I don’t want to do it, either. Dating after a long-term marriage (termed “grey divorce” – and I despise the term, too, but work with me on this) is enormously scary. Nonetheless, take a deep breath, don your parachute, and walk to edge of the abyss with me. We’ll hold hands and jump together. It’s time to date.
Here’s the number one reason I’m taking the blind leap of dating in January:
As usual, December had stirred up sentimental wistful memories. It was hard as it always is when grey divorce is involved. We have a lifetime of reminiscences and nostalgia to sift through.
But, in mid-December, an event burst into my life that rattled my heavyhearted cage. I was deeply shaken by the news of my best friend’s brother’s unexpected death. He was 69.
He was a robust guy – fun, brilliant (Harvard Ph.D.), and healthy. He’d recently fallen in love and they’d announced their plans for a New Years Eve wedding at the top of the ski lift at Heavenly at Lake Tahoe. Then, the ax fell. He fell ill with the big C. With his usual gusto, he opted for an aggressive experimental cancer treatment to save his life. Instead, he died.
The news shook me to my core. Not Jim. Couldn’t be.
Lickety-split, my lens on the world changed. As if someone reached into my brain and rearranged the wheels and cogs, I woke up: Life, our most precious possession, is so fragile and unpredictable. I quit feeling sorry for myself. I re-evaluated what I wanted.
I was tired of waiting for men in my life to “be ready” for commitment. Done with that! Life is too short. Now is all we have. I am going to find myself a guy who is fully committed to life – with me! “To Life! To Life! L’Chaim!” (from Fiddler on the Roof – watch the video and smile!).
Dating, here I come!
I’m telling everyone I know: “I’m ready!”
After that, it’s baby steps. Go online (yes, do it). Meet for coffee. Hang out at places where your future partner might go.
Scared of what to say? Practice: start talking to the members of your sexual preference in the check-out line at Whole Foods Market. You’ll never see them again, and your banter will be brief.
Nervous? Of course we are! It’s the unknown. After all, who – but Star Trek –has the courage “to boldly go where no man (or woman) has gone before”? YOU do! You can do this!
Yes, grey divorce has challenges that our younger counterparts don’t have. We have a lifetime of habits and rituals to honor. We have grown children and grandchildren in the mix. Our bodies have drooped. Some of us haven’t had sex in years. Our energy has dropped. Our time line is shorter.
Are any of these excuses for not dating? Not one of them.
I guarantee that the right partner is out there for you, if that’s what you want. Remember that dating is a process, not an event. You’ll kiss a lot of frogs before Prince (or Princess) Charming surfaces. Get started now. Take your time, but do it.
In the meantime, the meter is ticking. Jim’s passing taught me that. I can hear him saying, “Get going! Time’s a wasting!’” What are you waiting for? Take my hand and we’ll lean over the edge ever so slightly. Here we go – jumping directly into a new exhilarating life!
P.S. Stay tuned for more blogs on tips and techniques for dating after “grey divorce.”