How to get back into the dating world after losing your husband. Maria believes having good health relates to having good relationships with ourselves and with a partner. When you are in a healthy relationship you are healthier, happier, and live longer.
[07:38] – Transitioning from a previous longterm relationship into a new relationship.
[16:34] – Three important steps you can take when you are ready to start seeking a new relationship.
[21:31] – The power of a weekly date night with your partner.
“Take care of yourself first, before you try to take care of another
Transcript for Episode 88: Dating after loss – Interview with Maria Romano
Dr. Debra Muth 3:25
Welcome, Maria. I’m so excited to have you here. And I’m excited to have this conversation with you today.
Maria Romano 3:33
Oh, thank you so much. You know, Debra, I’m excited too, because people will say health and wellness love, but boy, does it really make a difference with your emotions and how you feel physically, mentally, spiritually, makes all the difference in the world.
Dr. Debra Muth 3:48
That is so true. I mean, for years, I’ve been watching and working with women, and if they get out of an unhealthy relationship, it’s amazing how physically, a lot of their ailments go away once they’re either out of that relationship or into a more healthy relationship, it’s significant.
Maria Romano 4:07
Yes, that is true. Because you know what, when you really are depressed, you’re just not happy. You don’t feel like the relationship is serving you well, you’re right, what happens to your body, your body breaks down. And I think it could be a depression could go into a couple of different things. It can go into anxiety, right? It can go into obesity, then you can have hypertension, and you know, yourself being a Nurse Practitioner. And then it can also maybe cause addictions and heart issues. And it’s a myriad of things that as we get older, you know, we have to watch our plumbing, it’s important!
Dr. Debra Muth 4:41
That is so true. It is so true. So tell us about your journey. How did you get interested in relationships and helping people have better relationships?
Maria Romano 4:52
Well, that’s a really good question. And I’m going to try to give you the Reader’s Digest. I was in the rental car industry for many, many years. I worked with my husband there. I was married for over 33 years. Eight years ago, my husband, Frank, passed away. And he passed away- actually, he had a heart transplant 15 years prior to losing him. So yeah, I got to, you know, work around a lot of people as far as organ donation, so on and so forth. So we’re really blessed, I felt like, we always knew that we had a life on because he was a heart transplant recipient. So we made sure that we didn’t go to bed angry, and we did those things that were very important to us. And that’s what really makes a relationship. So I was only 57 at the time. And I waited a couple of years. And you know, I kind of started thinking to myself, you know, I really want to find love again. But I don’t know how and it’s true. You don’t know how, and I thought, “Oh, I’m single people are gonna want to go out with me”. Was I so wrong? Okay, you have to make an effort. It’s like saying, hey, world, I’m here, I want you to hire me. But you have to right, you have to put forth the effort. So I started going out organically. And you know, it was okay. I met somebody, it was great. It didn’t work out for a while. And then I my friend said to me are you really should think about getting back into the dating world and figure out a date, you need to go online. And there are so many stories that you hear. And especially when you get to a certain age in life, you hear these horror stories that people get taken advantage of financially, physically, emotionally. And that could be with anything you do. So I started dating online, and but I realized that there was a need, because there was a lot of people and I met a lot of people in my age, they were 50, 60, 70s and beyond. And you know what, it was almost as if they two didn’t know what to do, and not just maneuvering the dating platforms digitally. But also, there’s a chapter in my book, which I just released, and there’s a chapter called Boomers Adolescence, we can talk about the social detoxing in a moment. But what happens is, we all of a sudden, because we don’t know what to do, that adolescence sets in, right? And then, all of a sudden, we meet somebody, and we’re texting them 20 times a day, right? It’s almost like calling them. So you know, they didn’t know what to do. And it’s a matter of getting control of their emotions, and some people were being taken advantage of. And I decided my sister said to me, have you thought about getting out there and helping people because I was going to go the inspirational route, and try to ra-ra people into you know, finding your mojo, again, when you hit your 60s. And I said, You know what, I can probably serve them well helping them because there’s nothing-listen, it’s always nicer when you have somebody in your life that you can share with but it’s got to be the right person. That’s the key.
