I dated for many years, both before I was married and then for 15 years between marriages. So with over 25 years experience, I feel I’m somewhat an expert. I’ve also talked with women and men over the years about their dating experiences and have heard so many dating stories. So much of dating success is about timing. I’ve always felt there is more than one Mr. Right, but “Mr. Right” might not arrive at the “right time”.
Right after a divorce, most men (and to be fair, many women) are like frog princes (or princesses), emotionally wounded, unavailable, financially unsettled, and challenging. You can recognize them fairly quickly….the complain bitterly about their spouse (or last relationship), go on and on about the cost of the divorce, and in so many words let you know they are not ready for a relationship. Over time, most heal, often with therapy, and they may become the prince we initially hope for. However, it is important to recognize some of the signals I’ve seen about poor timing.
1. If they tell you straight away they aren’t ready for a relationship, believe them! This goes for behaviors that would indicate they aren’t ready, like wanting to date several women (and you’re ready for an exclusive relationship), heavy drinking or partying, or other distancing actions. Essential to a good relationship is both individuals being emotionally available.
2. They disappear for days or weeks and then tell you they are really, really busy, perhaps work is all-consuming, etc., yet they say they want to see you again. Their actions tell far more than their words. Believe what you see.
3. Their children are having serious behavioral/emotional issues and require an extraordinary amount of their time and focus. You are not their therapist, their care-giver, or their safe harbor. You may care, but being a care-giver while dating spells disaster. They need to be a parent first and foremost during the growing years.
4. You are the “transition relationship”. That is, you’re the first one they’re dating after the demise of their marriage. In this case, the messages are often very mixed. You look like an angel (and who doesn’t want to be adored?) compared to the horrible person they left. However, they haven’t yet become a whole person to themselves and are still incomplete and damaged, need to tell their sad story and look to you for comfort.
So, while you may have found Mr. Right, unless the timing is right for you both, proceed with caution. You want a relationship that is mutually rewarding and wonderfully fun!
By the way, I did find Mr. Right finally…at the right time for us both!
Won’t you join us in our upcoming relationships workshop—Tame the Tiger–Put the Passion back in your Relationships
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While on vacation recently, one afternoon my husband and I were in a brewery-restaurant. We sat at the bar enjoying a local craft beer and chatting with the bartender. He was a friendly young man about 27, recently had moved to the town, longish hair, tattoos on both arms, and very knowledgeable about beers. I was very friendly and we chatted and laughed about a variety of things, finding several topics of mutual interest. I was genuinely interested in him and his life and he knew it. After about an hour, a couple of beers and appetizers, we were ready to leave and pay our bill. Before he handed it to us, he said he’d comp’ed the beers for us both. Wow! Made my day! Of course, he got a very nice tip. What a wonderful gesture which I really appreciated. I haven’t had a drink paid by a stranger in a bar for years, and my inner 25 year old just giggled.
Awhile ago, Nancy loaned me a wonderful book I highly recommend, Ronda Rich’s What Southern Women Know About Flirting (favorite books) She does a great job of de-mystifying flirting, how it spices up our life and describes the effect it can have in our work lives, relationships, socially and enjoying a richer life. (Isn’t that what we all want?)
I’ve heard women of all ages tell me they either don’t flirt, don’t know how, think they are just too old to flirt or that it’s being dishonest. I take issue with each of these and here’s why. We are never too old to share a smile or laugh, small talk, or a compliment. It is not dishonest, it is kind, fun and a very human interaction. And no one is too old to flirt! (In Barbara Walters’ retirement tribute, there is a great clip watching her flirt with Clint Eastwood, and she still blushes when she sees it.)
What is flirting? It is a personal interaction that is fun, playful, lighthearted and helps to create or enhance relationships–all relationships. It simply makes others feel good about themselves and then about you. Flirting adds sparkle to a conversation, a party and one’s life. If you can play and smile, you can flirt.
I think people these days have become way too serious-minded about life, and forget to have fun and just enjoy one another. It’s not difficult and you don’t have to be young, beautiful or sexy. Just be yourself and connect with another person in a fun, kind, perhaps slightly sassy way if that feels right to you. I’ve known people in their 90’s who still flirt and have a sparkle in their eye.
In the book, the author describes three types of flirting—social, courtship and seductive. Her tips and descriptions are all very interesting if you need some guidelines. So, no excuses. It will definitely add some pizzazz to your life.
I encourage you to start by smiling more—at everyone all day. Put down your phone and actually make eye contact with anyone you see, confidently say hi and smile. Compliment the person, ask an intriguing question, smile and engage the person. I do this all the time. It makes for a more interesting day, and I’m encouraged by the response I get. So will you.