If you're divorced or widowed and haven't dated in many years (maybe even decades!), entering the dating world is intimidating enough. But entertaining the notion that you may be able to find a new life partner can seem out of the realm of possibility. The good news is that new love is possible at any age. But there are certain steps you can take to make it easier to turn this possibility into a reality in your life.
In my experience in the post-divorce singles world for more than 9 years, I learned (often the hard way) that there are certain necessary actions to take that will enable you to attract new love in midlife. I used all 10 of these methods and met my second husband at age 50 and remarried at 51:
1. GET HEALTHY - Healing from your divorce or grieving the loss of your spouse is the first, most important step. If you are divorced, you need to embrace the gifts from your marriage (what you learned as a result of the relationship), come to a peaceful place about it, and commit to grow emotionally and psychologically from the lessons you took away after the breakup. This could involve reading self-help books and doing the exercises in them, seeing a therapist to help you deal with any leftover anger or sadness, and shedding whatever leftover baggage was stirred up at the end of your marriage. Emotional-release work with your therapist or in a workshop is often necessary and helpful. And forgiveness of the other person and yourself is absolutely critical.
If you lost your spouse, you need to move through all five stages of the grieving process (by reading Elisabeth Kubler-Ross's book On Death and Dying or by working with a grief counselor or going to a bereavement group). It can take a year or more to navigate this process, with the support of friends and family, but it must be done in order for you to heal enough to be more at peace in life and, ultimately, ready for future relationships.
2. BELIEVE - Before you even begin thinking about seeking a new partner, you should examine your conscience and determine whether you truly believe there is a person just right for you out there in the world. If you believe there is, you are much more likely to attract that person into your life. If you don't believe, you need to ask yourself why and get to a place where you do.
3. FEEL WORTHY - The best way to enter the dating world again is with a good self-image and healthy self-esteem. You need to see yourself as "a good catch" before you can attract others who see you the same way. If you have self-confidence related to your job and/or life accomplishments but not a deeper feeling of self-love (loving yourself for who you are inside), you may need to find programs, workshops, or therapy to improve this.
4. DON'T HAVE A SET TIMETABLE - Take your time and be patient when seeking people to date. All good things come to those who wait. And timing is everything. You'll cross paths with the right person when you are truly ready...and not a moment before that. Along the way, you may meet some people who are Mr./Ms. Right Now instead of Mr./Ms. Right, and that's OK. The journey and the learning is as important or often more important than the destination.
5. BE PROACTIVE - Explore a variety of ways to meet other single people. Some of the options you might try are singles groups and events, online dating, speed dating, parties, singles websites, or matchmaking through friends or a professional matchmaker. The more you get out and do things, the more chances you'll have to meet new people.
6. HAVE NO EXPECTATIONS - It's best not to fixate on finding "the one" every time you go out to a singles function or have a date. Relax, be yourself, and focus on being with someone with a big heart. The rest will fall into place when you least expect it! When you have expectations, you set yourself up for disappointment.
7. DON'T BE TOO PICKY - Narrow down your partner "wish list" to the three most important qualities you seek and write them down on two pieces of paper...one to carry with you at all times and the other to put in your bedside table to read before bed and/or to include in your prayers. Look for the best in each person, and be realistic. If you find 75% of what you want in a mate, it's likely you can compromise on the other 25%.
8. HAVE FUN! - Do plenty of things you enjoy while you're single, so a partner will be the "cherry on top" of your wonderful life. Other people are attracted to those who are enjoying themselves, so if you do this, you'll naturally draw people to you.
9. PUT THE WORD OUT - In addition to believing there's an appropriate partner out there for you, thinking about and envisioning that person, and writing down his or her qualities, the Law of Attraction says that talking about what you want is also crucial in attracting what you desire. Tell everyone you know about the kind of person you'd like to meet.
10. KEEP AT IT! - Be persistent and consistent with your search and never give up. The more "no's" you get, the closer you get to a "yes." Don't worry about relationships that don't work out in the end. They're all a necessary part of your path...stepping stones to what you truly desire.
Just go with the flow and see dating as an adventure...another fun chapter of your life that can help you grow and evolve into an even better person!