Dr. Debra Muth 7:56
That is key. I mean, you can share with a friend, but you don’t share everything with them. But it has to be somebody, that you can trust, that you respect, and that respects you. And you’re kind of on that level playing field for a lot of people so that you’ve you feel like you’re leveling up and you’re even and you’re not leveling down somewhere and taking care of another child, right?
Maria Romano 8:19
Oh, gosh, that is so true. That’s what happens is people get desperate, because they feel this mortality clock ticking, right? We had the biological clock, when we’re younger, we got to hurry up, we want to have children. And now we get to a certain age and I see it a lot in the 60s and 70s, even 50 year olds, it’s a you know, I got to meet somebody right away. I don’t want to be by myself. And even now with this, I call it pandemic-paranoia, people get the same way too. They think they need to find someone and latch on to somebody. And yes, we are made, you know, for wired for connection. There isn’t any question about that. But it’s a matter. And we see other people too, like we get onto social media and all of our friends are celebrating with their husbands, their wives, and we’re thinking why not me? So but it’s a matter of really taking the time because when you choose somebody at this juncture in life, especially if you’ve come out of a long term relationship, whether you’re widowed or widower, or if you’re divorced, and you have some of those residuals from your past relationship maybe. You need to think about what you want going forward. And I mean, seriously, think about that. And it’s not an hour. Sometimes it takes quite a bit of time before you realize the type of person you want.
Dr. Debra Muth 9:34
Absolutely. You know at this age, like you said, we have different things that we’re looking for. It’s not just a physical attraction so much. Yes, that’s important. But I think there’s an intellectual connection that we want to make. And we also don’t as women, we don’t want to lose who we are or who we’ve become in a relationship, especially if we’ve done that in the past. We don’t want to make that same as going forward again.
Oh, isn’t that the case? And that’s where I talk about dysfunctional detox in my book. Well, it is when you think about it, right? Because there’s like four areas that I tell my clients and I even shared this, I do a Facebook Live Monday night, and I just give information and put it out there. With basically, you know, you should think about what serves you in your last relationship, what attracted you to that individual? And then maybe what attracted you with that individual, then evolve where you loathed them for that. So if somebody was a workaholic, and you admired them, and you loathed that later on to the relationship, but then also, you need to look at what could you have done differently? And really, what hand did you have in the destruction of the relationship? Because it always takes two as much as we hate to say that we make mistakes, we’re not perfect.
Dr. Debra Muth Absolutely, absolutely. Maria, what does somebody do, you know, if you’re in a long term relationship, you’ve gotten comfortable. A lot of times, we don’t have to work very hard at things because we’ve accepted each other for where we are and what we are. And I know in a lot of long term relationships, people have created their own life inside of that relationship. But when you’re starting a new relationship, it takes a lot more energy and more time commitment to get to know one another. To get to that comfort level. What kind of advice do you have for people with that transition?
Maria Romano 11:39
Well, if you’re been in a long term relationship, that’s true, we do get comfortable with that relationship, we almost have our micro lives, which in the lives of a couple, and if that works for you, that’s great. But whether you have starting a new relationship, or you’ve been in a relationship, there’s always a time you need to recharge that relationship, because you don’t want to get complacent. You know, at the beginning, Debra, right, we meet somebody, and it’s like that Stormin Norman stage, you know, weust can’t keep our hands off each other, we want to know everything about them. And we do look at that person, sometimes through rose-colored glasses. That’s where you need to make sure that you have somebody that can give you an objective viewpoint, and not your friends, because sometimes your friends will, you’ll share something, and folk sort of hold that against maybe the other person, okay? Or think you’re making a mistake. Family is like, the worst thing sometimes to bring into the picture. And that’s why I always recommend a coach. And even though dating coaches is still something that’s relatively new, and especially when you get to our ages, we think we know it all, right? W should know this, because we lived it. And it’s not necessarily the case, sometimes you need to take a step backwards, and have somebody you know, have you look at the situation from the outside in, and in a new relationship, you know, when you’re going through that you need to take a step back and not rush. You know, I know many individuals spoke to a client, you know, a couple of weeks ago, and she met somebody, had met him over the internet, they had conversations for a month, and he came down to Vegas met her, and then they decided they were going to move in together right away. You really need to take your time. Because it takes nine months to a year before you really get to know somebody.
