My latest for the Divorce Support Center (formerly: Hope After Divorce) — Life 2.0
“A kiss makes the heart young again and wipes out the years.” – Rupert Brooke
I recall saying, “I wouldn’t wish this on my worst enemy” as I was going through my divorce. I later added a statement: “… but it’s the best thing that ever happened to me.”
Those who know me know that I am a “glass half-full” kind of person. I can find an upside in any situation. Divorce is no different. I wouldn’t have chosen divorce for my path in life. My divorce happened. It sucked (that’s the best word I have for it!). But, I’ve re-discovered myself, I’ve re-juvenated my energy, and I’ve re-married. I’m here to tell you that there IS “hope after divorce.”
I speak with people weekly who are going through divorce. I hate to see them at their lowest point, but I can empathize with them. I remember that despair and darkness. I frequently tell them that it will get better. That this darkness and sadness they are feeling will go away. I tell them that Life 2.0 is waiting for them which will bring new adventures, new hobbies, new routines, new experiences … and which may actually bring new relationships!
They are often cynical of this. They aren’t ready to even think about a future where all of this pain seems like a distant memory, and certainly not one when they are in another relationship. Regardless, I just smile and nod my head!“Whatever,” I think!
When I do stay connected with them, and when I am there when the despair fades away and the hope and happiness return, there is nothing I love better than to say, “I told you so!” I see this when people discover new passions or hobbies which they would never have experienced had they still been married. I see this when people discover new careers and strengths that never would have been uncovered. And, I especially love to see this when people discover new relationships and find that their hearts have healed and that they are indeed ready and capable of falling in love again.
I was having a conversation with a few friends the other day. One has been married for over 20 years. The other went through a divorce a few years ago. She was “never-ever” going to have another relationship. She was quite adamant about this. Guess what? She just recently remarried. We watched her go through the trials, tribulations and transformation. Now, we are seeing her go through that googly-eyed love stage. She and her husband can’t keep their hands off each other. They are constantly talking and texting. They can’t stop smiling. It’s awesome to be around and to see!
My “old married friend” commented that she was “jealous” that this other friend got to experience those feelings again, and that I had too when I remarried several years ago. She meant it in all good spirit. She loves her husband, but after 20-some years of marriage, their ‘”honeymoon” stage is but a distant memory. There was a part of her that wants to experience this stage again as a mature woman. Not that she wants to get divorced, she doesn’t! But she sure would love to have that tingly “I can’t stop thinking about you” feeling that we all have when we are new in a relationship!
Just yesterday, I ran into a colleague at the post office. She had gone through a tumultuous divorce a few years ago, then faced a diagnosis of cancer. Life has been tough for her, yet she always had a positive spirit about her and a radiant smile on her face. It’s been fun watching her over the years. She was absolutely glowing when I saw her, and her grin was a mile-wide as she casually commented, “my fiancé and I love that new Italian restaurant!” Good for her! Life 2.0!
Age has no limit! I was talking with another woman at a meeting the other day. She is once widowed and once divorced, and is currently in a new relationship. Talk about googly-eyed. She’s 75 and is doing all the crazy stuff you expect to see in new love in your 20’s or in your 40’s! Life 2.0 (or maybe even 3.0 in her case!). Rock on Grandma!
My point in this: I don’t believe you need to find love to be happy or complete. But, I do think that remaining open to letting your heart heal and to finding love again is good for the soul! Life 2.0 can bring new experiences which may just bring some googly eyes and a big smile to your face. There is “hope after divorce!
Wrong Pond? Thrilled to be asked by DatingAdvice.com to provide some perspective! Here’s an excerpt from the article I wrote!
I had lunch with a friend last week who was telling me about her latest round of dates. She felt the men she was meeting were all the same. Either they were copies of each other (same background, same look, same personality, even down to driving the same car), or they were literally the same man (different dating site/same man. He’s certainly covering his bases!) She was frustrated and wanted to break this cycle. I suggested to her that if she is always fishing in the same pond, she will always be catching the same fish. …
If you want to read the whole thing, click here … DatingAdvice.com
eHarmony – August 2013
“Love is when you think you can change someone, but they end up changing you.” ~ Jessica Lawis
I spoke with someone the other day who was gushing about how serious she is getting with her boyfriend. She thinks he is “the one!” She pulled out her iPhone to show me a photo of him. Then, instead of showing me a photo of a face, she shoved the phone in front of me and demanded, “Can you believe this?” “Believe what?” I responded. I was confused. All I saw in the photo was a pair of shoes – not the handsome face I expected to see!
