I read an article that recommends ways over-50s can ease back into the romance game. The jist is that if you’re nervous because you have not been on a date in a long time, it’s easier to go on a group date or participate in group activities than face off mano-a-mano across a dinner table.
An activity based on a common interest is a good idea. It gives you something to talk about other than the often unpleasant life events that culminated in you looking for new love. However, I take exception to the idea of the group. It suggests that single middle-aged people are somehow like high-schoolers, who join packs for safety and to spare themselves from having to find out directly if someone “likes” them.
If this were a movie, you’re not the shy new girl in school who is dying to be accepted by the reigning clique. You’re the girl who has already done it all. You can do exactly what you want: play around, sift through the candidates for a new partner, or neither, without caring about your reputation or fearing that if a romance doesn’t work out you’ll die. These kids are all new and will take some time to learn. But you will find what you want; more important, you know what you don’t want.
I occasionally have a dream that puts me back in high school. Some grandiose official tells me I will not graduate until I do something I don’t want to do–write a paper, take an exam I don’t know anything about, I’m not sure. The dream revives dread I (and many others) felt during those awful years. But I have learned to extricate myself from the dream by telling myself: Wait a second, you graduated from college, so this can’t be real… It’s the one bad dream I can escape by force of will.
It is very much like the nightmare that some have anticipating new midlife romance. Remind yourself: You’ve been through this and much much more. Then you wake up and resume your life, with fewer cares and greater skills than you ever imagined when you were young.