Plenty of things about middle-age really suck. Waistlines expand, hair thins, skin sags. And then there’s all that stuff with the nether regions.
If you’re middle-aged and recently became single, issues like those not only affect how you see yourself, they can also impact your search for a new partner. There’s an understandable anxiety about the future, a lack of confidence in yourself, and a very natural inclination to grab on to someone, anyone, so as to not be alone.
This leads to the fairly common situation of a newly divorced person jumping right into another relationship, quite often with someone just like his or her former spouse. Chances are good you could point to a friend or family member who “remarried their ex.”
Rather than fear the effects of time and race to get ahead of them, I’d argue that single Boomers should slow down, embrace their circumstance, and appreciate the great gift that time has given them. A gift that, if used correctly, makes their search for a new partner so much more likely to be fruitful, and result in an excellent match.
That’s because now, in middle age, you can include actual history and accumulated facts in seeking a new mate. It sure wasn’t that way in your twenties; back then it was all hypothetical, and you had to project your future together based on scant evidence. But now, by recognizing the data that’s right there for the taking, you can be in a much better, much more powerful position as you make choices about a potential life partner.
Here are some examples of how that advantage can play out:
Family: The first time around, you likely asked yourself “Will my potential spouse make a good mother or father?” You could guess based on his or her family life, and what you thought of his or her parents, but that wasn’t much to go on.
Now, that doesn’t matter, as you won’t be having more children. Instead, your potential mate’s actual kids are right there to be evaluated. You’ll be able to consider your feelings for them, and theirs for you. Are they mature and self-sufficient, or might your new relationship be strained if your mate ends up supporting them emotionally and/or financially?
And if you’re a family oriented type who hopes to spend time with your kids, you’ll get a first-hand view of your children relating to your potential mate, and vice versa. If everyone gets along, great. If not, that could affect your thinking going forward.
Career and Financial: Back in your twenties, you may have looked for someone you thought would be a huge financial success, or who could support you as you pursued yours. Or you may have been focused more on quality of life or sense of purpose. Whichever, there were no guarantees — only speculation.
But now, thirty or more years on, there should be significant clarity on how things worked out for both you and your new mate. You’re also able to judge his or her level of happiness and career satisfaction, which will impact your relationship. Plus, you have a shorter, more realistic timeline until retirement, and the ability to actually plan for it. Of course, this assumes you’ll both open up and share financial details. If that trust isn’t there, well, that’s another point to consider as you make decisions going forward.
Interests: Back when you first got married, you and your spouse likely had very similar interests. Again, there was no way to know if those interests would stay in sync — you had hope, but no guarantee.
Now, starting over, you first get to rediscover what you truly care about now. Once you’ve done that, you’re perfectly positioned to find a mate who shares those same interests. Whether it’s someone with an online dating profile just like yours (“Hiking, Chardonnay, foreign films!”), or you meet actually doing the activity you share in common (a Bernie Sanders rally, a Donald Trump rant), you have the chance to find someone who matches with who you are now.
Fitness, Attractiveness, and Sex: Three decades ago it’s likely you were both fairly fit, equally attractive to each other, and definitely hot to trot (as the kids used to say, a long time ago). You hoped it would always stay that way, but you had no way to know.
Now, starting fresh, you can take stock of where you are in those areas, and search for someone who matches up. If you enjoy working out, wouldn’t it be great to have your lover join you in exercise, and in the shower after? Maybe your idea of strenuous activity is lifting the remote to point it at the TV — here’s your chance to find the special someone who can slump next to you on the couch.
Maybe you aged well; maybe time took an extra heavy toll. Regardless, this is your opportunity to discover someone you find hot right now, and who feels the same about you… or at least figures you’re the best he or she can do. And whether your preference for getting down (as the kids used to say, not quite as long ago) is daily, weekly, or every time there’s a total eclipse of the sun, finding a partner who thinks likewise will help create a successful relationship.
Boomers may be feeling the effects of time, but time is not the enemy of the single Boomer. By not rushing into a new relationship, and instead using the power of time to aid their search for a new partner, Boomers can accumulate important information and make better decisions.
This isn’t to say that finding the right partner is just a matter of entering data into a spreadsheet. These factors mentioned above are certainly outweighed by the more “natural” connections and attractions couples feel for each other. Nevertheless, the information gathered may move the needle one way or the other — perhaps just enough to push you into a relationship with “The One,” or keep you from someone who will soon become the next ex.