“Do you see these shoes? Do you like them? He cannot wear these shoes,” she fired off in rapid succession. “These are shoes you only wear with skinny jeans. He wore them with regular jeans and it’s wrong. He can’t do that again.”
Whoa! Slow down! How did we get from he’s “the one” to “he can’t wear these” in just one brief conversation? For a brief moment, I thought she was joking. But, she was dead serious.
I asked her if he treated her well? Yes! Was he kind? Yes! Was he respectful? Yes! Did he make her laugh? Yes! Was he a gentleman? Yes! Did he treat his family and friends well? Yes! Did he care for his community? Yes! Did he allow her to be herself? Yes! “So,” I asked, “If he is all that (and presumably more), then why in the world does it matter if he wears those shoes?” “It doesn’t matter if he wears those shoes,” she said, exasperated, “It’s just that he can only wear them with skinny jeans.”
Oh boy. She is in for a world of stress (and perhaps even heartbreak) if she is going to let the kind of shoes he wears become such an issue for her. Clearly, she is a bit of a control freak (you think?), and there was an element of, “I can change certain things about him, and then he will be perfect.” Both are dangerous spots to be in!
On the “control freak” side … let it go. Pick your battles. Seriously, if his biggest flaw is that he wears the wrong shoes with the wrong pants, then be happy. Sure, you can gently suggest the “right” style and see if he “gets it.” It might even be fun to take him shopping for the “right” skinny jeans, but don’t let your blood pressure shoot through the roof when he wears the wrong combination. Call him cute, call him goofy, and love him for it! Embrace it; don’t fight it!
On the “I can change him” side … no, you can’t! You may think you can, but ultimately you can’t, and you will hurt yourself (and potentially your relationship) trying. You can make suggestions. You can try to influence. But you can’t change him. Only he can choose to change. Too many people get into relationships and find little things that they would like to change about their partners. They think, “This is cute,” or “This isn’t that big of a deal,” and “I can change this,” and they move forward. But, at some point, cute becomes annoying, and what wasn’t a big deal becomes a monster issue, and nobody has changed, and now refuses to change … and it becomes a deal breaker.
I know it’s easier said than done, but worry about yourself, and what you can control, as opposed to trying to control someone else. Focus on what you would like to change, or should change, about yourself, as opposed to trying to change someone else.
I told this woman: He is who he is and he’s an entire package. You either like him or you don’t. You either accept him as he is, or you don’t. Sure, you might try to tweak a little thing here or there, but be sure those things you “tweak” are relatively inconsequential to you in the big scheme of things. If they make your blood pressure skyrocket, and become monstrous issues in the relationship, it might be time to rethink the urge to control and the desire to change.
What do you think? Did you have a “wrong shoes/wrong jeans” issue in a relationship? What happened? How did you “fix” it?
My latest for eHarmony — August 2013:
Meeting you was fate, becoming your friend was a choice, but falling in love with you I had no control over.”
I was bumping around Facebook the other night, and I came across a post which one of my friends “Liked.” The title peaked my curiosity and I clicked on the link (My Husband is Not My Soul Mate). I really liked the article and thought the author, a woman named Hannah, did a really great job presenting her perspective (and I love her writing style!).
Her perspective is this: She doesn’t believe that there is any “one person” for you to find and marry. Rather, she believes that you can have a great marriage with any number of people. But, she continues, once you marry that person, then that person does indeed become your “one person.” She dismisses the notion that (as we are often led to believe as a society) there is indeed one special person out there waiting for us to find them (or vice versa), and that it is Divine Intervention that brings us together.
She asks a great question: If we credit Divine Intervention with bringing two people together, then what happens when 50%+ of first marriages end in divorce? Instead, she writes about how her marriage is based on her choice to love her husband daily, not a master plan.
As a divorced woman, many of Hannah’s points resonated with me. If I believe that my first husband was my soul mate (and why marry him if I didn’t), and that Divine Intervention brought us together, then how do you explain our divorce 17 years later? Did Divine Intervention get tired of keeping us together? No, not at all. Rather, choices were made that created an environment where we didn’t continue to intentionally focus on loving each other every day. Not surprisingly, divorce followed.
