8 Dating Self-Care Tips
Dating can be brutal, especially for our jaded yet sensitive older selves. It can also be exhilarating, magical, ecstatic, painful, and pining. How can we weather these highs and lows of dating long enough to find the right partner?
To find my partner, I set a goal of dating fifty men. Over the two and a half years it took to find him, I did eight things that helped my spirit not only survive but thrive. You can see them all working in my book, Fifty First Dates After Fifty: A Memoir.
These self-care practices can be used whether you are looking for “the one,” or creating a satisfying single life. The more you do, the better! Which of these might work for you?
- Find a community of supportive people
Being part of a community provides a support system of friends and acquaintances. Many of us are in groups based on religious, spiritual, athletic, political, or creative interests. If your interest groups provide positive emotional support during the dating journey, enjoy!
If you need more support, I recommend joining organizations that offer personal growth workshops—they are perfect for dating, because you can improve your relationship skills while meeting like-minded people who will become your friends and a source of dates. For me, taking relationship workshops with the Human Awareness Institute (HAI.org) and going to their social events opened the door to many friendships and potential partners.
- Create a women’s or men’s group, or a supportive coed group
Focused emotional support from regular meetings with a small group of people who want you to thrive is priceless. While this could be one good friend or therapist, a group provides a variety of perspectives and support. My women’s group of six women met once a month. We each shared our joys or struggles for about 5-10 minutes, and then the group gave supportive, loving feedback. They were the ones I called or emailed when I was particularly down or up. I was also part of a coed group that met monthly to share what was going on in our lives. Both groups made me feel connected and less alone.
- Give yourself positive, loving messages every day—spoken and written
Affirmations are one way to do this. Affirmations are positive statements about yourself, in the present tense, such as: I am attractive, I am a great person to know. If you have never done them, find a book, article, or video about how to write them. Post them around your house, and say them out loud to yourself daily. Trust me – they work, even if you don’t believe they will work! (Watch for my upcoming post on visioning for more about that.)
- Meditate and/or write in your journal every day, with lots of positive self talk
Meditation is a conversation with your inner self, and a journal can be a written record of the conversation between your inner and outer life. Write down your experiences, your thoughts, your feelings, and your insights. Allow yourself to cry. Give yourself loving, supportive comfort or advice from your inner wise and compassionate self. Include affirmations every day, especially after disappointing dates.
- Stay healthy and in shape
Whatever our age, it is easier to feel positive about ourselves if we eat healthy food and get enough exercise to keep our bodies happily humming. Healthy people glow, and attract other healthy people. Which foods and types of exercise are right for your body?
- Look good to yourself
Rather than trying to please the men or women you want to date, reframe it—dress and groom so that you feel happy with your ‘look.’ This could mean simply clean body and clean clothes in the style of your peer group. For me, it included highlights in my hair, pedicures in colors that made me happy, and clothes in colors I loved – whether going to a sexy dance party or a hike in the hills.
- Nurture yourself at home
When you are home, between dates, especially after the bad ones, do everything you ever heard of to treat yourself well, to show yourself that you are loved. Special dinners for yourself! Baths with candles and your favorite music! Hold your favorite pet! Spend a cozy evening reading, or watching movies and TV shows that cheer you up! For me, it was sitting on my cozy couch, holding my cat, watching episodes of Friends, playing my favorite music loudly, or taking a bath with peaceful music.
- Keep doing what you love to do
Whatever activities bring you joy—creative pursuits, athletic events, socializing with friends, silent spiritual retreats, travel—keep doing them! They nurture your spirit and help you create the life you want. For me it was hiking, spiritual events, and weekend workshops.
Which of these types of self-care do you already do? How well have they worked for you? Do you have any others to add? (Answer in the comments)