You Can Find Love Again
Shortly after my twenty-seventh wedding anniversary, I found out (much to my dismay) that my wife was in love with another man. A full-color report from the private investigator brought it vividly to life, with pictures of them holding hands, kissing, and hugging after they spent a romantic birthday weekend getaway alone in a cabin. I had become suspicious a few months prior to this revelation, so the news was not a complete shock, despite her initial denial of any wrongdoing. There were red flags on social media, and even my own mother tried to tell me that something was going on, but I stubbornly refused to believe that she was capable of infidelity until it was proven to me. I had become complacent in the comfort of my long term marital status, and I was not fostering our connection as carefully as I once had. The marriage that had been cruising steadily along for years began to sputter, and finally ran out of fuel. My life partner decided to jump ship, and I gradually came to accept that I was going to be starting over…from scratch.
Like it is for many others, change has always been uncomfortable for me, and sudden, unexpected change is downright dreadful. When it involves losing your spouse and rearranging your whole way of life, it’s utterly gut-wrenching. Faced with the realization that I would probably be alone for an extended period, I switched off my heart, and got busy with the litany of things that were necessary to turn the page and start another chapter in my life. Lurking in the shadows of my mind, the dim hope of finding love again would occasionally rise to the surface, but I couldn’t see that far ahead, so I dismissed it time and time again. Deep inside, however, I just knew that one day I would feel differently.
After my divorce was final, I allowed myself to imagine the prospect of finding love again. The situation that seemed so devastating a year before now resembled an opportunity. Surely I would be capable of attracting a new mate. Plenty of other people had done it. I spent a considerable amount of time thinking about ways to make this happen. I had never been confident with women, so how was I supposed to find love again as a middle-aged single guy?
Then one day on the drive home from work…it hit me. Hello? We’re living in the information age, for goodness’ sake! The Internet would provide the answer, as it seems to do for most of my questions these days. I discovered at least a dozen different apps that could match me up with my dream girl. Online dating might provide exactly the opportunity I was craving. What did I have to lose? One lonely Friday night I took the plunge, and created my first online dating profile. It was practically perfect, because I painted such a cool image of myself that I could just sit back and wait for the right-swipes to roll in. The entertainment value of browsing for available women in a 25 mile radius was worth way more than the price of admission. Even so, the next couple weeks went by with very little to show for my efforts. Instead of becoming completely dejected, I searched myself for answers, had yet another epiphany, and in one night, I retooled my profile using honesty and simple factual information about myself.
Within a day, my luck began to change, and within a few days, I was “chatting” with actual female human beings who were considering dating me. Nevertheless, it felt more like a game than anything, and there was an emptiness that accompanied the end of any evening that yielded no responses. Magically, one Friday morning, while I was in the shower, I heard my phone make a sound that could only mean one thing — a private message to me from a prospective date! Sure enough, while still toweling off, I confirmed that indeed there was a new message waiting for me, from someone named Heather. We exchanged pleasantries and agreed to talk later. The next 72 hours felt like a whirlwind. We spoke on the phone for almost an hour that night, had our first date Saturday night, and spent Sunday afternoon talking, holding hands, and just enjoying each other’s company. My heart soared to heights not seen since my youth, and yet somehow, it felt as comfortable and natural as if we had known each other for years.
Within a few short weeks, I had my faith restored in the potential of finding love again. What I came to know over the next few months was that the experience of love the second time around can easily be more exhilarating than the first time. Take it from me: Being kissed again after more than two years is basically equivalent to your very first kiss; the same feelings of bliss wash over you, no matter how old you are. However, now that I’ve matured, I understand the significance of each moment spent in each other’s arms, every whisper in her ear, and all the soft caresses we share. With maturity comes patience, and I find that I am able to slow the passage of time when we’re alone, to be “in the moment”, and enjoy our experiences one second at a time. That kind of focus was missing in my younger days, when, after all, I had all the time in the world.
The secret formula that helped me find love again is the most important thing you could take from my story, and it comes down to one word: Honesty. You must be honest about describing yourself as well as what you’re looking for in a mate. The truth will eventually come out, anyway. Communicate your passions, whatever they might be. In my honest dating profile, I expressed that music is my passion, even though it’s not my livelihood. Be forthcoming about your beliefs, religious, political, and sexual. Think about the things that didn’t work in your previous relationships. The odds are that those things involved the failure to be completely honest about yourself or each other. You can only hide your true nature for so long before it begins to override your behavior.
Being alone and then finding love again has brought me new perspectives on life, on being human, and on the complicated nature of relationships. Life gives no one any guarantees, except that it will eventually come to an end. Humans make promises and break them, like the imperfect beings we are. The relationships that form as a result of romantic love are relatively fragile, and they tend to break when they are not handled with care. Despite that fragility, the rewards of loving another human being, and being loved in return, are more than worth the potential heartbreak. If you have had your heart broken, I hope that you, too, will find love again.