““There are two basic motivating forces: fear and love. When we are afraid, we pull back from life. When we are in love, we open to all that life has to offer with passion, excitement, and acceptance. We need to learn to love ourselves first, in all our glory and our imperfections. If we cannot love ourselves, we cannot fully open to our ability to love others or our potential to create. Evolution and all hopes for a better world rest in the fearlessness and open-hearted vision of people who embrace life.”
~ John Lennon
It is not uncommon to feel that you are running out of time. Perhaps the years have passed in the blink of an eye while you were busy at your career, travel or a variety of things. Maybe a string of bad relationships has stolen your time, or you just haven’t met “the one”. There are a few things that you must consider to use your time efficiently in the dating arena.
You must maintain a life while you are looking for love
Do not get consumed with dating to the point where you make it a job. Adapt an attitude of moderation with your dating activity. You must live your life naturally. Have time and enjoy friends, family and other activities. You will quickly experience dating burn-out if you don’t and this will impact your ultimate result.
Be moderate with your dating activity but be selective. Remember, you are selecting someone who has the potential to be your child’s father. Whether you stay together or not, he will always be a part of your life. Select carefully and don’t rush!
Desperation will get you no where
Maintain a positive attitude. Engage in life giving activities that bring you joy and satisfaction. Visualize the relationship that you want and believe with all your heart it can happen, even if the present is showing you something different. Desperate energy attracts the wrong kind of guy.
Leave the fear behind
If you find yourself saying, “what if it doesn’t happen” or “it will never happen”, take a step back. Center yourself with self-care, meditation and support from friends. Believe that you can have what you want. What you seek is also seeking you.
Get clear on what you want
Finding the one can be like looking for a needle in a haystack unless you are clear about what you want. Identify the characteristics that you would like in a partner and relationship. If who you meet does not fit the bill because there are some deal breakers that you become aware of, it is time to move on. Do not waste your precious time with those who don’t fit the bill just because you are attracted to them.
Above all else, remember that you are the prize!
Lisa Angelini, MAPC, LPC - www.lisaangelini.com
If you are approaching "middle age," you may feel that you chances of dating successfully are zero to none.
The pressures of society does not help reduce this anxiety. With expectations to get rid of wrinkles, reduce fat and eliminate gray hair, we exist with an undertone that middle age is not something to look forward to; and that our youth is far gone and the expectations of our 30's has quickly faded.
If you have been single most of this time and looking for the perfect mate, married and divorced or unsuccessful being in and out of relationships, feeling discouraged about dating is a normal reaction. You might even feel like you have failed. But, you have not failed at all. It's actually quite the opposite.
I invite you to view middle age dating as more of an opportunity.
An opportunity to embrace everything that you have experienced, mistakes that you have made and lessons that you have learned. It first begins with simply changing your mindset about dating.
View dating at this age as positive, that growth is happening all the time, and unexpected joys happen when you least expect it. If you can begin by adopting these simple "truths" you will be amazed at what happens next.
I just turned 50 today. In this article, I will share strategies I've learned and practiced over the past decade. These specific tools have helped me ground myself, grow and open myself to healthy love.
Here they are:
1. Consider your Choices:
Women spend a lot of time before they buy a pair of shoes. There is the "feel", "the look" and the "right fit." If you've ever bought shoes on impulse you feel the consequences almost immediately. This is also true in relationships. The wrong match can lead to consequences that are emotional, physical or even spiritual. One characteristic alone does not guarantee the "right fit."
Take your time, reflect and consider your choices. See who will be the best fit. Just like the wrong dance, the wrong fit will not have the right feel.
2. Trust your Intuition:
When you are in a relationship that isn't the "right" match, there are early signs that point to just that. When they are glaring, they're called "red flags." But signs don't have to be that obvious, they can be more subtle. Pay attention to them.
A sensation that shows up in your body is called a "gut" feeling. It's a knowing. Listen to it. Trust it. Respect it.
Ask yourself: What made you ignore those signs before? Was it for the sake of love and acceptance, or fear of being alone? What made you attach too quickly?
3. Your Wish List:
Make a list of what qualities you are looking for in a partner. Keep it in a place that you can reflect on it from time to time. When we set intentions on how we want our life to be (relationships, career, life purpose, etcetera), we allow space for these things to blossom. Don't just take what you can get. Be selective.
Write a second list of your previous partners and their attributes. What attributes did you like and what attributes did you dislike? Getting clear on your needs will help you not settle.
