By Ken Page Midlife is a perfect time to get more real in our relationships As a psychotherapist who has worked with thousands of single people over the past 27 years, I’ve come to the conclusion that the way we’re taught to approach relationships is more likely to lead to heartbreak than to lasting love. Best of all, I’ve found that this approach, which I call “Deeper Dating,” actually favors people in their late 40s, 50s and older because at this stage of life, we are much less willing to waste our time in the pursuit of unhealthy relationships.

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You think you’re on the hunt for a suitable partner. Fail to check them off and you’ll waste your time with the wrong person. You’re dating because you’re on a primordial spiritual quest. Following each of the six new rules below helps you to get unusually close, unusually fast. The quality of the encounters determines the quality of the relationship. Unless you can get close enough, unless you can really get in with each other, you won’t have a chance.

You’ve been programmed to believe the person in front of you is a kind of checklist. Worse, you might repeat the same mistakes you made in your last relationship. You just want to find “the one”, and you deserve to. When somebody you like flirts with you, when you have a new crush, when you start to fall for someone, it stirs your soul. Would you want a long-term partnership that consisted of unsatisfying exchanges: small talk, cautiousness, testing, pretending, withholding? So why would you want a short-term partnership that’s made of that stuff? You can’t wait around for the relationship to develop slowly over time.

for love usually determines the kind of love we find.

Popular culture assails us with romanticized images of love, and then encourages us to play dehumanizing games in order to find it.

Check off enough items and you’ve got a shot at a fulfilling relationship. When you get close enough to someone, everything changes. If you want to fulfill the quest, you’ll need to change the rules. They have the same feeling about you, that you’ve got something just for them. It will be your only opportunity to find out what you’re meant to discover together.

You want a companion, a partner, someone to build a future with. The thin shell of your mundane existence cracks, and something magical trickles in. You might even need to start off acting as you would if you were already close, as if you’re already partners. How will you spend the few precious hours you have? Concerns like these are always buzzing around beneath the surface.After being single for many years, my friend William is now in a great marriage. He finally accepted he had to go to gatherings with people who shared his passions.He said to me, "Ken, I'd come home from work and just want to turn on the TV and relax at home.After a set of relational warm-ups, you’ll have a chance to practice each of the principles of deep dating.We’ll end with a couple full on (practice) deep dates, and practical guidelines for initiating Deep Dating in the world outside the workshop. Join us if you’re single and dating, in a committed partnership, or anywhere else on the relationship spectrum.Get digital access to our independent product ratings.