• Danelle Siegel

Dating in your 40s

By Danelle Siegel, contributor

What I learned from attempting to date...


During these crazy times we need each other more than ever before! I am a single mom of three amazing teens. I divorced my husband when the abuse went from verbal, financial, sexual, and escalated to physical. It was a hard road raising three babies on my own (my youngest was three y/o at the time) I found a guy that I was convinced was better than my ex but turned out to be the same. When he went to spank my five-year-old son for annoying him while he was trying to play his video games, I realized my mistake.


I then tried dating when I had time, in between raising my kids and working full time at a dead end job (the lowest paying job I ever had); I dated marketers, stockbrokers, unemployed men, doctors, lawyers, construction workers, Walmart employees... basically anyone I thought might be a good guy and different than all the others. Each time it went one of two ways; either they were good guys who couldn't handle my damage, or I couldn't handle their damage on top of all mine. I came to the realization that I needed to change something to expect different results.


"The definition of an idiot is someone who does the same thing over and over expecting to yield different results"
- Albert Einstein

To this day there is one guy who I truly feel was "the one who got away" but I realize now that he was better off because I would have only ended up damaging him and I care too much about him to have done that. In hindsight, I also recognize that everything is truly meant to be and I pray he is happy with someone special.


I realized that I needed to heal in order to attract the right person for me. My sister went through a very difficult transition in high school and when I would ask her why she would put herself through that she used to tell me how she wanted to be the type of girl that was good for the particular type of guy she wanted, and so she changed her entire life. She is now happily married with kids to the perfect guy for her. She changed for herself because she wanted to fit her desired narrative.


I was living my life in victim mentality which meant I couldn't move on from the hurt and damage. Yes, I had neglectful parents. Yes, I had five crazy siblings who would use me as a scapegoat and punching bag all the time. Yes, I had an abusive ex. I realized this was why I was also taking on whatever role a guy wanted while losing the real me to the point I didn't recognize myself anymore. I needed to stop the train wreck by getting off the train. Keep in mind the abuse from my ex hasn't stopped to this day all disguised as co-parenting attempts of course.


The realization of this made me stop dating all together for a while and I shut out my ex. I realized I needed time to rest my heart and heal. I focused on productive healing. I threw myself into work to better my situation in life so I didn't "need" a man. I also realized that my kids would continue the cycle if I didn't break it right here and now. I am blessed to have gotten to a point where I can now be fully self-sufficient and thriving, which helped me to see my own strength. The healing has begun...


Recently I attempted to start dating again.


Side note: it’s no joke when they say that dating after 30 is way more difficult. I learned a few really good lessons that I'm hoping can help others.


Lesson 1:


Narcissistic personality disorder. If a guy/girl tells you how amazing they are or were to a former boy/girlfriend or how much everyone loves them, etc., know that they are most likely abusive and oblivious that they could do any wrong. They will attempt to distract you with a Hollywood romance. Always remember that if they talk to you about others they will talk about you to others. Also, if they cheat with you they will cheat on you. My favorite is when a guy tells me he's a nice guy and complains how "nice guys always finish last". They are NEVER as nice as THEY think they are.


From my experience and research these personality types usually were abused or overly praised as children. They don't think they have anything to change so they won't ever. These are the most toxic of all people. RUN! DON'T WALK!


Lesson 2:


If a guy/girl reminisces an unusual amount about their past especially past lovers, they aren't healed yet. These types will typically latch on in hopes to continue their past relationship with you. They will ignore that you are a different person and start resenting you.


I recently started talking to this guy that literally called me one day (after multiple texts about how sad he was and needed me to drop everything to talk to him) to chat about how much he missed his ex. He described their relationship to me in way more details than I expected (or wanted to hear) and cried to me about how he was so good to her and she never appreciated him. I listened and attempted to conduct a therapy session as best I could then inform him that he needed to heal before we could ever think of meeting.


Always remember: It is not your responsibility to fix them. If you try to fix them they will typically latch on in an unhealthy way and instead of healing them you are helping to compound the damage.


"The only guy/ girl you can change is the one in diapers" - Dad

Lesson 3:


If a guy/girl relies on you too much for emotional and sometimes physical support. When someone is extra "needy" (we are all guilty of this at times) typically it means that during their childhood they missed out on normal social interactions. They are needy and clingy because you are replacing their mom or dad or a best friend they never had.


This one hits very close to home. Growing up I raised myself. Don't get me wrong, I love and respect my parents and appreciate them working hard to keep me in a certain lifestyle. Coming home to a big empty house from school just about every night hurt me in some major ways and shaped what I would look for in a mate. I looked for someone to "take care of me" the way my parents never did. It was hard to heal from this especially since my parents deny it and make every attempt to have me second guess my memories of that time.


