If, at the end of your life, you’ll get to tell whatever story you wish about your romantic relationships, what will you choose? I hope in that moment you would look adoringly at the partner with whom you’ve shared your most intimate secrets and most riotous joys and tell the story of how you treated yourself with love and compassion, never wavered in your determination to create the life you desired, invested the resources available to you, and were paid back tenfold with the most fulfilling relationship you could ever have imagined with your rightest match.
If that’s the story you’d like to tell, here are some ideas to get you started.
Thought prompts for your own Love Story!
Chapter 1: There’s only one rule when it comes to creating my rightest match for marriage
If you’re not dating men who are real possibilities for marriage and you worry about whether or not you’re following all the rules, stop worrying about ‘the rules’ and start making them. Believing that a man is supposed to look or act the way your friends think is best, and counting men out because they don’t measure up, is holding you back from finding the man who has the qualities that really matter to you.
The rules that are hanging you up are all about what you think other people will think and the only opinion that truly matters is yours. What do you value? What qualities in a partner will be in best alignment with your values? How do you want to live and love? Do you want to be married? What is important to you to accomplish in life and what kind of man will be your most ardent champion?
I used to date a man who didn’t open the car door for me. There are a lot of women in the world who would count him out forever just because of that, and they each would have missed out on time with someone who was smart and funny and sweet. Instead of counting him out based on him not behaving the way someone else might have thought he ought to, you know what I did? I asked him to please open the door for me. And from that moment on, he did.
Decide for yourself who your rightest match is, not your friend’s, and then go out into the world of dating and meet that man.
Chapter 2: I made choices and took actions that served my romantic relationship, even when it was hard
Yes, it’s hard to put your needs, your wants, your self, before someone else. But if you don’t do it at least some of the time you are going to spend a big chunk of the rest of your life shopping – for gifts for other women’s registries and outfits for other women’s weddings.
The next time someone asks you to do them a favor, especially if it conflicts with plans you had for yourself, especially if it conflicts with the time you promised to write your online dating profile and select pictures, say no.
If the thought of this fills you with dread this is a golden opportunity! You are being given the chance to practice the incredibly important life skill of learning when and how to prioritize your needs and create the life you deserve.
Start with this – ask yourself why you are considering saying yes. Seriously, sit down and ask yourself why you want to do this thing for this person at this time and don’t get up until you have an answer. This will give you a lot of useful information!
In Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear, Elizabeth Gilbert says, and I paraphrase, that in order to make time to accomplish our dreams, not only must we say no to doing things we don’t want to do, we must be willing to say no to things we want to do, too.
There are just so many hours in a day, and so many days in a year, and if you are not in the relationship right now that you promised yourself last year that you would be, you will be performing the utmost kindness to yourself by taking a concrete step toward changing that outcome for 2022.
Chapter 3: I look for the green flags everywhere, and find them!
Remember that game we played as children? We’d line up in a row and someone would start to shout out directions and we’d have to follow them or be counted out – Red light! Green light! One, two, three! Green lights meant go and red lights meant stop. For children it was lights, for adults it’s flags, although the meaning is exactly the same.
How many times have you heard other women talk about red flags or been on a date and thought it in response to something he said, or scrolled through your social media feed and seen those words in BIG RED LETTERS?
Yes, it’s important to immediately acknowledge warning signs of impending disaster – if you’re driving a car at 180 miles per hour. If you’re on a date with a man you’ve carefully screened before meeting it’s so much more important – and useful – to look for the GREEN FLAGS.
Perhaps part of the reason you’ve had so much trouble dating is that you’ve trained yourself so completely to see red flags that nothing less than danger gets your attention. Since red means stop it makes sense that you are not finding men who are viable candidates for going forward from the first one or two dates.
If you want to be in a romantic relationship with a high-quality man who is your best match, you must find things you like about the men you meet and date. You must learn how to see the signs that someone’s a great possibility; the green flags. Green, after all, means GO!
This is your story. You get to tell it your way!
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