Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Midlife Dating 2.0

When I started this blog, my intention was to explore and share the road I'm traveling, the road of style and art and love and self discovery, the road that this 57-year-old, single now for one year after 33 years of marriage, busy yet introspective woman (me)is negotiating. This has never meant to be a tell-all and I will always respect the privacy of the people in my life, but some details are too delicious to ignore. Like dating.

I have purposely titled this post "Midlife Dating 2.0" for two reasons: the first is to take an admittedly immature potshot at the ex-girlfriend of a man I was crazy about and dating for several months. This woman wrote nastily and publicly about me in her mean-spirited, narcissistic blog, a blog with, ahem, a similar title in its URL. And when she did, I obsessed for weeks about it, wondering how and if to respond until I realized it didn't matter at all what some other wounded, spiteful stranger had to say about me. It didn't change who I was nor what my relationship was with this particular man, and obsessing about her was yet another way to keep from dealing with the bigger issues of life and love.

And then there is the whole matter of dating itself. The questions of where and how and why to date in midlife have certainly occupied a good deal of my thinking as I have confronted head-on my desires for connection and fears of being alone. In the course of this year I have dabbled in online dating, been set-up on blind dates, and have met men through the serendipity of life (my favorite way). I've been crazily in love (emphasis on crazy!) and equally devastated; I have walked out on bad dates and gone home with good ones.

I'd like to believe I am learning - and laughing - along the way. One of this week's learnings has been that my iPad and remote wireless device are better guy-magnets than any dress I have ever worn at airports! More importantly, I am learning that I can enjoy the experience of meeting new men without hanging my self-validation nor my happiness on it. I know, that's what I'm supposed to say, especially at this point in my life, right? But as I savored the first exploratory hours with two different wonderful new men over the past weeks and continued to explore friendship with the man who I had once fallen so hard for, I realized that my approach now was so different from when I went tumbling blindly into an all-consuming adolescent-like obsession nearly a year ago. What a pleasant surprise to find that along with the wrinkles there actually is some midlife maturity taking place.

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