When I was invited to a New Year’s Eve party several years ago, I did what any 45-year-old divorced woman would do.
There was that awkward moment at midnight when couples were kissing and I dug into the artichoke dip with a vengeance, but otherwise it was a grand celebration of independence and a fresh beginning.
I’m not advocating divorce, but it happens. At the time, my priorities then were to take care of my children and myself. Dating was not a priority, mainly because I was too busy learning how to climb a ladder and clean out the rain gutters, manage household finances, complete my job as associate editor of The Boise Magazine, and monitor my teenage son’s parties in the basement.
Several years later, my friends invited me to dinner with one their divorced friends who was visiting from Texas.
It was love at first bite, and we were holding hands by dessert. Eighteen months after sharing that first taste of the future we were married on the Greek island of Paros.
The following New Year’s Eve I truly felt like royalty as we celebrated the present and future. At our age, we won’t have fifty years together, but we’ll have a splendid, passionate time with the years we do have.
Here are some tips for finding love after divorce at midlife:
- Don’t look for it. I had no intention of falling in love with my dinner partner. I just wanted a good meal, but ended up with extra dessert.
- Stay healthy and exercise regularly. You don’t want a middle-aged partner who is a lazy, smelly slob so don’t be one either.
- Keep busy. Find activities you enjoy and groups that appreciate your talents. Hang out with positive people and avoid crabby people at pity parties.
- Don’t settle. Make a list of your non-negotiable requirements in a partner. Include politics, religion, money management, in-laws, and if they sleep with their pets. The less critical issues, such as chores and hobbies, can be mitigated if your prospective lover has a delightful sense of humor. (If many of us had made the list the first time, maybe the divorces could have been avoided.)
- Wear sexy panties every day. No one else will see them, but you’ll feel like a woman who is comfortable in her own skin and refuses to be frumpy. Even though I’m a proud grandma, I still love silky, lacy underwear.
- Believe in yourself. Maybe you won’t find true love for years but remember that a long marriage doesn’t necessarily mean success. Watch older couples together and you’ll see many who don’t communicate and others who look bitter. Choose to emulate the couples who still hold hands, make regular eye contact, and enjoy public displays of affection. Finally, as you should know by now, it’s okay to be independent all by yourself.
If you’re divorced, you realize something went wrong with your failed marriage. You can learn from the painful experience, get up again, adjust your crown, and take another chance on finding love. It could be waiting right there between the entree and the cheesecake.