After Divorce: The #1 Reason to begin Dating


Dating after divorce – especially after a long-term marriage (termed “grey divorce” – and I despise the term, too, but work with me on this…) – is enormously scary.I don’t want to do it, either. Nonetheless, take a deep breath, don your parachute and walk to edge of the abyss with me. We’ll hold hands and jump together. It’s time to date.

Here’s the number one reason I’m taking the blind leap of dating in January.

The meter is ticking – and I had to get shaken to see it.

As usual, December had stirred up sentimental wistful memories. It was hard as it always is when grey divorce is involved. We have a lifetime of reminiscences and nostalgia to sift through.

But, in mid December, an event burst into my life that rattled my heavyhearted cage. I was deeply shaken by the news of my best friend’s brother’s unexpected death. He was 69.

He was a robust guy – fun, brilliant (Harvard Ph.D.), and healthy. He’d recently fallen in love and they’d announced their plans for a New Years Eve wedding at the top of the ski lift at Heavenly at Lake Tahoe. Then, the ax fell. He fell ill with the big C. With his usual gusto, he opted for an aggressive experimental cancer treatment to save his life. Instead, he died.

The news shook me to my core. Not Jim. Couldn’t be.

Lickety-split, my lens on the world changed. As if someone reached into my brain and rearranged the wheels and cogs, I woke up: Life, our most precious possession, is so fragile and unpredictable. I quit feeling sorry for myself. I re-evaluated what I wanted.

I was tired of waiting for men in my life to “be ready” for commitment. Done with that! Life is too short. Now is all we have. I am going to find myself a guy who is fully committed to life – with me! “To Life! To Life! L’Chaim!” (from Fiddler on the Roof – watch the video and smile!).

Dating, here I come! How to begin? Make up your mind that it’s time.

I’m telling everyone I know: “I’m ready!”.

After that, it’s baby steps. Go online (yes, do it.). Meet for coffee. Hang out at places where your future partner might go.

Scared of what to say? Practice: start talking to the members of your sexual preference in the check out line at Whole Foods Market. You’ll never see them again, and your banter will be brief.

Nervous? Of course we are! It’s the unknown. After all, who – but Star Trek – has the courage “to boldly go where no man [or woman] has gone before”? YOU do! You can do this!

Yes, grey divorce has challenges that our younger counterparts don’t have. We have a lifetime of habits and rituals to honor. We have grown children and grandchildren in the mix. Our bodies have drooped. Some of us haven’t had sex in years. Our energy has dropped. Our time line is shorter.

Are any of these excuses for not dating? Not one of them.

I guarantee that the right partner is out there for you, if that’s what you want. Remember that dating is a process, not an event. You’ll kiss a lot of frogs before Prince (or Princess) Charming surfaces. Get started now. Take your time, but do it.

new dates on dockIn the meantime, the meter is ticking. Jim’s passing taught me that. I can hear him saying, “Get going! Time’s ‘awasting’”! What are you waiting for? Take my hand and we’ll lean over the edge ever so slightly. Here we go – jumping directly into a new exhilarating life!

Divorce Recovery? 4 Reasons to Cry Hard!

As I hustled down Market Street in San Francisco this morning, I was unexpectedly hit with that Wham! of missing him so deeply that it stopped me cold.

“Quit the drama!”, I told myself. “You will heal. This is part of breaking up. Be kind to yourself. You’re grieving. Give yourself time. It will pass.” Still, with all self messages and brave efforts I could conjure up – humming happy songs, whispering desperate meditations, walking erect and confident – the tears still welled up. As I walked along, I saw us in all the old familiar places. I missed him. Or did I hurt from the hole he left?

A man weeps his woman is leaving by taxi. Divorce separation love emotion crying

Either way, we’re all vulnerable to the emptiness we feel around divorce. It’s rough sledding – even for me, the coach who’s guided hundreds of women and men to rebuild strong, happy lives. I’m going through my own break up, and it hurts. Alot.

By the time I got to the office, my self support kicked in. I can do this! Yes, I can!

So, I decided to open my kimono and share my morning walk with you, who might also be recovering from divorce or a long term breakup: It’s damn hard work. Fighting the blues is exhausting. You feel as though there is no end to it.

