(Dad at 97 with his Lady-Love)
Most likely, you belong to one of these three general categories when it comes to romantic love and companionship:
- You have a wonderful partner.
- You’re happy without a partner, thank-you.
- You miss the wonderful relationship you had at one time, and are looking find the right person so you can be part of another one.
If you are in the first category and have a healthy, happy marriage or long-term relationship, then my advice to you is to make the effort to do everything in your power to keep that relationship strong and healthy; you are very blessed. For many men and women, being in love can enrich their physical and emotional wellbeing beyond measure—and according to some studies, may even contribute to longevity.
If you are single and love being that way, well that is terrific too. Enjoy expressing your unique personality to the hilt—paint those living room walls copper if you want; have a bowl of cereal for supper if you are too tired to cook; spend an entire afternoon at an Avant guard art exhibition do any dam thing you feel like doing, and it’s all okay.
Now let’s say you are looking for love. Perhaps you widowed, divorced, or the other half of a breakup that you didn’t see coming when you first fell in love. You long to have someone by your side once again, but of course, it has to be the right someone. You probably have tried online dating sites, where you may have even met a lot of nice “potentials” but no one who really who hit the home run to your heart (the online oddball phenomenon is another subject entirely J).
If you are among the looking—or at least hoping—to find love, a “retro” solution might be just the blueprint that works, if up to this point nothing else has. Like everything else we discover in the autumn of our lives, sometimes the old tried and true, the simplest ideas that worked in the past, yield the surest results.
Think back to a time when people still got out into the world and looked each other in the eye. Think how you used to socialize in days gone by. Think of the interests you’ve had most of your life, and the places or events you would gravitate towards, where like-minded people gathered. Maybe you love musical concerts, art galleries, museums, coffee bars, libraries, bookstore browsing, antiques, or history lectures. Make a list of the social activities and events you enjoy, and then get busy looking in your local paper’s Event Calendar. Plan to attend at least two or three of these events a month by marking them in your monthly planner. Then follow through. Go with a smile. Start a conversation with someone next to you or during intermission. Keep it light and non-desperate sounding. Comment about the event, or the exhibit and from there see where it goes, with the goal of just having fun, even if it goes nowhere. We learn something from each person we talk to, and even more from each person we listen to.
Psychiatrist Silvano Arieti and his son James wrote a few concise suggestions in their book “Love Can Be Found”, published in 1977 by Harcourt Brace Jovanovich. I find their ideas perhaps even more of value now. See if any of them might be right for you, if you want to find love.
- Overcome your personal fears. By that was meant the fear of rejection, the fear of commitment, the fear of not finding love. Once you decide you are open to finding love, you must gather the courage to follow through.
- Believe in your self-worth and dignity. Know that you will make someone a wonderful companion, and do not think you have to be perfect in looks, intelligence, or in any other way. Have faith in your own value and the dignity to acknowledge your limitations with graciousness and humility
- If you want love, realize it is not about to come knocking a your door. You need to actively put yourself in settings where you at least have a likelihood of meeting a partner. Socializing, by the way, is uplifting in its own rite.
- Don’t look for the impossible. While you shouldn’t “settle” for someone who is not right for you (or who is not “right” period); neither should your expectations be that you would find someone who is perfect–because none of us are.
- Don’t rush to accept or reject someone. Sometimes people are nervous in the beginning. Other times, though they may not be a physical attraction at first, charm eventually makes a person more attractive in our eyes. Give him/her a chance before saying NEXT.
- Don’t misrepresent yourself. You want a person who is RIGHT for you, so why would you pretend you are someone you are not and preclude any chance they will be a match for the real you?
- Ask yourself if there is a repelling pattern (rejection) that YOU need to work on. Are potential partners telling you the same thing that perhaps you do all the talking, or you look bored when they are talking? Do you have a laugh that a potential partner might liken to fingernails across the chalkboard? While you should not try to be someone you are not, that doesn’t mean you should try to be YOUR personal best. We all have minor (or major) flaws we can work on to improve.
- Don’t expect success every time. Take your time and enjoy meeting new people and getting out there. You don’t have to rush into anything, especially when you know you are fine and can love your own company. Look at dating as a fascinating chance to meet new people. There are no losers when you decide to just enjoy the process. And who knows, one day, there may be that one person…who makes your heart flutter again.
Where do YOU stand in the search for love? Perhaps you have found it and would like to share how it happened for you. I would LOVE to read your comments. Please “Like” this post and share it with anyone you think might find it useful.
© Raeleen Mautner, LLC