I only realized how much healing I needed when my sister in law (whom I've known since I was seven) said to me how she knows how hard it must have been growing up all alone. Then added, I saw how you raised yourself. My favorite “aha” moment was when my brother in law (whom I've known since I was ten) was talking to my parents about how they were moving away when I was seven months pregnant with my first kid. My mom kept saying how she felt so bad blah blah blah and that's when my brother in law looked at me and said, "what's your plan for the baby when it's born?" I proceeded to tell him my entire plan that I thought through to a “t.” Needless to say, my plans didn't require any help from anyone in my family (instead I relied too much on friends and my employer all the while putting extra unhealthy pressure on them). He then turned back to my mom and said, "see she's used to being on her own don't worry". My mom of course gave an uncomfortable giggle then changed the subject.


Lesson 4:


A guy/girl who is overly sexual. I'll preface this one with my own personal beliefs, which I developed while healing, that sex is a sacred exchange of energy. The more people you sleep with the more chance of your energy being dirty and damaged. Not to mention your bodily risk of being dirty. HIV, Herpes (which you can get from oral sex if your partner has a cold sore in their mouth FYI), yeast infections, Chlamydia, Gonorrhea, crabs...I could go on. To me it's just gross but there is an underlying bigger mental issue with these individuals. This type of personality tends to develop due to major issues that arise during important early developmental stages They are in desperate need of mental health counseling.


I was talking with this guy, and I wanted to believe he was different. People warned me that he was retired military and just got divorced so I shouldn't expect anything real from him. One day I mentioned about possibly coming out to see him and he said "ok but I'll have a lady friend with me.. if that's not too weird, sure let's meet up" I was so heartbroken. But then when I expressed how hurt I was he stated, "I said I wasn't ready for a relationship, but I am not celibate". My heartbreak turned into disgust! Only then did I realize that this particular gentleman gave up his marriage to a woman who stood by him through thick and thin for many years putting her own life and goals on the back burner, so he could further his political, and other career aspirations all while sleeping around. On the upside his ex-wife now has a chance at true happiness and three beautiful baby boys to accompany her through this amazing journey.


My best advice is stay far away from these people. Their looking to transfer their damage thinking it will help them feel better, but it just spreads the damage and keeps the cycle going.


Lesson 5:


High maintenance individuals and those that want high maintenance individuals. This is more physical high maintenance and yes both genders are guilty of this. When I was a trophy wife (not by choice but that's for another time) I was told regularly that I was very expensive, and he paid a lot for me. I was made to feel like I should be grateful and do whatever he wants. What he wanted at times was to pimp me out to donors at fundraisers so he could get more political contributions. Because he "owned" me he also felt he could cheat and do whatever he wanted because I was just property. It was terrible to feel owned.


On the flip side someone who wants to do the owning is not a good person and typically a type A control freak with narcissistic tendencies. “Sugar momma, sugar daddy and sugar baby” are the unhealthiest toxic relationships you could ever get into. You think your happy with the monetary aspect so you ignore the damage that it’s causing till it’s too late. People who tend towards these types of relationships usually have major mommy and daddy issues.


Lesson 6:


A relationship of any kind is 100/100 and not 50/50. I learned through doing the wrong things that my dad was right all along. Example: abusive relationships is where one person is taking the abuse (not belittling in any way what I and others have gone through) and the other is giving it. The abuser is giving 100% of what they know while the abusee is taking 100% of the abuse. The abusee can do everything right outside of the abuse but the abuser will never take it or appreciate it so therefore creating an inequality of give and take in the relationship.


When two people actively listen to each other and genuinely care, they can get through anything. Sounds naïve and pedantic right?! Life is hard at times but when you work together and support each other in a healthy way it makes anything possible.


Lesson 7:


Healing is essential! Think of a rolling stone. If the stone rolls through mud and dirt it will build up over time. As it rolls through a bed of flowers that dirt starts to break off leaving a trail of dirt. If anyone were to take that stone and drop it in water to sit and soak, all the dirt would get washed away. No doubt there will be stains (aka lessons) but overall the stone will be back to its former glory and stronger. As we meet the wrong people and get attached we pick up dirt. Then we roll around with them sexually and pick up deeper dirt. Be your own hero! Pick yourself up and drop yourself into healing waters. Learn the lessons to be learned from what you went through and agreed the damage.


While I don't agree with the statement "you need to love yourself first before anyone could love you" I do see some merit. Inherently we are born and raised with a basic sense of self preserving love. Most people can't knowingly or willingly do harm to themselves so that statement feels a lot like victim shaming. It takes years and many mud romps to collect that amount of dirt especially the stains and no one does it on purpose. The way I like to interpret it is "you need to heal yourself before you can fully accept the love you deserve".


In conclusion, we are all rolling through life collecting dirt and dents. While a lucky few get help, it is ultimately our own responsibility to facilitate our own healing. It has been proven scientifically that mental state has a direct effect on the physical condition of the human body. We are social beings who need nurturing and human contact but at a certain point we need to take responsibility for the choices we make along with any and all consequences that may come with them.


"Attract what you expect
Reflect what you desire
Become what you respect
Mirror what you admire"
-unknown

Tolerance


[Note: Our bloggers are independent writers with their own constitutionally granted opinions, viewpoints, interpretations, and feelings. Their views do not always represent that of American Reveille LLC. Regardless, we support their right to free speech and a medium to express it! Got a problem with that? Go somewhere else!]


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