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Thread: Heartbroken at 39

  1. #11
    Member gooseduck's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by reinventmyself
    I am sorry things turned out the way they did.

    It's still very early, so do yourself a favor and put the thought of dating out of your mind for the time being. It's a difficult time and you are needlessly making it worse by doing so.
    Yes I understand that completely and agree. Since it is my fear today and I want to address it by looking at my fears squarely in the face, I am starting to feel the grasp of that fear lightening already--by giving voice to it rather than shy away from it, by hearing the wonderful testimonies of others finding love is bringing me grate solace and after this, I can rest assured and work on the hard bits of buddhist practice in finding and re-introducing peacefulness and calm back into my life.

  2. #12
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    Originally Posted by reinventmyself

    Read around here and you'll find some 20 year old thinking they'll never love again too.
    This response made me laugh because it's so true!

    All jokes aside though, 39 going on 40 is still YOUNG! Do not feel discouraged by your age and if you dread the swipe dating apps then delete them from your phone! There are still loads of ways to meet people organically, you must not forget that.

    Get involved in volunteering, join a hiking group or run club, shoot you could join a country club and try out golfing (there are loads of men on a golf course of all ages). There's also participating in a bible study, taking up a foreign language class, book club, etc.

    Someone very close to me, found the love of their life at 48 and has been married to them for years! They are happy and always say they are grateful for the road they had to travel to get to them, otherwise they would have never met. All your failed relationships will lead you to the one you're meant to be with!

  3. #13
    Gold Member SarahLancaster's Avatar
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    There's something wonderful about finding true love later in life. You're more mature, have stable finances, don't feel the need to get caught up in trivial bs that young people stress over. He's out there somewhere, and you'll know it when you meet him.

  4. #14
    Platinum Member bluecastle's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by gooseduck
    I know that the hard work is still to come and I welcome it because I recognize what it can open up in me to love in the future.
    This is a gem of a mindset—keep mining it. I was thinking along very similar lines even when things were most turbulent, and while some of that might just be my character I think part of it (a not small part) was one of the blessings of age. I'd been heartbroken before, been lashed by all sorts of emotional whips—that's life, of course, so I knew well enough that I'd walk again even when the notion seemed improbable. The question for me was how did I want that walking to look like, and the answer, even in the storm, was with a more open heart than I'd had before.

    It's easy, and of course tempting, to make it all sound like I was some Zen master through this. Um, no. My first instinct was to try to fill the void pretty quickly, which is to say, the day after, I got on a motorcycle, rode 500 miles, pulled into a hotel with a swimming pool, downloaded a dating app, started swiping like a manic, thirsty banshee. Classic wounded male showmanship. Problem was? Each little swipe across the screen felt like lifting a pile of bricks and dumping it on my head.

    Ugh. If in the past, when I'd been a little blinder, a little more of a peacock, that sort of thing "worked," it seemed I had to take a different approach this time. Seemed I had to just own that I had matured enough to be a little shattered for a bit. Had to dig deep into all the stuff my yoga teachers said—stuff I thought I'd metabolized, maybe even actualized, but alas: I was just a student, once again. And that, of course, was kind of annoying, and here and there I fought back in juvenile ways. Yeah, I mean I downloaded the apps again, swiped again, felt the bricks again, felt, again, like a senior citizen trapped in the body of a 37-year-old. Scratch that: 38. I was aging. Gulp!

    Not sure I ever made a vow to swear off dating for a bit, but I did do just that. For months and months. Let all that stuff go—and you know what? It was lovely. It was like I let certain parts of myself, some very active parts historically, shut down for a bit: the love sectors, the lust sectors, the attention-seeking sectors. I let them go dark and sat in the dark. Traveled a lot, literally and figuratively: picked spots on the globe, went to them, and, once there, picked spots in me to pick apart, or at least just expose to new air. Would I love again? Heck, would I take pants off next to someone taking their pants off again? Those questions just stopped being asked, as new ones took precedence. I basically started dating myself, you could say, probably more seriously than I'd taken dating others in the past.

    Somewhere in there I think I started to really see certain things I wanted to share with someone, and certain qualities I really needed in someone to share myself with, authentically. The bit about your ex's lack of resiliency, the shirking from discomfort—suffice to say that resonates. Realized I'd found myself, historically, often doing a lot of the heavy lifting, came to maybe understand a smidge of what might be behind that and, in the process, my compass needle changed in who I was drawn to.

    My girlfriend didn't appear out of a magic fog once I was "ready." Alas, she came into my life with a rightward swipe, once I was ready to do that without it feeling like manual labor or emotional torture, and there were adventures and misadventures in dating before meeting her. Life. Without that sharpened compass I'd maybe still be misadventuring with someone who preceded her, but my priorities had changed, my values, if not changed, had come into clearer focus. And while I'm wise enough to know that 8 months is still quite new, and all sorts of things can happen, I'm confident in who I've picked and wouldn't have that confidence if I'd skipped over the real work in tending to, and opening up, that wild, resilient organ in the middle of my chest.

    Like Sarah said, there really is something magical to finding this stuff—when your heart is strong again, open to it all—at an older age. It's more complex, but calmer. Were I to list to my 30 year old self some of the dynamics at play between myself my girlfriend—her divorce and child, my two mortgages, and so on—he would have combusted on the spot and started flirting with a 22 year old. But today? It's all manageable, thrilling, rich. We met as stable individuals, not as wobbly kids looking for answers and hardwired to interpret drama as depth. Weirdly, because of that, I often feel like a teenager, albeit one who understands tax codes and the reality that a lot of life will be tsunami hard.

