such an honest thread, all the posts are so good!I love almost all of the many factors already listed above. Great stuff!
I think it helps if the person entering into the relationship is already a happy person. If someone is generally a disgruntled or chronically depressed person, once the infatuation phase wears off, there's a good chance that person would default back to resuming being a chronically depressed person again, sooner or later.
still, those kinds of people can have satsfying LTRs, but i think one's chance of having a happy relationship is increased, if the people entering into it, are basically happy people by nature.
It helps if you have same priorities and goals as each other, and it is more fun, imo, if you have some mutual interests to share, and it helps if the people know how to forgive and move on, if they do hit a chuckhole (you will). Some people seem to have a better ability to love fully, than others do, imo.
One can lose their appetite for love, as the OP sorta/kinda sounds like this might be something she is experiencing. I think many of our appetites, be it for companionship, food, sex, learning, whatever,
sometimes, we have to push ourselves a bit now and then, as some appetites seem to do better when regularly fed. this might be true of dating, too.
If one withdraws off the social circle, one can end up replacing some things or losing the urge for them entirely.
Certainly, some people do need a break now and then. I once heard someone say, referring to not wanting to date,
"It's hard to want a 7 course meal, when you've just thrown up"
but, if one has healed again, i say, get back up on the horse, if that is what you want!
(not that single folks can't be totally happy just as they are, too, not my point, but, if you do want a sweetie, go for it)
so far meeting people, i am all "for" people persuing others actively. For real, it's lovely idea "if you are not looking, that is when love arrives" but, i think it is okay to actively look. Ask pals to hook you up, join various groups that you are interested in, do volunteer work in causes you care about, say hello first,
try one of those online matchmaker things,
only meet in public,(NOT your home, you meet him in public)
for lunch only, for first meeting(s). Lunch is cheaper, faster, and if you set down for dinner and immediately realize, this person is not a good match for me, oh wow, long evening. NO 'evening' first dates, imo, if this is a stranger to you.
also, i am super liberal, super progressive type of person, but, i think some people do better if they don't include sex as part of "how do you do". For real, many women, and some men, after sex, begin to overly invest, and believe "we are a couple"
when the other person is thinking "that was nice, where is the remote.." People jump into bed too fast, imo. Yes, yes, some couples still do well, evne though they have sex right off the bat, but, i think there can be long list of benefits to falling in love FIRST, and THEN having sex.
Infatuation is not the same thing as love, love requires deep knowledge of the other person, flaws and all, and infatuation can be instant. Love is secure, infatuation is heady, sometimes anxiety-producing roller coaster feeling, veyr thrilling. anyway, the two emotions are often mistaken for each other.
It's good thing to know the difference. Infatuation can lead to love, but, it is not quite the same thing as love.
I think waiting to get know someone first, very very welll, has all kinds of perks, too many to list almost. It also reduces your chance of getting a broken heart, imo. You invest a little bit less, if you keep one foot on the floor emotionally, and for some humans, they are then a lil less vulnerable to assume the relationship is more mutual than it really is.
I feel dating is kinda like driving....the slower you go, the less chance of having a terrible accident.
oh, you can still feel all the joys and thrills, but, take it slooow....invest slowly. Get to really know this new person. Just reduces your risk to your heart, imo. It's better to find out he is chronic cheater or gambler or whatever, before you have handed over your heart. imo. Many people tend to hand over their heart, when they have sex. so waiting til you really know the person well, might be good idea.
to the OPs other questions:
Dating as older person, you can still get the butterflies and can still feel 17 all over again. Some things are just the same as when you were young.
but I think advantages we can have as mature people include
we often are far more aware of what we want or don't want
we might be less likely to invest in someone just because they are cute. (some of us can let cute matter as a more important factor when we are young)
we know who we are by now. We enter as fully developed, self aware people.
some older people can enjoy being in a child-free couple thing, which can be fun, as parenthood can be draining sometimes.
i also think relationships take work and prioritizing, now and then, to keep it healthy. I think you BOTH have to want it.
good luck, hope anything here helps you, OP!!