Truth be told, dating in your 40s can be a wonderful thing. You’re braver, smarter, wiser, and more discerning than ever. Using these qualities as your secret superpowers can make dating in your 40s not only fun but also much more successful than dating in your 30s and 20s.
But there are nuances to be aware of that weren’t factors in our 20s. You may not have been as dedicated to your career, or you had fewer financial responsibilities. Plus, you may not have had the experience of deeper relationships to learn from.
So, if you’re looking for love, fear not: We tapped four experts—Kelly Campbell, PhD, Fran Walfish, PsyD, Ramani Durvasula, PhD, and relationship expert Carmelia Ray—for their advice on dating at 40 and beyond. We narrowed their noteworthy advice down to 13 useful tips to keep in mind during every stage of dating—from the first encounter to falling in love.
If your interest is piqued, keep reading to discover your road map to dating at this wonderful age.
Choose Your Partner Wisely
We’ve all heard the staggering saying: Half of all marriages end in divorce. But we’re pretty excited to announce that this statistic is not true anymore. According to the Institute for Family Studies, which acquired its stats from the Census Bureau, divorce in America has been falling fast. Even better, the divorce rate fell to a record low in 2019. For every 1,000 marriages in 2019, 14.9 ended in divorce.1
This good news could be due to more young adults delaying marriage to gain more life experience, financial stability, or a stronger sense of self before saying, “I do”—all things 40-somethings have had time to work on. The dating field could have more players looking to get hitched, and if that’s the case, don’t enter into a serious relationship hastily, warns Campbell, a professor of psychology at California State University, San Bernardino.
“Marrying in your 40s, especially if it’s for the first time, means you have fewer years till death do you part, so this really could be The One,” she says. “As such, you’ll want to make the best possible choice.”
Make Sure You’re Both Ready to Date
Unlike dating in your 20s, you’ve likely had a major relationship, whether it was a spouse or a long-term partner, and the person you’re dating probably has, too. Make sure that both you and your date have processed these relationships and are ready to move forward, Campbell advises.
How can you tell if you or your date is living in the past? One red flag is talking about their past partner in disparaging terms. “If they are unable to discuss it in objective terms or clearly see each person’s role in what went wrong, it may be a warning sign that they aren’t over the other person, are still holding a grudge, or are at risk for repeating maladaptive patterns in the new relationship,” Campbell suggests.
Walfish, a Beverly Hills-based family and relationship psychotherapist, adds, “Nothing turns off a new person more than hearing you rag about somebody else.” Your new partner could suspect that you may have been the problem in the relationship.
Wait Before Introducing Your Partner to Your Kids
If you’re a parent, anyone you date is getting a package deal, and it’s crucial to prioritize your kids’ emotional needs over your desire to find romantic love. “Children need time to adjust to their parents’ split, and it can take at least two years for them to get over anger, sadness, and other emotions,” Walfish notes. “Introducing a new love interest too soon may delay or damage this process. You owe it to your kids to take it slow when dating.”
If you’ve been dating someone for at least four to five months and feel confident that you’re heading toward a serious commitment, the time may be right to talk to your children. Tell them what you admire about your new partner, and encourage them to share both negative and positive feelings about the idea of your being with someone new. Actively listen and validate their feelings before planning a joint outing so everyone can meet. They may be cool to your new partner at first; just let them come around on their own time and keep communicating.
If the relationship is still gelling, have fun dating when your kids are with their other parent or family members. “If you introduce your children to someone who you are dating casually, this may create uncertainty and ambivalence for them about intimacy if things don’t work out,” Walfish warns.
When it comes to talking to your kids about your dating life, be honest. You don’t have to divulge every detail, but lying about what you’re doing or who you’re seeing is definitely a bad idea.
Practice Patience When It Comes to Sex
In the heat of the moment, sometimes it can take all your willpower to say “no.” But it’s well worth it—especially for mature adults. “It takes time to get to know someone, and talking is the glue that holds people together,” Walfish says. “Rushing into sex can derail talking communication and make it just a short-lived burst of lust.”
To set yourself up for the best sex with a new partner, hold off on the hanky-panky until you’re confident about the direction your relationship is going unless you’re just looking for fun. Set your boundaries upfront by letting your date know you find them attractive, but simply stating, “I don’t sleep with someone until I’m really ready.” The reward of meaningful and passionate lovemaking will pay off in the long run.
Be Independent and Interdependent
A nice perk of being 40 is that you’ve likely worked on yourself and are more comfortable with who you are now than you may have been a decade or two ago. If not, take time to think through your dating goals, values, and preferences. Know your relationship expectations and deal-breakers without being too rigid.
