If you’ve been in the midlife dating game for very long and are a seeker of information like me, then you have read articles, maybe books too and searched online forums to find out what the heck we are all supposed to be doing. Being that understanding the opposite sex is an age-old problem, even once you get past the whole “How do I get back out there?” question, you then have the “What did he really mean when he did or said X, Y and Z?” Or for you male readers, “What is it she really wants from me?”
On my quest for knowledge, I’ve unfortunately found that most advice is something that, at my inner core, goes totally against my gut. I’m an open book, I mean, I’m the gal who will tell the lady checking me out at the register at Target anything about myself if its topical. I am who I am, most of the time, or at least that is always my goal. But dating after divorce can find you insecure and link you back to your days in high school where you wonder incessantly what is really going on with your ‘crush’. Lets be honest, no matter your age there’s nothing like the excitement of someone new to make you realize you can easily be turned into a hormonal, emotional teenager again.
Some of the icky things you will find if you go hunting online are websites purely devoted to teaching men how to be pick-up artists and books telling women they will never get and keep a man if they aren’t a bitch to him, supposedly turning men into a mold-able pile of goo to do whatever you desire. On top of that, there’s a whole system of who is the 1+ and the -1, which is a precarious balance of trying to make sure you are always the “One up” so you have the “one down” exactly where you want them. Sweet Brown said it best, “Ain’t nobody got time for that!”
Months ago I was at a meetup group event. The men and women ranged from late 20s to early 50s, most single, and a few married people too. There was a subset of women huddling together throughout the night talking about their latest guy-drama. Ever the midlife-dating sociology student, the whole exchange intrigued me greatly. If I had to wrap it all up, there were a few women who had given the man in question their “goodies” and then everything changed, well, he changed. It didn’t matter how long they dated before the goodies were given, the results seemed to be the same …they weren’t texting, they weren’t calling so the women were doing what we tend to do…over-analyzing every freaking possibility known to man. When the men were brought into the conversation for advice, they said “sex is just sex to men” but there is something about the dynamics changing once that "tension" is relieved, the hunter has had his kill, (no matter how many more times he wants it again) that ushers in a whole new set of complex rules!
But what would happen if we threw all of those rules out? What if we texted when we wanted to text (so long you aren’t texting at the rate of him needing to take out a restraining order)…or what if we said what we really felt or did what we really wanted? Not in a selfish way, because we should be constantly submitting to the other persons wants and needs.
I guess we need to ask ourselves “Why date? What is our goal?’ I would respond to that question different ways at different times over my singleness, as I’ve had different needs along the way. However, my first answer would generally be “I anticipate the joy of loving someone!” And, I want to be loved too. I’m pretty simple at the base as I care nothing about being wined and dined or traveling the world…I just want someone to sit with me on a quiet morning drinking coffee, to take a long walk with, share deep talks with, having mind-melting kisses with, but mostly BE KNOWN.
So why do we buy into all the trappings, ie rules of modern dating?
*You can’t say what you really feel until a certain amount of time has passed.
*You can’t be the first to text. (Although personally, I like a man to lead with this.)
*You can’t ask a man out.
*You can’t let them meet your kids until one thing or the other happens.
*You can’t let them think you like them more than they like you.
On and on and on the list goes, and that’s before you get to all of the rules surrounding proclamation of the “L word!”
Read this quote from the book, "If the Buddha Dated":
“Our longing is also our desire to be known completely. Imagine having your beloved look tenderly into your eyes, knowing all your secrets, having seen you be crabby and sweet, selfish and generous, and still truly loving you. Imagine being able to do the same. That is the potential of a conscious relationship.”
Wow! Who doesn’t want that?
So friends, anyone want to join me in a bonfire? I’m making a conscious effort to throw all of “the rules”…I'll bring matches...you bring the wine!