Ok, so you’ve had some time to complete the assignments in the previous post, and what did you find? Did you see any patterns there? Have you been dating people who are just like your dad, or just like mom? Has your fear of abandonment led to staying too long in bad relationships, or cutting out early before they leave you first? Is no one good enough, or perfect enough to live up to your expectations? Did either of you cheat or lie? Did you find your relationships ended with too many screaming matches, or in a cold state of silence and indifference? Are you basing your choices on the shallow pursuits of how successful or attractive your partners are? Were you or your partners too into drugs, drinking or going out night after night? Was there physical or emotional abuse? Were you or your ex-partners too all about yourselves in the relationship? Without taking the time to examine your previous relationship patterns, you will never understand why you are where you are. So now comes the hardest part – doing the work!
I know what a lot of you are thinking: “Finding a good relationship shouldn’t take work, it should just come naturally.”
Well I’ve got some bad news for you, sunshine, you’re out to lunch. With an attitude like that, you might want to pre-subscribe to a ‘How to Find Love Over 50’ blog because this one isn’t for you. Doing the work, and facing your past patterns, is a key part of moving forward and finding the love you want in your forties. Trust me, both my husband and I had plenty of things that we had to address before and after we met, after all, no one is perfect. Trust me, if you don’t have some issues you wouldn’t still be single. I am not trying to be harsh, I am trying to be realistic and help by telling you the things your friends and family won’t.
Make the Connections Between Past and Present
Here’s what I mean by that: If you find yourself in relationship in which there is always screaming and yelling, look back, was there always screaming in your childhood home? Is that why it’s where you feel the most comfortable? Alternatively, was there always a cold silence, which makes you welcome screaming and yelling as a form of attention, or indication of caring? The same examination goes for every other issue and pattern you found when looking at your past relationships. For example, are you always chasing people who are emotionally unavailable because mom or dad was distant or never around? Are you falling for people who live in a fantasy land because there are things you don’t want to face about yourself that self-absorbed people never notice? I’m not going to go through an exhaustive list because I am sure you get the idea. I am not a therapist, and this is not a therapy session, but I can tell you from experience that unless you do something about it, you are bringing all of your past issues and hurts to the table. To find love in your forties, this will never do.
How to Deal With It
There are seven very important steps in this part of the process:
- Decide You Are Willing To Do The Work
- Let Go and Accept
- Get Help If You Need To
- Believe the Love You Want Exists
Step 1 – Decide You Are Willing To Do The Work
I think you you’ve already decided that, after all, you’re still here!
Step 2 – Recognize
Step two is what the last two posts have been all about. It’s about looking at your own patterns, why you make the relationship choices you do and what you can do to stop repeating negative patterns. Remember, one of the most important parts of this process is to take responsibility for your own life choices. We all know that people love to lay blame, they blame others for their failures and for their relationships falling apart. This step is where we realize that we made the choice to be in our previous relationships. The person you were with didn’t make that choice for you. Even if they tricked you into it by getting pregnant – you decided to follow though with it, not them. So why did we make those choices? Why didn’t we just bail the moment we realized that the person wasn’t for us? Why are we blaming them for our own choice to stay? Most importantly, why did we choose someone who would cheat, lie, drink too much, be lazy, be abusive, not care, etc.? What was our first clue that the person was like this, and why didn’t we run then? Why did we expect them to change instead of simply changing ourselves?
It’s like this, a cat is a cat. That’s just what they are. So if you get yourself a cat, don’t freak out when the cat catches a mouse and leaves it the middle of the floor. After all, that’s what cats do, and you made the choice to get yourself a cat. What I mean by this is, if you meet someone at a bar and every time you go out with that person you go to a bar and that person gets drunk every time you go out – don’t be surprised when that person doesn’t change just because you are dating! In another example, if you meet someone you really like and you are attracted to them because they are very aloof and hard to get, etc., don’t be surprised if they stay distant and don’t become loving and attentive just because you want them to. In other words, don’t expect anyone to change into the person you want them to be just because you want them to. That person is a cat. This is not to say that some people won’t change because they love you, the point is that there is a very high likelihood that they either won’t change at all, or won’t change until they are ready to. That is why it is very important to focus on finding someone who is already right for you, and the only way to do this is to figure out what it is that you really want.
In the last paragraph I focused a lot on the other person, the other key issues to address are the ones that stem from you. What are the things about yourself that would like to address? Do you drink too much, yell too much, or are quick to judge or criticize? Do you throw things when you’re angry? Have you ever been physically or emotionally abusive? Have you ever cheated on someone, and if so why? Do you lie to people because you’re afraid of what they might think if you tell the truth? Are you driven by money or outside appearances, or are to too harsh and mean? Are you a nag?
If you are serious about finding love and happiness, your internal issues will also have to be addressed. Skipping this part of the process will not aid you in finding a lasting relationship, in fact, it is the most important thing to do. Let me give you an example, both my husband and I still liked to party in our thirties (as you can see from the pictures above), and it’s not coincidence that we both ended up in relationships with people who drank way too much. This was one of the many things we each had to recognize and correct in order to move forward with our lives. That’s not to say that we don’t drink, or never have a good time, it’s just not a weekly part of our lives anymore and we are no longer prone to drinking to excess. If you have reached your forties and want to believe there is nothing that can be improved on in your own personality then you should simply stop reading this, but if you want to find love in your forties – be prepared to do the work!
This brings us to the second part of Step 2, which is to recognize and decide what it is that you really do want and are looking for. This is the easier part of Step 2. Think of all of the things that you want in someone and in a relationship and write it all down. Also, think about all of the things that you don’t want in a person, or a relationship, and write all of it down. You will have to concentrate and focus on these things later on in the process. Then take a look at all of the things that were good and did work for you in your previous relationships. After all, not all of it was bad, was it? What were the things that you liked? What really attracted you to that person beyond their looks? What were the things that kept you in it? These are the things you will want to bring forward into the future.
In the next post we will continue through the steps, so stay tuned…