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The Perils Of Dating In Your 30s And 40s

The cold hard truth is when you're Dating in your 30's and 40's you've been through some nastiness. I'm willing to bet that if we sat around and shared our war stories, we'd be hard pressed to 'one up' each other -- truth, fact of life, nature of the beast, whatever. More than likely we've been burned, we've been hurt, someone along the way has betrayed our trust, stomped on our heart. Sometimes it's not huge. Maybe we weren't that attached or at that particular moment in time, we could deal more easily. Other times it's devastating. We find it harder to recover. Ah and then, harder to trust again, harder to jump back in and try it again. Or maybe it builds up. Once you can deal with, twice you're a little hesitant, the third time, then the fourth, and so on. After awhile you start second guessing every word, every seemingly unimportant detail, every innocent comment. Worse, you start second guessing yourself. Maybe you start to believe it's you; it's something you're doing or saying wrong There's something wrong with you; not with the idiots who stomped on your heart or broke your trust.

And then, how does that impact our interactions with new people we meet? In my case, it's made me extremely gun shy. Not to actually meet people. I don't have a problem there at all. It's getting there that I struggle so much with. I used to be happy to trade contact information and jump right into chatting on instant messenger. Now, not so much. It used to be if I started chatting with someone on IM and it went wrong I just shrugged my shoulders and moved on. Then I got frustrated and then irritated, and then just plain tired of being seen as an opportunity for cyber Sex or whatever. After awhile, if someone offered their IM contact information and then asked for mine, I simply ignored the request and faded way. Then I started giving my information but explaining that I don't spend much time on messenger. Lately I'm trying to be more honest with my discomfort. I've responded to several requests for contact info with honesty. I even tried Nike's approach; just do it. This was prompted by a request from someone I really really wanted to get to know and at first, it was awesome. I was glad I bit the bullet. Some incredible conversations both on IM and on the phone. I even managed a couple of dates and then boom!. The bottom fell out. Turns out he's "just not that into me." Okay, jump back on the horse and try again. My daughter tells me I'm nuts when I express concern after receiving the next request for contact information. Hmmm, maybe she's right. Swallow hard, give out the information, start a conversation. Next thing you know, the idiot wants to send me a picture of his penis. Baaammm! Here we go again.

And then there's the phone. I admit it, I'm phone phobic. I know, most women love the phone. They are always talking to someone. It seems the phone is permanently attached to their ears. Me? Nope, not really. Now there are, of course, exceptions to this. I love it when my daughter calls especially if I haven't talked to her in awhile. And I love it when someone I'm seeing calls me. If we've met in person and things have gone well that's a different story I suppose. I just find it very awkward to call someone I've never met and try to carry on a conversation.

So how to overcome these obstacles? Jumping right back on the horse doesn't seem to work for me. For every pleasant experience there are more bad ones. Not to mention the flip flops my stomach does. I actually start to feel panic. Ridiculous isn't it? Or is it? Little children stick their hands on the burner, burn their hands and learn not to touch the burner. Is it so different? And yet, I want to overcome them. I feel like an idiot most of the time. It seems absolutely ridiculous to me that I can't just shrug it off anymore.

Don't misunderstand, I'm not scared of a new relationship. Not at all. In fact, I miss being in a relationship. I'm not a serial dater. I'd love to find that one person to spend my time with. I miss the companionship and the intimacy. So how do I get there from here? I guess that's up to anyone who is truly interested. Be patient, be content with getting to know me a little bit through email before rushing to IM or phone conversations. It could just be worth it in the end.

By lisaq - just a girl trying to survive the perils of Dating in my 40s...  

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