6 Ways to Protect and Nurture Your Heart

A sandy beach, a heart drawn in sand, a wave about to wash over it.

6 Ways to Protect and Nurture Your Heart While Dating

Dating can be wearing on a woman’s heart

Hopes get raised and dashed over and over, wearing away our women’s hearts like ocean waves nibbling at a heart on the sand. 

Hopes are raised by the fantasy of a guy’s potential—from what we know about him, he seems special and perfect for us.  They are dashed by the reality of the guy – we meet him and either we don’t like him, or he doesn’t like us.

Dating plus sex is even harder

The pain of hopes raised and dashed are all compounded if we make love with him on an early date, and then either he or we decide that we aren’t a match. 

Ouch!  Our hearts can be pierced by rejection at any time, but the deeper we feel the attraction and longing, the more we become attached to the fantasy of the guy’s potential, and the deeper we can be hurt.

How can we date so that our heart is not just protected, but nurtured enough to stay open to love?

Why I needed to protect and nurture my heart

When I was dating to find a life partner in my late 50’s, my heart experienced the complete range of hopes raised and dashed—times 50! I had set a goal of going on 50 dates so that I could experience different types of men and learn about what I wanted in a partner and a relationship. During this ‘dating project,’ chronicled in my memoir, Fifty First Dates After Fifty, I was also sexual with many of my dates, so my heart felt the hopes raised and dashed even deeper, over and over, like ocean waves.  Still, I persevered and found my partner. How did I take care of my heart?

Six ways I protected and nurtured my heart

Here are the steps I took to protect and nurture my heart through 50 dates, with and without being sexual. Would any of these ideas work for you?

  1. I set a goal of a number of dates (50!), so I was not invested in any one date working out. I could move on easier after each date (see blog post – Why 50 First Dates?).
  2. I found friends with benefits – male friends who mutually agreed we were not going to become partners, but wanted to support me as lovers while I dated.  Then had ongoing touch and sex from them, so I didn’t have to expect it from my dates.
  3. With dates who were potential partners, I had enough safe, non-sexual dates to get to know them before I considered making love with them.
  4. I kept my women friends up to date on my dating life, so if there were any hopes raised and dashed, they could comfort me and remind me that he was not the one. (This is part of overall self-care. See blog post, 8 Dating Self-Care Tips)
  5. When my heart got hurt, I had heart to heart talks with her.  I listened to her, hugged her, told her (out loud) that I loved her and that she was amazing to stay open even though she got hurt. I stayed present with her until she felt better. This was the most important way I moved beyond hurt.  There are several examples of this in my book.
  6. I comforted my hurt heart with loving messages from my head, my body, and my friends. I wrote myself love notes, cuddled on the couch with my cat, watched my favorite sit coms and rom coms, took baths with peaceful music. I alerted my friends and lovers via email or text and they sent comforting notes, or came by and hugged me. All these things together comforted and healed my heart. My heart could recover and go on when she knew she was loved.  My book includes many instances of this type of comfort.

Bonus tip: If I forgot any of these steps, I forgave myself, usually with the help of friends.

Did it work?

Yes! When my heart felt loved, I could let those ocean waves of hope rise and fall around me without eating away at my heart. And each wave got me closer to finding my partner.

Let me know in the comments if any of these ideas would work for you, or add others that you have done.  And to see how they played out in my dating project, read my book! May your heart feel loved, nurtured, and protected on your dating journey!

Published by Carolyn Lee Arnold

I'm the author of Fifty First Dates After Fifty: A Memoir, about my dating adventures to find my perfect partner in my late fifties. I found him, and we've been happily together for over 10 years. These blog posts explore what I learned while dating and from writing my book. For more about the book, including dating resources, other writings, and fun interviews with me, check out my website at the top of this page.

6 thoughts on “6 Ways to Protect and Nurture Your Heart

  1. This is such great advice. I remember feeling the “what’s wrong with me” depression if a date did not work out. It is so important to keep the faith and not let your confidence be affected if the date doesn’t work out.

    1. Anne – exactly! Keeping up our confidence is key, in all the ways you know. It also helps to remember that their choices are about them and their own life trajectory, not us, so we don’t have to take their choices personally.

  2. What’s the best way to find a potential partner/friend with no sex involved? Is it strange for me to want romance with no sexual interests? I’m 71 and sometimes I feel like being alone is simply easier. At the same time, I would love to have someone to share life with. Please advise ♥️

    1. Hi Jule, Good for you for knowing what you want! You are not strange to want a partner/friend with no sex involved – my experience is that there is someone out there for each of us who wants exactly what each of us wants. If you are looking for a male partner, I’m sure there are some men around your age who aren’t interested in sex. The challenge is finding them, and being clear with potential dates or friends what you are looking for. How have you gone about looking so far?

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