If I look back at my life, I would say I have been in romantic love three times. Is my current husband my soul mate? According to Hannah, no. According to Hannah, there might have been many men who I could have married, but what is important is that I chose my current husband and he chose me. He is now my “one person” and I am now his “one person.” Now it’s up to me/us to “choose” to make our marriage work each and every day. I am still surprised by our compatibility. We think alike. We talk alike. We have the same energy. That being said, we also have tremendous differences. These could be viewed as irritants or deal breakers, or we can instead choose to embrace those changes and be thankful that we aren’t clones of each other. Those differences allow us each to introduce the other to new things, new experiences, and new ways of thinking.
To me, that’s the important takeaway! Marriage is a choice, and marriage is hard work. Take the time during dating to be sure that you are ready and willing to make that commitment. Make sure you are willing to make the choice that he or she will become your “one person” and that you are willing to put the hard work into making your relationship work.
To Hannah’s point, maybe you should quit feeling the pressure to find your soul mate. Instead, try searching for that person who you are able to intentionally choose to become your “one person” who is right for you. And then, make the choice to love that person each and every day. It takes hard work. There will be ups and downs. There will be similarities that bring you together, and differences that threaten to tear you apart. But, if you focus on recognizing that this was your choice, then you realize that you control the rest of the story!
What do you think? Do soul mates exist? Why do we drive ourselves crazy trying to find our soul mate? Is there more than one great person out there for each of us to find, date and marry?
Here’s my latest for Huffington Post – Parents! (Don’t) Call Me Mommy!
When last summer’s hit song “Call Me Maybe” (Carly Rae Jepsen) came out, I would break into my own freelance version and start singing “Call Me Mommy” every time we heard it on the radio. I could improv the lines to talk about doing laundry, driving carpool, helping with homework, making dinner, driving more carpool… and always end with, “So, Call Me Mommy!” I even had the vision for the music video where the kids are in the back of my SUV popping up and dancing like the baseball players from Harvard in the van, or the U.S. Olympic swim team on the airplane in their respective music videos! We all got a good laugh out of it and competed to create the best lines!
What isn’t as funny is when my husband calls me mommy. This has got to stop! It’s like fingernails on a chalkboard. It’s not just me. I hear many of my friends’ husbands calling them mommy, too. It’s not new. I recall my dad referring to my mother as “mom.” In fact, if I remember correctly, I think my first husband used to call me “mom” too. What’s up with this?
To be clear, I’m not talking about when a dad tells the kids, “Go ask Mom.” That’s fine. It’s not as if he should say, “Go ask my wife.” That would sound awkward. But, for example, let’s say a husband can’t find his car keys, and yells, “Mom, where are my keys?” or when the family is talking about where to go to dinner, and Dad says, “Mom, where do you want to go?” (when his mother lives in a retirement community in Phoenix and there is no way she would be able to make it to dinner in Baltimore that night!). Weird!
I tell my husband, “I’m not your mom! I’m your wife, your lover, your best friend, your confidante, your room-mate, your soul-mate, your partner in crime… but I am not your mom! I may be the mother of your children, but I am not your mother. Even if sometimes I feel as if I am acting like your mom, or sometimes if you feel as if I am acting like your mom, we all know that I am really not your mom!”
When I pointed this out to several husbands recently, they excused their behavior by saying, “It’s only a pet name… like sweetheart or honey… it’s just a loving nickname.” Perhaps, but do you know the feeling that “Mom” elicits? Most moms hear “Mom, Mommy, Mom, Ma, Mama, Momma, Mom…!!!” thousands of times a day. Mom, do this; Mom, do that; Mom, I need this; Mom, drive me here; Mom, what’s for dinner; Mom, the dog had an accident on the rug again; Mom, I need to start my science fair project (and it’s due tomorrow!); Mom, Mom, Mom! “Mom” means wiping runny noses, making yet another PB&J, giving butterfly kisses to skinned knees, washing smelly football pants, buying more pimple medication and on and on! “Sweetheart” or “Honey” (or whatever other nickname you want to fill in there) means va, va voom and dot dot dot!
