STEP 3: DESTROY THE MONSTER IN YOUR HEAD
What we say to ourselves impacts our mood and behavior. The “monster in your head” is that little voice that whispers (and sometimes screams) negative statements about yourself and the world around you. Our internal dialogue impacts whether we look at life through a lens of optimism and hope versus pessimism and negativity.
Examine your self-talk as it pertains to being middle-aged and your views on dating and gay men. Create a list of all the thoughts that come to mind about these topics unedited. If you have such thoughts as “I’m too old to find love”, “All the good ones are taken”, “I’m going to be all alone”, or “Nobody will find me attractive, I’m 50!” then your monster needs an ass-kicking.
Don’t fall into the trap of creating a self-fulfilling prophecy. Begin creating a list of counter-statements or affirmations that will defeat this negative thinking. The more you believe these myths about midlife dating, the more you are setting yourself up for sabotage and it’s important to begin challenging these beliefs by taking stock of true-life success stories or by taking risks and creating your own triumphant victory. Refuse to be held victim to such deprecating thoughts and start developing a mindset around midlife as a positive time in your life to enjoy the fruits of your labor.
STEP 4: EMBRACE YOUR AGE
There’s no point becoming preoccupied with your youth “in the days gone by.” You’re as young as you feel and resisting the fact that life changes will only keep you arrested in your development and is a recipe for unhappiness and regret. Learn to accept all the physical and emotional changes that accompany midlife and be proud of who you are and your story.
Do your best to reduce ageism and ensure that you yourself are not behaving in ways that perpetuate this type of discrimination. For example, if you utilize personal ads as a venue for seeking dating partners, make sure you are honest about all aspects of yourself and don’t fudge on your age. This will increase your odds of attracting more compatible people responding to your ad; remember, it’s quality and not the quantity of your responses.
STEP 5: ALIGN YOURSELF WITH THE RIGHT VENUES
Where do you meet other quality guys?! No matter what your age, this is one of the most common questions surrounding dating and it all boils down to your vision and values. While picking up other men in bars could be a viable approach, it’s a difficult setting to do so because there are so many guys to have to sift through and screen to determine their suitability with your vision for a life partner.
The key is to match your values, needs, preferences, and life purpose with a venue that has some of these qualities and characteristics. This way, you’re surrounded by other men who share at least some semblance of your vision; that makes you one step closer to possibly finding someone who’d be a “good fit.” Examples might be volunteering for a worthy cause or advocacy center, joining a support group, participating in a sporting club, becoming active in a gay-friendly church, signing on to a personal ads site that caters to the middle-aged crowd, etc. The possibilities are endless, but self-knowledge about your vision and passions is a critical key to its success.
STEP 6: BUILD YOUR SUPPORT TEAM & MENTORSHIP CLUB
Nothing helps you through the trials and tribulations of dating better than a solid support system of friends and people who care about you. Invest in current and new relationships with friends and family to give you that boost and sense of connection that we all need. Make sure to look for other midlife gay men who display positive dating lifestyles or older gay couples who can be looked upon as role models to keep them visible in your mind and to help motivate you to see the possibilities that abound. You could even become a mentor yourself to a younger gay man to “give back” in some way and form other positive alliances.
STEP 7: BE PROACTIVE AND HAVE THE RIGHT STUFF
Dating is not a passive activity. You must be proactive and go after what you want or the likelihood of success is minimized. Develop a strong resource bank of dating skills and behaviors that will promote the chances of more positive outcomes. Strengthen your social skills, build more assertiveness and comfort with boundaries, enhance your self-esteem and body image, resolve unfinished business from the past, and get yourself into good physical and emotional shape. Get yourself armed and ready for love!
Conclusion - Gay dating success can be yours in midlife, and at any age! By incorporating these seven steps into your dating plan, you’re well on your way to increasing the odds of success. Know yourself, develop a positive and optimistic mindset, build your repertoire of dating skills and behaviors, and live your life to the fullest! This can be the best time of your life; don’t waste another minute!
Back to: PART ONE
For more information on gay midlife and dating, here are a few resources that might be of interest.
· For more elaboration on the concepts of vision, dating venues, and dating skills: “Conscious Dating: Finding The Love of Your Life In Today’s World” by David Steele. Campbell, CA: RCN Press. 2006.
· Literature on managing issues related to the gay midlife: “Golden Men: The Power of Gay Midlife” by Harold Kooden, PhD & Charles Flowers. New York, NY: Avon Books. 2000.
© Dr. Brian Rzepczynski, The Gay Love Coach
The suggestions and feedback offered in this column are but one perspective of multiple approaches to dealing with problems or challenges. Information provided in articles and advice columns should not be used as a substitute for coaching or therapy when these services are needed. None of this information should be your only source when making important life decisions. This information should not be used for diagnosing or treating a particular problem, nor should it take the place of a consultation with a trained professional. It is your responsibility to consult a professional prior to making any life decisions.
Dr. Brian Rzepczynski, contributing author to GAYTWOGETHER, is one of the leading love coaches for the gay community. As a licensed dating and relationship coach, Dr. Brian Rzepczynski, DHS, MSW has over 18 years experience as a psychotherapist and life coach specializing in helping GLBT individuals and couples develop and maintain successful and fulfilling intimate relationships. He holds a doctorate degree in human sexuality from the Institute for Advanced Study of Human Sexuality and a master’s degree in clinical social work from Western Michigan University. He also runs a successful private therapy practice, Personal Victory Counseling, Inc. http://thegaylovecoach.com