Dr. Debra Muth 13:26
What advice do you have for people who’ve been in a long term marriage, especially like 50, 60, 70 year olds who stayed in a bad marriage because it was their duty? Or that was the commitment they made from their religious background? And now they’re kind of like, yeah, that relationship’s gone, either the person passed away or whatever. But now they’re tainted, and they don’t necessarily want to go into a relationship again, because they’re afraid they’re going to have that same bad relationship.
Maria Romano Yeah, and that does happen quite a bit, especially now. Because amongst baby boomers, we have about 50% divorce rate happening, because people have stayed together, you’re right, because the children religious, you know, reasons, whatever it is, maybe for monetary reasons. So whether you’re a widow, widow or divorce, and you did, maybe you’ve had, you know, again, you’ve had those residuals. So first of all, if you feel that you’re at a point where you don’t need anybody, then you know what you that’s something that’s a choice you have to make. But I have to tell you, at the end of the day, and I run into a lot of people that used to think that way, especially women, women are hit, they hit their 50s and 60s, okay, they figured all right. They’re not taking care of a husband anymore. Okay? They don’t have to take care of any kids. It’s a choice when they spend time with their grandkids. So they’re spending a lot of time with their girlfriends. But then there was a study that I read about, I believe it was through the Huffington Post, they did a study with, I think it was UCLA, where then this same group of women, they talked to them later on where they realize that they waited too long. They wanted to meet somebody and they felt now they were in their 60s, 70s and they had that span where they weren’t getting any younger, so they didn’t feel as desirable. Well, first of all, you know what, it doesn’t matter, you know, love, definitely you can find love no matter what age you are. So that I can attest to because I marry people too. But I’ve had people meet in their 80s and 90s, so it doesn’t matter. And they do find love. But yes, if you’re really tainted, and you really have a lot of residuals, but you think you might want to move forward. And even if you don’t, in a relationship, that’s the time maybe you need to seek out a really good therapist, because there’s nothing wrong, because that will give you more insight into who you are, and be open with any relationship, you might decide you meet somebody of the opposite sex, that it could be platonic, but a really close platonic relationship. So for those of you, find somebody that’s a really good therapist, that you feel you can trust. Definitely, that is so that you can get rid of, you know, those residuals.
Dr. Debra Muth
Yeah, I think that’s one of the problems that a lot of us feel like, once that relationship is over, we don’t have to process what happened in it. And oftentimes, even if we didn’t deal with it during the relationship, we still need to process what happened and how that changed our lives. Because I see a lot of bitterness and women, that they couldn’t do this, because of, you know, I had children or my husband or I had to take care of or whatever. And then there are 50, or 60. And they’re like, my life could have been different if, and it still could be different, maybe they can’t do everything the same. But I think they still need to process those feelings. And those challenges that happen through their life to go on and have a better relationship, not even with someone else, but just to be happy with themselves in their own life.
That is true. And you know, I find that amongst more of the baby boomers and the generation which is older, which is called the silent generation. Because we women were just coming out, you know, Gloria Steinem came out, it was all the women movement, and that started in the 70s. Whereas I think you have people 50 and younger have a different concept. So yes, you know, we did wind to doing things and staying at home and foregoing our needs and our needs from physically to and even in our sexual needs as well. Not learning how to ask for what we want, you know, in life, and even in the bedroom too, because we felt it was taboo, that we should just wind up, you know, settling for what we have, and there’s a bitterness and some people too feel like why do I want to meet somebody? I didn’t have good sex then, am I going to have good sex now? And that’s not necessarily the case. And not just the sexual side, but there’s that intimacy side. People think intimacy is sex, and it’s not and you can really have a healthy, healthy relationship. But you’re right, it starts it starts with you. That’s the first thing.
