Published in Womeninc, April 2005
by Diana Gabriel
Q: “As a single woman after a marriage of 10 years, how do I go about dating again when it has been so long?”A: This is a great opportunity for you pause and prepare to be “in choice” as you proceed to move forward. Simply put, being “in choice” means operating consciously, from a place of self-knowledge. Many of us just keep moving without really taking the time or energy to think about how we want to be. Going back into the dating scene provides an opportunity for you to pause and examine who you are and what you want to be about. Ask yourself these questions: What values do you hold most sacred? What gives your life meaning and purpose?Keeping the answers at the front of your consciousness, will help you determine what kind of person you might like to be with. Use the information you know about yourself to develop a list of criteria for the people you would like to date. Who would most compliment who you are and what you are about? What are some of the characteristics your ideal partner must possess to be a fit? See if you can come up with at least five, and ideally ten, characteristics.
Now you are prepared to make a decision from the inside out – from a position of choice, where you are responding to opportunities rather than simply reacting to them.
This may not sound like a very romantic way to go about meeting people, but consider the fact that over 50% of marriages fail. This approach is more about combining a bit of reality with the romance. Armed with a solid sense of who you are, what you are about, and what you are looking for, your likelihood of finding a mate who is a wonderful, compatible fit is much greater – and what could be more romantic than that?
Once you have done this groundwork, begin networking. Let your circle of friends and acquaintances know that you are ready to start dating and tell them what kind of person you are looking for. I would encourage you to bring curiosity to dating and to have fun. You will feel much more confident going into dating situations when you have that solid sense of self and operate from a position of choice. This will allow you to clearly see when a dating relationship has the potential to be a long term relationship, taking off all the pressure about making the “right” decision.
This structure can be used with any major change one may be facing, such as losing a job, moving, relocating, or facing health issues. The ability to make choices is one of our greatest gifts, and it’s important to give ourselves the space to make the kind of choices that enhance our lives. It takes courage to make decisions from choice. Sometimes we rock the boat. Sometimes we have to make hard choices. But when we make choices that are consistent with who and what we are about, we operate from a place of integrity. It is then we create powerful outcomes in all areas of our lives. The critical factor is your approach: Is change driving you or are you driving the change? When you are in choice, you are in the best possible position to make decisions that will enrich and enhance your life. Worksheets are available at www.women-inc.com for you to download under articles for February/March. These will assist you in identifying your values and articulating your life-purpose statement.