“Finding Love & Romance at Any Age!”
“Loving Relationships Yield Infinite Rewards”
One of our greatest needs as human beings is to feel spiritually, physically, and emotionally connected to others.
From cradle to coffin, it’s a known fact that people of all ages thrive far better when touched, talked to, cared about, and loved. In fact, the overall quality of life is greatly enhanced and improved by that special connection.
Yes, loving relationships yield infinite rewards, including many overlooked keys to happiness.
While healthy people are usually socially bonded and enjoy a better sense of well-being, socially isolated and lonely people often experience a sense of emptiness and declining health.
Haven’t we all read of studies which show that married people live longer?
Oh, there is so much power in love!
Since I am both widowed and divorced, I recall the initial scars of loss and grief, plus the dreaded fear of starting over again. And yet I longed for another rewarding relationship “with just the right person” to share my life with, to go places with, and to talk to.
I recall how uneasy I felt at first and how I kept putting it off–it seemed so much easier to choose emotional isolation over the fear of getting hurt.
But “No!” a voice screamed in my brain. “No, no, no! You must take a chance and put yourself out there!”
And so one day, I met David in a ballroom dance class—a waltz and rumba lesson, I vividly recall—on an ordinary Tuesday afternoon at a local senior center.
We quickly became dance partners, then dating partners. That was 10 years ago, and the rest is history…I’m happy to say that he and I have been together ever since.
Many of my senior contemporaries are meeting quality men and women every day on Internet dating sites and are learning to laugh and live again.
They report a better sense of belonging from having developed new close personal relationships. I feel that we seniors need to bombard ourselves with lots of encouraging “self-talk” by substituting “I’m too old to try something new” with “It’s never too late to discover someone new and wonderful!”
We all need purpose, friendship, supportive people, and loving relationships. By the way, volunteering is always a wonderful first step in making some new social connections–I urge you to give it a try.
Someone once said, “Don’t ask if it’s hard, ask if it’s worth it.” And, yes, it’s worth it!
So please keep at it and never give up. I sure am glad I put myself out there and attended that ballroom dance class…just think…it was just another ordinary Tuesday afternoon…
“When Friendship Turns to Love”
Friends first, and then lovers…isn’t that the way it should be?
More often than not, a relationship begins with casual dating. In fact, we often brush it off lightly, explaining “Oh, we’re just friends”.
Then one day, it hits us that our connection with our dating partner has skyrocketed from a comfortable level of companionship to a deeper richer bond called love. It happens all the time. Yes, it is perfectly normal for a sudden shift in the relationship to occur after many months–or even years–of friendship.
So what are the signs of this sudden shift? And how do we recognize when a close friendship has blossomed into love?
Well, we’re almost guaranteed to recognize it by the light-hearted euphoric feeling of well-being that overcomes us—a feeling that our life has been magically transformed. Of course, there are numerous other subtle (and not-so-subtle) indicators that the power of love has taken over and bloomed in our lives.
Consider the following. You pretty much know you have fallen in love when:
- You realize that you’ve become one another’s best friend. She’s the first one you call when you have exciting news to share…He’s the first one you turn to whenever you need a lift.
- You can no longer ignore a powerful surge in body chemistry and physical attraction which you feel for one another. (Chemistry is an essential part of any relationship.)
- You begin to read each others’ minds–there’s a stronger emotional connection between you now.
- You love to surprise, delight, and please your mate.
- You experience escalating emotions of tenderness and playfulness which you want to express.
- You long to see each other more often and talk, text, or email one another more frequently throughout the day.
- You feel an increased desire to connect on a deeper level and to share more of what’s on your mind.
- You love being together and feel you can express yourself freely.
- You may experience feelings of jealousy when you accidently run into your mate’s former love partner, causing you to ask “Who was she/he”?
- Your phone conversations last longer.
- You begin sharing mutual dreams and use words like “we” and “us”.
- Your life feels turbo-charged by an unmistakable air of magic!
So without even realizing it, all along the way you’ve been building one another’s mutual trust, confidence, and love.
No, the time has not been wasted, for there’s no better romance than a union built on the intimacy and closeness of a longtime friendship.
Combine that with an understanding of one another’s needs, mutual respect and loyalty, and you have some wonderful ingredients for love and happiness.
