Ask Margot-Is It Too Late For Love?

A man at midlife wonders if he can still find love and whether marriage is in the cards at his age.

By Margot Carmichael Lester

ear Margot,
I waited until my late 30s to get married. It lasted a few years. After my divorce, I never got around to dating. Maybe because I found out I was pretty happy being single. But now, as I creep past 45, how do I get back in the game? How do I know I'm cut out to do any dating at all? This is becoming an issue
There's nothing wrong with being happy as a single man.
because my mom and the other ladies at our church are trying to set me up with a new, single mom who's joined the congregation. Am I wrong to question the necessity of married life?
– Bachelor (For Life?) in Brooklyn

Dear Bach,
It's always tough when well-meaning family and friends want something for us that we're not sure we want ourselves. It's even tougher when they're taking active steps to get it for us. So let's take a look at how to sort out this situation.

Being happily single
There's nothing wrong with being happy as a single man. In fact, it's fantastic. It can also be very alluring. So if you really do want to find love, you're doing one really important thing to get it. Continue to do what you like best. Pursue your interests and you might even meet someone who shares them. I know that soon after I decided I'd rather be single than in another half-baked relationship, I met the man I eventually married. And if you don't meet the girl of your dreams, you'll be living a full and interesting life.

But do me one favor. Be sure you're truly happy and not just telling yourself that so you'll feel better about your situation. Take a deeper look inside your psyche and assess whether you're afraid of committing or if you've got some trust issues. Either could be keeping you from finding the love you want. And you won't get past it unless you're willing to face it head on, get real and get over it.

Getting back in the game
I know you feel as if you're getting some pressure from your mom and her pals. You can't really blame your mama for wanting to see you settled with a nice woman. It's programmed in the maternal DNA. So try to see her actions as the show of love they are. Sure, it's awkward. But it's coming from a good place. She loves you and she means well. It sounds as if you're serious about stepping up your efforts, so take your mom aside and tell her the kind of woman you're really looking for. This will help her choose more carefully. And enlist your friends in your search.

And while you're at it, go ahead and go out with the new gal at church. Make it lunch, keep it simple and see how it goes. You've got to be open-minded. I've got a good friend who readily admits to recoiling when her friend set her up with a
Positive self-talk is an easy way to boost your mindset.
video-gaming computer-geek. Fifteen years later, she's still happily married to him. Heck, look into your church's singles ministry while you're at it!

Another tip: Go online. Ask a gal pal to help you build a profile that showcases your values, lifestyle and plans for the future. Take several photos and choose the one that looks the most like the natural you. Then contact a number of women, go on some dates and hone your dating skills.

Knowing you're cut out for it
The fact that you're asking me these questions (and doing a little introspection on your own) tells me you're totally cut out for dating. But I think — and rightfully so — that you're a little timid about the whole thing. You're divorced, you're in your 40s and the world's pretty different from the last time you dated. But screw up your confidence and get out there!

Maybe your self-esteem's a little low. To build that up, try a little ritual every morning: Look yourself in the mirror and tell yourself that you're datable and lovable. It sounds dumb, but I know from personal experience that it really works. And before you go out for social events, step it up even more. Positive self-talk is an easy way to boost your mindset. And that's very sexy.

Questioning the necessity
Now, for the last part of your question: There's nothing wrong with questioning the necessity of marriage. Getting hitched isn't for everyone. It's a very personal decision. But dating isn't an expressway to the altar, my friend. I've got lots of friends who are in committed relationships but not married. And they got there by dating first, just like us married folks. So I think this is just an excuse you're using to protect yourself from getting hurt, or to indulge your inner commitmentphobe. My advice would be, as my friend Robbie says, get over yourself—and get out there!

Margot Carmichael Lester is a freelance writer based in North Carolina. Send your faith-based dating questions to
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