Liz is a client from NJ who is a widow over 60. She’s just starting to get back out there and dip her toes in the dating waters. We had an interesting over 40 dating coaching session yesterday.
First I congratulated Liz on getting out there. She attended a dance, went to a few lectures, and enjoyed a friend’s party. She is taking the steps to expand her social network. She ran through her list of events, reporting the news. but that’s not how coaching works. I wanted to find out her reactions to the events she attended.
She talked about the singles dance and mentioned she felt at the tail end of the age range for the group. However, Liz also stated that the men didn’t seem to be the caliber she is seeking.
“Oh really?” I responded. “How do you know?”
Liz actually didn’t have much to say. When I hear my over 40 dating coaching clients make a comment like this, it makes me very curious as to what the person really means. I have found most often, this is a sign that the client is not as open as they could be or perhaps not ready to date. I told Liz about this theory and she wanted to know more.
She felt the men weren’t right for her, because most of them didn’t have sports coats on. Instead they were more casually dressed with slacks, shirts and ties, but no jackets. I explained to Liz that today, people do dress more casually, but this wasn’t necessarily meaningful anyway. The only way you know someone isn’t’ of the caliber (unless the dress gap is far more obvious than just no jackets) is to TALK TO THEM.
Shocking isn’t it? When you judge people at an event, you in essence keep them at a distance. You create a wall separating you from getting to know them by saying they are different than you. Even if you may be right, how do you know for sure they aren’t good people or know someone who might be right for you?
Thankfully, Liz is a very open-minded dating coaching client. She admits that she hasn’t been out there since her 20’s – a long time ago. Liz was gracious enough to thank me for pointing out her possible limitation. Then we went deeper.
I asked Liz why she felt it was best to put up that barrier? Liz replied that she fears rejection. Can anyone relate to that?
To date is to risk rejection. Its a simple fact. You cannot attract an emotionally available man if you are not emotionally available yourself. Liz and I talked about how she might not be totally ready yet for full-fledged dating. However, she can take the pressure off by shifting her agenda to simply meeting and getting to know men.
Ah- ha! Liz was thrilled with this idea! She felt this change of focus would help her practice her flirting and conversation skills. And she wouldn’t have to worry about other things that will come down the road, because she doesn’t have to go there yet. This new found freedom helped her relax and feel excited again about the dating process.
If you are just getting back out there – don’t’ put the pressure on yourself to find the right guy immediately. It is unlikely, although it has happened. Instead, focus on meeting lots of new people, men and women. You will gain confidence and grow more comfortable in these new social situations. Then, you can move on to traditional dating with greater strength and success.
Watching Liz open up to the possibilities is a heart-warming experience,. I am so glad to be there for her, to answer questions, and provide a new angle on thinking that facilitates her over 40 dating journey.