In all my years of dating, I have seen my fair share of scenarios: He's ready to get serious and I'm not. Or I'm ready and he's not. But sometimes two people get lucky and find themselves on the same page.

Did I say lucky? Let me rephrase that; it's not luck, it's timing, along with knowing yourself and knowing your partner. If you are an older woman trying to finally win at love, it can be tough. Once you get past the initial hurdle of meeting someone and then getting to know him, the hard part comes — especially if you are ready to get serious.

You are developing feelings for him and you are anxious to know if those feelings are mutual. But ... what if he doesn't feel the same way? What if he doesn't want what you want? What if he's just not ready? (Don't be surprised. Men who have "been around" have their own concerns when it's their second or third time in the game).

Unfortunately, you can't avoid the possibility that your sugar may turn to salt. Sometimes it just doesn't work out. In love, that is the chance you take. However, if you have done your homework and really spent time getting to know him, you shouldn't be surprised by his reaction when you tell him how you feel. If you are a mature woman, he is a mature man and the relationship has "permanency potential," then go for it!

Taking a relationship to the second stage takes courage, especially when we have been wounded in the past. It takes an intimate knowledge of yourself, your needs, wants and desires. If you are truly ready to commit and you think he is too, one of the best ways to find out is to order a pizza. Yes, you heard right. Making your needs known to the man you desire is just that easy.

We Americans have become adept at ordering pizza. 1) We know what we want, 2) we ask for it (can I get goat cheese and broccoli on half and the other half meat lovers???), 3) we pay for it. All is right with the world. So why can't getting what you want in a relationship be as simple as that? It is, and here is how you do it.

Know What You Want

Before we can require someone's best, we must be our best. As an older woman you have had plenty of time to work on you. In fact, you probably know what you want and don't want better than anyone does. You've been married and divorced, or just out there long enough to know the score. You go girl! You're ready.

Ask for What You Want

After all the ups and downs you have faced in your life, you should have no problem putting into words what it is you can and cannot tolerate in a long-term relationship. That is what you need to communicate to the man in your life (but please be gentle, and don't bring up any old baggage from the last bad relationship). It might also help to choose a quiet time and place for the discussion, one where the two of you can concentrate on each other. Hmm...not the bedroom, though...you two need to be talking, OK?

What Price Are You Willing to Pay?

Now that you have expressed yourself, what's it going to cost you? If he feels the same way you do, then you have your pizza just the way you like it and the price is right. But if he exhibits reservations about moving on to something more serious, take those cues to heart. This is where we sometimes get into trouble. We ignore the signs that he cannot "deliver" and instead decide we can change his mind if we just hang on. Wrong. No man was ever happy in a relationship that was forced upon him. Give him the space he requires and keep looking.

Many times women will stay in a relationship just to say they "have a man." If you feel you are selling yourself short, don't buy the pizza! You wouldn't hesitate to start flipping through the phone book for another pizza parlor if the first one told you your pizza was going to cost $50! So don't hesitate to keep looking if the man you are dating is not ready to ratchet up the relationship.

If you want, keep him around as a friend, or just see him occasionally, but if you are serious about finding a permanent mate, keep dating other people. Your life is not over after 40 and you DO have options. Once he is ready, trust me, he will let you know. Men show by their actions what they want and don't want. But if he doesn't change his mind, then you haven't wasted your precious time in a go-nowhere relationship.

Enjoy yourself, take up a hobby. Just live life, and before you know it, Mr. Right will be knocking on the door (or behind you at the supermarket). Remember, you've been here before, so just relax...in fact, why not empower yourself and order a pizza?