It true, here is how it can be rewarding, fun, and even powerful.
One of the hardest things in life is starting over. It is true with anything, really. If you’re a writer, the hardest part of writing any piece, is formulating those first few words at the beginning. If you’re an artist, the hardest thing is looking at that blank easel or paper, and trying to narrow down your topic of inspiration. And if you are a female who finds herself single again – the absolute hardest thing, is starting over. Whether you are single by circumstance, due to a break up, or because you were widowed young – navigating the dating scene and modern dating sites can be extremely frustrating, maddening, and even downright depressing.
But please know that in addition to all of that, it can also be rewarding, fun, and even powerful. It’s true.
The Maddening Part
There are some real whack-jobs on these dating sites such as the guy on that one site who wanted to pay me to smell my feet and then clean my apartment or the other guy who had a fetish for watching fuller-figured women shove spaghetti in their mouths. You get the idea. And the ones who aren’t can be plain old-fashioned rude. Guys who stop all contact out of nowhere, otherwise known as “ghosting.” Guys who lie in their profiles and then for weeks, telling you they are single when in fact they are very much married. Guys who just want sex and aren’t very smooth about getting it. These characters are out there.
All I could think, at first, in having to deal with all these lunatics online who didn’t seem to be too worthy of my time, was: “Dammit. I wouldn’t have to do ANY of this, if my husband weren’t dead forever. Can I just have THAT LIFE BACK NOW PLEASE???” But the thing is, the answer on that Magic 8 Ball always comes back the same. “No.” So I have no choice but to begin again, and once I began to accept that, I could start to see the dating sites in a whole new light.
There are a lot of genuine, real, kind men out there. Men who are just like me, and who are just trying to navigate their way through the life they have right now, and find something or someone they connect with. So, while the rest of you fellow single people are out there navigating like I am, here are a few reasons why starting over with dating can be positive, freeing, and powerful. Read on:
YOU KNOW EXACTLY WHAT YOU WANT:
I need and want different things. I require someone who has an empathetic heart. I need someone who makes me feel safe and protected. I need someone who is emotionally stable and healthy. I need for the person I’m with to understand that my late husband is a piece of me, forever. And that my love for him and his for me, is the very reason that I’m able to want and desire a great love again now. I need someone who is secure enough in themselves to understand that the heart expands, and that they are not in a contest. Each love you have is unique, because each person and each connection is unique. Being jealous of a love from the past is not something I will put up with, and not the kind of person I want in my life today.
YOU KNOW WHAT YOU WON’T PUT UP WITH:
In my earlier days, before I was fully grown emotionally, I would have put up with a lot more from a partner than I do today. Today, I will not accept racism or hatred, however veiled, of any kind. I will not date anyone who treats other people with disrespect or unkindness. A long time ago, a friend told me that if a man is rude or standoff-ish to their waiter/server on a first date, she considered that a sign of how he will treat HER in the future when he is in a bad mood or life isn’t going well, and she wouldn’t see him again. I have adopted this same principle. It’s a very clear and easy way to show a lot about someone’s character. How do they treat people in the service industry? It’s very telling. Lastly, if I sense any red flags at all, or if something just feels “off” with someone I just began dating, I’m going to go with my instincts and assume that something IS off. Every single time I have ignored my instincts, I have regretted it. That’s not going to happen again.
When you’re a little older, these are the types of things that you start to get better at. You have to get your heart broken open a few times too many, in order to be able to spot the ones that might not be truthful. And let me tell you, there is a lot of power and freedom in saying to someone: “No. I deserve better than what you have to give me.”
YOU DON’T TAKE EVERYTHING SO SERIOUSLY:
Remember back in high school, or even college years, where every little thing that happened to you in your personal life, was literally the end of the world? Where every break-up, every fight, every boy that didn’t return your feelings, sent you into a spin-cycle of depression and endless sobbing? When you are older, those things just don’t matter much anymore. They slide off your back a lot easier than before. Because you have lived. You have experienced life, and it isn’t always pretty. You know there are disappointments. You know that people can hurt you. When you know all this, and then it happens from some stranger on a dating site, it doesn’t sting quite as much.