Doing this allows you to be both an independent and interdependent partner, so “you function well on your own and at the same time are comfortable fulfilling important needs for your partner and vice versa,” says Campbell.
Navigate Gender Stereotypes
Dating in today’s landscape can present confusing expectations around gender roles. It’s likely you and your partner will have different ideas and philosophies, especially when you’re financially independent and used to being single. Who picks up the check, and how often? Do you want the door opened for you, or do you want to open it yourself? Not being on the same page can lead to awkwardness and resentment.
“Open, honest communication between two loving and solemnly committed partners is required to make all types of role divisions in relationships work,” says Walfish. Talk to your partner about how they view gender roles and what their expectations are. If you have a different viewpoint, you can decide if it’s a deal-breaker or if you both can be flexible and find a compromise.
Trust Your Instincts
“Most relationship mistakes happen because a person does not trust their instincts early on and sticks around thinking it will change,” says Durvasula, a clinical psychologist. By your 40s, you’ve experienced many human encounters, so trust your gut, she advises.
Plus, by trusting yourself, you’ll be able to look beyond type and move forward based on feelings and mutual values—true cornerstones of successful relationships. Types are for people chasing something that they think is good for them. Do you want to put those kinds of limits on love?
Develop a Clear Agenda
Having a good time may have been your main dating plan when you were younger, but in your 40s, people may be looking for anything from friendship to casual hookups to marriage. Plus, you have to balance dating goals with your established careers, financial responsibilities, families, children, and living situations.
“You are no longer a 25-year-old living with roommates and with few fiscal ties,” Durvasula admits. “Because the range of reasons and expectations around dating may be wider, be clear on yours. If someone is not on the same page as you, knowing your hopes can help you make decisions that do not leave you resentful down the road.”
Ray, a celebrity matchmaker and relationship expert, agrees. “Establish your deal breakers and don’t compromise important values just to impress someone you like,” she says. “Don’t beat around the bush long-term—been there, done that.”
Manage Your Social Media Expectations
Social media is a seamless part of everyday life for most 20- and 30-year-olds. But for someone from an older generation, their connection to Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter could be more of a mixed bag. Your date’s social habits could range from “the 45-year-old who is as plugged in as a teenager to the 48-year-old who has never been on Instagram,” Durvasula notes.
Once things are established, ask your date before posting a photo of the two of you together. Durvasula advises against making a big deal out of it or trying to post too soon, as it may make the other person uncomfortable.
Accept Scheduling Conflicts
Many people over 40 have many responsibilities that require more planning. Tuesday night dates that stretch into the wee hours may not work on a regular basis as fatigue can set in. “Not to say that you need to get the blue plate special and call it a night at 7 p.m., but you are also no longer able to just skip morning classes after a first date,” says Durvasula.
Plus, parents have to balance childcare responsibilities. “[It] could get tricky because it means a lot less time for dating and less alone time,” adds Campbell.
Don’t try to read between the lines if your date has to reschedule or call it early. It’s often because of their personal responsibilities, so be understanding, and you’re likely to receive the same kind of understanding from them.
Never Apologize for Being You
You may have had your fair share of trial and error, but this needn’t be considered “baggage.” If a past folly comes up on a date, focus on the growth and learning that came out of it instead of beating yourself up. “Women, in particular, apologize for what they perceive are their shortcomings or to discount themselves,” Durvasula explains. “You have lived a full life, no need for apologies. Own your mistakes and talk about them as life lessons.”
Your date will appreciate it when you listen to their mistakes without judgment or unsolicited advice. “People want to be seen, validated, and accepted—flaws and all,” says Walfish.
Avoid Making Assumptions
It’s easy to see things through the lens of your past experiences—more than you ever would have in your 20s or even 30s. “If you’ve had negative dating experiences, you might assume the person you’re dating shares similar traits or behaviors as someone in your past,” Ray suggests. “It doesn’t work to assume everyone you date is all the same.”
Before your first date, try your best to be open and nonjudgmental (while still keeping your wits about you, of course). By doing this, you’ll give your date the chance to surprise you, creating a more positive experience from the start.
Keep the First Date Light
Conversations on a first date should be all about getting to know each other, finding common ground, and determining compatibility. But if you’re fed up with being single, and you feel a connection, you may be tempted to overshare about past negative dating experiences. Ray cautions not to fall into “the TMI trap.”
It’s natural to have moments where you wonder if you’re doing something wrong, and you’d like reassurance from your date. But that’s not what you’re there for, she says. “If you lack self-esteem or are unhappy with yourself and your situation, it’s not attractive to someone you’re newly dating,” Ray insists. Instead, be the person you want to attract. Smile, be the best version of yourself, and have fun getting to know your date. Draw them out and focus on them, and enjoy as things develop organically.
