“Lonely but wary,” is how Carol describes herself. At 57, she’s run the gamut of relationship experiences. She’s been through two disastrous marriages and one miserable engagement. She’s dated guys who were cheaters and liars as well as some really nice guys who turned out to be essentially married to their careers.
She refuses to give up on love and spend the rest of her life alone, but she’s cautious and a bit pessimistic too. After all of the disappointments and betrayals, Carol is worried that she’s had her chance at a healthy love that lasts and it just didn’t happen. She’s afraid that her only choice is to either make the best of being alone or put up inevitable emotional pain in a relationship.
Dating can seem like a dangerous minefield at any age and especially so when you’re a mature single woman or man. At this point in your life, like Carol, you’ve probably had more bad relationship experiences than you would have liked and you aren’t sure if it’s even possible to attract the kind of trust and close bond you’ve been longing for.
You’re wiser than you were years ago which might also mean you’re guarded. When you do meet interesting and available men or women, you hold back. There’s an inner conflict raging where one part of you is intrigued to know more about this person while another part is dragging heels.
The last thing you want is to repeat the mistakes you’ve made before.
You don’t want to be vulnerable to a date who won’t honor and respect you. You don’t want to fall for someone who will end up hurting you. You don’t want to return to the misery of feeling jealous and insecure. You don’t want to open up your heart and have it trampled on (again).
Being cautious is actually a survival mechanism that can serve you. After all, you DID go through some difficult and maybe even traumatic experiences in the past. It’s normal to have questions and be hesitant.
But this can keep you stuck not only in pain and bitterness, but also all alone!
Our advice to singles over 50 (and those looking for love at any age), is to take an honest look at what happened in past relationships and learn from it. There are valuable lessons there, but you’ll only be able to see them if you keep an open mind. To view your past with blame, resentment or as if you are a victim obscures the learning.
And that often means you’ll end up repeating the same pattern in the future with someone else. These 3 tips will help you learn from what happened before so that you are free to now attract a partner who is right for you…
1. Clear your past.
You can’t literally get rid of your past. People have tried to pretend that they didn’t have certain experiences and it just doesn’t work. What you went through with your exes has helped to shape who you are today and how you interact with others and your world.
You can’t effectively deny your past, but you can clear it. To “clear” doesn’t mean erase. It’s simply a way to remind yourself that the past occurred, but that it doesn’t have to limit your present and your future.
Clearing can happen when you forgive your ex (and yourself) for causing pain. Clearing can happen when you stop making assumptions that “all” men will cheat or that “all” women only want your money or whatever beliefs you have.
Clearing provides you with the space necessary to attract a brand new experience…one that’s healthy and brings you happiness.
2. Soothe your fears.
When you do look back over your past, those places where you believe you made a wrong choice, said something damaging or acted unwisely, it’s likely that fear was driving you. Maybe you were afraid that if you didn’t say or do something your partner would leave you or be angry. Maybe your fears caused you to jump to a conclusion that was inaccurate.
Outward reactions of jealousy, mistrust, neediness, manipulation and efforts to control all tie in with fear.
To avoid past relationship mistakes, find out how to soothe your fears. So many of us run away or try to numb out when we feel afraid. Others of us go on the offensive and lash out when afraid. Instead, develop new habits that help you recognize when fear is driving you and then to truly care for and calm yourself.
A regular practice like writing in a journal will clue you in to your thoughts and feelings. This is a powerful tool for working through stressful thoughts and it lightens your emotional load.
3. Know what you like now.
A big mistake that people make about past mistakes is forgetting. They forget that they aren’t the same person they were before. They assume that just because they had particular preferences and dislikes then, they have the same ones now.
This will only bring you more dissatisfaction and pain!
You don’t have to use your journal writing to only process and release your fears. You can also use it as a place to clarify to yourself what you find interesting, enjoyable and engaging now. Have fun with this! Make a list of the qualities you’d like in a partner. Write down how you want to feel and the things you want to do in the relationship you’re on your way to attracting.
When you get clearer about what you do like now, you’re also not so focused on the frustrations and let downs of the past. You’re shifting your attention to where you are in your life now and to the person you are (and are becoming).
About the Author: Susie and Otto Collins are relationship coaches and authors who have helped individuals and couples (of all ages) attract and create connected, trusting and passionate relationships. Get their Automatic Attraction Secrets at www.automaticattractionsecrets.com