Shalom Love With Stacie Ikka- How Do I Start Dating Again After SO Many Years?
Stacie Ikka answers readers questions about dating, relationships, and love.
Shalom Life readers love Stacie, but started having questions of their own that weren’t covered by her weekly articles. We were flooded with emails with questions for Stacie, so we decided to switch our format and give our readers what they want.
If you have a question for Stacie, email her at firstname.lastname@example.org. Every week, Stacie will choose one question to answer. Don’t worry- everyone will remain anonymous.
Inexperienced H asks:
I am a 40-year old woman with young children who hasn’t dated – ever – because I married right out of high school. I have no idea where to start, but I want to – I don’t want to be alone forever. Any suggestions you can offer would be greatly appreciated.
Dear Inexperienced H:
Thanks for your question. I can appreciate where you’re coming from. Dating is difficult, even in the best of times, and is certainly further complicated by divorce, parenting responsibilities and a lack of recent dating experience.
Let’s see if I can help break this down for you so this isn’t so overwhelming and daunting:
1) Establish your dating rules.
This is a good opportunity for you to become reacquainted with you: what do you like, what do you need and what you value? Do you know what your rules of engagement when it comes to dating? For example – is it important to you that the man pay on a date? Does a first date mean going for dinner or are you open to other suggestions? At what point are you comfortable kissing a man – on a first date, or not until a certain amount of time has passed? When can he meet your children – after what period of time? Will you meet him at your date place or will you allow/prefer him to pick you up?
2) Carve out time in your schedule
Presumably, if you have young children, making time for yourself is challenging on a daily basis. It’s important that you figure out when you will have time to date before engaging in any dating-related activities. Otherwise you could potentially contribute to a scheduling nightmare. After all, we are all juggling incredibly demanding and overprogrammed schedules. I had two clients – who I believed were “a perfect match” – never make to a first date because after three weeks of consistent communication, they were unable to find a mutually convenient time to meet. They were both professionals, relatively intelligent and certainly competent. Despite that, they couldn’t make it happen, therefore, they each concluded that the other was not interested enough and were so turned off they were no longer interested in meeting.
3) Create an e-mail campaign
Send an e-mail to family, friends and colleagues who you trust, advising that you have decided to brave the dating landscape and that you would appreciate them keeping you in mind should they encounter any suitable candidates. To help them help you, be sure to describe – to the best of your ability – the person you’re looking for, including that person’s values, vocation, lifestyle, educational background, interests, etc. The more people you have looking on your behalf, the better, and the more those people understand what you’re looking for, the more likely they are to make meaningful suggestions. Any of us who have ever been set up on a blind date know that having religion, opposite gender and a pulse in common are not typically enough to ensure a lasting connection.
As much as I’m a proponent of online dating, I don’t recommend it for you just yet. I would prefer that you get your feet wet – so to speak – through your personal network and would recommend that when/if you’re ready to broaden your horizons through online dating that you consider a dating coach as the diversity of options can be overwhelming, even for the most experienced daters.
I hope this helps and wish you good luck on your new and exciting dating journey!