Dating After Divorce: Let's stop worrying about the men

Do you feel as if you've heard the same panic-inducing messages for practically a lifetime?

“All the good ones are taken.”  

“The men my age are looking for women 20 years younger.”  

“All that divorced midlife men care about is how much money I make.”

It’s easy to start feeling that you’d better start hitting those dating sites, and hitting them hard.  Working hard (just the way we do everything else), rather than inviting love to come to us.

It can seem natural to think, If it were so easy to let love come to me, I’d have it already!  I’ve already got it wrong once, or twice, or three times – I really doubt I can get it right anyway.

And that’s the point where many of us start to think about what we might be willing to settle for.

It's not about settling for someone

If you’ve never been loved the way you always wanted to be loved, it’s easy to try to make the wrong guy fit.  Talking yourself into it.  Letting months (and maybe years) go by with the wrong person.

Being alone can feel scary – especially now – when someone who likes you may seem like your last chance.  And how many last chances do you get?

It’s easy to take for granted that you’ll never be loved the way you want to be loved, and that maybe it’s crazy even to want that kind of love.  To want someone who really “gets” you.

If it were possible to finally be loved and be understood exactly the way you’ve longed for all your life, how could you ever make that happen?  Is there anything you could do – steps you could take – to give yourself a better chance at the kind of love you really want?

I’ve been working on that question for a long time – since my divorce.  It’s not so much a question of what you can do to make that happen as what you must “undo.”

All along the way I was looking for clues, and looking back to the beginnings of my life to unravel what it was that caused real love and connection to elude me in my relationships with men.  The biggest part was what so many women experience:  I gave (and gave in) too much, and was willing to accept way too little.

Let me give you just a few of the questions that I use to reorient divorced women toward love that actually feels like love.

It's not about him; it's about letting yourself be you

1. Do you personally possess the most important qualities that you’re looking for in a partner? Opposites attract, but people with similar beliefs, ethics, tastes, and qualities stay together.  The place to start is with you:  Are you a match for the kind of person who will be the love of your life and who can love you the way you need to be loved?  To attract him, cultivate those same qualities in yourself. Bonus:  You’ll become stronger and more desirable as you do this, and you’ll feel so much happier, too.

2. When you look at the negative qualities that most of the men in your life had in common, do you also possess those traits (but perhaps you use that negative trait against yourself)?  For example, if you tend to be betrayed over and over by the men in your life, do you also betray yourself? Do you break promises to yourself?  Do you cheat yourself by putting someone else’s needs first – even when it’s important to you?  Do you ignore your best interests?  Do you give in on things that are essential to the core of who you are?  My experience in coaching many women on preparing to be loved has taught me that we really do teach people how to treat us.  Bonus:  By treating yourself with the respect you deserve, you begin to be perceived as a person who cannot be devalued.

3. Can you imagine the person you want to be?  Can you see her clearly?  What does she do, how does she dress, who are her friends, what does she care about most?  If you can “see” her, you can be her.  As you become more “you,” the people in your life will reflect that truth.  If you've lost the center of who you are, or don’t even remember who you once wanted to be, it’s time to make an archeological dig to find the woman you meant to be at the beginning.  And if the center of who you are hasn’t been you but has been hijacked by your ex or your kids, it’s time to bring “you” home where she belongs.  Bonus:  You’ll feel much more comfortable in your own skin as you do this.

The men in your life so far have been mirrors of your attitudes about yourself.  They may have eroded our self-esteem, but we have to take responsibility that we allowed them into our lives, and allowed them to continue to treat us this way.  The brilliant news is that you can change this, from the inside out, and it doesn’t need to be hard.  The process can be light, exciting, and fun,

So, I wrote a little book about it . . .

If you'd like to explore this further, please request my free 32-page paperback, Prepare to Be Loved.  Scroll up in the sidebar to the right to see how to get it mailed to you, through the good old US Postal Service.  (Please don't forget to include your full mailing address -- and, we cannot ship to P.O. boxes.)