When your lover walks into your house, the last thing any woman wants to hear come out of his mouth is “Hi, Mom, how was your day?!” “Mom” does not equal romance and sex! Picture this… candles, wine, canoodling, and sweet nothings being whispered in your ear, and then you hear, “Oh Mom… you are so hot… I love you so much!” ck! OK, this has NEVER happened to me, but you get the picture!
Husbands, trust me, leave “Mom” for the kids to use. Find your own special name for that wonderful woman in your life. After all, you married your wife, not your mother!
By the way, somebody needs to steal my idea and make a spoof on Carly Rae’s song and name it “Call Me Mommy!” I bet it would be an instant YouTube sensation!
My latest from eHarmony … Hook, Line & Sinker
August 22, 2013
“The charm of fishing is that it is the pursuit of what is elusive but attainable, a perpetual series of occasions for hope.” ~ John Buchan
Back in February, I spoke with a friend who told me that she was struggling with the dating scene. She felt as if she was hanging around the same people over and over again. She wanted to meet someone new. I didn’t have a whole lot of sympathy for her situation, and merely suggested, “If you are always fishing in the same pond, you are always going to be catching the same fish.” Period. End of story. She chuckled as she clearly knew what I meant, but I wasn’t sure that she was inspired to go find any new ponds in which to fish. She was very comfortable in her current pond. She knew what to expect out of her current pond. It was predictable and safe. Going to find new ponds would take her outside of her comfort zone. It might induce a bit of anxiety to visit a new pond. For many people, it’s human nature to avoid making ourselves uncomfortable and pushing outside of our comfort zones.
I told this friend that no one said fishing in new ponds was going to be easy. Some may not be stocked with the kind of fish she wants. Others will be full of great fish! The challenge is that she will never know which situation she will encounter if she doesn’t at least try fishing in a new pond. The old adage, “nothing ventured, nothing gained,” makes all the sense in the world.
I was out with a different set of friends a few weeks ago when talk turned to dates – the good, the bad and the ugly, and as the conversation went around it turns out that two of the women had gone out with the same guy. Kind of awkward! Talk about the need to find some new ponds! Nobody wants to someone else’s “catch and release!” These friends told me that there weren’t enough ponds in our area. They tell me that I have access to lots of different ponds because I work outside the home, I travel for business, and I am involved in several community associations. They tell me that since they are stay-at-home moms or since they have “jobs” and not “careers” that they don’t have access to the same number of ponds. I call bull on that! We all have multiple ponds within our own little bubbles. We just have to think about it, let go of what’s comfortable, grab our rod and reel, and head out!
Instead of always fishing in the “work” pond, or the “Friday-night bar-scene” pond, switch it up and also fish in the “volunteer at the animal shelter” pond or the “local community college digital photography course” pond every now and then. Ask others what has worked for them. Step outside of your comfort zone and try new things. You have heard this before, but have you done anything about it? Have you really tried it and given it your best effort? Or, did you try one “different” pond outside of your usual routine, have a really bad time, and then decide never to do that again? Intellectually, we all know this makes sense, but putting it into action can often be tougher. Great dates aren’t just going to show up on your front porch. You have to be visible to let people know you are available. You have to be out there meeting people – and meeting new people – to stand a chance of catching new fish.
I also think it helps if you go in with the attitude that you are just fishing for fun, and not with expectations that you are going to catch the biggest fish ever and win the whole fishing tournament! Too much pressure! I think the fish can pick up on that vibe from a mile away. It’s like one of those sparkly, spinning lures that are supposed to attract fish, when really the fish are smart enough to realize what it is. Those fish wait for the natural bait to come along, and then they get hooked!
While I’m using this fishing analogy, here is one other thought: you also have to know when to cut bait and move on. I talk with too many women who continue to date someone even though they know “he isn’t the one” and “there is no future.” How are you going to catch new fish if your line is already in use? Cut bait, rehook your line, and head back to the pond again.
By the way, my friend did visit a new pond. She didn’t jump in the boat and row right into the middle to drop her line in the water. She merely approached, stood off to the side, and looked around the pond. She didn’t even come prepared with her fishing rod. You know what? She caught a keeper…and that’s no fish tale!
What’s your fish tale? Did you have success in a new pond?
Here’s my latest from eHarmony … Comfortable!
