I once read a statistic that a woman in her mid-forties has a better chance of being hit on the head by falling space debris, bitten by a King Cobra or being struck by lightning than she does of ever finding true love again. Let’s just say that reading that statistic has stuck with me for years.
At 37 I found myself divorced with six young children and trying to find my way and create a new life for us. I went on a few dates that were great but once they found out how many children I had they took off quickly. Then there were those dates that left me scratching my head and wanting to steer clear of the dating world. I remember going on a date with one guy and noting how he ate like a caveman. At the very moment I was thinking that perhaps I should offer to cut his meat into smaller pieces for him to show him how it can be done, he started choking. I sat there for a second in stunned silence psyching myself up to jump in and do the Heimlich maneuver when he coughed up the large piece of meat. In all seriousness he looked at me from across the table and said, “Sorry, I have some sphincter issues.” I wanted to say, “Ummm- how about you just try and use a fork and knife and cut smaller pieces.” Did I really want to add a caveman to my already full life with six children?
But in all honesty, I have been very content these past 10 years. Busy raising my children and creating happy memories and teaching them life lessons that they can take with them as they go out into the world. So imagine my surprise when a few months ago they sat me down and said, “Mom, we are getting older and it’s time for you to meet someone.”
I started to think about putting myself back out there to try and find love, but I didn’t even know where to begin. I got married at 23 so it has been a long time since I have truly done this. I started thinking about what dating was like in my early 20’s. I thought about things my daughters talk about now when they like a boy. Things like “don’t be too available”, “wait three hours before texting back”, and “it’s all about the chase” The chase??? Seriously?
I’ve decided the chase doesn’t exist so much in your forties. I am too tired to play those games. Some nights it’s hard enough to just stay awake for a round of UNO with my children much less worry about the games we have to play to get a guy to like us. If I wait three hours to respond to a text from a guy, chances are I will never remember to do it three hours later unless I leave myself a post it note. I will put the post it note somewhere but during those three hours I won’t remember to look at it and when I finally do see it a week later I will never understand what “text back three hours” means. Finding love in your forties can not be about the chase.
And what exactly makes a guy “Prince Charming”? I remember being a teenager and dreaming of my Prince Charming. The wonderful man who would sweep me off of my feet and slay all the dragons. In my forties I now know that I can slay a lot of those dragons myself but I also know that at times it would be nice to have someone to be beside me so we could do it together. Prince charming doesn’t need to sweep me off of my feet. If he really wants to get into my heart, he can sweep the floor every once in a while just because it’s thoughtful. If he folds a basket of laundry, I will be like putty in his hand and maybe even make his fantasies come true. These are the things that in my forties I am looking for in my Prince Charming.
In the midst of thinking about this next chapter in my life and opening myself up to loving and being loved, I met a wonderful man. No falling space debris came down and hit me in the head, but a wonderful man came and opened up my heart. I am having the best time getting to know him. There is a genuine appreciation for the things he does, for who he is. There is no rush to get to the alter or to say the L word. Life experiences have taught us both to be careful and to genuinely appreciate the small things. And we do.
The other night “Mr. L” asked me to be his emergency contact. That is the best way that I can sum up falling in love in your forties. This is real life. In my twenties that would have been lost on me. This man is special and he fills my heart and soul with a peace and contentment that I wasn’t expecting to have in my life. Forget the statistics of things falling from the sky. I think I have found love and it is a beautiful thing.