Love, Lust & Laughter - 10.25.22
LOVE AFTER LOSS – Becoming Capable of Intimacy and Laughter Again
Dr. Lori Buckley, my friend and colleague of nearly 20 years, is the perfect guest to explore this topic. She and I have some parallels on our life paths. We are both Sex Therapists who have narrated sex education videos for The Sinclair Institute – including Great Sex for a Lifetime. We’ve both been divorced and widowed and remarried – me four+ years ago, she in 19 days! We both moved out of L.A. – hoping for a more simpatico male dating pool, among other reasons. Big surprise – Los Angeles has more than its share of narcissistic men!
(Note: although the following stories are written from the perspective of women dating men, the advice is generally applicable to any gender dating any gender.) Beware of the man who doesn’t ask any questions about you on the first date. These guys are probably very narcissistic. Me. Me. Me. But it can’t be all about him when it comes to relationships. Besides, he may hold idea that I will find someone who makes me happy. Since happiness is an inside job, the relationship fails. If your new date is only talking about himself, you may be watching him talk about the only person who interests him: himself.
After loss, Dr. Lori asks the question, How do I move forward? First, it’s important to figure out what you really want. How do I navigate relationships and love? How do I navigate my sexuality after losing a beloved partner?
To figure out what you really want, you may need to give it three dates. If you don’t feel “chemistry” at first, please remember that chemistry doesn’t (usually) last. Attraction is important, but if someone meets your needs, you may find the attraction follows.
It helps to know your deal-breakers -- for example, smoking. Most people focus on wants: hot, funny. You may find the right one when you focus on needs: communication, mutual respect.
Dr. Lori and Dr. Diana discussed common fears in dating the second time around. One fear is that first dates will be awkward. Sure, they can be – but they can also be interesting and fun! In addition to talking about mutual interests, ask lighthearted questions that delve beneath the surface. Examples: What was your favorite toy when growing up? What would you love to do if there were no constraints? What’s the best advice anyone ever gave you? If your house were on fire, what’s the first thing you would grab to save?
Another fear is that there will be a lot of losers out there. The reality is that your attitude has the biggest impact on your satisfaction with dating and your ability to meet compatible people. Often promoted by popular media is the idea that single men are inept or self-centered and that women are confused or impossible to please. Of course, the truth is that many men are capable and loving. Many women are straightforward and agreeable.
You can assess a person’s character by paying attention to the person’s actions as well as words. Look for evidence of kindness, respect, integrity, emotional generosity, and responsibility. Does he show up on time? How does he treat the staff at a café? Does he put away his cell phone during dates and give you full attention? When the subject of past relationships comes up, does he dwell on his ex’s negative traits? What did he learn from his last relationship?
Will he want sex right away is another fear. Plenty of people don’t mind waiting -- and someone who is right for you will respect your boundaries. You might say, “I’m attracted to you, but I want to slow this down” … “I don’t have sex with someone this soon, so for now why don’t we just kiss and cuddle?”
Perhaps the biggest obstacle to finding love in midlife and beyond is staying home. Move those fears aside, and get out there and date!
Both Dr. Lori and I are similar in this way, too: we’ve danced our dreams awake with a special man. She has Harry, I have Bryan. I can honestly say my connection with my husband is one of fun, sizzle, and ever-deepening intimacy. We are two experienced people who have a past, yet everything is still possible! Dr. Lori agrees with me. Tune in for some fascinating details.
Also check out Dr. Lori’s product web site Stuff of Love.
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