“When you stop being nervous is when you should retire. I’m always a little nervous for anything I do because when complacency sets in, that’s when I feel it’s time to move on to something else.” ~ Chris Jericho
Justin and I have been married for four years. We aren’t as “cautious” and “careful” around each other as when we were first dating. In fact, we aren’t as “considerate” of each other as when we first met. We are definitely more “comfortable” around each other – as we should be! The level of formality in place when you are first dating is necessarily replaced with a different comfort level as your relationship progresses and when you marry.
When you are first dating, you are on your best behavior. Bad habits are hidden. You usually try to look your best, act your best, talk your best, and be your best at all times! You are attentive. You go out of your way to do small things for each other. And you certainly hide your “bad habits” – those things that your mom taught you to never do it public! When you are first dating, your manners are impeccable. You wouldn’t dream of belching or farting in front of each other. That would be horribly embarrassing! You never answer your iPhone at the dinner table. How rude! You never keep each other waiting. How disrespectful!
As your relationship progresses, however, you start to become more comfortable with other, and that, I argue, can be simultaneously a very good thing, and a very bad thing. I love when the formality disappears and the comfort level around each other increases. It transitions relationships to a new level. But, can relationships become too comfortable? Should relationships hang on to some of that formality, that level of trying to “impress” each other, that ability to always be on your best behavior, in order to be most successful?
I remember when we were dating and Justin stopped by one evening after work. Until then, we had only seen each other more “formally” – meaning I was always dressed up, my makeup was on, and my hair was styled. What he learned that night is that once I’m home for the evening, I can’t get into my loungewear fast enough; the makeup comes off, and the hair gets piled on top of my head in a clip! When he called to say he was stopping by, I considered getting dressed again, putting on some lip gloss and taking out the hair clip, and then I thought better of it. This is me. Like it or leave it. Better to find out now. I nearly melted when he walked in my front door, took one look at me, and told me how beautiful I was! Dropping that level of formality and being comfortable in our own skin around each other is a wonderful thing.
But, can we take it too far? We were sitting on the back porch the other night. In the “early days” – meaning four years ago – we would have been totally focused on each other and been aware of our behavior. We laughed the other night as we realized that while sitting on the back porch we had our fair share of belches and farts (sorry, but true); our conversation was interrupted more than a few times as we each answered phone calls and texts; we were both out of our nice clothes and in our scruffy clothes. You know what? It was wonderful. It meant that we have achieved a comfort level in our relationship where we can just be us. The critical thing is that we were enjoying each other’s company, reconnecting on the back porch, enjoying a glass of wine together, and sharing the highs and lows of our week. Sure, it was peppered with the occasional belch or text (!), but we were spending quality time with each other. It showed we were comfortable with each other, and comfortable with where our relationship has come.
That being said, we are also aware that when that familiarity turns from one of “comfort and ease” to one of “disregard and disrespect” that it’s time to reassess. It is when relationships, either dating or marriage, start to turn from comfort to complacency, that many couples start to feel disconnected, unappreciated, and undervalued.
It’s a fine line! What do you think? Are you in that phase of formality and best behavior? Are you transitioning to pleasantly comfortable? Or are you stuck in that complacent “whatever – I really don’t care” mode? Is it time to reassess your comfort level to ensure you haven’t gotten “too” comfortable?
SEXY! – Here’s my latest post for eHarmony! … Why Decisiveness is Sexy!
“Decisiveness is a characteristic of high-performing men and women. Almost any decision is better than no decision at all.” ~ Brian Tracy
One of my favorite things to do is go for a walk with a friend and have a great talk at the same time. Some friends meet for coffee, or for a glass of wine. I do that too, but what I really enjoy is a good walk in the great outdoors and the opportunity to catch up with an old friend (or a new one!) while also getting some exercise.
I was walking with one friend this summer and we started talking about the guy she is dating. They have been together for about 18 months. They are both divorced so they get the routine around dating and marriage. I asked if things were getting serious — after all, they have been dating exclusively for 18 months.
Her slight hesitation answered my question. I asked her what it was that wasn’t quite right, and she blurted out in total frustration, “He can’t make a decision to save his life and it’s driving me crazy!”
I totally understood what she meant. I have often said, “Decisiveness is SEXY!”
