When I got divorced in my late 30’s, I set a goal. That goal was to remarry by the age of 40.
I was a driven and ambitious woman and focused on getting back the things that I had lost.
And I believe that this happens a lot to women as we age. In our 20’s and 30’s, the 40’s and beyond seem like a totally different life. One where you are ideally settled and have the family, great upwardly mobile career, paid off house, and regular social calendar that many of us aspire to.
So I made that vow to myself. And set about fulfilling it.
But as I started dating, I realized that rushing into a relationship was not working. It meant I was overlooking or minimizing red flags.
As I let the first situation drag on for 9 months, I vowed to let things bother me go. So many things about the guy were what I wanted in a man. During that first year, I wasted time. All because of this arbitrary deadline, and wanting to date just a bit to find my forever guy.
Here is what I soon realized:
- Age IS just a number. The most important thing is finding a mate that you love and that fits in your life well. This means he is a match for your lifestyle, you have things in common that you enjoy doing together, your families and friends like each other, you have similar values and long term goals that are aligned, and you are good at effectively and peacefully resolving conflicts when they come up.
The first step in this process is to get real about what qualities and qualifiers are most important to you? Do they need to be funny and love kids? Have an awesome close-knit, and easy-going family so your and his families can mesh well (this was a must for me). Determine what those big adjectives are, and list them all out. Get clear on what works best for you as you go on dates and get to know different guys.
That means getting to know your own likes and dislikes very well. What is the most fun part of your day? Of your job? What regular house chores do you love and hate to do? Are you a people person? How much social contact do you need in a week? Do you prefer a partner that is a homebody, moderately social, super social, or something else?
- Also, It’s not about a wedding; it’s about a marriage. More specifically, it would be best if you were sure about building a relationship that can and will last. Lots of marriages start beautiful, ornate, and appear to feature the perfect couple. Then you hear that they got divorced within the first 2 years.
- Plan for that great life together. It is important to be on the same page of wanting a relationship when you start dating someone. But that doesn’t mean that he is the guy you must commit to right away.
I highly recommend getting to know multiple candidates before deciding to be in a monogamous relationship. Really use the time on dates to see which behaviors and traits work best for you. Once you are in a place where you and 1 person are committed and exclusive, look out into the future. Could you imagine a peaceful and happy future with him? Are you aligned with future wants and goals, lifestyle-wise, family-wise, and in other ways? Are you both willing to compromise where your goals are different?
Of course, there is no way to predict the future, and unexpected things can and will happen. But the more aligned you and the partner you choose to be with are, the better your shot will be at having a relationship that lasts the rest of your lives.
- Timing is critical. If you are past the age when you would like to be married or coupled, do not be discouraged. There is a person out there for you. You just haven’t met them yet. Take this time to get to know yourself and to really build a life that you enjoy. I know so many people that met really great partners after they had decided that a romantic partner was not in the cards for them. It can and will happen, so keep prepping for when it does.
Back to my story. I met my husband several years ago and took the time I needed to determine he was it for me. We celebrated our third wedding anniversary this past summer.
I made sure to get patient and real about who and what I wanted. We worked together to create this great relationship and family. It has been an awesome experience.
If this is you, I highly recommend taking all the time you need. Try not to pressure yourself with artificial deadlines or doomsday worries about the future.
A great relationship can take time to find and build properly, particularly if you meet someone later in life, as I did.
Go easy on yourself as you do the work of finding your person.
This post was previously published on Hello, Love.
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