Ahhh...the deadly question.
Dating after divorce is a delicate balance. For those of us 40+ in the dating world, putting time into a relationship can be hard. We have our kids, family, friends, jobs, volunteer commitments...did I mention the schedules dictated by our children? Our lives are busy. Add a new romantic relationship into the mix and available time can be limited.
If you are like me, you want to continually build a strong romantic relationship and the only way to do this is to put time and effort in. Sometimes you may feel that you are putting more time in than your partner. You may look at your significant other and think..he takes his children on a fancy vacation, not me...she plans a fancy outing for her girlfriends, not with me...he sends his mother flowers for no reason, and not to me....he calls his best friend and I didn't get to talk to him one night. You find out he was texting all day with his brother and you never hear from him...she got her nails done after work and did not make dinner. And he/she has not shown you any affection...today. Before you go into for the kill with "you never do anything for me.." pause, and then...
Stop keeping score
In a healthy relationship there is a balance of partners taking turns to strengthen the commitment. Just as parents can not balance a toddler's diet over the course of a day, romantic partners need to look at the debits and credits of their relationship over time. We should all make an effort every day - even just a small gesture goes a very long way especially when your partner knows how busy you are with other things that may require your attention. And sometimes when your partner does not, do not sweat it. Think back to the last wonderful thing he or she did and keep giving to the relationship.
Need some ideas? Warm up his car on a cold morning or have a cold beer waiting when she walks in the door. Leave a note under a pillow or in a lunch or send a text in the middle of the day. If your schedules are bonkers because of kids and jobs, make sure time is scheduled, on the calendar, for the two of you to be alone. When you do have alone time unplug, go out, break your routine. Just a simple dinner out or a snuggle on the couch to watch the big game can be fun.
These gestures and time you spend together do not need to be elaborate in any way, and should not be about spending money...at all. The most thoughtful and romantic gestures are not expensive. Light a candle, pour two glasses of wine, run a hot bath and submerge as you reconnect.
Also, realize what your partner does give to the relationship. Ok, so maybe he is incapable of remembering to check and purchase milk. But, when you are sitting watching TV he holds your hand and rubs your back. Hello? This is awesome, so take over getting milk. If he schedules a guys night on one of the few nights you could be together, trust me, he will realize. If he doesn't do not go bonkers, be calm and figure out a time to be together.
Never, not once, not ever try to count who has been doing more for the other. Just keep adding in from your side and appreciate all that she does, not what you think he should do. When you make deposits, they can pay off ten fold within the confines of your relationship.What you put into the relationship big and small will be exactly what you receive.
So I'll say it again....Stop Keeping Score...just relax and enjoy