There is a fine line between wanting to have things your way all the time, and being overly accommodating to someone else and never having an opinion. My friend said that every time she and her boyfriend plan to go out to dinner, she has to choose the place. He defers to her every time. The first few times, it was probably sweet and nice, but at some point, she wants him to have an opinion and make a decision too. She said every time they order a bottle of wine, he defers to her to make the choice. She doesn’t mind picking the wine, but says it would be nice if he confidently made that decision every now and then. When they make plans to go away for the weekend, it is she who ultimately decides on where they are going to stay. That’s fine. She doesn’t mind making the plans – just not every single time!
Now, some people might say they would love to have someone who cared enough about their opinion to ask it and defer to them. Some people argue that they are controlled by others who make every decision for them from where they will eat, to what they will wear, to where they will go.
Obviously there are extremes on both sides. I argue that even the most confident, decisive, and independent person doesn’t always want the “burden” of having to make every choice in a relationship. People want a partnership. Partnerships require input from different people. Sometimes one partner takes the lead; other times the other partner takes the lead. At the end of the day, both contribute to the decision-making. That’s what makes it a partnership and not a dictatorship!
Trust me! Decisiveness is sexy. I may be a confident, self-assured, independent woman, but I still love it when I hear my husband very confidently make a decision. This may be as simple as ordering a bottle of wine at dinner, or something more complicated like deciding on an itinerary for the next big vacation. There is something sexy about the confidence that comes from seeing him know what he wants, understand what I want, and decide on something that matches both. There is something sexy about seeing him anticipate my needs and already be working towards them, while also meeting his own. There is something sexy about not having to watch the painful process of someone waffling back and forth, deciding, no cancelling, thinking, opting no, cancelling, mulling, fearing, hesitating, thinking some more … you get the picture!
Clearly it’s a balance between being arrogant on the one side, and being a slug on the other hand. I can’t think of the right word to describe the opposite of arrogant. Slug is the best I could come up with! Confidence is sexy. Arrogance is not. Chronic waffling is enough to drive anyone insane.
On which side of that equation do you spend the most time?
Here’s my latest from the Huffington Post! She’s How Old?
“Age is an issue of mind over matter. If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter.” ~ Mark Twain
My kids make faces and say, “That’s so gross!” when I tell them that I was in college when my husband, their step-dad, was in middle school. We get a good laugh out of that! The reality is that I am only five years (almost to the day) older than he is. We then explain to the kids that age gaps seem bigger when you are younger, but that as you get older, that gap gets smaller and becomes relatively inconsequential. I believe that. But, do age gaps become bigger again as we get older? That’s today’s question!
I have a friend who is dating a guy 16 years her senior. She’s never been married and is in her mid-30s. He is divorced and has two kids. They have really connected and enjoy spending time with each other. This is getting serious!
She asked me what I thought about their age difference. My first response was that age shouldn’t matter at all. In my ideal mind, love should conquer all and who is to say that there has to be some standard age protocol for falling in love. I truly believe that age is just a number and, as Mark Twain said, that age is an issue of mind over matter.
We then started talking about two practical matters surrounding their age difference. One, yes, statistically, he will likely die first, but that’s a stupid reason not to fall in love with someone older than you. There are absolutely no guarantees about when our time is up! Any one of us could die tomorrow. Two, she wants to have children. That could be a deal breaker with dating someone older who already has children and doesn’t want to have anymore, but it’s not for him. He’s open to having more kids with her.
I shared with her that I have seen numerous marriages, really successful and happy marriages, where one spouse is 15-20 years older than the other. I have never heard any of these husbands or wives say anything about wishing they had done things differently and married someone closer to their own age. In fact, I have several friends in their 40s who are married to men in their 60s and life is grand! (I can’t think of any men I know who are in their 40s and married to women in their 60s, but I’m sure life is grand for them too!).
It seems like there is that period of time where the perception of an age gap gets smaller. The difference between age 10 and age 25 is huge! The different between age 30 and age 45 isn’t as big! But then, does the gap shrink even more or grow bigger? Does the gap look larger or smaller between someone who is age 65 and someone who is age 80? One thing is for sure! With this gap, no one is robbing the cradle, and no one is worrying about whether one person wants to have kids, or not!
Other people have criticized my friend and told her that it’s “typical” that an “older man” wants to be with a “younger woman” and that she should watch out because he may trade her in again in 10 years. I think this is unfair. He has not given her any such indication that he traded someone else in for her, or that he would “trade” her in in the future. Just because neither one of them has found anyone closer to their own age to enter into a relationship with doesn’t make this one bad, or improper, or anything less than it is – two people falling in love.
