Entering the dating world when you're 40+ can be incredibly exciting, as you open yourself up to the possibility of meeting someone you can truly connect with. At the same time, it can be intimidating to put yourself out there, especially when you've been hurt in the past.
Everyone is different, and everyone approaches dating with a different set of expectations, so it naturally follows that dating over 40 won't look the same for everyone. Some people will dive in boldly; others will be a lot more hesitant. Whatever your approach, here are 3 important questions to ask yourself beforehand. These questions serve as a simple but effective self-check, so you're better prepared as you head out into the dating world.
Do I feel good about myself?
How you feel about yourself strongly influences both how you treat others, and how you allow others to treat you. If deep down you find it difficult to accept yourself, you're likely to doubt that others can genuinely like and accept you. This can lead to people-pleasing tendencies as you try to "earn" approval and acceptance. On the flip side, if you're inclined to be hard on yourself and overly critical, these tendencies may spill over and influence how you treat others.
Feeling good about yourself doesn't have to mean that you're conceited, arrogant, or self-centred. It doesn't require that you be perfect, either. Ultimately, it's about you accepting who you are, with all your flaws and imperfections, and fundamentally valuing yourself as a person.
Do I feel good about my life?
In order to share your life with someone, you first need to have a life! It can be tempting for any of us, at any age, to look to someone else to fulfill us and make us happy. That's a whole lot of pressure to be placing on someone else when in reality, each one of use needs to take personal responsibility for our own happiness.
By working to build a satisfying life for yourself that fulfills you in different ways, you can invite someone else into that life to share in it, without depending on that person to meet your every need.
Am I clear on my core values and priorities?
You meet someone, you get swept away by the initial rush of emotions, and you want things to work out. At this point, it can be tempting to compromise your core values and priorities in order to move things forward. This is never, ever a good idea. It's unfair to you, since you're disregarding an important aspect of who you are. It's also unfair to the other person, as you're essentially misrepresenting who you really are.
On top of that, it's a poor foundation for the relationship. You're likely to feel some mild discomfort from knowing that you're not being true to yourself, and this can easily escalate into anger and resentment.
Taking some time to write down your core values and priorities can be a helpful exercise, allowing you to clarify things in your own mind. You'll be entering the dating world better prepared and with greater confidence when you're clear on what your non-negotiables are.
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