Stop the presses: It does end! The blues do subside! I’ve seen it happen over and over. Think of yourself in a tunnel. You’re simply passing through. That sign outside the tunnel in Yellowstone says it all: The only way out is through. You’ve got to be in the dark for awhile before you get to the light.

I can’t make it go away for you, but I can help you navigate when you get caught in that swirl of sadness. Here’s what you need to know:

  1. Know that the jolt of melancholy will pass. Unfortunately, that heartache you feel is a necessary part of your recovery. Each time you ache, you move one step closer to your new life. Your heart is searching for how to heal. You can’t rush it. As painful as it may be, it’s actually very healthy. If you try to shove it down and ignore it, it will come back in years to come and bite you hard. So, do it now. Need to cry? Need to get angry? Let ‘er rip! Cry hard, get angry, punch a pillow – it’s your body’s way of releasing the angst, and it’s helping you heal.
  2. When you cry, get angry, or wail, time limit it. Actually set your timer for 30 minutes. At the end, wipe your nose, dry your eyes, and write down your sad thoughts in a journal, a “worry box”, and put them aside. Congratulations, you’ve just dumped them out of your brain.
  3. When you have an “up, happy” moment, notice it. Say to yourself, “Hey, look at me, I’m happy! Wow, it feels so good!” It may only last 4 seconds, but that’s 4 seconds that you didn’t have yesterday!
  4. Want to cry and can’t? Here’s a crazy one: for some folks, the deeper the hurt, the less they can cry. If this is you, add a little (just a sprinkle!) of drama: Check this out: It’s Billie Holliday’s original singing of I’ll be seeing you (in all the old familiar places). Here are the lyrics. Get out the tissue. Understand, however, that this is pure drama. But, honestly, weirdly, sometimes a little drama kicks in the tears. You cry. Then you can move forward. Red flag warning: Be sure you don’t buy permanent real estate in dramaland. Recognize it for what it is: a good pity party. When it’s over, move on. A good coach can help with this.

My favorite masseuse told me that tears release more toxins in your body than any other fluid – and that hard crying boosts your mood. Research bears it out: Take a look at Therese Borchard’s article in PBS’ This Emotional Life.

Your heart is mending. Consider your tears a miracle, a medicine, and a mood altering drug. It won’t remove the sadness for good, but it will propel your healing forward. Get out that Kleenex and have a healthy boo-hoo.

The Hardest Part Of Being Divorced And Over 50

By now, we know what we like and don’t like — whether it’s food, cars, style … or sex.

If you’ve undergone a painful divorce, I bet you’ve composed a list of things you tolerated with your former spouse, but no longer want to do with a new partner. For example, under sex, maybe it’s a position like “doggie-style” or a sex act you don’t like.

So tell me if this scenario sounds familiar: After going through divorce after 20 or 30 years of marriage, you’ve started dating again and have found someone intriguing.

Read more on Huffington Post

Divorced And Dating? 10 Tips To Survive His (Or Her) Family Over The Holidays

Three weeks before Christmas, I met my new boyfriend’s family in Sonoma. At the time, I was 61 and he was 66 years old.

As we approached the café, I saw his sister. She sat rigid on a stool, arms and legs crossed, scrutinizing me. Right before we walked up to her, my date warned, “My sister can be a little abrupt.”

Read more on Huffington Post

7 Tips To Ace The ‘Relationship Talk’

The dreaded, difficult “relationship talk.” By now, we’ve all had them, and they’re still hard to navigate. Whether they’re about money, sex or family issues, these talks make problems at the office look like a walk in the park.

The problem is eating you alive and you obsess about it everywhere — in the shower, in the car, at work. Even songs on the radio sound as if they’re about you.

Read more on Huffington Post

Starting Over After 50: Getting into bed with the dating game

You’re alone again… starting over.  You’ve taken that big step forward… you’ve decided to date. here you come!  You feel vulnerable, slightly insecure, and a tad off balance.  Welcome to the world of dating after midlife: it’s a weird combo of fun, surprise, great laughs – and downright intimidating at the same time.

I’ll bet you can identify with this: the first 3 dates with Bernie went really well.  A lot in common, mixed with giggling, profound discussions, hand holding, and a few little quick kisses.  This is the fourth date and he’s delivered you to your doorstep.

