Today’s guest blog is from YourTango relationship expert Ronnie Ann Ryan, who disputes some popular yet false beliefs of single women. I have heard many of these comments made by girlfriends and acquaintances over the years. While Ryan focuses this on women over 40 — I feel women under 40 should also read this one.
If you are a single woman over 40, you have a love history. You’ve been in relationships before and you may want one now, but for whatever reason you haven’t found the right person yet. Maybe you’re divorced and frustrated with dating or haven’t ventured back out to the dating pool. You could be a widow and unsure of ever finding another man like your husband. Perhaps you were in a live-in or long-term relationship that ended, so you’re single again.
As a dating coach for women over 40, I know finding love the second time around (or even the first) is not easy. Still, people fall in love every day and many of my clients do find that loving man. So what’s the problem?
This might seem harsh, but you are likely telling yourself several lies about love that are hurting you. These negative beliefs prevent you from connecting, or worse, stop you from even looking. Clients come to me with these limiting ideas about dating, love and men and it’s my job to help them turn things around.
Here are some of the lies you may be telling yourself that are preventing you from finding love.
1. All the good men are taken. This is what I hear most frequently from clients. However, thinking about this statistically, there just have to be good single men available since half the adult population in the U.S. is single. Men get divorced for the same reason women do; they grew apart from their wives, the wives cheated, or circumstances just changed. Some men had their hearts broken earlier in life and are just recovering and ready. There are lots of reasons why good men are single and looking for a woman like you. The fact is that now, more than any other time in history, there are a lot of people in their 40s, 50s and 60s who are single and looking for love. So don’t believe that there are no good men out there!
2. I already had my one shot at love. Widows often believe this, particularly if they had a wonderful relationship with their husbands. They come away thinking that they will never find such a good man again. However, this is exactly the reason why it is possible; if you found great love once, you can certainly do it again. You have the track record for success. Consider your circumstances differently and recognize that you are a magnet for love, since your energy is filled with loving thoughts from your past.
3. Looking for love is not worth the trouble. Dating is tough and you may reach a point when you feel that it is too exhausting and too much effort. But that feeling is just a symptom of your belief that you don’t think it’s possible to find love. On the other hand, if you really believe that you will find love, then you know every man you meet brings you one step closer to finding the right man for you. I dated 30 men in 15 months to find my adorable husband. Was I ever sad, disappointed or disgusted? Of course! But I would remind myself that I was on the path to find love and nothing was going to get in my way. So nothing did. It took dating 30 men, but it was completely worth every bad date and heartbreak along the way. Dating is a process.
4. If the guy’s not a 10, I can’t be bothered. If you feel this way, you will surely be single for a long time! After 40, the chances of Mr. Right knocking on your door are zero. You are going to have to get off the couch and do your part to cross paths with lots of men. Dating is a numbers game so the more men you meet, the better your chances for finding the love you want. Will every man you meet be perfect? Of course not! Most of the men you meet will not be right. But you don’t need them to be because you only need one. In addition, no man is perfect (and neither are you). The perfect man does not exist; he is a myth and a fairytale. However, I guarantee there is a man who is the right one for you. Get over this idea of perfection or you will stay single.
5. He’s not as great as my girlfriends. I’m often surprised when a woman compares the men she dates to her girlfriends. Seriously? How could a man ever compare to your girlfriends? Men are not like women! They are dramatically different. We are not brought up the same, we have different innate skill sets, and our brains are wired differently. We may be equals, but that does not make us the same. Expecting a man to be like your girlfriends means he is bound to fail. Most men will never be as thoughtful or have the same depth of understanding as your girlfriends. However, that doesn’t mean that men don’t have their own amazing contribution to make to your life. The right man expands and enhances your life in ways your girlfriends never will. My advice is to let go of this idea, because it will prevent you from finding the love you want.
6. Most men are liars, cheats, and players. Women who have been burned by a man (or know people who have) tend to believe this, which I can understand. As your dating coach, I ask you to consider whether it can really be true that all men are like this. Mathematically, it is just not possible. There are definitely men who do not cheat, lie or refuse to settle down. Personally, I found a man who is not like that and I have many clients who have also found a fabulous, moral guy. When you believe that all men are terrible, you will look for evidence that your viewpoint is correct. If you believe men are wonderful, you will see examples to support that. Start looking for examples of quality men and you will notice that they are all around you.
7. I never meet any interesting men. After 12 years of being a dating coach, one thing I know for sure about women who say this is that it’s not that they don’t meet interesting men — they don’t meet any men at all! These women usually aren’t active and don’t date much or interact with men. So it’s no surprise that they don’t meet anyone interesting. I was like this myself before I got serious about finding love. Another note about wanting someone “interesting.” I’ve noticed many women find nice men to be boring, and bad boys to be interesting. Yes, a bad boy’s unpredictable and aloof personality does make him intriguing and you want to unravel the mystery. He becomes a challenge for you to win over. However, a bad boy won’t change his stripes for you and won’t be good relationship material. If you insist on dating bad boys, count on heartbreak and torturous love affairs that do not satisfy.
8. There aren’t any single men where I live. One of my clients, Sally, insisted that all of the men in her town were married. This is similar to the #1 lie that all the good men are taken, but with a local spin. Granted, some areas do have more married than single people. But overall, 50% of adult Americans are not hitched, so they must live near you too. Through coaching, Sally, who had lost her ability to notice men, was able to open her eyes to the ones around her and find one for herself.
9. Men today do not want a relationship. Let’s refer to Lie #6 about all men being liars, cheaters, and players; obviously, generalizations don’t hold much water. While not all men want a long-term relationship, there are certainly some who do. If you want love, you need to do your part to meet plenty of men and screen them. Coach Amy Schoen says one way to know if a man is serious about finding love is the way he talks about his life and dating. For example, if the guy you meet mentions moving or how much he loves women, he’s probably not ready settle down. If he says he’s tired of dating, he might be more serious about finding love. There are definitely men out there who would be thrilled to fall in love with you, but you need to do your part.
10. I don’t have time to date. This is something women tell themselves constantly. Yes, I know you are busy. But you make time for what you decide is important. To find love, you’ll need to make it a priority. Carve time out of your calendar at least once a week to meet new people. If you cannot do that, you don’t really want to find love. When I was looking for my husband, I went out at least once a week to a singles group or dance. Plus, I met men through personal ads (online dating was not popular yet in 1998) and had at least one coffee date, if not more, every weekend. You need to create the space in your schedule to find the love you want. If you say you just don’t have it, I understand. But you also need to admit that love is not a priority for you. There is no shame in that because finding love takes effort and requires a strong desire to take the necessary steps.
I hope reviewing these lies opened your mind to new ways of looking at dating over 40. Once I found love, I dedicated my life to helping single women over 40 make that dream come true for them as well. Since I found love, and many of my clients have too, I know you can do it!