Yesterday I had an appointment with my therapist. We talked, mostly, about dating, and entering the dating scene as a 40-year-old.
It was a more thoughtful conversation than you might assume.
See, I've been building lists, in my head, of things I'm looking for in a guy. Apparently, my priorities have changed some, in the last ten years or so. But then I realized there's actually two lists: There's the list for Mr. Right, which is pretty hazy and vague, and there's the list for Mr. Right Now, which is fairly specific and keeps interrupting my thoughts about Mr. Right.
I eventually came to the conclusion that, just now, I do not want a Mr. Right. I want to actively avoid commitment. I want a social life, and I want a sex life. I want to date a few guys, to go out and have fun. I want to try new stuff (both in and out of the bedroom) without it having to be a Thing. Just at this moment, at least, I don't want a life partner. I want a good time.
But I worry that I'm being irresponsible and shallow. Or that it's too soon. So I took that concern to my therapist. Who said, in essence: as long as you are clear and honest with yourself about what you want, and as long as you're clear and honest with whoever you're seeing about what you want, then there's nothing inherently wrong with just wanting some personal validation, with wanting someone to answer the question of whether I'm desirable?
(And it is a question. Aside from a pretty fantastic set of hooters, I don't have all that much going for me in the looks department. I'm fat and saggy and starting to get wrinkly. Girlfriends to whom I've expressed this concern have offered up reassurances, but I can't help but notice that they're all either young and skinny and smokin' hot, or my age and happily married, so I'm not sure their opinions count for much.)
We also talked, at least briefly, about: rules for dating around the kids (they shouldn't be exposed unless something is getting serious); personal safety #1 (first few dates in public places, etc.); personal safety #2 (condoms are a must); and meeting people (don't go to bars unless you want to date the kinds of guys who hang out in bars). I mean, I already knew those, but it was good to talk them over with someone objective. Also, she gave me some alternative ideas for how to meet people (not just guys) that didn't involve going to bars and having to compete with younger, hotter women for guys I probably wouldn't want to date anyway.
It was a good session, even if it didn't push me too hard. It bolstered my confidence, a bit. Gave me some directions for movement.