Reinventing Romance: Starting Over, Searching for a Miracle

Over-40 dating expert offers advice on starting over and finding romance after divorce.

By Sherry Amatenstein, MSW

Q. I waited until 42 to have my sons, spent 10 years married to a loser, am now divorced with 6-year-old sons and looking for romance. I work full-time as well. The thought of starting over in my 50s with small kids is exhausting. I’ve lost faith in romance and miracles. Can you prove me wrong?— RitaA. While recent life experiences have understandably left you disenchanted and disappointed, deep inside remains a bud of hope that love can happen. Nurture that bud and, in the words of Regena Thomashauer, founder of Mama Gena’s School of Womanly Arts, "A beautiful, incredible, outrageous romance can flower."Mama Gena’s School of Womanly Arts Thomashauer, who also hosts the On Demand series Pleasure Emergency, explains, "The challenge is to overcome your hurt feelings and sense of despair, rather than living in the heartache. In the ways you wish a man to eventually seduce you, seduce yourself by paying attention to whatever gives you pleasure."The relationship expert practices what she preaches. Divorced in 2004 after a 13-year marriage, the then 49-year-old took tiny steps toward recovery, ranging from placing a flower on her desk to indulging in ballroom dancing lessons and five-minute bubble baths. These activities helped keep at bay impulses toward self-pity and bitterness. Thomashauer, mother of a 10-year-old girl, says, "Feel beautiful and special and that’s how the world treats you. However, feel like a scullery maid…." You get the idea.Jonathan Parker is a survivor of experiences with women possessing the scullery maid mentality. The 45-year-old Miami lawyer says, "I’ve seen women as they get older — not just exes, but close friends — become less forgiving and more jaded and make it such that nobody wants to be around them."His solution? To date a 28-year-old. "The reason isn’t her age or body," he insists. Rather, he appreciates that "she’s not pissed off and doesn’t punish a boyfriend for the sins of his predecessors. Now, that’s refreshing."To avoid further pissing off Jonathan and his brethren, wait to date until you’ve sufficiently healed from the divorce. Helene Taylor, founder of the online resource The Modern Woman’s Divorce Guide, says, "For some people, taking six months to be totally single is very productive. Only when you can face the world with your best face forward should you start dating."The Modern Woman’s Divorce Guide These days, Regena Thomashauer is dating "two incredibly beautiful men" and is in no hurry to settle down: "It’s like a clean slate, incredibly fulfilling." As her experience proves, when you jettison the bitterness and embrace the beauty that is inside you, anything and anyone you want to attract in life is ultimately possible.Do you have a tough question about dating or relationships?E-mail Sherry at DatingExpert@More.com and your question might be featured in an upcoming column.E-mail Sherry About Sherry AmatensteinSherry Amatenstein, MSW, is the author of Love Lessons from Bad Breakups and Q&A Dating Book. She runs dating seminars around the country and does private coaching — not to help singles marry in 60 days, but to uncover their blocks. She has given relationship advice on the Early Show, Regis, Inside Edition, CBS News, VHI, BBC, and many other programs. Her philosophy is that the most important relationship you’ll ever have is with yourself.Schedule a one-on-one coaching session with Sherry Buy Love Lessons from Bad Breakups Buy The Q&A Dating Book Originally published on MORE.com, August 2007.

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