We all need love and companionship, whether we’re willing to admit it or not. After all, we’re living longer lives and there is nothing quite as wonderful and fulfilling as having “just the right person” to go places with and to talk to.
Life is an ongoing odyssey…we never know what’s right around the corner, including the very real possibility that a longtime trusted friend could end up being our perfect love mate. What a magical discovery it is when friendship turns into love!
“Overcoming ‘First-Date’ Jitters”
Do you happen to be among the millions who are seeking to calm those nerve-wracking “first-date” jitters? It’s easy to feel ruffled–even awkward, apprehensive, and shaky–when meeting or dating someone new for the very first time.
After all, no one likes to face possible rejection. And even though most of us have heard such well-intended advice as “Feel the fear and do it anyway”, such pearly wisdom doesn’t always seem to help, does it?
But in truth, a first date is not much different from other challenging first-time encounters which we seniors face all the time. After all, don’t we occasionally attend job interviews, place sales calls to customers, apply as candidates for training programs, or even attend meetings where we try to convince the committee to accept our product or ideas?
Since it will soon be springtime—the season of new beginnings–I would like to propose some new thought, namely three recommendations to help boost self-assurance and overcome “first-date” jitters.
After all, without a first date, you can’t ever get to the second or third. So please consider the following:
1. Be willing to step outside your comfort zone by using positive self-talk, much like I did when faced with the scary challenge of zip lining on a recent trip to Puerta Vallarta, Mexico. Part of my challenge involved arduous steep climbs in order to reach a series of eleven separate cables, each of which varied in length. We were then instructed to hang on to our pulley tightly, lean back, straighten our legs, then zip along each cable, one of which stretched across deep wide canyons with a darkened tunnel in between. At least twice, we hit speeds of 50 miles per hour!
And even though I knew I was wearing a backup harness for safety, at times the experience was still so terrifying to me—very much like dangling all alone mid-air above the Grand Canyon!—that I steeled my nerves by using positive self-talk over and over.
“I’m merely flying inside a small airplane, I’m merely flying inside a small airplane.”
It worked! Not only did I enjoy the thrill of flying without panic, but secretly enjoyed bragging about my experience later to my “worldly” college-age grandsons.
Similarly, whenever we’re faced with nervous “first-date” jitters, I suggest we tell ourselves something along the line of “Lucky me, I’m about to meet someone new and I’m just fine with however it turns out…I’m just fine with however it turns out…”
2. Be willing to risk trying something new, much like the author of one of the short stories from my new book, Hot Chocolate for Seniors. In “The Courage to Place the Ad”, Shirley describes how at first she was adamantly opposed to placing an ad in the “Senior-meet-Senior” listings in her local newspaper.
She finally overcame her resistance, however, decided to give it a try, and soon met a man she really liked—over the phone, that is.
But when the time came for the face-to-face “first-date” with Jim at a Black Angus restaurant, Shirley nearly backed out at the last minute because of nervous jitters.
Again and again, she argued with herself, “What on earth are you doing at this age?” Fortunately, she regained her composure in the nick of time, used positive self-talk, and showed up. And the beautiful pay-off is that Shirley and Jim have now been happily married for more than thirteen wonderful years!
3. Take the authority over your thinking. There is amazing power in our thoughts! But it’s up to us to take the authority over what we think. I urge you to tell yourself that there’s no harm in taking a chance and to assume an attitude that life is an ongoing journey, full of many wonderful unexpected surprises. Think positive thoughts and focus on how natural it feels to meet new people every single day. When it comes to a first-date, there really is nothing to lose, provided we’ve picked a safe and sensible place to meet in the first place, as Shirley did.
Do remain polite though if you decide to cut the meeting short—being respectful speaks well for your character. A simple tactful explanation such as, “Oops, I’m running late…must pick up a grandchild from school” is all that’s ever needed.
So I hope you will be willing to step outside your comfort zone by using positive self-talk, risk trying something new, and take the authority over your thinking.
What if Shirley had allowed fear to control her thinking? Would she have ever met Jim? Or known the joys of falling in love again?
And if things turn out to be disappointing, I urge you to always always always get back up, dust yourself off, and try again another time because life is full of infinite miracles and endless possibilities. For as Rev. Robert Schuller said, “Anybody can count the seeds in an apple, but only God can count the apples in a seed.”
by Jan Fowler
Can also be found on seniordating.org