Sunday, February 13, 2011

Post-divorce dating is a time to EXPLORE!

Post-divorce dating is a time to EXPLORE!

Q: I've been reading your column for a while and am often quite amused. But recently it occurred to me that I need advice on something that's been nagging at me and, since I can't afford real therapy, why not give this a try?
I'm in my 40s and have been divorced for a couple of years. I'm on good terms with my ex, who has since remarried, so I'm past all that. I've been dating and now have a girlfriend that I feel I could get serious about. The problem is: I'm not sure I want to. I've been having fun meeting new women. It's not like I want to lead anyone on, but part of me doesn't want to close off other opportunities, either. But then I think: Am I too old for this sort of thing?
A: First, congratulations on seeking help. That's the first step toward recovery, and, hopefully, more hot dating action. That said, let's be clear that this column is not a substitute for actual talk therapy. For that, you'll need to see a licensed massage therapist. So please, if this is a medical emergency lasting more than four hours, hang up now and dial 911.
Although we're sure your girlfriend is a lovely woman, we'd advise against getting too serious at this juncture. Your gut is telling you to move slowly. Didn't you hear it? It said, very clearly, "I've been having fun meeting new women." And there's a reason for that, friend-o.
It turns out that you're in a demographic sweet spot, of sorts. There are a lot of people in their 40s whose first marriages, alas, have ended. These people find themselves with time on their hands, and their future spread out before them. It can be a little daunting, but also liberating. And the thing is, half of these people -- ta da! -- are women.
The reasons you're having fun dating these ladies include:
  • They know what they want, or perhaps more to the point, what they don't want. Usually going through a divorce will crystallize some personality traits or behaviors that they intend to avoid at all costs. So guys, pick up your socks, or at least shove them under the bed.

  • They're open to new experiences. If they felt stifled in their marriage, this is a time for them to open up and try new things. And you just might be the person to help.

  • They're more relaxed. They tend to let the little things slide, because really, life's too short, right? (Except for maybe the sock thing, FYI.)

  • They're overdue for some, um, physical intimacy. And we're not talking about a game of Twister, unless there's canola oil involved. Hey, women have needs, too -- is that so shocking? And again, here's your chance to be of some assistance.
    The key thing about dating in this post-divorce atmosphere, however, is transparency. You need to be upfront with the women you date about your desire to keep things casual for the time being. Chances are they'll be receptive to that.
    And then one day you'll come across a gal whom you decide you can't let get away. And with hope, after all this practice, you'll be better prepared this time. Have fun!
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