You and I know that dating as a women in her 40s, 50s, 60s and beyond can be more challenging than when you were in your 20s and 30s. There are the obvious challenges:
Your chances seem to decrease because the ratio of single men to women changes.
- There aren’t public places like those oh-so-fun bars where you could hang out knowing there was a plethora of available men.
- You don’t get noticed by men like you used to. No more whoops and hollers coming at you as you go about your everyday activities. (Just for the record: That never happened to me.)
Yah, that’s just some of it. I won’t lie: It’s harder for women to find a partner as we age.
As a dating and relationship coach for women over 40, I’m often asked “What’s the biggest obstacle women over 40 face when searching for love?” Based on my own personal experience and that of the thousands of women I support, it’s not any of the above.
Here is what is keeping you from finding love: YOU!
That’s what I said. You, sister, are the biggest barrier to finding a loving man to share your life.
When I was 45 and trying to figure out this man-thing once and for all, this was the first thing I learned that absolutely changed my life: The thing that was most responsible for preventing me from connecting with men was not that they were all jerks (they aren’t), not that my thighs were fat (even though they kinda are), and not that all men want younger women (men who actually want a woman to talk to about what it was like to use a typewriter are everywhere and looking for a woman like you).
I finally learned that the reason decent men didn’t notice me, ask me out or pick me as their girlfriend was because I was silently screaming to every man whose path crossed mine “I dare you and I surely don’t need you!”
Why? Because of fear. Fear of not being picked. Fear of picking another jerk. Fear of…fill in the blank. And that was created by all the crap that was in my head keeping me from that one thing I wanted more than anything: real, lasting, mutual love.
You may know how it goes…those stories we tell ourselves. I’m too fat, too old, not interesting enough. I have to have a man with a Ph.D. Men don’t like smart women. It’s too late for me. I can’t share my home/my feelings/my money with someone else. I’m better off alone.
It’s these stories that we tell ourselves that stop any real chance for connection in its tracks. And 99 percent of them aren’t even based on our real experience or values! Someone else taught it to us and somehow it became our truth, and we’ve been believing it every since.
Here is an email from a woman I’m working with in private coaching. She is 48 and has never been married. She is not a small woman; but she is beautiful, charming, stylish, wicked-smart and overall lovely to be with.
I taught her three simple steps to take when she recognizes she’s starting to tell herself one of her standard stories. (We worked together to identify the stories and what generally triggered them.)
I had to share this epiphany with you as soon as I had it this morning. Where did this idea come from that I have to be beautiful to be loved? From my father, who I worshiped as a little girl.
As a little girl, the only thing I ever remember my father telling me about my mother and why he married her was that when he married her she was so pretty and had a perfect hourglass figure. And he said that I would have her figure as long as I kept my weight down. I even remember the hand gesture he used, like a kiss to his mouth with his hands as if she was perfect. A perfect and beautiful woman.
Uhh…do you think that has something to do with my belief that since I’m not thin no man will love me??
Anyway…I had this epiphany this morning…and wanted to share it with you. There is no blame here towards my father. Just trying to figure myself out!! And with your help I am doing it. ;-)
After 40-some years of believing she wasn’t lovable because she didn’t have a particular figure, MW realized that was not her story. That helped her see that it was never really true. It was just something one man said to her once.
Here are the three steps:
Step 1. Notice and acknowledge when you start feeling emotions around men that feel difficult or “icky.”
MW’s ickiness commonly starts when a man she is interested in talks to another woman. In other words when she doesn’t feel like she’s being noticed or picked. And she always assumes it’s because she’s not thin enough.
Step 2. Do something physical for just a few moments.
As soon as you take notice breathe deeply, leave the room, drink some water or jump up and down. (Hey…do whatever it takes!)
Do this to prevent the default response that often moves you unconsciously to self-destructive thoughts and behavior.
Step 3. Welcome your feeling and have a chat.
Now you have given yourself space to explore what is no doubt a familiar feeling. Put a name to it and decide how you will choose to respond. Hi, jealousy! Hi, rejection! Why are you here? Where did you come from? I don’t need you and you’re not serving me in any positive way. You’re messing up my life and I commit to working on getting rid of you.
While this technique has more steps, for MW it was the beginning-of-the-end to her automatic reaction to feeling not pretty enough. She stopped the process that normally led her to depression and self-loathing, and she started the process of figuring out where this came from, if it was true and if she wanted to choose to continue to believe it.
Once she understood where the “truth” originated, it freed her to begin working on creating her own new truth.
You see…the good news is that the #1 thing that’s standing in your way of love is Y-O-U! That means that you can get out of your own way.
You think for yourself and make your own choices in every other aspect of your life, right? Isn’t it time you start choosing to take real steps toward clearing the crap so you can be the same confident self-driven women you are in the rest of your life?
Tell me: What are your common thoughts and feelings that bring you down or stop you in your tracks? And after you try this, tell us what you learned. It will help everyone here who shares your goal of attracting a loving man into your life.