Being Vulnerable

Flowers Open Slowly…and So Do We

 

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We dived in! Took a deep breath over and over. Hung our hearts out to dry. Drank enough coffee at those coffee shops to need a teeth whitening…and we prayed, cried, gave up in despair, picked ourselves up, dusted ourselves off… and we met someone who looks just like the picture online and in our minds. Now what?

 

 

There’s enough oxytocin flowing to fill a koi pond and it feels like no time has passed when you are together. Eager to know this new person, you begin to ask him/her about life, love, children, work, plans for retirement, favorite foods, whether you want to thrash Donald Trump or plan to vote for him. The questions help you make some sense out of so much you don’t know.  Our minds want to evaluate, gather data and make judgments. Bless that mind’s heart. It’s working so hard to keep us safe. You gotta love it. And, you gotta watch it.

 

Meeting someone new that you feel attracted to feels like a miracle. It’s wonderful to finally have someone open a door, put his hand on your back when you cross streets and send you texts and photos of his dog. You want to connect, feel close and connected and one way human beings develop intimacy is through sharing stories that tell the other who they are. But how do we know which stories to share and when is the right time to share them?

 

When you meet someone new, remember that discovery takes time. Each person has history and by the time we are over 50, we’ve lived, loved and felt the pain of loss over and over. We are tender and more reticent to open ourselves to being hurt and disappointed yet again. It doesn’t mean we aren’t ready for love, simply that we are human and need to be treated with great tenderness.

 

I know that urge to want to know everything and to share everything that will help create the intimacy and closeness that I love in relationship. It’s tempting to ask or reveal too much too soon or to ask the new person in my life to share his history before he is ready.

 

How can we know what is too much? What have been your experiences that taught you the most about how quickly to reveal your story? Are there learnings that you will take into your next opportunity for a new relationship? Please share those in the comments section below and post this on your social media so that others can tell us their stories too.

 

 

It’s Just Lunch, Right?

 

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In two hours I am meeting a man I’ve recently met on Match for lunch at a trendy restaurant near my house. It’s a gorgeous spring day and  you’d think I’d be happy, excited and curious, right? Well, I wish! Every single time this happens, my head feels like a tennis ball pitching machine and even though I know it’s just a date it still sets all kinds of  feelings in motion and  every single time I am completely surprised and bewildered.

 

Though we can tell ourselves it’s just a date we all anticipate, hoping that this time we’ll see the fireworks or at the very least enjoy each other so much that before we know it, hours will have passed. What would it be like if we didn’t have that sense of possibility? How can we feel the hope without ending up crushed and disappointed when we leave with a handshake, knowing that we are back in the koi pond? Repeat after me…

  1. Just show up as yourself
  2. See yourself meeting a new friend
  3. Stay in the moment
  4. Listen to him/her and to what you are feeling too
  5. Even if he/she isn’t the one, note what you liked about them as a way to continue to be clear about what’s important to you in a partner

If you do these things when you do find that special someone you want to be with, it’s a great beginning to building and sustaining a long term  relationship. So, practice each time you meet someone for the first time.

 

So, I am putting on my sweater! I’m going to go with hope because past experience confirms that even if I need to apply more lip balm and kiss more frogs, someone is out there that has that same hope and determination to keep looking.  Wish me luck!

Be Careful of the Lure of “There Could Be Someone Better”

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When we are in a long-term relationship and the pink cloud has long sense disappeared, the real work of relationship begins. If you are fortunate enough to have found that special someone, be aware that Phase II is worth the work if you love them.

 

If you are still in the dating “adventure” stage and online dating is a choice you made to have more options, good for you! I believe deeply that as we get older and no longer have more natural gathering places like school events, our kid’s soccer games;etc. finding a partner can be much more challenging. But, there are a plethora of huge landmines in the online dating playing field.

 

Choice is a wonderful thing and online dating certainly provides us with endless photos of men and women of all sizes, shapes and interests. I’ve often said how nice it would be if we could cut and paste the perfect mate from that buffet of choices. Alas, we can’t and if we aren’t careful, we develop what psychologists call “cognitive overload”.

 

One day we see someone who really interests us. Who knows what it is? Perhaps it’s the smile, those eyes, the photo of the dog…but something says, “I want to meet this person”. So, we screw up the courage as they say, to send them an email. If you are sending winks or nods or handshakes or likes or rose icons, you’re not communicating that you really want to meet them. You’re just fishing and hoping they will do the risk-taking. So, email them! It really says what you feel and, of course, there’s never a guarantee they feel the same. But one day, you hear back from him/her and yep, there’s something happening. Both of you email a few times, then decide to meet for coffee, lunch or a walk to see just what’s up with the attraction thing. And, you’re off!!!

 

But wait!  You’ve got 48 hours before you meet them and who knows? There might be someone else better online today in those “matches”! Back on you go and sure enough, two more faces that make you curious…and on and on and on. You go back to check out their profile to “reevaluate” the person you’ve agreed to meet and there they are, screen screaming, “Online Now!”. How does it feel? Yes, you’ve been online too, but somehow, it just feels bad to see that they’re still looking.

 

Dating sites provide choices galore, but beware of the addictive nature of endless choice, and of cognitive overload. When you find someone you think is worth meeting, be courageous and contact them. Get together as soon as possible to check out your intuition, and then stop to appreciate the feeling of having found someone with mutual interests and attraction. Be aware of the temptation to overdo it at that love buffet. Stop and savor the moments and the people you’ll meet along the way.

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