4. Your Identity:
Never forget who you are. It is normal to question your identity especially during life transitions (marriage, divorce, job change, empty nest), and during mental and physical health challenges. But, remember you can always find yourself again. Getting in touch
with yourself requires time and effort. Don't expect a relationship to fill that void. Never apologize for "who" you are or change for someone just to be loved. Be yourself and attract the right person.
5. Embrace Discomfort:
Being alone is not always easy, but being with the wrong partner can be far worse. Ask yourself why you are attracted to someone. Is it because you don't want to be alone? Do you want someone to rescue you? You must first acknowledge if fear is keeping you in the same relationship patterns and then deal with your baggage. Relationships are not a substitute for being there for yourself. When you like being with yourself, the fear dissipates and amazing things happen.
6. Be Present:
If you are obsessing about previous relationships or about relationship that haven't happened yet, you are not living in the moment. You are also losing precious time.
Balance is key. Don't expect to give too much in a relationship and expect something in return. It doesn't work that way. Balance you with your relationship.
It is important to ground yourself daily. It's up to you to be present for yourself. This can be done by how you care for yourself physically, emotionally spiritually and intellectually. It's up to you to do it. And only you.
Relationships are never easy at any age but the truth is at middle age your knowledge, experience and trust in yourself can help you navigate a place that you once tackled blindly.
Kavita A. Hatten, MS, LPC, NCC- www.phoenixcounseling.net
Just the title of this blurb can get your heart racing.
As women, we know immediately that expression "your biological clock is ticking" and it can throw us into the fight or flight stress response.
As an acupuncturist, I work with couples that are facing infertility and the number one culprit that I have run across is stress. Stress, that the pregnancy isn't going to happen, stressed it is taking so long, stressed that there is something wrong with you/us, etc. That stress response will shut the whole process down in getting pregnant and that stress response will cause you to react and not respond when you are looking to find the right man and settle down.
Here are your 3 tips:
Yes, simply begin to breath and let your nervous system relax. Feeling that the clock is ticking is inducing an unnecessary stress response and you will make poor decisions. If you calm your nervous system down, the stress hormones that cause adrenaline, cortisol, etc. will not be released, in fact, oxytocin, serotonin, nitric oxide will be released and you will stay in a state of empowerment and calmness and you will not chase after the first thing that looks like he could be a father.
Your body has intelligence that will guide your decision from a place of knowing this is the right man, instead of wishing he was the right man and settling on a wish, instead of what you truly want in a relationship and for the father of your children.
2. Respond to how to you feel while on the date honestly, not how you WANT to feel, but how you really feel about this person.
It is said that a woman knows in less than one minute if the man she is with is the right man. It comes through intuition. It is that feeling you get in your gut or your heart. Listen to that feeling, it is a divine power that is a bigger "knower" than your analytical mind. It is your very heart speaking to you. Your heart has thinking neurons, real, thinking neurons, like your brain, but they are in your heart.
We have been taught to use our head, but science is showing us now that all along, the heart is a thinker and can actually make much better choices than the analytical mind. But you won't be able to tap into your heart if you are reacting to every potential guy you date. It is really important to feel what you are really feeling and when you do that correctly, you will know it because you are responding, not going for the knee jerk reaction of "this could be him, I hope it is, my damn clock is ticking".
3. Know the pool you are fishing in.
If you are wanting a certain type of man that is ready to settle down and start a family, don't go looking for him in the bars or in any the places that are obviously not conducive for a family man. You don't want to be raising 2 babies, him and the actual infant, so you really need to get to know what is important to him.
Does he like a woman that takes care of him or does he like a partnership. Does he want to do his own thing while you stay at home and raise babies because, well, you wanted children more than him. Is he financially responsible for himself right now?
If he isn't right now, chances are once the pressure of raising a family comes along, he won't be so responsible then. Does he dream of traveling with his work and being gone much of the time?
That will leave you raising children on your own, even if he is a great guy. You want to know how much parenting you want to do alone, or do you want a total partner in raising children and building your family. He may have very different ideas of what raising a family is all about, so know how he really feels about the little ones that you want, long before you make the commitment that he is the one.
Nada Hogan L.Ac, Dipl.Om, M.Om - www.nadahogan.com
While dating you have certain guidelines and criteria to follow so you meet the best and most appropriate man to spend the rest of your life with.
Unfortunately, as you get older, you are concerned that if you wait too long, time may run out for you to start a family and be an effective parent. Because of this, your biological clock may cause you to make some unwise decisions, so be careful.
