Relationships don’t last forever and death, divorce or separation are challenges that many people have to face during their lives. While they might not have expected to be single again in their 50s or 60s, it does happen to a lot of people. For many, this situation involves having to make the choice of staying single or getting back into the dating game after your previous relationship has ended.
It’s not a decision to be made lightly as there are a range of emotional and financial issues you should consider. You can suffer as much emotional pain at 58 as you did at 18 and a failed relationship at this stage of life has the potential to be financially painful as well.
With that rather depressing warning hopefully considered, if you decide that you’d like to try dating again, it’s probably a good idea to think about the following points before you start.
Can you leave past relationships in the past? It’s important to grieve after a relationship has ended. You may go through the stages of shock, denial, anger and sadness. It’s only when you reach the stage of acceptance that you are ready to start dating again.
Have you learned some valuable lessons? It’s important for you to be able to identify what was good and what was not so good about your past relationships. Have you identified what warning signs/danger signals there might be?
Do you trust your instincts? When you feel uncomfortable or have nagging doubts about a situation or person you should feel comfortable and confident to ask questions and seek clarification. Can you set clear boundaries?
Do you know what qualities are important to you in a partner? What do you value: honesty, trust, independence, reliability, affection, outgoing personality? Think about what’s really important and what’s not.
Ask yourself if you have balance in your life. Do you have a good mix: friends, work, family, hobbies, interests, exercise and community involvement? Don’t go looking for a crutch.
Do you have a positive outlook? Are you grateful for the good things in your life? Do you feel optimistic about life in general? Are you ready for new experiences? Can you live in the moment and not dwell on the past or project too far into the future?
If your answers to these questions make you feel pretty confident, then you’re probably ready to start dating again.
All of these issues are covered in more detail in our book A Holistic Guide to a Happy Retirement. You can find it on our website, www.retirementbooks.com.au