You’ve got a lifetime of wisdom and savoir-faire, and yet, here you are standing on your own front doorstep, seeing yourself like an awkward teenager in a movie scene.  Do I invite him in?  He’s intriguing.  Should I?  Shouldn’t I?  Believe me, he’s asking himself the same questions!

In any case, the question is: is intimacy with this man in the cards for you tonight?  The answer is different for every woman (and man) depending on your personal comfort level with this person and your background.  Rule #1 has not changed in the 40 years since you were a teen: Say no if you don’t want to!  It’s ok, and it honors your self-respect.   Wait until you both are ready.

On the other hand, if you feel a little tingly, and it sounds like an intimate romp might be fun, go for it!  From my years as a human sexuality educator, let me tell you: sex can be just as enjoyable and, in many cases, even more fulfilling than when you are younger.

Some crucial rules have changed, however, and you need to be aware of them so that the passion payoff for you is pleasure, not pain.  Here are the issues you really need to know about – and other dating sites don’t address.  Going in with eyes wide open will make for a sexier, more fulfilling, and safer evening for both of you.

How to Get Ready for Bed

Here are the top 8 non-negotiable tips for a safe and sexy evening.

Be flexible and keep your sense of humor:

  1. Your intimate routine and his won’t match at all, at first, I guarantee. You’ll fumble around comically. Expect it. Like you, he’s doing the best he can with what he’s learned. Expect surprises and create your own new intimate dance. Be patient.
  2. Remember, he has no idea what your preferences are. Communication is key. After your initial intimate interludes, open the conversation. Tell him what you liked and what you would rather sidestep. Ask him what he liked and what changes he’d like you to make.
  3. Keep your sense of humor: Bonnie, 69, had checked her make-up and decided she looked younger without her glasses, so off they came. Tonight would be their third date, and first real intimacy. Where’s the lube? She grabbed the sample in the foil packet, then went off to Glen’s. Hours later, sheets move, hands wander, mouths connect, breath comes fast. Bonnie grabs the lube, rips open the packet, and lowers it under the sheets. Suddenly Glen stops. What’s that smell? Nail polish remover! Oops. Wrong foil product! Bonnie’s note to self: Keep glasses on when locating lube! By the way, Bonnie and Glen are still together – and still chortling over the foil packet episode.

On the serious side…

  1. Carry condoms with you. Our generation tends to rebel against using condoms, mostly because of being in long-term relationships and skipping over the AIDS epidemic. Today, the threat of getting infected is alive and well. The 55+ population has one of the fastest growing HIV diagnosis rates.
  2. Learn to ask if your new sex partner is clean, meaning clear of any STIs (sexually transmitted infections). Most women shy away from asking. It’s tough to do, but it can literally save your life. Here’s the question to ask: “Are you clean from STIs?” or “Do you have any STI’s?” It takes 2 seconds to ask. A STI lasts a lifetime – and you have to tell every man you ever have intimacy with, about it. I vote for the 2 second investment of asking. If you don’t know him well enough to ask, it’s not time for intimacy, yet. He’s most likely free and healthy. Nonetheless, please ask.
  3. Carry lubricant. Women’s natural lubrication lessens after menopause. Use lots of lube. It makes all kinds of intimacy  possible—and pleasurable. No lube? Use saliva. Yes, it’s ok.
  4. Understand about men at our age. They’re worried about performance. Be considerate and patient. Things happen more slowly for them, too. (Men—ladies are worried about body changes. Things have shifted in the last 30 years. Be complimentary.)
  5. Think pleasure, not performance. Let go of the orgasm- mania you felt in your 20s and 30s. You can be just as happy (and so can he) without an orgasm. Yes, you can.

Intimacy after midlife is a wonderful relief after the pressures to perform of youth. Take your time, don’t take yourself too seriously, and enjoy your evening under the sheets. Don’t take health risks, however. Conjure up the courage to ask what you need to know. For more information about sexuality and intimacy after midlife, take a look at my book Sexperienced: Guide for the Seasoned Woman Seeking New Possibilities. Funny, poignant, and practical. Men love it, too!

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