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Each date was simply a clue as to what could come next.

I didn’t enjoy the date for what it was: a couple of hours with a man who, even if I knew early on was not a long-term match, had something to offer me that day. And that’s why I can’t remember all the bad dates, or the good dates, or the somewhere-in-between dates — I simply hadn’t been truly present for them.

And then, between the ages of 35 and 40, I found myself lost in what I call the “Dating Bermuda Triangle.” The men I dated in my late 30s would tell me straight out that they didn’t date women my age because we were all “desperate to get married” and have children.

Discounting a woman as being just an age, not a woman, is part of the modern single man’s dating dogma.

While I haven’t had the kind of long-term relationships I yearned for in my younger days, ones that would be sealed by a rabbi, two witnesses and the State of New York — or at least a co-lease — I also never overstayed my welcome in relationships that weren’t meant to last, no matter the heartbreak. Regret is behind me, and if I’m back there, I’ll never be in the right place, at the right time, meeting the right man. When we kissed goodbye, it was the kind of kiss that lovers have at the beginning of their first chapter, not the end of their book.

I have discovered that at midlife, men and women are often more caring, more honest, more vulnerable and more optimistic about this next side of life. We are unafraid of what happens if the other doesn’t reciprocate.

Sometimes a fourth person is brought in to make it right, sometimes somebody might be kicked out.

See Triang Relations for all the ways these three people can mess up their love lives. Sometimes a Love Triangle can come to involve a fourth person, while still ultimately being called a "triangle." But move complications that insist on widening it can be explored further in a Love Dodecahedron. I didn't have any particular reason for it, other than to surprise readers.A male friend suggested it may be because I don’t have children, and so I’m a “free bird.” Another friend mentioned my matured confidence.And when I asked a man I recently dated, he explained via text: “Because you’re fun and sexy and smart and beautiful, and maybe occasionally sad, but always hopeful.” I can only blush at the first few, confess to the next, and attest to the last: I am always hopeful.I had mistakenly learned to lean into the disappointment when date after date proved fruitless, singles event after singles event left me feeling alone, and — selfishly — when friend after friend found her or his love, got married and had children, while I remained profoundly single. When I was finally rediscovered by men in my early 40s, my dates no longer felt pressured to rush into having kids.And with each passing heartbreak came the added concern over my waning fertility: Would I ever be a mother? I was dating more often, matching with more men on dating sites and, later, dating apps, sometimes having a couple of dates a week.In our 20s and 30s, we date like we’re playing musical chairs, intensely focused on settling into an available seat before the music stops.

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