A couple of weeks ago, we had the rare opportunity to go to a conference. It was no ordinary conference since Disney was the host. We were treated like royalty from a room at the Polynesian Resort to entertainment to food and, of course, Disney tickets! The gifts were abundant and all of this to simply get us in the loop for all the wonderful events, programs and new adventures they are cooking up for the world. Of course, as we had written about before, the most important was the Give a Day, Get a Disney Day program where volunteers earn a free day at Disney.
One of the best parts of this trip was talking with writers of all types. One of the first conversations we had was with the author of About.com Orlando beat, Theresa Johnston. The topic of conversation went from on-line dating to parenting to the topic of this week, starting over. We couldn’t believe we hadn’t written about it. No, seriously people, we had to go back in our archives to make sure since we knew we had discussed it umteen million times. So now that we know that we have totally neglected our core readership, here is the CoupleDumb take on starting over.
Lee says: As a chick in her 40s now, I can see where entering the dating scene at this point in my life would be daunting. By daunting I mean it would be a fucking nightmare with Freddy Krueger and Chuck E. Cheese running after me with a butcher knife and tokens. I do not think I am exaggerating when I say that by the time a human hits there 40s, you have a sense of what you like and don’t like. You are more settled and less malleable. You are flexible only up until the point where it fits into your general idea of who you are.
However, please do not assume my previous statement means that I believe that people over 40 are stuck. On the contrary! I know that the 40s is a freeing time where we start getting comfortable with the idea that we make the rules and we set the standards. We can look back at our younger years and see the wasted time on drama, poor boundaries and bad love. This is why the 40s is a great time to create a healthy relationship and find your partner.
Wait a second. Before you dive in and think I’m saying that 40+ers are ideal mate choosers, I will caution you that if you have not reflected on your past mistakes and you continue to hunt in the same backyard for your soul-mate, you will always choose the wrong partner. Love and war are not different in these respects. If you do not learn from your history, you are doomed to repeat it and a life unexamined leads you to the same assholes (of course I am paraphrasing Satayana and Socrates here). There comes a moment in your life where you need to decide that the way you have always done it is wrong and to continue to do the same thing and expect different results is not only the definition of insanity but stupid.
Then you have those who become reactionary. Those are the ones who need to have the exact opposite of what they had before. If your husband was an alcoholic womanizer, then you go after a teetotaling strict conservative who is so oppressive that you feel suffocated, making you long for the days where your husband would binge drink and come home smelling like whores. Reacting is as bad as shutting down all together. Some people feel that failing at love is tantamount to failing at life. They choose to take their ball and go home, never to love again.
Love is very possible the second or third or fourth time around, but you need to do some work before diving into the dating pool again. Think of it as stretching before exercising or taking a refreshing, tearful and insightful walk down memory lane before you let someone into your space bubble. Heart ache is not pretty but the upside of risking is the possibility of finding someone who worships you for the god or goddess you are. I like to think that’s worth the trouble.
Paul says: So, what I got from this post was that, if you are older than 39, you need to stretch before dating and do not hunt for your soul mate in your backyard. I assume that free-range soul mates are OK.