Do age differences matter or should love prevail over all? I think I am going to stick with my positive outlook and go with “love conquers all.” All marriages have hurdles that have to be overcome. All marriages take work and attention. The issues that two people who are married and who are roughly the same age face may be similar or may be different than the issues that couples with vast age differences face. What remains consistent, however, is that all relationships have their fair share of hurdles, and take their fair share of work.
What do you think? Does age matter? Should age matter?
Here’s my latest post for eHarmony posted on July 28, 2013! Other Side of Me?
“In nearly every religion I am aware of, there is a variation of the golden rule. And even for the non-religious, it is a tenet of people who believe in humanistic principles.” ~ Hillary Clinton
I was on a flight last week that was delayed due to weather. This led to our circling over Atlanta for more than an hour and of course, we started to run low on fuel (typical summer afternoon flying into Atlanta!). We were diverted to Birmingham, Alabama, to refuel, then flew back to Atlanta, ultimately arriving 4 ½ hours late. To add insult to injury, we had to sit on the runway for 30 minutes once we landed before we were able to get a gate to deplane. As you can imagine, tension began to run high and some of the passengers got a bit rude and inconsiderate (to put it mildly!). Had these passengers asked themselves, “What is it like to be on the other side of me right now?” I’m not sure they would have liked the answer.
The following day, I had a meeting scheduled with someone whom I had never met before. He had reached out to me asking if I would spend some time with him to share ideas on career next steps. I agreed to meet with him and fit him into an already tight schedule. I hustled to get things done that morning (and remember, I hadn’t even gotten home until 1:30AM due to my travel delays!), drove the 43 minutes to where we had agreed to meet … and, you guessed it, he didn’t show up. I checked my email, and he had sent me a message 11 minutes prior to when we were supposed to meet saying he couldn’t make it. Seriously? No more advance notice than that? Had he asked himself, “What is it like to be on the other side of me right now?” I’m not sure he would have liked the answer.
Later that afternoon, I was speaking with a woman in Denver. She is divorced and has been dating a guy for the past 15 months. Interestingly, she and her ex (who also has a steady girlfriend) are beginning to think they still have feelings for each other and they are starting to “date” again. Both are now dating each other (again) and their new partners (who of course don’t know about this) simultaneously. If they asked themselves, “What is it like to be on the other side of me right now?” I’m not sure they would really like the answer.
Late last year, one of the ministers at our church presented a message entitled, ”What it’s like to be on the other side of me?” It was a great message, and it really made you think about your behavior and your actions. Have you ever asked yourself, “What is it like to be on the other side of me?” Have you ever taken the time to really think about how others see you, perceive you, and experience you? Would you want to be waiting on you in a restaurant? Would you want to be ringing up your sale at a store? Would you want to be your friend? Would you want to be the flight attendant or gate agent assisting you? Would you want to be your own customer? Would you want to be dating you? Would you want to be married to you? Why or why not?
We are frequently able to rationalize our own behavior and come up with really great excuses for why we act certain ways or do certain things. BUT, if we are really (really) honest with ourselves, and look at things through the lens of the person across from us, I think we often find those excuses and rationalizations backfire. We know that we wouldn’t want to be treated that way. This isn’t a new concept … at all! While world religions tend to differ greatly in their beliefs and practices, they all tend to share a common idea around “doing unto others what you would like them to do to you.” This “Golden Rule” can be found in Christianity, Buddhism, Confucianism, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism, to name but a few. It’s a staple amongst the world’s greatest philosophical minds. It’s a basic tenet of human behavior.
What about you? You are looking for a relationship. You have prepared your online dating profile. You connect with people via email, then via phone, and ultimately, schedule a date in person. Is what you are putting out there really you? Are you being honest with yourself and the people reading your profile, or are you being someone you aren’t?
Do you get a different answer if you ask yourself, “What is it like to be on the other side of me?” If your answer isn’t one that makes you feel good, or makes you proud, you may want to rethink how you are coming across, how you are presenting yourself, and how you are treating others. At the end of the day, our goal should be to be able to look in the mirror at that person on the other side and like who you see! Smile!
How often do you think about how you treat other people in your life?