Dr. Debra Muth
Absolutely. So I’m really intrigued by your title The Love Knots. How did you come up with that?
Maria Romano 18:07
Well, true love knots was actually love knots was developed by my late husband, because over 11 years ago, after we sold our rental car company, I decided I wanted to perform wedding ceremonies. I went to a wedding, I saw women in Las Vegas. And then I said I can do that. So I started studying online, you know, different ceremonies, I went out, and I hit the pavement in my shoes, went to all the chapels and gave them you know, my resume and I did a mock wedding. And that’s when we came up with love knots. And then true is something we just added to it because people seem to gravitate towards the true. So I’m first of all, I’m a wedding officiant. So I love meeting people, and I love hearing their story. And I’ve performed probably about 3000 weddings over the last 11 years, which is great, and commitment ceremonies and vow renewals. But then part of the true love nots is finding true love again. That’s the key. Anybody can find love again, it’s just a matter of your mindset, and making sure that you have a healthy version of you first.
Dr. Debra Muth 19:10
That’s awesome. So if somebody is in that position where they’re ready to start exploring a new relationship, what kind of steps would you have them walk through, if you could give them their first most three important steps to do to find that what would that be?
Maria Romano 19:28
Well, first of all, if you’re going if you met somebody that meets your list your “must-haves”, Okay, and that’s the key thing. And that’s the main thing. And if you meet somebody and they don’t qualify on the must haves, for example, let’s say you enjoy family and you enjoy children, and you meet somebody that doesn’t enjoy the children’s time and you say well, maybe they’ll grow into it. So the first thing is going into a relationship -don’t think you can ever change anybody. We thought that when we’re younger And I hate to say it is it isn’t going to happen now, because change is so hard. So that’s the first thing you need to do. And the second thing you need to do is as you’re going into the relationship, try to think from the waist up and not the waist down. Because it happens, I mean, these hormones are going, and again, we see everything through rose-colored glasses. And the third thing is, is you know what, we’re never going to find the perfect person. That’s the key thing. And we’re all as you spend time with this individual, there’s things you’re going to like and everything to know, like, you might have little pet peeves. And as long as it’s not something that really irks you, like, if you are not a smoker, and you don’t want to be with somebody that’s a smoker, for example, don’t think that they’ll eventually quit. Things like that, yes, you know, then it goes back to, if it doesn’t hit your bucket list to begin with, you shouldn’t start the relationship. Okay, so that’s the key thing. And the third is just really enjoy each other, for who you are. And that’s the key thing, just have fun. Because it’s just getting to know somebody, it’s not like you’re putting a contract together for life.
Dr. Debra Muth 21:05
I love that those are really important things. Because I think those are some of the easiest places that we will compromise on. Because you’re right in our mind will be like, well, they’ll change, they’ll be different. And, ladies, if they haven’t changed in 40 years, they’re not going to change. Just like you if you have a habit that you haven’t changed in 40 years, you’re not going to change that habit either. And so accept the person for who they are. But I agree with you if you have your have lists, and that is a must have don’t compromise, because you’ll find yourself in a position where you’re going to be disappointed again.
Oh, gosh, isn’t that the catcher? Yeah, definitely. It is. I do agree with you, Debra.
Dr. Debra Muth
So if you’re in a long term relationship, so somebody who’s been married 25-30 years, and they’re finding that that relationship is getting a little stale, what kind of recommendations do you have for them to rekindle that relationship and make it have spark again?
Oh, that’s reigniting the passion, right?