Here are some things to consider:
1. You do not want to view your partner with rose-colored glasses if the relationship isn't already solid and secure.
Your need to have children should not override your need to be in a healthy, respectful relationship.
2. Stay true to yourself and ask yourself if "this is someone you can see spending the rest of your life with?"
"Is he the type of man who is good with kids and shares your ideas on how to raise a family?" Be honest in answering those questions.
3. Don't be afraid to talk with your partner, because even though starting over is scary and time consuming, it is better to know now where you stand, rather than later. If the conversation doesn't go as you plan, then consider whether you want to stay or move on.
4. Try not to panic since that will cause you undo pressure.
That means pressure to meet someone so you can have a baby, pressure to move your current relationship ahead sooner than it should be and pressure to force what should come naturally. Be patient and enjoy where you are right now!
5. Figure out what you need and listen to your body.
Are you noticing any significant changes, like your cycle is starting to shift or become erratic? Are there new aches and pains you never noticed before? Now is the time to pay attention to your body and make some changes, whether it's adding new vitamins, exercising differently or eating better.
The most important thing to remember is to not judge yourself or compare yourself with others. Everyone progresses through their lives at their own pace. Getting pregnant later in life is not so unusual any more and many women are waiting to be financially stable before they have children. You probably have plenty of time to meet the right man to be the father to your kids, so set realistic goals and when the time and person is right, you will know. Remain open to all possibilities.
Amy Sherman, M.A., LMHC – www.yourbabyboomersnetwork.com
Dating to find a life partner while your biological clock is running out of time is one of the most stressful things a woman can go through.
If you want children, It is important to take your situation seriously and develop an effective dating strategy while remaining calm, focused and optimistic.
If you are certain you want a family, it is important to date men who also know they want children.
This means that if you are doing online dating and you see a man’s profile who says he is unsure about children, yet he looks like a good match otherwise, do not date him.
You may think you can change some things about a man who seems like a good match, but has some minor differences, however children are not something to bargain over. He most likely either wants them or not. If you feel time is of the essence, do not waste your time getting to know men who do not want a family.
You may feel this limits your options considerably, but this may be a good thing. Limiting your options means you are more likely to get what you are looking for.
Once you start dating someone, it will be important for you to discuss the issue of children fairly early on.
Don’t wait until you find you like this person and are getting attached to find out he does not want kids. A man who definitely wants a family will be happy to discuss this and tell you his feelings.
He is most likely a bit anxious about finding someone, as well, who wants the same thing he does. He may not have the pressure of a ticking biological clock, but if he is a mature, responsible guy, (which is what you are looking for), he will understand that you have time considerations that cannot be ignored.
It is important to not panic while in this process of finding the right partner.
Decisions made with fear and anxiety often turn out to be the wrong choices that we later come to regret. Stay level-headed and don’t buy into statistics that say you lose your fertility by some ridiculously young age.
I have had so many clients tell me fearful things their doctors told them about age and fertility. You are not a statistic and women get pregnant at all ages when the time is right for them.
Get clear about what you really want and claim it.
When you follow your own heart, find the right partner and do what is right for you, life has a way of working out.
Nancy Harris, LCSW, LICSW - www.nancyharriscoaching.com
When your biological clock starts ticking, one of the most important things you can do when seeking a mate to settle down with is to be picky.
Be VERY selective with who you date, swipe, get set up with, etc, because it could happen that you meet an incredible person who takes your breath away, falls madly in love with you, and enjoys all the things you do, but doesn’t want children, and then — bam! Five or ten years have gone by, and sure they’ve been fun, but you’re no closer to having children and your ovaries keep getting older.
It’s scary and stressful to worry about your biological clock.
Our bodies are wired to start reproducing in our early twenties, but as society changes, women are settling down and having babies later and later in life. That’s ok. Our bodies know what to do! It may take a little more time and TLC, but it is still possible to get pregnant and have healthy babies later in life. And please note that the pressure shouldn’t just be on us!
Older men may have a decline in their libido, sperm count, motility, etc, which can cause difficulty getting a woman pregnant. So the burden is not just for women as we age.
But you don’t want to wait forever, and you don’t want to waste your time dating people who are not on the same page as you are.
So what do you do?
How do you know if the person you are dating wants the same things as you? Wants to settle down and start a family (in a reasonable amount of time)?
If online dating is your schtick, put in your profile that you are looking for a mate to settle down with and start a family. If your friends and family act as Cupid for you, ask them to pass along to any potential set-ups that you are looking for a LTR rather than a fling.
