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Claire Thinking
Dating After 40

Who knew I'd be dating in my 40's? It certainly wasn't my plan to be divorced and single.

To be honest, I'm not sure I had a plan. Just some vague notion of how my life was supposed to turn out: a happy marriage, a house full of children, someone to grow old with. Where I got the idea that these things were a given is beyond me.

My divorce was a rude awakening to the fact that life isn't always fair and generally takes some foresight. That was a tough one to get my brain around, but lesson learned-life goes on.

So here I am back in the dating world again and let me tell you it's nothing like it was in high school. High school was a veritable smorgasbord of potential dates. Not that I had much luck then, but at least there was a variety from which to pick, and if you got something you didn't like you could always go back for something else.

At 45 the smorgasbord has definitely been picked over and what's left isn't always very appealing. In fact it is often times bitter, cold, or tends to upset my stomach.

I work in a basement office, and rarely see the light of day, let alone bump into eligible men so my usual weekend consists of shopping and watching Food TV. Both things I enjoy, but I find I am still missing the big 3 (see paragraph 1).

I'm smart, funny and moderately attractive - why am I not at least dating? Oh, yeah, these things don't just happen-you have to DO something to make them happen. I admit I'm a slow learner on this point.

Having had this epiphany, I took action. With a grainy photograph and an optimistic attitude, I put a personal ad on the Internet. Before I knew it, that old smorgasbord was back, and this girl was filling up her plate!

Bikers, engineers, college professors, computer geeks, all wanting to buy me a cup of coffee and get to know me better. I think that Starbucks should have given me a frequent daters discount.

I don't have any horror stories - well there is that one about the comb-over but I don't like to think about that! I mostly met nice men who were good company but who were looking for someone to fill the holes left by former relationships.

Slow learner that I am, even I knew that wouldn't work. You can't just apply the Claire-patch and make everything ok. If nothing else, my Internet dating experience has helped me appreciate who I am and has given me the confidence to go for what I want and to let go what I don't.

I recently started dating someone (yes, we met on the internet) and things seem to be going fairly well. We both like each other and feel that there is potential for something more. Scary, yes, but exciting as well.

The problem now is how do you combine two lives that have 45 or more years of stuff all crammed into them? I've been trying to clear out my life to make room for someone; he's been filling his up so that he wouldn't notice the lack.

Finding time when we both are free is a problem, so we find ourselves trying to wedge into each other's lives. The results aren't always satisfying.

I'm sure we can make things fit, but it's a tight squeeze right now. I'm taking a proactive role-any ideas on where I might find a giant shoehorn?


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