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Let Your Ego Help Find You Love the Second or Third Time Around

by Barbara Kennedy

When boomer men re-enter the dating scene, they sometimes have a difficult time letting go of their past experiences, their sorrows, doubts, unrequited loves, losses, fears, addictions, and insecurities. They are afraid to love somebody again, and they are afraid of being loved back. Where did all these emotional obstacles come from? Possibly from an imbalanced ego. I encourage boomer men to take a look at their ego and to think about a tune-up.

Your ego is your "I." It is your singular point of view. Be prepared to embrace this ego and encourage it to expand in a healthy way. When you do this, you will become more self-aware, more confident, and more accepting. Not only will this help you get ready to date again after a divorce, but women respond favorably to a man who genuinely knows and likes himself—in spite of himself, as they say.

Here are some "ego tips" to help get you started.

There is nothing wrong with having an ego. Having an ego is like having an attitude. We all have one. An issue arises when it's an overly inflated ego, which is like having a bad attitude. What does your "I" say about you? Is it balanced and healthy? Or does it feel overly self-important and self-righteous on the one hand, and miserable and deflated on the other?

Ego functions as your inner CEO. Ego is regarded as your psychological executive. Ego can be a warrior standing fast at the entryway to your body, mind, and heart, helping you make sound decisions. But when it's battered (as it sometimes is after a rough breakup), it can be a sly and destructive trickster. What kinds of choices are you making in your life right now? If they are extreme (overindulging, selfish, or super hyped-up on the one hand, and isolating and punishing on the other), your inner CEO may need an adjustment.

Ego also functions as your CFO (Chief Financial Officer). It judges gain to be good and loss to be bad. However, nature makes no distinctions. Life is full of gain and loss. Practice seeing both sides of situations, without judging. Learning to accept give and take, ebb and flow will help prepare you for the ups and downs of future love relationships.

When the ego is egomaniacal, so are you. If your ego is healthy, your expectations are healthy and expressed in a healthy way. If your ego is not healthy, your demands are ridiculous and your needs impossible to satisfy. If you are always trying to control everything, or believe you are always right, then your ego may need to be dialed down.

Trust is directly linked to ego. If you insist on placing greater value on your own opinions rather than those of others, trusting will be difficult. The more you practice humility, the healthier your ego will become. When you do this, trusting becomes easier, opening the door to love.

Practice ego boundaries. Without a psychic boundary, you are easily absorbed into other people's definition of you. Understanding your ego strength helps you become aware of your own feelings and more available to those of others. By gently revealing these feelings, you not only define yourself, but you may discover that there is little or nothing to fear in doing so. Quiet desperation is no longer an option.

Conflict can put ego into perspective. Strange as it sounds, conflict can be the key to unlocking the doors of deeper intimacy. An honest, deep, and committed relationship will continually confront you with all the parts of yourself that are not totally loving. The conflict this creates in a relationship can be painful and uncomfortable as it stretches you beyond the boundaries of your ego. Stepping around your ego and confronting those uncomfortable feelings tends to bring you closer in your relationships, more available, open, and trusting.

* * * * *

Barbara Kennedy, MPH, MSW, is a well-known relationship coach, prominent speaker, and public health educator with a private relationship coaching practice in Scottsdale, Arizona. Her new book is Baby Boomer Men: Looking for Love (www.babyboomermenlookingforlove.com).

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