And if you are already in a long term relationship, talk to your partner about your vision for the future. See if his vision is aligned with yours.
Let’s talk more about dating, and sifting through all of the eligible partners to find the one for you to settle down with. How can you know, just by looking at someone’s profile, or by meeting them for the first time, if they’ll be baby daddy material?
Date lots of different people!
When I was going through a breakup, just before I turned thirty, my mom suggested I consider dating men who have been divorced. Her reasoning was that these men have already settled down once, and for whatever reason it didn’t work out, so they could be looking for another serious and permanent relationship. Don’t rule someone out just because they’ve been divorced.
If appropriate, look outside your cultural, religious, racial, dating zones.
Look for dating partners who are professionals, or who at least have a full-time job, because generally speaking, employed men are more stable and more able to provide for a future family.
Go on dates to museums and supper clubs, rather than bars and night clubs.
Meet his friends and family—sooner rather than later. Do his friends have kids? That can be a good sign.
Most importantly, have fun and enjoy dating. Putting so much pressure on finding the perfect mate to settle down with can be exhausting, and take the fun out of meeting new people and experiencing new things. It’s always said, but it’s so true: you’ll find your forever partner when you’re not even looking.
Stephanie Weinblatt, MA, LCPC - www.healthylivingcounselingcenter.com
At any age, you may never want to waste your time dating someone who doesn’t have potential for a lifelong partnership, but when you are in your late 20’s or older you definitely think twice about whom you spend your time dating.
Of course you are putting pressure on yourself and probably others around you are pressuring you to settle down so that you can have babies, but you have to be realistic. You have to first consider WHOM you want to make babies with. You wouldn’t want to make a child with a man who is a loser, right? Or any man who isn’t worth your time or isn’t worthy of being the father of your child.
Consider these tips…
1. When you start to feel overwhelmed about your biological clock ticking remind yourself that if you hit the fast forward button on your relationship to get married faster or have kids faster, you’re taking a big risk.
Ask yourself if you will truly be happy in the long term with this man? Do you want to put your children through a divorce? Do you want to put yourself through heartache in the long term? You have to make sure that the man you are dating is worthy of being the father of your future children and worthy of being your husband or long term life partner.
Take a deep breath and ease your anxiety. Allow yourself to really get to know this man you are dating and enjoy your time together. And give him a chance to get to know you so that you both can figure out if you are a good match.
2. Find out if he is serious about marriage and children.
A lot of men these days don’t want kids. Some men want to be eternal bachelors and don’t want the responsibility of having to take care of a wife and child. Make sure you both are on the same page in regards to having children. If he isn’t sure about having kids, are you sure you want to wait around for him to figure it out? What if one year from now he tells you that he has made up his mind and he definitely doesn’t want to have any children. Where does that leave you?
Another year older and you have to start looking for someone new all over again. If you are in a relationship, sit him down and have an honest conversation about what YOU want and what YOU are looking for in a relationship.
If you aren’t in a relationship yet and are going out on first dates, ask the men what they are looking for. Don’t be shy. You owe it to yourself to make sure you aren’t allowing anyone to waste your time. Tell them you want to have children and you feel ready for children and it’s just a matter of time of finding the right man to have those children with.
If they get scared and never call you again, ask yourself if you would rather have wasted your time dating this guy for 6 months or more and only then would have found out that he doesn’t care to have any kids or he doesn’t want to have kids any time soon.
You owe it to yourself to let men know up front what you are looking for and if he is mature and serious about having a family, he won’t be afraid to tell you that he is looking for the same thing.
3. Date multiple people at once until you find one of them to be worthy of your commitment.
If you met a guy who seems so wonderful and you don’t care to go out with any other guys because you just can’t stop thinking of him --- STOP right there! You just met. You don’t really know if he really is all that wonderful. Maybe he is truly wonderful and maybe he is even more wonderful that you initially thought him to be.
You have to give yourself a chance to date others and see if any of them are a good match for you. Don’t put all your eggs in one basket – no pun intended! Give yourself a chance to really get to know this seemingly wonderful guy before you go assuming that he is The One.
Dating multiple men at once will allow you to keep your head leveled and not fall head over heels faster than you should. Don’t mistake lust for love. If after about one month, you see that he really is great and you want to give your relationship with him a chance, then let the others go and focus on him.
Jacklyn Bystritsky, LCSW – www.psychotherapistjackie.wordpress.com
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