Confessions of an Older Single Woman/ How Age Enhances the Dating Experience

You might think dating after middle-age is impossible for single women.

Not so. I’ve been single (again) now for 24 years, so it’s a topic near and dear to my heart.
I enjoyed the slide show on MSN-Nine Ways Dating Changes After 35 by Denise Wolfe. I emboldened the three quotes I like best.

Meet and Greet

You’ve learned to play safely: You always meet strangers in a public place, and you never enter a new man’s car or apartment without telling a trusted someone where you are. You urge your friends to set you up. Suppose it’s a horrible date—so what? You’ve survived worse.

Cautionary note: One of the worst dating assumptions I’ve made was to assume that since I was fixed up by a friend, my date was automatically trustworthy. Not so. What our mutual friend hadn’t known was the smart and handsome man she introduced me to with the fancy job and fancy house had a history of aggression towards his former wife that led to his arrest. I now practice universal precautions. Trust must be earned over time. No exceptions.

Gut Feelings

You recognize red flags earlier, and you trust your gut instinct. You no longer put up with macho posturing or the least bit of misogyny. If he ever seriously calls you “the little woman” or “the old ball-and-chain,” you’re out the door. 
 
Yes, you’re in love, but you’re not stupid.
       
Peter Frampton then

The young me would have loved to get a call from a new date as soon as I returned   home from seeing him.  The mature me would find this creepy or insecure. 

The young me would hope to spend every waking moment with my new love. The mature me feels claustrophobic if my family and friendships are interrupted by a new partner.

And the best part of dating while mature? 

Forget Fairy Tales

It’s  not about lowering your standards. It’s about choosing better standards by which to judge. 

Once upon a time, a very young friend of mine went on a blind date with a local reporter.  He was pleasant enough, whip-smart, and bald as a billiard. It was all she could do to get through the date, and not too long afterwards, she met a guy who looked like Peter Frampton.

Peter Frampton now

Her Frampton look-alike had many other good qualities besides his hair, so she married him (but not until after the reporter wrote and published his account of the disastrous blind date in the Sunday paper!). 

Twenty-years later, they’re still married. Her husband still looks like Peter Frampton.  The Peter Frampton of today, that is.The younger version of my friend might not have agreed to a date with the mature version of her husband. Her quick assessment could have overlooked all the qualities that make a great life companion.  That would have been a shame.With age I feel decreased desperation to be part of a couple, and an increased sense of optimism (usually) that everything will be just fine, with or without a love interest.And that’s not bad at all.

Are you middle-aged and single? 

What advantages do you find in dating at this point in your life?

 

My Funny Valentine/ Three Lessons of Love that My Cat Taught Me

This wasn’t how I meant to spend Valentine’s Day.

In a perfect world, I would have spent it with the one I love, enjoying an appetizer and beverage by candlelight.

The problem? I don’t have someone that I love. Not like that, anyway.

Instead, I came home and spent it with a cat.
Not just any cat. I spent my Valentine’s Day with Nikko, the almost 18 year-old cat that has partnered with me to raise my daughters. The same cat that has shared my Friday night, olive-oiled popcorn and who has watched the Animal Planet with me and the kids.

I had other plans for Valentines Day, 2014. I meant to drive out to a neighboring community and attend a reading of local writers that a dear friend helped to coordinate. But when I got home after work, I saw my Nikko at the top of the stairs, limp and too weak to meow. When I picked her up, she pressed her little wet nose into my neck, and I knew.I knew that I would have to do something I hate: cancel last-minute on a friend. I also knew that almost two decades of unconditional love would be ending too soon. And mostly I knew that it was time to stop running down my never-ending to-do list and simply be in the moment, silently celebrating Nikko’s every inhalation and exhalation.And two days later, surrounded by her entire weeping family, Nikko drew her last breath and passed away. It wasn’t until I paid the vet bill that I realized she had died on my estranged mother’s birthday, having lived longer with us than my mother had with any of her six children.

I lived with Nikko longer than I have with anyone besides my daughters. Longer than I lived with  either  of my parents. Much longer than I lived with my husband. And living with this much-loved feline, I learned a few important lessons.

1) Transformation is always possible.

We adopted Nikko in 1996. She was a self-involved kitten who appeared impervious to the girls’ needs until 2003, when suddenly, she changed. Nikko became more affectionate and playful,  raking her paws through the girls’ hair and giving intense scalp massages, sleeping with them when requested, and initiating games of tag.

2) Ask for what you want.

Life is short. Why hint at what you want when you could simply ask?
If Nikko weren’t an assertive cat, I would never have known that she enjoyed Italian dressing and vigorous spankings and having the bald spots on her temples rubbed. Because of her insistence, I believe her life was more fulfilled.

3) Help coordinate your own ending.

Napping Nikko

As a cat, there was little Nikko could do to make end of life plans. But watching her in the last days, surrounded by her family, then assisted by a vet for pain management was pretty inspiring. Most of us humans won’t be as fortunate. And it got me to thinking, what can I do to streamline my own process to help my loved ones?

Long ago, I created a living will and filed my will with the court house, but what about funeral arrangements? An obituary?

I’m working on writing my obituary now. There’s something exciting about writing it. I can list the qualities I hope I am remembered for in advance, and then work on being those qualities while there’s still time. I can bid goodbye to the people I love, and make life easier for my survivors. I will also have a picture taken and made into a canvas so my daughters will have at least one picture I won’t be embarrassed to have at my services.

I can’t imagine a more unconditional love than that of a pet. 

What have your furry friends taught you?

Private Violence and APB/ Liz’s Monday Roundup

Greetings!

My computer just returned from sick leave so I’ll be brief.

Lesson learned: If you get a pop-up saying Windows Advanced Security found problems on your computer, that is malware. Don’t click on anything!

Private Violence, or click on the safe link to see their website. It follows a battered women’s advocate as she faces the same questions people have been asking of victims for years.

APB with Troy Dunn on TNT. How great is this?

Troy has spent his career tracking down lost loved one’s after helping his mom find her family many years ago.  This week, he reunited three men who were found abandoned as little boys in a hotel and adopted out to different homes. You can watch the episode free on Demand or online. Get out your kleenex. It’s bittersweet.

As this blog transitions to include more about finding healthy relationships, I’m thrilled to debut it with an interview by author Susan Page.  Please join me next week.

Thanks for stopping by!