As I was reading a blog I follow, I got to thinking about why we date? I think that it varies for so many people and also the stage of life you are in.

In high school, most of us are not looking for a life partner. We are looking for someone to keep us company through those tumultuous years and dates for school events. There are, of course, people that find the “love of their life” during that time but it is not common. We may think that our high school sweetheart is the love of our life and many people look back on that love years later and wonder what if. I actually have had my high school sweetheart contact me lately and tell me that I am the only woman that he has ever loved. We broke up over thirty years ago. I find that sad. I did love him very much back then and am glad we had our time.

Post high school/college years is a new game. This is when we start looking for a life partner. Some continue dating just for fun and companionship but most of the time, dating at this time is geared towards a future. We are learning who we are and hopefully learning about the type of person we want to spend the rest of our life with and possibly a person to parent with. We are looking for not only a partner but also a patent to our future children, if we want kids.  In the earlier years,  many are very scared of commitment and jump around but I do think the majority of people have started looking for a long term person. I actually had one of my kids tell me that there was no reason to go out on a date with someone that she knew there was no future with. I, on the other hand, went out with anyone that had the courage to ask me out. I made some great friends that way and learned more of what I wanted and needed.

Post divorce or post marriage is where I am now. Dating is so interesting at this age. We all have baggage at this point. Hopefully, we have an idea of who we are by then and what we want in a partner. Our baggage and what ended the previous relationship definitely play a part in what we are looking for and how active we look for a relationship. We need to decide what we want. Do we want a commitment again? Do we want marriage again? Statistics show that married men live longer and are happier while the opposite if for women.

For me, these stages have all been very unique. When I was young, I was so desperate to be loved by a man and get married and have babies. I had horrible self esteem and  a horrible relationship with my dad. I used the men in my early dating years to try and fix me. Of course, that didn’t work but I kept picking out guys that would not be good partners.  My dad is an alcoholic so I had those issues. I was determined to marry a man that was not an addict as that was a pattern in my family. I was determined to marry a man that would put marriage and children as a priority. I didn’t trust men to not cheat or abandon his wife in their forties. I chose my exH because I thought he was a different man than he turned out to be. His parents have been married forever and I thought he would be a much better father than he turned out to be. I made the mistake of marrying him prior to getting to know his family. HUGE mistake as he turned into his dad, whom I cannot stand.

After twenty-three years, he walked out on me and our marriage so what I was desperately trying to avoid happened. Three months after the divorce, three years ago this week, I decided to start dating again. Wow, it is a different world. Most men in their 40s/50s have decent jobs, ex-wives, kids. When I first started dating, I was looking for companionship. I was sure that I never would want to get married again. Then I met ExB. After a short time with him, I knew that I could love again and possibly find someone that I would want to be with forever. I learned to love and be loved but my future is not with him. Now, here I am, three years into dating and I am not sure what I want. I am definitely not in a rush for a relationship or marriage but I do not want to grow old alone. I don’t want and can’t have any more kids so that is a non-issue.  For now, I am looking for companionship and possibly eventually a life partner. I am not in a hurry and would rather be alone than with the wrong person.