Dating 101: Is finding love after 45 an urban myth?

I’ve been divorced for 18 years and am 48 years old. I’ve been dating with the hope of finding a partner to share my life for the past 10 years. In that decade I have had 3 long-term relationships, 2 that were real love, and 1 engagement. I have cried more tears than I thought possible, rolled my eyes so many times I am lucky they are not permanently stuck in an unfortunate position, and felt real gratitude to have dodged a bullet disguised as an Englishman.

I am a hopeful romantic and certain that if I just stay true to myself, date from a place of honesty, and try very hard to be realistic and not sabotage myself, I will find the man I am looking for. That is tricky of course because in order to find the man I seek, he needs to also be searching for me. The older I get, the more people tell me I need to change who I am looking for. I disagree. I would honestly rather be alone than with the wrong person.

I have been with men I convinced myself were someone they were not. I think that comes from my desire to not be alone. I wanted to believe he was the one so bad, I was willing to overlook he was bad. We’ve all done it before because that is what women do. Hearts have been broken, spirits have been crushed, faith has been challenged, but in the end we find a way to try again because even when we swear we are done, someone comes to restore hope.

There are some who believe that once you hit 40 your chances of love are cut in half, and if you get to 45 without finding it, it might not happen at all. After a date with a man in full make-up, and another experimenting with his sexual orientation, I tend to believe those people. At the end of the day however, my hope and faith overpowers my doubt and I try again. I have dated more than anyone I know, I have trusted men I shouldn’t have, but in the end the lack of trust was in myself, not men.

I've always thought, and written here often, that love will just happen. At this stage of life I am certain that when I meet the one, it will click and everything will happen quickly. We will meet, it will be love, and we will get married. We won’t over think it or be scared, we will just believe, and it will be wonderful. It will be hard, because relationships are, but it will matter enough that we both dive in and allow it to happen.

I often pray to God to give me strength. Strength to not give up on love, or myself. There have been dates so bad I have prayed for a sign. Anything to give me the strength to believe. I have been patient. Some would say naïve or stupid, but I call it patient. This week I was given a sign. Not a subtle nudge, but a massive shove. Is finding love possible for women in Los Angeles who are almost 50? The answer is YES!

My friend Lori is 47 years old, Jewish, divorced, and fabulous. She has two sons, 11 and 4. She went through a shocking and painful divorce that would have floored a lesser woman. In the past 18 months she has dated like a crazy person. Not as many dates as me, but she was epic in her search for love. She dated men unworthy of not only her, but men who should actually be banned from dating. Ever. Bless her.

An interesting fact about Lori is that from the time of her divorce to now, she has been on 196 dates. Sadly that was not a typo. 196. We know this because she kept a journal and recorded the dates she had. If she went on 196 dates in under 3 years, and I have been dating for decade, can you imagine what my number must be? Dear Lord. That journal needs to be turned into a book immediately.

Last year Lori’s friends said they wanted to fix her up. She was jaded to be sure, but like me, refused to give up on the hope of love. She agreed to go out with their friend Jeff and said they could pass along her number. Then she waited. Jeff never called. He never called. She had mentioned to her friends she didn’t hear from him, and was a little disgusted because with mutual friends, you’d think he would do the right thing by them. Not so much.

Cut to almost 10 months later, he called. Jeff called and left her a message. She didn’t call back. He called again and Lori agreed to meet him. The relationship has moved both slowly and fast.  Slowly in that Lori was cautious and not in a rush, but fast in that 3 months after their first date, Lori and Jeff got engaged this week. Did you get that? Lori, my dating hell soul mate, is getting married to the man she always knew was out there for her.

I am thrilled for my lovely friend. She has been a cheerleader, teacher, cautionary tale, and inspiration. She reminds me to believe and demands that I not give up. She is proof that finding love when you are almost 50 is not an urban myth. To my friend Lori I say Mazel Tov! I couldn’t possibly be happier for you. Well, after a minute of shock and bitterness, I am beyond happy for you. You have worked hard to survive and I am very proud of you Sweetie.

At the end of the day Lori and Jeff’s love story is rare, and in truth does not happen often. It may be a one in a million shot in hell, but it can and does happen, so nobody will ever convince me it can’t happen for me. They are proof that great love can be found for the second half of your life. They are proof that all the stars can align and magic can happen. They are proof that if you believe, don't give up and laugh along the way, love is possible if you just keep the faith.