Although it may be second nature to hope that you might find similar qualities in a new partner to those of your late husband or wife, it is important not to rule out the possibility that the next person in your life may well be completely different.
This does not mean that you won’t be sharing interests together, but more that you will be exploring new ideas and aspects of your personality, which will make this relationship special in its own unique way.
Making a concerted effort to learn about your new partner’s interests and hobbies and being open about your own, is one way of building upon the relationship. It might be worthwhile to observe your new partner’s choice of activities and consider whether they could appeal to you. Something you have previously disregarded as not being to your taste may, in actual fact, present an opportunity for you to discover new skills. This could also be a good way of gaining confidence and help to build self-esteem.
I have a good friend who had had a fear of swimming in the sea for most of her life. As a widow in her forties, she found herself dating a marine biologist. Spending time on or close to the ocean occupied a huge part of his life and rather than face the possibility of losing his friendship, she motivated herself to take a course in scuba diving. Her partner was greatly impressed by this and extremely encouraging. Gradually, over a period of time, she has built the confidence to swim under water and is increasingly enthralled with the experience.
Another way of making a mutual connection could be that you explore an activity that neither of you have tried before. This may well open the door to new hobbies and interests, which you can develop together. Perhaps this is the perfect opportunity for you both to begin a new chapter of self-discovery!
If you have reached that point in your relationship where you occasionally stay over with each other, the next step could be to plan a weekend away.
Deciding where to stay and making plans about what you will do once you get there is bound to highlight any differences in taste. This provides an opportunity for some give and take. He might prefer a large hotel; you might prefer a log cabin. He might want to take his golf clubs and you might want to take your tennis racket. How you make decisions at this time will be a real pointer as to how you get on.
Also interesting, is how you feel when being seen as a couple in public. Are you aware that he looks at other women a lot – albeit fleetingly, but annoying, none the less? Does she seem to be constantly checking her phone to talk to her friends and family? These could be character traits that will make the relationship difficult in the long term.
In any case, the important thing is to always be who you are and open to the possibilities that lay ahead. In time, the activities you take part in will teach you things not only about your new partner, but potentially about yourself too, giving you greater appreciation for the future and what life may have in store.
It can be hard finding yourself alone at any age, especially if yours was a true partnership; sharing friendship, interests and plans for the future. Looking on at couples whose relationships have stood the test of time and who enter middle age with the prospect of retirement together can be quite an emotive experience. We look to the future and see ourselves in this place, but alone and wondering how we will cope on our own. This is difficult to envisage, as we all have our own way of negotiating life’s journey and being a single entity was not part of the plan.
Those of us left with what could be a large part of our lives remaining, will use this time to travel and have a few adventures; time and finances permitting. Others will be satisfied to throw themselves into the peak of their career or family life. However, for some, being alone can become a wholly enveloping experiencing and can cause those affected to become withdrawn and depressed. Be reassured, it doesn’t have to be like this.
Sadly, it is the way of the world that one of you is more likely to die before the other; thus leaving a huge void for the surviving partner. How long it takes to come to terms with this situation will be different for everyone. When it happened to me I still had two relatively young children to raise and whilst this seemed a daunting responsibility at the time it meant that I had focus and good reason to want to keep my head above water.
It is hoped with the passage of time, and the support of friends and family, you will gradually come to terms with your circumstances. You will see that you’re coping well – and that doesn’t mean you are over your loss, but learning to live with it. Confidence can grow with this realisation and new avenues present themselves that can broaden your horizons.
Developing new interests will help you to get the best from your situation. I went on a creative writing course, which I really enjoyed and I met some great people who shared my enthusiasm for poetry and literature. It gave my confidence a huge boost to go out and meet new people and at the end of the course I had made friends with like-minded people, some of whom were also widowed.
There may come a time, regardless of your age, that you feel you would like to start dating again. If you’re keen to meet someone who has also lost a life partner, this is a good starting point for the basis of a future friendship. What’s more, it also means that you don’t have to explain away any awkward background history, and you are less likely to experience the emotional baggage, which can become difficult to share with a new partner.
Asking yourself what you want from the next stage of life will hopefully set you on a path to feeling complete again. If this involves meeting someone new with whom you can share your dreams, don’t feel guilty. Enjoy it as a sense of fulfilment. This doesn’t mean you have forgotten your partner, it is more a case that you are moving on, but cherishing your memories as you go.
Your profile is your selling point and must deliver in a brief, but dynamic way, your best attributes and most compelling interests. Whether these interests are gardening, walking, cooking or a round of golf, don’t be reluctant to talk about them, as they are an important part of who you are and what makes you unique.
Crucial, of course, is adding a photograph. Without an image you are not likely to attract much attention. People are always suspicious of profiles without images as they naturally suggest someone who is not fully committed to the process or is unhappy with the way they look. The real reason is much more likely to be that you are shy, of course, but potential connections will not have time to make this consideration, they will have moved on to the next profile with a photo.
Once you are happy with your profile, you will feel more comfortable about contacting other members, as you will know that you have sold yourself in a way that is true to you and therefore more likely to attract a compatible person.
Here are five recommended steps to creating your perfect profile:
1. Be True
Don’t over-sell yourself and always keep a little something back in case you want to make an impression further down the line. Something like….’I play the piano’ or ‘I’m in the process of writing a book’, will very likely add interest on a first date.
If possible, get a friend to take a photograph. Pictures that you take yourself are unlikely to be the most flattering. A headshot, preferably whilst you are smiling, would be perfect and if you can, a picture in an informal environment where you look comfortable.
If you find writing about yourself difficult, write about what your passions are: i.e. your children, your hobbies, or your work. This will help to convey something of who you are. Keep it positive and try to display confidence within your text. As the saying goes ‘confidence is everything’! If being funny is part of what makes you who you are, then say something amusing. If you’re a serious kind of guy or girl then try to express this in some way.
Avoid saying too much about your assets – or lack of them. This is the Internet after all and you don’t want to attract anyone for the wrong reasons.
It’s not always a good idea to state in too much depth what you hope your next stage in life will be. Describe future plans only loosely, suggesting that you are open-minded about what lies ahead. For example, ‘a desire to travel’, or ‘learn a new language’. Keep things in the moment and focus mainly on describing where you are at in your life right now.
5. Say Hello!
Don’t wait to be found. Once you are happy with your own profile, visit the profile sections regularly and if there is someone who looks and sounds promising, give them a wink, or send a brief message showing your interest. If initial contact does not prove fruitful then try again. Someone, somewhere will be waiting for someone just like you.
From my own experience, being honest and genuine when creating a dating profile makes a big difference to the outcome of any potential friendship. The more people I interacted with online, the more I gained confidence and the more enthusiastic I felt about the possibility of dating again.