About 6 weeks ago I decided I needed to upshift my dating. I've been OLD for a long time, 2 and 1/2 years or so. I've been on over 40 first dates, had 2 or 3 short relationships that lasted a month or so. In that time I've gone from less choosy to more choosy about the men I respond to or seek out. I was giving people second or third chances when the immediate attraction wasn't there. I learned where my boundaries were. But I still wasn't finding what I was looking for. I wanted a relationship and although I was finding men who were interesting or funny or attractive to me, I wasn't finding anyone with whom there was a mutual "click". Something wasn't working right with my dating.
So I talked with my friends, did some research on line, read some books--not just about dating, but about self discovery, vulnerability, as well as a book on women over 40 and dating, all with the idea that I needed to change what I was doing to get different results. There is a saying, "When the student is ready, the teacher appears" and that seemed to be what was happening. Nothing friends told me was "new" information, nothing I read was "new" to me either, but it all sort of jelled for me. And it felt there was sort of a cosmic shift inside of me, like upshifting from third to fourth gear....
I made a list of what I wanted in a partner--a list of desirable character traits, not physical appearance traits; I made a list of what characteristics I had that would be attractive to the kind of man I wanted, And, I think most importantly, I became more aware of the walls I had put up to be safe after surviving infidelity. The walls I had built were doing a very good job of keeping me safe from heartache but they were also keeping me isolated from what I was searching for...a loving partner.
So, I made a conscious decision to focus on loving myself first. All of me. My faults and shortcomings and my fears. And I made a conscious decision to practice revealing myself to others, especially to men. To take the risk of being vulnerable. To take the risk of showing the real me. To take the risk of showing what was unique about me. To take the risk of saying out loud what I was looking for when asked. To take the risk of being less generic and more "Me".
At the conclusion of the one of the books I read (Bobbi Palmer--Dating Like a Grown Up) there was a suggestion for an activity. The activity was to contact someone you had been interested in in the past, to reconnect with that person and take a risk of revealing yourself. I knew exactly who that person was for me. Someone I had had a first date with in the summer of 2012. We had hit it off, but he was so self aware in our first meeting that I was scared of him. He was risking letting me get to know him from date one and I knew I would have to do the same. And I wasn't ready back then.
Now I thought I just might be ready. He had so many of the characteristics I am looking for in a partner. He knew himself well, spoke about his flaws and short comings as well as his strengths, he was a good communicator, he was interested in intellectual things, he was intelligent and educated, and attractive to boot! I took the risk. I wrote that guy an email, (he was still on OkCupid where we had first met) explaining the growth I had done in the last two years, explaining why I had stopped communicating with him, telling him that I had been scared. And he wrote me back.
After a couple of weeks of communicating we met for coffee. And the coffee date was great. He was better than I remembered--easy to talk to, more attractive than I recalled. This past weekend we had our 4th date! He's pursuing me and I'm loving it. He wants to be in a relationship with me and isn't afraid to use that word, "relationship". He asks questions, he wants to "know" how I think and what I think and what my fears are. I've shared my fears and my history in a way I haven't to anyone other than my closest friends, and he is sensitive about that. He respects my boundaries. He's funny and we laugh and smile at each other. A lot.
I'm really happy! And I'm not worried about what will happen next. It's good now and that's enough. I had to work on me first. I wasn't ready to find the right kind of man until I did that. It took a lot of time to get to the other side of this infidelity chasm, to get to being ready for my "dating well" NB...I think I'm there now, and the view is really beautiful.