Settled in your ways. Comfortable with yourself

By the time we’ve passed the half-century mark, we’ve pretty much settled on our preferences and dislikes. We can rattle off our favourite colours, foods, television shows, hobbies and a hundred other facets of our lives and, once these decisions have been made, we generally remain unshakable in our choices.

Of course, most of us also find a life-partner somewhere along the way to our fiftieth birthday to whom we become as habituated as we do to our other choices. ”We” supplants “I” as our personal pronoun as we become half of a couple and change our preferences to match those of our partner. We readjust habits in an effort to please our significant other and make daily compromises to smooth out the bumps in the relationship. And then the day comes when we suddenly find ourselves on our own again and are back to the single life.

Now what happens to our habits and preferences? Do we revert to our original choices or retain those acquired during our couple-hood? In most cases, we end up with a little of both, largely depending on the reasons for the change in status. If we were widowed, we’re more likely to cling to the things we enjoyed with our partner than if we’ve gone through an acrimonious divorce, in which case we probably opt to dump the baby <i>and</i> the bathwater.

What next? Well, you’ve made a start: you joined an age-appropriate dating site and are beginning to scope out the possibilities. You’ve decided on a new beginning and a clean slate, with no preconceived notions, no prejudices, no hampering old habits. Question: do you find your eye straying to the same type of partner from whom you parted? Or have you really decided to make a major change?

There is no right answer to this question. It is posed simply to show you whether or not deep-seated preferences and habits can be changed or if the “can’t teach old dogs new tricks” saw holds true in your case. If you truly want to break out of your comfort zone, ignore the profiles that initially attract you and look for something entirely different. If your preference is for the professional, check out some of the blue-collar types; if you’re drawn to the slim physique, see what the more portly may have to offer. Examine profiles that you would ordinarily ignore, try to look behind the words and take a chance on someone like nobody you have ever known before. Admittedly, it could turn out to be a disaster; on the other hand, it could be the match made in heaven that you’d never have found if you hadn’t mustered the courage to break some of those old habits.

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