Best-life: The dating game

By Drum Digital
31 October 2011

Dating when you’re older can be a minefield. Going on a date can be exciting and fun, no matter at what stage of life you find yourself. But dating can also be tricky and disappointing, especially if you’re older and wiser, and have already experienced the pain of a failed relationship or a sad, bitter divorce.

You might feel insecure and vulnerable, have developed a cynical view of love and romance and have commitments, such as taking care of your children or your elderly parents, that might make it difficult for you to find the time and emotional energy to take on a new relationship.

This was 49-year-old Sheila Makhubo’s experience when she started dating again three years ago.

A divorced teacher from Clarens in the Free State, Sheila says she didn’t realise how out of touch she was when she decided the time was right to meet someone new.

“It was a bit of a nightmare! There are some really strange characters out there,” she laughs.

She expected dating to be smooth-sailing and easy, like when she met her ex-husband.

“When we met, he liked me and I liked him, we fell in love, got married and had children,” she says.

And while she is now in a stable relationship with her boyfriend, Phello, for a long time she struggled with the dating game because she had unrealistic expectations.

This isn’t unusual. Many older, single people have false expectations, whether they’re valid or not, and these can make dating disappointing, says Vanderbijlpark psychologist and family counsellor Victoria Khumalo.

She advises people to talk about their past disappointments and future expectations when it comes to relationships. If they don’t, it can possibly have a negative effect on their dating experience.

Read all about it in DRUM, 3 November 2011.

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