Tuesday, December 02, 2014

The New Bachelorette: Dating After 40 - Get Back in the Game

After taking quite a bit of a hiatus, I believe it’s time I got back into the game… the game of dating in the twenty-first century after 40. This makes round three??? Hopefully it won’t be three strikes and I’m out, but to be honest …dating is exhausting.

I made some mistakes in the first two rounds that I’m hoping I’m more wise to avoid the same curve balls this time. I’m learning to weed out the players, and how to spot something genuine, something worth fighting for.

Why did I use the word fight? Because every relationship is going to have ups and downs, and if it’s worth anything, it’s going to require a fight to make it work. I can make pretty much any relationship work, and the differences doesn’t come down to the guys – but to me, at least that’s how I’m looking at it. How much will I have to change to make it work? How much of me do I have to sacrifice to make room for someone else in my life?

Before you roll your eyes at that last statement, let me explain.

I’ve been alone for a while now. I needed this time. Though it’s often hurt, and has been extremely lonely, it’s forced me to take care of myself, to put me first, to give me the time to experiment, analyze, experience, and determine who I am, what I want, what I like, and what makes me happy. I love the woman I’ve become. I love all the new experiences I’ve jumped into and the obstacles I’ve leaped over. I regret none of them. I’ve faced death and learned to live. I’ve faced rejection and continued to love. I’ve had my heart broken, but realized it still beats – even battered and bruised. I’ve felt the earth shift beneath my feet and know what lightning feels like. If I felt it once, I can feel it again.

I’ve also learned a few things from my two earlier strikes… I’ve learned not to hold back saying what I feel, no matter the consequences. I’m not ashamed of my feelings, it’s who I am, it’s how I feel. I’ve tried to play the games, but I’m just not a player. It’s backfired. Every time I held back what I felt, not wanting to risk disrupting the relationship, I’ve watched what I wanted slip through my fingers like trying to hold onto water. By the time I found the courage to speak my heart, it was too late and they’d moved on to someone else.

I’ve learned to go slow. I really enjoy those early moments, the messages, the butterflies, the excitement of seeing each other, the flirtations, the getting-to-know you long talks, because those are beautiful moments. I wish they could last forever. For me, those are my most cherished memories – the funny, playful, innocent moments. My fondest memory is watching someone play a video game.

I’ve learned to walk away. I will never again be where I’m not wanted. I lived too long that way and for me it’s a deal breaker, no matter how much it hurts to leave. I will never chase what doesn’t want to be found. I’m devoted in everything I do, and to those I care about. I love my friends and their lives, their problems, their joys, their loves, their wants, their hopes, their dreams … all of it is important to me. I try to be their cheerleader and let them know and feel how much I love them. To someone I enter into a relationship with, I’d be even more devoted, supportive, a cheerleader, an advocate, a coach, a lover, every aspect of their life would be important to me and I’d protect it, do what I could to enrich it, and love them with all the love I possess – in honesty and faithfulness. But, the moment I feel I’m not wanted (I’m not talking about being mad at me – because I guarantee I’ll make you mad.. probably on a daily basis because I’m passionate and have an opinion – but I love a good verbal sparring – it releases endorphins), no matter how much it hurts and rips my heart out, if I’m not wanted, I will walk away.

If I knew, without doubt, that someone I loved truly loved me – wanted me – desired me in their life – that’s going to be one lucky son-of-a-bitch. I don’t NEED anyone. I’ve learned to take care of myself, fulfill my own needs, and to love myself. The person I let into my life won’t be because I need them or need anything from them, but simply because I WANT them, that I choose them, and I’d let them know by word and deed every day how much they’re wanted, they’re loved, they’re desired.

Well, it’s time to get back into the game. I’ve got the bat in hand. Let the dating begin.

Till next time,

~Bachelorette on Deck

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