Winter is here! It's the perfect time to get out and meet new people. With the change of weather, dating opportunities abound, yet some are still hesitant to put themselves out there.
I have been in the matchmaking industry for almost thirty years, providing dating and relationship strategies for women and men over forty. Winter is an exciting time for my clients as I work with them to conquer their doubts about finding love and help them launch back into the world of dating.
Most of my clients have been divorced or widowed, so it truly is a trip back to something they did years ago, when their lives were very different. My hundreds of thousands of hours of experience in helping singles find their right match has been incredibly rewarding. I am honored to help people every day with what I do for a living. I have refined my niche in an industry that can often be confusing or overwhelming to people over the age of 45, who sometimes find themselves newly single, and many unexpectedly.
My experience has taught me that what many singles need PRIOR to looking for a partner is qualified counseling, advice and guidance so that they can optimize their chance/s of success. People are apt to rush into signing up for matchmaking services, going on line, or to a multitude of dating apps without understanding how to go about that in the right way. I am very pleased that my company fills a much needed niche in the business and allows me to continue doing what I love for a living: helping others.
It's normal to feel insecure about trying something new after years and even decades of being with the same partner. The truth is - and I've seen it over and over again with hundreds of clients - that getting back into the dating world can not only be enjoyable and life-affirming, but also expand your circle of friends, introduce you to new opportunities and connect you to that one person you want to spend much more time with.
Finding a relationship is also good for your health. There are numerous studies that show that people in serious relationships have fewer health problems and live longer. In my own work, I've found that those positive results start even before my clients have found a partner. Just by beginning the process of looking for a relationship and expressing their desire to make a connection with a partner, many of my clients start to get over their depression, fear, and sadness. While they start out feeling vulnerable, taking care of themselves and opening themselves to the possibility of finding love makes them healthier and happier.
Dr. George Vaillant, who led a longitudinal study that followed 268 Harvard graduates over seventy-five years, says that there are two pillars of happiness. "One is love. The other is finding a way of coping with life that does not push love away." I emphasize with my clients how important it is to stay open to love, both while they are looking for it and once they've found it.
Below are four tips from my book that will help jump start your journey of finding love again.
1. Embrace a positive perspective
Creating the right mindset is so important to entering the dating world. Fear and doubt will affect your results, as will going into it with an open mind, confidence in who you are, a strong sense of what you are looking for, and patience. A positive mindset will help you attract people you want to be with.
When you think and talk about dating, use words that build you up rather than defeat you before you've even started. For instance, instead of saying, "I'm old and men/women want to date people younger than me," say "I'm a beautiful person, and would make a great partner." Those words might not immediately change what happens externally, but they shift your perception of the experience and create a more positive atmosphere around you-which is always attractive.
2. Identify who you are and what you want in a partner.
Begin by answering a series of questions that clarify where you are in your life so that you can look for and attract the right person for who you are today. We don't always recognize the ways in which we've changed over the years until we slow down and take an honest look at the answers to some basic questions. Questions like: Would I date myself? Why, or why not? What are my best qualities? What would I like to change about myself? What kind of relationship am I looking for right now? What has worked for me in past relationships and what has not? Why? What can I learn from what past partners have said to me about our relationships?
Write down the answers to those questions and keep them somewhere where you can find them. When you are feeling uncertain about how things are going in your dating process, and why they are going the way they are, this list can be a helpful resource. And your answers will change over time! As you become more confident in the dating world, you will add positive traits to the list. The type of relationship you are looking for might change based on the people you meet. But use the list to remember who you are and what you want.
3. Enjoy the process, don't just focus on the outcome.
It's easy to get fixated on the outcome of any process, and dating is no exception. You want the joy of meeting that special someone, not necessarily the effort it takes to get there. But as with anything worth having in life, the process is critical and you might as well enjoy it, because much of it is actually a lot of fun.
What does enjoying the dating process look like? Opening yourself to the self-growth that dating can offer. Getting excited about the people you might meet and would not meet if you weren't doing this. Broadening your social circle (who doesn't need that?). Learning about yourself and growing in unexpected ways. Exposing yourself to new worlds through the people you'll meet. Letting go of the pressure to find "The One" or the feeling that you have no idea what you are doing. Convincing yourself that this will be fun.
4. Get online While technology is completely integrated into our daily lives, online dating can still seem strange and intimidating. As someone who began her career in traditional matchmaking and now works online with the majority of her clients, I can tell you that it is both totally manageable and very exciting. With online dating, the pool of prospects that would be out there in traditional matchmaking or your daily life grows to an ocean, and the people on those sites are absolutely the type you want to meet.
Over the years I have found many ways to optimize my clients' experiences with online dating. The keys are to post great photos and profiles; learn to read digital body language (i.e., don't waste your time with people who are just cruising); always read the entire profile rather than just focusing on age, height, or income; and if in doubt, start out slowly.
No matter what route you want to take with your dating journey, you have to begin the process in a methodical way. We all value our time and it's important we make the most of it. As a dating expert, I believe you need to have a strategy first. That begins with understanding yourself, where you are in life and what is your end goal. A companion? Marriage? A long-term relationship? Whatever it is, identify your goal must come first.