Community//

10 Ways to Tone Your Dating Muscles at Midlife

Strengthen those flabby beliefs about romance + dating and build a strong, wise and realistic foundation.

Photo by Arvee Marie @flutterhappy
Photo by Arvee Marie @flutterhappy

This is a big loving wake-up call.

To anyone uncoupled (not necessarily by choice), testing the sharky dating waters, hoping to get hitched, or just wanting to meet a good soul to spend a long, lovely life with.

I always dug those big chunks of my life when I was uncoupled and free to beat my own drum, but I know that everyone doesn’t love being single.

Especially when you hit a certain age, and start freaking the F out.

  • No one will want this saggy old body
  • Internet dating is stupid. Do I have to do that?
  • Holy crap – I’m going to be alone forever
  • I feel like a loser because I can’t find anyone
  • What’s wrong with me?
  • I wish my damn family would just leave me alone about it
  • It’s not fair – seems so easy for most people
  • Sometimes I dig my freedom, but other times – so lonely
  • Am I even couple-able anymore?

And this time of year can be particularly rough with marketers rolling out their Valentines nonsense and the Internet exploding with feel-good shots of advice on how to attract your soulmate, how to manifest your ideal relationship, how to consciously couple.

You roll your eyeballs. But you also read them.

Because they make you feel hopeful, relieved, optimistic. And that’s cool, because you DO need to interrupt that doomsday, self-blaming, panic script that’s looping around in your head. But what you really need is something else.

You need take responsibility for exactly how your life is right now. And learn to dig who you are, where you are, what you’ve done so far, what you haven’t done, your neuroses, your power, your habits, your hot mess, your utter brilliance.

You need a little relationship mindset mojo.

Emotional preparedness. Real life dating instructions. Mental resilience exercises that help you stay cool on a date, cool in a relationship and cool when another year passes and you’re still gainfully unhitched.

Start right here, right now ❤︎

10 Ways to Date Wiser

1. Let yourself off the relationship hook

First – there is no rule or code or law that says you HAVE TO be in a relationship. Just want to get that out of the way. In case you have some idea that you MUST be in a relationship, MUST be coupled, MUST be looking. Absolutely not. Being uncoupled is a perfectly legitimate, viable and in fact, gorgeous way to live. For 1 year, 10 years, or a lifetime. It’s up to you. Yes, I know, you get blasted daily by I-can’t-live-without-you music, opinions of family + friends, Hollywood, pop culture, marketing, etc. Stay strong. Don’t believe the hype. Enjoy yourself! You are setting a great example.

2. Get rid of the mental checklist

When we hold onto big bucket lists of who we want our partner to be, we just checklist our way out of potentially beautiful relationships and back onto the couch with a glass of wine and a hopelessness headache. Don’t do it to yourself. Just choose 3 non-negotiables and get out there. Maybe one is kindness. Maybe sharing a similar life path is vital. Maybe one of your non-negotiables is dating someone who doesn’t drink. Maybe honesty and good communication is your thing. Keep it simple. Just three.

3. Stay wide open to friendship  

If someone is interesting enough to consider having a relationship with, they should be interesting enough to have a friendship with. While you may not think you are looking for friendship, a new friend might be just the medicine you need to prepare you for a healthy relationship. Don’t delude yourself out of life by imagining there is ONE human for you. Enjoy the whole splendor of humanity! Much more satisfying. And from that place of satisfaction, you are much more likely to meet a fantastic partner.

4. Let it all hang out

Do you show only your best side when getting to know someone? Then bust that baby open and DECIDE that you will be utterly human and reveal your neuroses as soon as possible. Laugh at yourself with your mouth wide open. People who are cool with their own shortcomings exude confidence and calm. And don’t wait until you naturally feel comfortable doing this. That will never happen. Just encourage yourself to let it all hang out. Nothing to lose. Everything to gain. If this sounds hard, then it is exactly the antidote you need. Practice makes perfect. 

5.Quit playing hard-to-get

Do you try to act like you’re not that interested because you fear that if you do, they’ll quickly disappear? That has NEVER ever been at the foundation of a solid, loving relationship. I promise. Quit playing games. Be straightforward. If they are not open to your openness, then no amount of playing hard-to-get will fix it. If you are interested, make it clear. Honesty is freeing. Drop your fictitious fear of being alone forever and just keep that beautiful heart open. If they have commitment issues, or the timing is off, better to know it right now!

6. Stop fantasizing and stay present

Do you try to imagine the relationship 10-years-on, while on the first date? That will strangle the thing before you get to date three. You’ll be having a relationship with your own fantasy of a human and no real connection will form. Stay present on those first encounters. Breathe. Zoom out and drop into your body. Feel the discomfort. And between dates, drop the romantic storyline. It’s crap. You have no idea where this will go until it goes there. Enjoy the ride.

7. Clean up old relationship habits

We repeat patterns until we resolve them, so don’t expect things to be perfect next round. But doing the prepwork, staying awake at the wheel, and owning what’s yours makes things so much easier. Look to your previous relationships for clues. Do you tend to be needy of attention, praise, approval? Own it and decide to be the one to GIVE those. Do you tend to ignore your life + interests until you wake up one day feeling weak and resentful? We don’t need to wait to be in a relationship to work on relationships. Practice preventative medicine and save yourself from another unsatisfying round!

8. Be like a stoic and forget the FOREVER

Sorry to be a buzzkill, but romance – the music, the movies, the celebrity unions, the happily ever after stories – are a load of utter crap. Romantic marketing dupes us into believing we will find that ONE and stay with them forever. But relationships are governed by the same law that governs everything – impermanence. Something begins, arises, appears, comes into being. It lasts a day, a week, a month, a lifetime, and it ends. Plain and simple. We have no clue how long it will stick around. This doesn’t mean we won’t meet someone fabulous and spend the rest of our days with them. It just means we don’t know. But this same lack of predictability is what life fresh and new. Ride the wave.

 9. Don’t let desire snowball into desperation

When we really (really) want something, our perspective gets distorted. The mind inflates what it wants and deflates everything else. So being in a relationship looks rosy and ideal and being uncoupled feels boring, painful, flat and colorless. Stop that! No one with that mindset ever enters a strong and nourishing relationship. It just doesn’t happen. Keep perspective. Honor being single as a mix of beautiful and hard. Same with relationships. Don’t get blindsided by desire. Contentment comes not from having what we want but from wanting what we have.

10. Cultivate the right kind of love

Most of the time our love is a bit – um – narrow-hearted. We draw our circle of love too close to ourselves. We value certain people and ignore others. Protect some and vibe others. It’s not that there’s anything wrong with loving those who are closest, those we know best, those we depend on most, or who depend on us. It’s just that the bigger, the wider, the more boundless our capacity for love becomes, the more joyful and content we become. Our minds are more spacious. We are less clingy, less angry. We feel less lonely. So start noticing who you keep out, who you ignore – neighbors, strangers, exes – and stretch that muscle open!

Deeper, bigger, bolder love is all yours, if you want it.

Keep on keeping on ❤︎

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