I receive messages regularly from people asking me to write more about the issues relating to being single mid-later in life, the dilemmas it presents, the opportunities to start afresh, and despite the negative consequences of divorcing and the sadness of losing a loved one after many long years together, there is the unexpected benefit of having a fresh start and getting to create what you want. Obviously, there is a lot of ground to be covered before getting to the ‘fresh start’ bit. (for details of my 6-step recovery challenge)
This challenge was designed and delivered by Melinda Smith (coach) and me and has been specifically aimed at men and women in their 50s, 60s and 70s who struggle with getting back on their feet after divorce or bereavement.
We have put this programme together using our own experiences of divorce in mid-life and methods we use when working with our clients. Each person is unique in how they or deal with their situation.
ABOUT ME: JACQUI BAKER
I first became single aged 42. Apart from the necessary factors that had to be overcome to get myself to the point where finances, shared custody of the three children and relocation were all behind me, I embraced this ‘new me’. I found my independence, became a more grown-up version of my former self, gained more qualifications and stepped away from being the dowdy mother and wife!
When I was 44, I met someone and spent ten years with him. I did not re-marry; this was not important to me anymore. In January 2018, I left this relationship and have remained ‘happily single’ ever since. There are a few reasons for this, but mainly because I felt restrained within the relationship, and my life was not my own; I felt controlled. I had done so for many years, but now in my 50s, I feared living alone. Could I do it? Would I ever meet anyone at this stage in my life? I spent at least two years anxious about what to do next. I now see that this was wrong. Life is too short to stay in any relationship that makes you unhappy.
Becoming single aged 53 was a very different experience from when I became single at 42! The ten years had made a significant difference in how I approached singledom. I loved being in control of my own life again, but differently.
When I was in my teens and 20s, we only knew ‘old school’ dating.
My perception of the dating game (online) had changed, and I struggled with going on dates because I was unsure if I wanted to enter into another long-term relationship. My friends told me my concerns would disappear when the right person came along.
In my 40s, I enjoyed the new way of dating online.
But now, fast approaching my mid-50s, I got fed up with people making themselves appear more desirable than they were when I met them; everyone, including myself, indulging in self-promotion. No one said how pissed off they would be if they didn’t have their dinner before 7 pm every evening, or if you left a dirty cup on the side, or if you left your socks on the floor, didn’t clean the shower after use and so many other little foibles that we have ingrained over the 50 plus years we have been on the planet. I didn’t put on my profile that I am always late; I do snore when I drink wine (one of my sons said it was like a Boeing 747 landing on the roof last Christmas after dinner, and I fell asleep on the sofa after a few vinos and bubbles over lunch), or I can be a bitch if I don’t get enough sleep!
I started to look at each date as a chore and a let-down before I even went on a date, but going along just in case it would be ‘Mr Right’ this time. Then I totally gave up, but what else was there for me? My friends were all in relationships, and I was reasonably new to the area.
This led me to set up Select Events in 2019. I dived in and set up singles groups in many areas and small events in different locations, going along after my full-time job on Friday evenings. Then came ‘dinners with a difference’, which took off, and the pandemic arrived!
In 2020, I set up Select Connections, a bespoke introductions agency for people in their 50s, 60s and 70s to meet a companion/partner/husband/wife to accompany them on the next part of their life journey.
Just because this journey commences after mid-life, it doesn’t mean that it will be any less meaningful than any other journey to date; it could be the most fabulous journey of all.
In early 2021 I left my full-time University job role due to my singles groups’ growing and demand for events and introductions going through the roof after the pandemic.
I am so busy with Select Events and Select Connections, as well as launching Club Select, our new membership service, that I do not honestly have time to devote to a full-time relationship. I am happy now, but I know I will need to look at this again before I am 60, as I am conscious of the difference between how I felt being single in my 40s to my 50s and then how it will be in my 60s!!
Thank you for reading.
Jacqui B x