Dr. Debra Muth
Maria Romano 22:08
And people seem to think that when you reignite the passion, it’s always the bedroom. And it really isn’t the bedroom that starts it off. What you want to start doing is you want to start trying to find some activities that you enjoy together. Now in the normal world, you can go out and take dance lessons. Okay? Always fun. It’s always a lot of fun. And that does create that chemistry there, as well. And you can take dance lessons online as well, which is fun. Cooking is a lot of chemistry together, what happens is, like you were talking about before we get, we get comfortable, and we have our own micro lives within our life with somebody. So maybe one person’s always done the cooking. So how about being that sous chef and helping them, which is something else. Because what you want to do is you want to start creating that chemistry that will lead to that intimacy ultimately, and where you really, you can’t keep your hands off from each other. And I don’t mean you have to have the full blown act of sex but you want to, you know, you want to embrace those times, and you want to reintroduce them again, and have that excitement. Another thing that you can do is if you really daring and you have the money, you can go take lessons learn how to fly. Now I heard that really does that adrenaline gets going. But you know, even if you if your spouse plays golf, and you never have start to get involved, you know, really start trying to mingle into their lives, because what happens is, is when you’ve been in that long term relationship, again, you have your separate lives. And you really, you want to have the time to yourself with your friends, but you also want to have some really good quality time, those will help you in the steps and recognizing that it’s also intimacy by just grabbing somebody’s hand just looking at them knowing when you’re at a cocktail party, you glanced at them across the room. You’ve got a lot of history with them, and you have spent a lot of time with them. So that’s one of the benefits you have when you have a good long term relationship. But again, you have to keep rekindling that too, and don’t always leave it up to the women, if any guys are listening!
Dr. Debra Muth 24:13
That’s right. That’s right. I think that’s so important because I think your relationship gets so comfortable, right? And, and we’re such busy people doing our own thing I know, I’ve been married 30 years. And it gets comfortable. And a few years ago, I had to go back and say to my husband, you know, I love the relationship that we have together. I love that you let me be me, and that you can be you. But I’m feeling like a little bored being us. And we realized that after 30 years of raising children and running businesses and being busy that we just weren’t taking the time to be with one another. And so we started doing Date Night and just said, okay, Friday nights, whatever night, if we can’t do Friday, we’ll pick another night of the week. But that’s date night. And we’re going to go out and there’s no talking about the kids, no talking about our businesses, just focusing on us. And having that time that we reconnect with one another and get connected with what we want from one another because you assume that you know, but you might not know each other might change a little bit. And that made a big difference for us to just focus that time on one another again. And even though it was only one day, it made such a huge difference with everything that we did in our lives and how we looked at each other. Um, but it’s important to do that.
Maria Romano 25:41
Oh, it is. And that definitely, again, that sparked your relationship. Traveling when we can start traveling, which is another thing too that also creates that chemistry. But yeah, you bring up something that’s interesting, because yes, we go through that boredom in the relationship, but now what’s going on I think in the world, you have burnout happening to some women that are younger, because their shoulders, they have a big responsibility, a lot of people are working from home, and then you’re having to take care of a family. And then you have to help the kids because they’re on Zoom now. They might not be in school. So this is the time where then you are sacrificing yourself and your relationship. And that’s where you got to kind of find that balance. Because you can’t turn around and sacrifice your relationship with your significant other, you need to just kind of figure out what’s going to work and like even if it’s a date afternoon, or wherever it is just going for a walk with each other makes all the difference in the world.
Dr. Debra Muth 26:39
You’re so right. I mean, we hear it every day women talking to us about how stressed they are with having to teach from home, and they’re working from home and their partners are working from home. And they’ve got you know, four or five people on the computer, and they’re making dinner and they’re doing everything and they’re just like, I can’t do everything anymore. And again, men if you’re listening not to bash you, but pay attention to what’s happening and reach out and help because women are getting really burnt out with having to be responsible for everything. And if they’re burnt out in their life, they’re going to be burnt out in the bedroom, because they’re going to be exhausted, and there’s nothing left for us to give you. And it’s not that we don’t love you. It’s just that we have nothing left to give, we need to be filled up somehow.
