Am I Going To Date Forever?
This is a question that date-fatigued boomer women frequently ask, sometimes right before deciding to quit dating. Although taking a break is a quick fix for date fatigue, the magnitude of boomer dating burnout warrants a discussion deeper than weariness. Here's what I've gleaned from dating, date coaching, and thousands of comments on my dating articles from Huff/Post 50 readers.
Boomer Women And Dating Angst
There's an undeniable gender gap associated with date forever angst, and what's striking about it is that it's exclusively women who are giving up dating. I've yet to hear from or about one man who quit dating. Do boomer women simply become more exasperated with dating than boomer men? I think there's a better explanation, and while it may not be the only one, it's objective.
Nearly every boomer woman has a tight-knit group of lifelong, supportive, friends with whom she shares her issues, including dating. These intimate friendships offer her safe haven where she receives unconditional support to help her recover from a failed relationship and work through other issues. She socializes with her close friends regularly, whether she's dating or not, i.e., lunches, dinners, vacations, frequent conversations, and activities. An ancillary benefit derived from maintaining long-term friendships is developing relationship skills, because maintaining healthy friendships require concerted effort. And these well-honed friendship skills are transferable to relationships with men, which makes boomer women savvy and desirable partners. In addition, their friendships make the decision to quit dating an option, rather than the only solution to loneliness.
Men Are Lagging Behind
In stark contrast, a relatively small number of boomer men enjoy anything approaching that level of support from other men. While there's no upside to this, there's a steep downside. Men, who live in social vacuums and keep their issues wrapped tight, basically function as loners. And this includes a guy with casual friends he drinks or goes to ball games with, because their dialogue is confined to surface issues.
Men buzz in and out of relationships because they lack the critical input of other men's perspectives and nonjudgmental feedback. Alternatively, men listen to inner dialogue, which typically results in recycling failed behavior. Absent authentic friendships, a man stuffs his pain and confusion deep in his psyche in the mistaken belief they've disappeared. But they haven't, and they continue to resurface. I was this guy into my early 40s, and it made life, including dating, unnecessarily difficult. And since nearly every woman is acutely aware of the importance of peer support and friendship, she knows she'll become a loner's entire social universe by default.
Men As Bees
Boomer women are curious why boomer guys buzz from relationship to relationship without pause. In part it's because men date reflexively, rather than reflectively. And absent trusted friends to help him work through his dysfunctional dating behavior, he'll continue to drag his unresolved dating and relationship baggage behind him. Men's divorce rates skyrocket for second and third marriages, in part because their baggage, their unresolved relationship issues, overwhelms their new marriages.
Should Men Quit Dating?
But a man who's working on the issues that affect his dating and relationship behavior doesn't have to quit dating. Our process for learning new behavior doesn't necessarily require that. Socrates said, "An unexamined life is not worth living," and while that seems extreme, a man benefits greatly from looking inward and expanding his consciousness about every aspect of his life. Boomer men seem to have unlimited stamina for dating, whether linked to libido or not, so quitting dating is anathema to most. But continuing to date needs to include open, frank dialogue with other men who can help him become empowered, which I define as being aware of his feelings in the moment, and being able to control them. Women thrive with unconditional support from their friends. Men can too.
No One Has To Quit Dating
Compassion and kindness are basic ingredients in every best friendship. If boomers date as potential friends rather than adversaries, we become open to a best friend/romantic partnership, which describes the most successful relationships. If you're considering quitting dating, please reconsider. While it may not feel like it in the moment, the upside of finding a life partner far outweighs the difficulty of the search. Boomers still have a lot of life to live, and while enjoying it with friends and family is warm and wonderful, sharing it with a romantic partner/best friend is the icing on the cake.
The Boomer Guide To Finding True Love Online will be available January 1st. Visit Ken on Facebook http://on.fb.me/1nyI62U, and his website http://www.kensolin.com.