Six weeks ago, I was reviewing some clients’ profiles and started to see a consistent theme: single, successful women; some with children, others without. I looked in the mirror and realized I was one of them.
After two divorces and more years single than married, I am recently back on the dating trail, so I pondered the question: What are my chances of marrying again before they measure me for a coffin?
My decision to get back into dating came with the realization that I needed help from an expert who understood men better than I did. Since I have helped so many women understand how their emotions can impair their financial decisions, I realized I did not have the innate ability to see men separately from the emotional abuse I experienced as a child, which impaired my decisions while dating.
To me, it all came down to trust. I had never had it with men, but could I change that at this stage of my life?
Dating, and the possibility of marriage, can play an important role in finances, so instead of simply setting out on my own, I contacted a woman I had met in a business incubator program eight years ago, Bobbi Palmer. Her business, Date Like a Grownup, sounded perfect.
Before I hired Bobbi though, I wanted answers to questions that I had been contemplating as I reentered the dating world. Here are her responses.
1. Why do you think some women focus more on their career advancement than on advancing their love life?
In business, we think we’re in control. We figure that we can learn our craft, work hard, be resourceful, and we will achieve great results. When obstacles appear, we determine a solution, apply it, and keep moving forward. For many women, this feels much safer than the helplessness and high emotion we associate with dating and relationships.
The shame is that we can have control and feel safe with our emotions in our romantic life. We can learn how to date like a grownup, stay focused and committed to our goal, and just like we do in business, manage our feelings in a positive way. When we approach finding and enjoying love the same way we approach our career, we can truly have it all!
2. Do you think some women shy away from dating, especially after a divorce? Is it that they lack confidence or the tools to get back in the game?
Yes on all accounts. I coach divorced women from around the world and unfortunately, what they have in common is they've taken some pretty nasty hits to their self-esteem.
It’s hard to know who you are as a woman and trust your choices. It’s easy to question your value to men. And then there’s the difficulty of not dating, often for decades. That can be scary. These are all challenges, though hardly insurmountable.
Divorced or not, I help women truly get to know themselves using step one of my six-step Find Hope and Find Him system: Falling in Love With Your Grownup, Sexy Self. Powerful, beautiful change takes place when a woman starts seeing herself through her own eyes — not those of her ex or the media or her family. She can unashamedly fall back in love with herself, or do it for the very first time.
So yes, there are proven tools to support any woman who needs confidence and specific how-to direction. Again, like our careers, we just have to learn what we don’t yet know.
3. How has online dating changed in the last 10 years?
First, the stigma has disappeared. Everyone knows someone who met their partner online.
Next, demographics have changed. It’s not just for people in their twenties anymore. In fact, boomers have been the largest-growing online dating user demographic for several years.
Lastly, there are so many options. You can use one of the online sites with tens of millions of users, or smaller niche sites for just about any lifestyle. There are also countless apps to help you meet men, even one where women get to do all the choosing.
I highly recommend using online dating to meet singles. However, it can be confusing and frustrating if you don’t have some guidance. Here is an Online Dating IQ test to see how well you know how to use this powerful tool.
4. What misunderstandings do women have about men?
I’d need to write a whole book to answer this, but here are a few of the most common misconceptions:
- Men don’t have feelings. Men actually feel very, very deeply, but they don’t express it like we do, so we need to learn how to communicate those feelings to each other. Some may not know how, but that is an area where you can work together to improve.
- Men like low-maintenance women. Not the good, grownup men! Men want to make women happy, but when you ask for nothing, that’s what you get. I’ve helped hundreds of women break the cycle of choosing selfish men simply by teaching them how to ask for what they want.
- Men only want sex. Yes, men may love sex, but as they age, their testosterone levels lower and like us, they have learned a lot from their life experience. Grownup men want a chance to be a good partner to a good woman. What becomes meaningful in a relationship is to have a deep connection, to be understood, and to be accepted for who they are. (Sound familiar? We really aren’t that different.)
5. Can a woman have a successful career and a great marriage?
Hell, yes! But many women have to learn how. I definitely have both. It’s not always roses, but the real happiness it’s added to my life far outweighs any challenges. I highly recommend adding love to your already great life!
Even though I am just starting with Bobbi, she makes sense. The profile she helped me write captures me perfectly, and the pictures she helped me choose reflect the real me. Dating will play a role in my own finances, as it does with many other women. Now that I’m feeling more confident about putting myself back out there in the dating world, and more assured that I will conquer negative feelings I previously associated with it, I know I will be able to make sound decisions in both aspects of my life. I’m certainly learning that it’s never too late to learn new skills and overcome emotions that are holding you back.
Watch Bobbi's free monthly webcasts, “Grownup Girls’ Night Out.” She coaches on new topics each month.
And I know she will have a front row seat at marriage number three — maybe even perform the wedding. (Yes, she’s a full-service expert!)
Pegi Burdick was a serial entrepreneur, is an accomplished businesswoman, and is now an expert on helping women create empowering relationships with money. Listen to her radio interviews and get more tips on managing your emotions and your money by subscribing to her newsletter at The Financial Whisperer. (When you sign up, you’ll receive a chapter of her book, It’s NEVER About the Money...Even When It Is, as a thank you.) Have fun and learn more about yourself with this money quiz. Follow Pegi on Twitter for more tips: @thefinwhisperer
Pegi Burdick is a member of the DailyWorth Connect program. Read more about the program here.