Maria Romano 27:25
That’s true. And I just listened to a podcast about that one of the things we need to do, we need to make sure as a family, we get together and we love on each other and relieve each other. And recognize that when mom is taxed, and she doesn’t have enough sleep, let mom get her sleep and have somebody take it over. Because ultimately, usually the family burden shifts on to the woman when it comes to that. That and you know the spectrum as far as taking care of everybody. So yes, take care of yourself first. That’s the first thing.
Dr. Debra Muth 27:56
Absolutely, it’s kind of like the airplane thing. Put your own mask on first before you help someone else. Because if you don’t, you’re not going to be there to help that person. And so we can’t pamper ourselves as much as we used to pre-COVID with, you know, salon and a massage and all of those kinds of things. But definitely, you know, take that hot bath, close the door, put some candles on, put some soft music on, have your glass of wine or grape juice, whatever you want, that makes you feel good, so that you can be there for you the rest of your family when they need you to be.
It’s true. That is so true. And I love your advice to have that glass of wine, a cup of tea and a grape and have a few minutes to yourself. And you’d be surprised how that can really rejuvenate you. And it does make all the difference in the world.
Absolutely, absolutely. So I would love what other advice do you have for our listeners? Um, you have a book that came out tell us a little bit about your book.
Maria Romano 28:55
Yes, it’s called “Going From Just One To a Plus One”. And when I started writing the book last year, it was because I wanted people to recognize that you can date successfully because we hear all these horror stories about getting back in the dating world. And you know, people just don’t give you good advice. And then in light of what happened with the pandemic, oh my gosh, people were feeling even more lonely than ever. And they felt they were stymied and they didn’t know how to get out there and find love again. So the book really is a just a nice guide, it’s less than 100 pages. And the book just takes you through the journey of who you are making sure that you work on who your authentic you, is getting back to that. And finding out what what you want in a person. But also to make sure when you get into the dating world, that you develop the confidence because you know, when you get in the dating world, you can get your rear end kicked, your confidence gets shattered, and you have to just be able to pick yourself up and move on. So I have different stories about that. And then of course when you meet somebody what to do not to overreact. We’re excited we meet somebody, we just we think that’s the one and don’t rush anything. Because you know, your mother waited nine months for you, Rome wasn’t built in a day. And especially at this journey of your life, you want to take your time, because you want that person that you pick that special person to be with you for the rest of your life or their life, whoever it is, and you want somebody that you can really that can be there for you. Because as we get a little older, things can change for us, even physically, and you want to know you’ve made the right choice with somebody there that’s going to be there for you.
Dr. Debra Muth 30:40
That is so true. That is so true. Maria, where can they find your book?
Maria Romano 30:45
My book is on Amazon. So it’s “Going From Just One To a Plus One”. When you RSVP to events you’re two, plus one. When you’re single, right, you’re just one. So I’m there. And then also True Love Knots. I have a link. And my knots is KNOTS and I’m rolling out a membership program on dating. That’ll be coming out in October. And it’s a very, very affordable program where it gives everybody a half an hour a month free coaching, all my digital classes. And it’s a whopping $27 a month.
Dr. Debra Muth 31:19
I love that. I love that. That is great. So it has been a pleasure having this conversation with you today. I so appreciate your time. Is there anything else advice-wise or tips? You want to leave our listeners?
Maria Romano 31:34
Yes, I do. And what what I want to say to anybody out there listening no matter what age you are, you can find love again, no matter where you’re at in life. And you will find love again. So have faith. But make sure you choose a path that’s good for you and that you’re comfortable with. And always go with your gut when you meet somebody make sure that tummy feels good.
Dr. Debra Muth 31:57
Mm hmm. I love that. Thank you.