I am a smart, attractive, fit, fun, employed, divorced 59-year-old guy. The mantra of most women I meet is: “I have my work, grown children, pets, home, hobbies, friends and my vibrator, so unless you are rich, handsome or talented, why bother?” Yet, a quick search of Match.com indicates there are over 2,000 women aged 48 to 60 looking for a connection within 50 miles of Roseville. If a date occurs, why do these women expect courtship typical of our 20s or 30s? For me, at this age, it’s about genuine companionship, as well as intellectual and physical connection. What is a realistic version of dating at my age?
For some midlife adults, dating is an opportunity to be swept away. They long for the sensual romance experienced in their younger years. Or they crave being desired and consumed in the ways that many movies and novels portray. If you are dating women (or men) from this pool, you will always find yourself hitting the glass ceiling. The reality of a human being in all of his or her glorious messiness will never compete against the idealized two-dimensional characters presented in most fantasies.
For other middle-aged adults, dating is a chance to rise in consciousness. These individuals are focused on fulfilling the capacity to love and be loved from their deepest values. This is a spiritual approach to life that does not align with expectations of the majority of people dating online. The difficulty for you, then, is to discover why you persist in trying to date women whose objectives crucify your own. Shedding that behavior might be your best move.
You should also reevaluate your mask. Does your self-description (“smart, attractive, fit,” etc.) honor who you really are? Or it is a sales hook designed to get to the first coffee date so you can try to seal the deal? And who are you fishing for online? One of my guy friends says men use online dating to approach women who are beyond their pay grade. Yes, that means men try to date women who they would never approach in a public setting. If my friend is correct, I would add that once these men are turned down, they use the experience as evidence women are the problem. Don’t be that guy. Dating is a process, a numbers game, a glittering mystery. Enjoy the journey.
I have a hard time accepting appreciation. I don’t want people thinking I’m going to help them every time. How can I let them know this so they understand? I have one family member who only calls me when they need something. I don’t even want to take their calls anymore.
There’s a powerful engine driving your train of thoughts. Hit the brakes and detach the belief that your acts of kindness must occur in multiples. If you keep your mind in the present moment, receiving someone’s expression of gratitude is a gift. If your mind travels into the future and away from you, the separation can be felt as worry, fear or anxiety. So the next time someone offers a heartfelt “Thank you,” embrace it. Then, say: “You are welcome. I am happy that I had the time and energy available to help you this time.” It’s a simple shift in language to allow you to hear yourself including an exit strategy. And don’t be offended by the relative who only calls to ask for help. She or he may be embarrassed at how unequal they feel (in capability, finances, education, etc.) around you. The resulting shame makes it difficult for such a person to reach out to you in friendship. You might balance the equation by asking this relative for help you know they can easily give.