you try to stay in touch?

You are only divorcing your former spouse, not your children’s grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins. The more you can continue life routines as close to normal, the easier the transition for your children. Make every effort to maintain relationships with extended family on both sides. Your children will appreciate it and thank you! So will Grandma and Granddad.

How long does it take after you are divorced to start considering getting remarried?

Second marriages have higher divorce rates than first marriages. That’s because too many people don’t learn from their experiences and errors. Take your time in exploring the lessons and “gifts” from your divorce. See a counselor or join a support group for outside insights. Enjoy the dating process. When you feel you’ve sincerely let go of the baggage from the past you can then consider starting another new chapter in your life.

It’s the 21st Century, do you really need to be in a committed relationship to have sex?

In our culture sex is entwined with deep emotions, self-respect and security issues. Casual sex can work for a period of time, but usually not for both parties simultaneously. A committed relationship is based on trust, surrender, respect, safety, responsibility and maturity. These qualities make sex more satisfying and meaningful. People with high self-esteem usually prefer the emotional fulfillment of sex in a committed relationship. If you don’t, it’s worth spending time asking yourself why. You may discover some insights worth exploring more deeply.

Do you consider the children of the person you are dating as baggage, and does that necessarily have a negative connotation?

Anyone who considers their date’s children as baggage should never date anyone with children. Children deserve better than to be considered an annoyance to put up with. If you’re a parent, don’t ever date someone who does not love and enjoy your children. The relationship will only deteriorate and you never want to have to choose between your children and your love partner. If you feel burdened by your children, seek counseling to help work through this challenge. Children are sensitive. When they pick up on your feelings it will create emotional pain and insecurity that no child deserves.

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Rosalind Sedacca, CCT is a relationship seminar facilitator, divorce coach and author of the new ebook, How Do I Tell the Kids … about the Divorce? A Create-a-Storybook Guide to Preparing Your Children — with Love! For free articles, ezine and other valuable resources on creating a child-centered divorce, go to: www.childcentereddivorce.com.

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