Mary's Goal: "I want to have more fun by sharing my life with a man."

The Situation
Divorced more than 30 years, Mary Golden says she long ago realized she doesn’t need a man to be happy. “I have learned to enjoy my own company and my own life,” says the 60-year-old mother and grandmother.

But that doesn’t mean Golden, who lived for many years with a love interest, wants to spend the rest of her life alone. “I want to form a loving and mutually supportive partnership with a man who is filled with joie de vivre and believes in treating others kindly,” says Golden, who is a nature lover, Quaker, and jazz enthusiast. “I also hope to find someone who feels his life matters, has a spiritual connection with the world, and shares my feeling that we have a responsibility to help others.”

Since moving from the San Francisco Bay area to Colorado in 1999, Golden says she rarely meets single men. “I normally assume all the men I meet are married,” says Golden. “As I get to know people through work or volunteer activities, they do tend to be in relationships.”

Mary Golden
Age: 60
Status: Divorced, one daughter, three grandchildren
Occupation: Science editor and administrator

Golden says she feels uncomfortable asking about available men at the nonprofit institute where she works. Nor does she want to ask friends or family members for help. Golden is also turned off by the singles scene. “I rarely drink, and abhor loud environments, so going to clubs and mixers doesn’t appeal to me. I also am shy about approaching people and feel more comfortable at events where I have a job to do—which then keeps me too busy to get to know people.”

When Golden has met single men, they haven’t fit her criteria. Some were too politically conservative, or cynical. Others watched too much television. Narrowing her options even more, Golden says she is unwilling to get involved with men who might ask her to move away from her family. “I am wary of falling in love with someone whose needs might conflict with my intention to live near my daughter and grandchildren for the rest of my life,” she says.

Conversely, Golden says she may not live up to men’s expectations, either—particularly in her physical appearance. “Men are so visually oriented,” she says. “I know that if I lost weight and got in better shape, I would improve my chances of meeting a man.”

In an effort to reach her relationship goal, Golden is making some changes. She recently began exercising more. She walks or rides her bike to work on a regular basis, swims, dances, and works out at the gym. She is also getting more involved in the community through volunteer work and taking in new experiences, such as attending local bluegrass jams and learning to play the banjo. “I tend to be too serious,” she says. “So I’m making more time in my life to have fun.”

Our Advice
The life coach says:
Life coach Gloria Silverio believes Golden is communicating conflicting ideas about her relationship goal. For example, Golden says she wants a man to share her life with, yet she also states that she is too busy to meet new people and enjoys doing things alone. Silverio therefore advises Golden to step back and determine what it is that she really wants. “If the goal of having a loving relationship with a man is something Mary feels she should have and not what she really wants, she will continually sabotage her efforts to make it happen,” Silverio says. “If Mary determines that her relationship goal is what she really wants, she should design a plan to help her achieve it, rather than just hope it will happen.”

Step one of Golden’s plan should involve replacing her negative assumptions about herself and men with more positive views. “Her current beliefs are keeping her from attracting eligible men into her life,” Silverio says.

Healthy relationship resources
Excuse Me, Your Life is Waiting by Lynn Grabhorn (Hampton Roads, 2000). Discusses how our feelings shape the realities of our lives.

Partner Yoga by Cain Carroll and Lori Kimata (Rodale Press, 2000). Provides insight into partner yoga and offers 60 dynamic poses for couples. An online web site for midlife adults—generally those in their 40s, 50s, and 60s—and those who want to build relationships with them.

Step two in Golden’s plan should be to do more in order to meet people. This means continuing her community involvement and joining groups that interest her. Increasing such activities could help her meet a man who shares her commitment to helping others. Golden should also allow herself to turn to friends and family for assistance. “Letting other people know that she would like to meet someone should be part of her plan,” Silverio says. “Otherwise, she’ll be missing opportunities to get what she wants.”

The final and perhaps most important step is for Golden to devote more time and energy to loving herself. “Taking really good care of ourselves—including eating healthy foods, exercising, and doing things we enjoy—allows us to be more present and open to others,” Silverio says. “It also makes us more attractive.”

The naturopathic physician says:
Naturopathic physician Debra Rouse applauds Golden’s resolve to increase exercise and lose weight. “It doesn’t matter what men think or don’t think,” Rouse says. “She is going to feel better about herself and about putting herself out there when she knows she is taking good care of herself.” To help lose weight, Rouse recommends Golden walk, swim, bike, do yoga, or lift weights at least four times a week. Golden should also restrict her diet to approximately 1,400 calories a day, eating foods high in protein for energy and phytonutrients, such as nuts, seeds, and soy, to build immunity and fight disease.

Rouse also suggests Golden take a high-potency multivitamin and mineral supplement and 2 tablespoons of flaxseed oil (or recommended dose of flaxseed oil capsules) daily. “There is some evidence that these oils can be beneficial in assisting with weight loss,” Rouse says. By focusing on her health and what she needs to make her life complete, Golden will be in a better position to find a compatible partner, Rouse says. “When she is truly ready, the universe will supply the mate.”

The herbalist says:
Increasing self-esteem is another important step toward Golden fulfilling her relationship goal, says herbalist Kim Erickson. To help Golden feel more attractive and sensual, Erickson recommends she reserve one night a week for “some self-indulgent pampering, such as a long, hot bath or facial, or both.”

Sinfully Sensuous Bath Oil
For people looking to boost their self-confidence in social situations, herbalist Kim Erickson recommends her Sinfully Sensuous Bath Oil. Mix 1/2 cup of almond oil with 3 drops each of jasmine, sandalwood, and ylang-ylang essential oils. “All three of these oils are natural aphrodisiacs,” Erickson says. Add the oil to a full tub of warm water and soak up the loving scent.

Golden can turn her bathtime into a mini-spa by burning candles, playing soft music, and drying off with a warm, fluffy towel. “Anything that will make her feel pretty will help boost her self-confidence in social settings,” Erickson says. Instead of bath salts, which can dry the skin, Erickson recommends moisturizing bath oils, such as Burt’s Bees Vitamin E Body and Bath Oil, or EO’s Bath Soaks. To keep her skin feeling soft and supple, Golden should use a cleansing cream rather than soap, Erickson says, and a natural moisturizer that contains vitamin C. “Vitamin C is a terrific antioxidant and, when used topically, can help stimulate collagen production—a real boon for aging skin.”

If Golden finds herself feeling anxious in social settings, Erickson recommends she use Bach Rescue Remedy, which contains a mix of five flower essences that help balance emotions during times of high stress or trauma. “This homeopathic remedy now comes as a spray that would be easy to carry in a purse and could be used any time,” Erickson says.

The yogini says:
“More than ever before, Mary needs to work on loving herself,” says yoga instructor Rainbeau Mars. “This means taking care of her body, mind, and spirit.” Engaging in hatha yoga—which increases body awareness, strength, and flexibility—would be a good way for Golden to care for her mind and spirit while rejuvenating her body. “Hatha gives breath and life force to places in your body that need it,” says Mars.

Although Golden can practice hatha and other yoga forms at home, taking a class would be a good way to meet new people, Mars says. In fact, a partner yoga class, which incorporates yoga poses that are done with another person, might be the perfect choice for Golden. “Partner yoga demonstrates the importance of taking care of oneself first, and how that benefits oneself while in relationships,” says Mars.