Years ago, when you were 18 and cute, perhaps dates came easily – or at least that is how you remember that time. Maybe you met someone your mama told you to stay away from, but you took a chance anyway. You figured that it was your time to experiment. If one situation didn’t work out, there were always those other fish in the sea. Now that you have been out of the dating game for some time, you aren’t sure where the fish are and you feel fearful at the thought of trying to catch one.
Finding “the right one” probably was not as easy as you remembered it from way back then, but as a midlife dater, you may have concerns or “fear factors” you did not think much about as a younger dater.
Fear of the unknown. Traditionally, people hooked up at work, school, church, or through common interest groups. If you work in a small office or don’t go out much, you might find it challenging to meet new people. Even if you regularly go to the same coffeehouses, or belong to a church, club, or gym, or consistently go to the same favorite restaurants, you may interact only with people you have known for years. If you are 40 and didn’t like the bar scene at 20, you probably won’t like it now. One alternative might be to try an online dating service, like Match.com or eHarmony. These new dating services attempt to match you up with persons of like interest. This can be a great way to get things rolling. Buying into the concept of online dating and dating services may require a new mindset.
Fear of rejection. No matter how particular you are about who you let into your life, the other side of the coin is how will someone else regard you? No matter how much you profess a “take it or leave it” attitude, you want to be liked, respected, and valued by the other person. You may be open to change, but you cannot transform into a different kind of person on demand, so you want someone who will embrace you for who you are today. You wonder if that will happen for you. Even if you had a relationship once, you wonder: “Will lightening strike twice?”
Fear of change. Fitting someone into your life can be challenging. If you have kids, a busy career, or care giver responsibilities, you might think that the logistics of dating are mind-boggling. How can you fit one more thing into your busy life? How will your kids react? Even if you are used to being on your own, will another person cramp your style or enrich your life? Undoubtedly, starting to date when you previously did not take time for a social life can require careful planning, but you should not deprive yourself of companionship because things are complicated.
How do you handle these fear factors? “Go for it” with abandon and ignore your fears? Forget about trying to date because it is too scary or too inconvenient? As we will see in Part 3 of our series on Conquering the Fear Factor of Midlife Dating, as a more seasoned veteran of life, there is room for both opening your mind (and schedule) to something new and to proceeding with caution.