This is a public service to my compatriots who find themselves poised at the edge of the dating pool in their mid-40s. It’s an encapsulation of the advice you read online or receive from the well-meaning or not-so-well-meaning. It is in no particular order.
- Get a job.
Done! Mission accomplished! Bring on the eligible suitors! I admit to being more than a little floored by this one, then I looked at many of my contemporaries and realised that they stayed home with their children while their (now ex-) husbands worked. Going out there and getting even a part-time job is a major step towards self-sufficiency I’ve had for most of my married life. To that I say huzzah my sisters and welcome to the workforce, but don’t expect to get dates out of it.
- Join a gym
Apparently people hook-up at the gym? Not me. I go to the gym to exercise and get out of my head for a couple of hours a day. Besides, the gym is a microcosm of my neighbourhood. Most members are either in their 20s or 60s, there are few members in my age bracket.
- Put yourself out there
So I can watch my hypothesis that 90% of men chase the same 10 women be proved in real-time? The scientific method in action! No thanks. I’m not there yet. Right now the wounds are still very raw. I get daily reminders of my own invisibility which reinforce my reluctance to put myself out there.
I tried online dating once. I had two responses and one date in two years.
- Be yourself
Be yourself! Just understand that that self is perfectly groomed, immaculately dressed, feminine within the standard of beauty, funny but not too funny because no one wants to date a clown, sexually you’re,”…like Dora the Explorer, but your passport is just filled to the brim.”
Well, you know what? I am a smart, funny, sexy, educated, unabashed feminist, woman, homeowner, who has great style and good manners. I’m a witty, cultured, urbane, sophisticated, baseball lover and hockey fanatic. I am tall and lithe and I am so much more than the sum of my parts. But I am “middle-aged”, with super-short red hair, and black glasses (I joined the profoundly visually impaired this year so no contacts for me), so nothing else seems to matter.
- Think/Be positive
- Date younger
- Date older
- Find a man in his 60s who wants to settle down.
I’m only 46 and I don’t want to settle down. I’m already settled. I have a career and I own a home.
- My friend got involved with a married man…
I don’t do adultery
- They broke up and she didn’t have sex for five years…
How is this helping?
- Then she met a nice guy.
Let me see if I heard this series correctly, you’re friend got involved with a married man. After they broke up she didn’t have sex for five years, and then she met a nice guy.
- There are plenty of guys in their 40s who are single.
I hear this from friends who do not live here. There may be tons of single men in their 40s in Atlanta or DC or Seattle, but not here. Here men marry, move their families to the suburbs, and stay there.
- Go to places where men are: bars, grocery stores.
Married men and men with partners go to the grocery store with their wives/partners. Single men use Instacart or Blue Apron. As for bars, I like dives where the food is good.
Of course, not all the advice is terrible
- Sweetie, this is a death. You are going to grieve. You need to mourn your loss.
- Get this vibrator and get this book and take care of yourself first.
The vibrator is not working out as well as I had hoped. The noonday demon pops into my head and asks why are you bothering to fantasize. You’ll never get this. And when you’re straight like me, there is nothing quite like a man.
- This is going to hurt. The hurt may not go away, but you will handle it better and it will change.
This has been mostly true. Some days I handle my grief better than others.
- Take a moment and look at all you’ve done since September. You’re doing incredibly well and you should be proud.
- Don’t be so hard on yourself.
- Find your people.
- Go out there and have fun and forget about everything else.
- Get a therapist.
- Just because people give advice doesn’t mean you have to take it.
- There are so many people who love you, but you’re in so much pain you can’t see it. It’s ok. Lean on your friends.