Sure, its never awesome when somebody makes you feel bad or makes you feel unattractive or unwanted. But really, when you think about it, anyone who would go out of their way to make someone else feel bad, has a lot of issues going on within themselves. Most of the time, when someone treats you poorly, it has nothing to do with you and everything to do with them and all their unresolved issues. Once you know this, it’s much easier to just accept things for what they are and try not to read too much into them, or predict the future. A text exchange with someone on a dating site is just that – two people talking and attempting to get to know each other. Sometimes these conversations will go well. Other times they won’t. Sometimes they will go nowhere or be boring or you wont click or connect. Other times you think that you did connect, and then he stops contacting you.
There are a million different variables and reasons why some things just don’t work out. If you try not to take it all so seriously, and take the pressure off of yourself that you NEED TO MEET YOUR SOULMATE RIGHT NOW!!!! – the entire dating experience becomes not only more tolerable, but sort of fun. Think of it as meeting lots of potential new friends. There are quite a few guys on the sites that I didn’t connect with on a relationship level, but who have become good friends. The ones that went nowhere, they probably weren’t meant to. Keep trying, and don’t take any of it to heart.
YOU HAVE MORE CONFIDENCE:
There is beauty in wisdom. In strength. And there is beauty in living a life of struggle and surviving. These days, even though I will admit to still being insecure about my fuller figured body, I am also a lot more secure in my own beauty, and I know that a lot of that beauty comes from an inner-light. If you show confidence and joy and an ease within yourself, that is reflected, and others see it as beautiful. Its an attractive quality. That is why when you are in a relationship and really happy, it seems like other guys are hitting on you and flirting with you all the time. They ARE! Because you’re giving off this joy and this peace as you strut your fine ass down that street, they pick up on that, and they want to be around it.
ADMIRERS AND COMPLIMENTS:
It’s the same way on the dating sites. Your inner-glow shows up and makes an appearance in your profile pictures. Men pick up on this, and they want to be around you. I will admit also, it feels really nice to be told, even by total strangers on dating sites, that you are indeed attractive, that you have a great smile, pretty eyes, anything like that. We are all human, and we want to feel wanted and cared for, and it feels good when someone else recognizes things in us that maybe we didn’t even see .
When I first started dating again one of my biggest worries was that I was convinced that nobody would or could ever love me in the beautiful way that my husband did. And in a way, I was right. Nobody WILL love me the exact way that he did. But why would I want them to? Someone new will love me in their beautiful and unique way. Once I figured that out, the fears about it started to drift away, and I started to get more excited about the idea of “someone else.” And now I’m finding that although I will always miss my husband, it is exciting and fun to discover someone new that you begin to care about, and all the many ways in which they choose to show you love.
YOU ARE BRAVE
The big thing about getting out there again and diving into the dating scene, is that it’s actually quite brave. It takes a lot of courage and energy to literally “put yourself out there” in mind, heart, and soul – and take the chance of getting hurt or rejected. But after having my heart broken a few bazillion times, I have started to figure out that someone’s rejection of me simply means that they are not the person who will appreciate what I have to offer and who I am and what I have been through. So I don’t want them. Which means, technically, I’m the one rejecting them. See how I turned that around? All it takes is a bit of humor, and a little perspective.
It can feel really good, and really powerful, to be able to get into the world of dating. There are so many interesting people in this world, so many to choose from. Some are so totally wrong for who you are, and others are so totally right. Some might be right if the timing were different, and others might be right if you were more compatible. And then, there is that someone, that could be the exact right person, at the exact right time, and you never would have known that, had you not taken that chance.
Love is a beautiful thing, and love is always worth the risk.
Every single time.