We’ve all been there. You meet someone and you are seriously pinching yourself because you think you might be dreaming this new relationship. You can’t believe something this good is real.
He’s perfect. He can’t do anything wrong. The site of him makes your heart pound. The two of you gush over each other. You can’t do enough for each other. The way you feel when he kisses you is indescribable. The way you feel when he touches you is frightening (in a good way.) It can’t get any better. All that said, one tiny bit of the older and wiser you is waiting for the shoe to drop. Only a tiny bit of you, though.
While out for dinner with my daughter the other night, we met a couple who were in their forties, I think, and who I believe I just described in the first two paragraphs of this post.
How did I know? When the hostess seated them, the guy said to his date, “Is it OK if I sit next to you?” The two got into the booth on the same side, and the minute they were seated, he took her hand and kissed her.
When my daughter and I were getting ready to leave, I leaned over and said to them, “I hope you don’t mind me asking, but I have a dating and relationships column in the Chicago Trib Pioneer Press, and so this is my thing—relationships. I was just wondering, “How long have you guys been together?”
As my pre-teen daughter rolled her eyes, the couple sort of giggled and said, “Not long. Just three weeks.”
“I knew it,” I replied, “Isn’t it great? Aren’t you having fun?”
“Yes, we are,” they gushed.
“How did you two meet?” I asked.
They both told me their story as they giggled and smiled at each other. Then I told them how happy I was for them, and that they should enjoy this wonderful time together.
Meeting them was really fun and inspiring. (I love a great romance.) But I can’t resist offering them some advice. Here are 10 pieces of advice I would give them, or anyone in a new relationship:
1. If you are thinking, “What’s the catch?” stop! Just enjoy now. There might be something that comes up later and the relationship might or might not end because of it. But until that person gives you a reason to doubt things, just go with it and enjoy. You deserve it.
2. Don’t be afraid to be yourself right from the start. He likes you or he doesn’t. That’s it. Same with her.
3. Being vulnerable and honest is a good thing. It’s scary, but so what? The best relationships are those where you are vulnerable and then you see that you can trust the other person.
4. Have the attitude that you deserve all this nauseating happiness. You’ve been through enough hurt and heartbreak.
5. Don’t ignore red flags. If one pops up, it doesn’t mean you have to break up, but be aware of it.
6. You are going to have a fight pretty soon. It won’t be a really bad one and you will enjoy making up. It might even bring you closer together.
7. If you stay together long enough, certain things will start to bug the crap out of you and him about you. That’s OK.
8. If you stay together for a long time, try to always treat each other the way you are treating each other now. In other words, don’t change in that regard. (If you are rolling your eyes, thinking that isn’t possible, than that is really sad.)
9. Have protected sex until you both get tested for all STD’s. You’ll be glad you did.
10. Keep praying. What I mean by that is, have gratitude for what is happening and pray that the magic you have together keeps lasting. Praying helps a lot more than you might think.
The thing about a new relationship is, it’s a bit like the feeling you get when you see a newborn baby or a puppy or a child who just learned to walk or watching the sun rise over the ocean. It’s refreshing and breathtaking and it fills your heart with hope and joy and inspiration.
Especially for those over 40 who are divorced or widowed, a new relationship is often so unexpected, perhaps because the bar has been set so low, due to the hurt we’ve faced in the past. So when love hits, it’s kind of shocking (in a good way.) And whether or not the new relationship ends up in a second marriage or it blows up next week, or it turns out to be something in between, just knowing you can feel those feelings again is delightful, and worth the risk, don’t you think?
To the couple I met the other night, if you are reading this, I want you to know that I am personally rooting for you. You’re adorable and you looked really happy. Isn’t that what matters most in relationships?
Like this post? Check out my article and video: “How do you know when you’re in love?