    Deep breaths, small steps, is probably all I'm trying to say in too many words. Talked a lot about me, I know, but hoping it just helps you feel a little more seen as you move forward. Wishing you the best, truly.

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  6. #15
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    I hear you! Things have certainly changed in the dating world, but I know quite a few couple who have married through online dating.

    I am 15 years your senior, and have totall faith I will meet someone, and so should you.

    Take time to heal and to reflect on your choices in men. Perhaps, there is a pattern and you are choosing the wrong guys.

  7. #16
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    What are you doing to expand your platonic social network? Did your life revolve around this guy and his friends, or did you have your own interests and friend circle?

  8. #17
    Platinum Member reinventmyself's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by SarahLancaster
    There's something wonderful about finding true love later in life. You're more mature, have stable finances, don't feel the need to get caught up in trivial bs that young people stress over. He's out there somewhere, and you'll know it when you meet him.
    Apparently I needed to go through a divorce and a couple of toxic relationships before I was forced to take a long hard look at myself. Those lessons have brought me to the relationship I am in now. It's solid, happy and healthy. I wouldn't have been able to have this experience at an earlier time in my life. I wasn't ready.

    You've just been given an opportunity to grow from this experience and the possibility of a better love could be waiting for you.

  9. #18
    Platinum Member Rose Mosse's Avatar
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    We (husband and I) also found each other later in life. Nobody's first rodeo here with anything. There are a lot more jokes, a lot more making fun of each other and a lot less stress in general compared to earlier years. We also don't take ourselves very seriously and know when enough is enough. Continue being true to yourself and your beliefs. Don't worry so much about the smaller things and have faith in yourself and in your own journey.

  10. #19
    Platinum Member maew's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by bluecastle
    Sorry to hear about the pain, the heartache.

    This is going to sound strange, perhaps, but my gut response in reading your post is that you sound like you're doing great. Depressed, scared, uncertain, reeling, grieving—yes, all that too, of course. And for that: hugs. Been in your shoes more than once, including at just about your age, and it is truly astonishing how no amount of life experience can change the shape of the pain, or soften it.

    That said, your self-awareness and self-compassion are evident, and inspiring. You seem accepting of the reality of the disconnect triggering this juncture—the place where you plus him did not equal quite what either of you needed—while also being aware that moving through this chapter is the road to a stronger and braver you, a you even more tuned in to yourself. And, as result, when the time is right, more open to a connection that serves you. That's a lot of grace, right there.

    I'm a month away from turning 40, ended a 3 year relationship a little over two years ago. Can't sugarcoat those early months, since they were pretty awful. I was aware that I had more wisdom about the whole thing than I'd had in the past, and that wisdom probably helped me not make certain choices I'd made in the past, like drawing things out or staying overly connected. Still, that wisdom didn't negate the hurt—and, yeah, being in my late 30s compounded it all a bit.

    Was I done? Had I missed my chance? Was I old? I certainly felt old, older than I'd ever felt, as if the emotional pain triggered some kind of latent arthritis, turned more hairs gray, introduced a wrinkle or two to my face. At more than one juncture I was pretty convinced I knew what was in store for me for the next 40 years: solitude, remorse, a hardened heart while the rest of the world went about the business of connecting, loving.

    In a word: Ooof.

    Good news? I'd say six months out I fell in love again, with a person I'd known for a long time but hadn't been able to fully appreciate. That person? That's me. Self-reflection opened some doors I hadn't walked through and, while it took a bit for the eyes to adjust, I came to really like what I was seeing. Parts of me I wasn't ready to see—and, by extension, wasn't ready to share. I was still sad, still reeling, but I was also very much aware that I was going through something important, shedding some kind of husk that would both strengthen me and open me. I kind of leaned into all that, learned from it, found genuine comfort and humility in healing. In time it was really hard for me to be so torn up about it all—the past, what the future may or may not have in store—because the present was pretty rich.

    Eight months ago I met someone. Won't bore you with the details, save to say: love, it happened, is happening, and I'm so very appreciative of it. It doesn't feel like a reward for past pain, or really a reward for anything, save for continuing to stay engaged in the business of living. It feels as new and precious as any love I've felt—more new, more precious, truth be told—and I think that has to do with having gotten in touch with those hidden chambers of myself so they can be seen, and shared with the right person, at the right pace.

    I'm not special, just a person, going through what people go through. Which is to say: there is more in store for you, including love, than you know. I recognize that may be a hard thing to believe right now, so at least know that this random internet stranger believes it, about you.
    Beautiful. And yes... I have been down a very similar road... and come out the other side so very glad I took the time to really spend time with me, and so very glad I didn’t settle.

    I have been with my boyfriend for 8 months and the love we share is incredible... and I am 47.

  11. #20
    Member gooseduck's Avatar
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    Thank you all. I feel really thankful to hear all the encouragement. I feel like this fear has really been put in its place. I think I can practically tell myself, yes each time this happens something expansive and light comes from the tenderness of sadness, that bigger love is to be had. I think part of that fear was all my friends at this age are married, some with a family. And I have never been the conventional type, I think it just helps to hear other older adults talk about their experiences, it helps make this more real to me, the possibilities of love.

    "when your heart is strong again, open to it all—at an older age." This is sage advice.

    Hollyj I have some great friends here, I just lost 10 though, so there is a slight pang there, but mainly in losing my best friend of an ex. My other best friends are in another state, but I can call on them anytime. I hope to heal first then maybe get back out there to volunteer more, which I do on a regular basis but will put a pin in it these few weeks as I gather myself to heal past this.

    I feel calmer already just from the interaction from this great community of support, generosity, and kindness. you all are giving me a lot of love and faith in humanity. That feels like a great gift during this time.

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