NO, IT SHOULDN’T FEEL SO DAUNTING.
Online dating is definitely a must for any single man or woman over the age of 50. Over the years, the industry has adapted to the needs of senior singles. Online dating is no longer just for singles in their twenties, thirties and forties.
You have a variety of dating sites and apps to choose from and an almost endless number of people to meet. However, you’ll want to know a few things before jumping in the head first. Here are 10 tips for online dating if you’re 50 or older.
1. KNOW WHICH DATING SITE TO CHOOSE
If you want to have the most efficient and exciting online dating experience, I recommend that you peruse a few sites and apps to see if they fit your needs before choosing one or two to join. Take a few minutes to see what platforms are available in your area and check out the profiles on the homepage to see if the singles seem like your type.
Note if the users appear to be active. You want to join sites and apps with users who contact you. You don’t want to deal with profiles left behind by their creators.
Picture of a heart on a keyboard
You have a variety of senior dating sites and apps to choose from, so you want to make sure you sign up for the right platform.
Most mainstream dating sites and apps, such as Match and Elite Singles, cater to over 50 singles, but I also recommend choosing a niche dating site or app (i.e. a site specifically dedicated to Christian singles). You want to mix things up. The point of online dating is to meet as many people as possible. If you find that you don’t like a site or app, you can unsubscribe and try a new platform. No damage; no mistake.
2. THINK ABOUT YOUR DATING GOALS
Before you quickly post a profile, think about your dating goals and what you want to say in your profile. The main reason you’ll want to prepare is because many dating sites and apps will somehow prominently display your profile on the homepage because it’s brand new. You don’t want to waste that advantage with a bland profile.
Photo of goals written on a napkin
Do you want a relationship? Do you want to make friends? Do you want an informal relationship? The answers to these questions will help determine how you approach online dating.
Make sure you have a collection of high-quality and varied photos (for example, photos of your face, body, and activities you enjoy participating in). People who have read my book know that I insist on using at least a professional photographer for your main profile picture. Of course, if you’re not serious about finding a relationship and just want to test the waters, casual photos are fine. Just know that directing those photos can send a message to your fellow singles that you’re not interested in finding love. Don’t be surprised if the messages you get are from non-relationship seeking singles.
3. WRITE AN ATTRACTIVE PROFILE
When writing your profile, aim for a few paragraphs (about 200 to 300 words). Too short and your profile just disappears in a sea of vague descriptions. If your profile is too long (more than 500 words), it will start to sound like a college application essay and you will lose people’s interest. In this text you want to talk about your personality and about at least three of your favorite hobbies.
Photo of fingers on a keyboard
You want to write a profile that expresses who you are and makes people want to get in touch.
Specifically for men, please don’t assume that women emphasize physical attraction over emotional attraction like most men do. Don’t just post three sentences and a few pictures with the phrase “If you’re interested, give me a call”. Yes, women may be more concerned with the initial physical attraction. However, real attraction to women often starts with who a man is (ie his interests and how she thinks he might treat her).
Weave some examples of how you’ll treat her: “I’m still a bit of an old-fashioned gentleman. You don’t have to wait. I always get the door for a lady.” Such little tidbits.
4. EMBRACE YOUR AGE
If you have turned 50 and are looking for love, I advise you not to look for younger singles. That includes not participating in dating sites and apps that target men and women in their twenties and thirties (eg Bumble). I often hear single men in their 50s complain that they can’t find good single women over 45. When I get a little busy, I discover that they are still looking for love in dating apps that target women more than 10 years younger than them.
Photo of two adults in a convertible
If you’re really looking for love, try approaching dating differently than when you were in your 20s.
Delete those profiles and get started with the program. If you really want a marriage or a life partner with love at its core, use the dating sites and singles apps for your age demographic. If you’re 53 or older and some of your dates are in their mid to late 40s, you may need to join both Match and OurTime.
5. BE PROACTIVE
Because the urge to procreate often diminishes as people get older, the dating process can slow down compared to when you were 28 and looking for someone to have kids with. The pace is different now, so try not to compare your dating activities to how they were when you were younger.
Photo of proactive and reactive written on a road
Take matters into your own hands – send the first message and ask for the first date.
You will probably have to work in the online dating scene for a year or so to reap the rewards you seek for a long-term relationship. Plan accordingly. Sure, most of us know an amazing senior couple who met over a free comm weekend on eharmony and got married six months later, but they’re a rarity. Don’t put that pressure on yourself.
This does mean, however, that you have to put in more effort to get things moving, keep things going, and go to the first date. Don’t wait for someone to message you – try taking the first step yourself.
6. KEEP YOUR GEOGRAPHIC SEARCH AT A REASONABLE DISTANCE
Most of us have heard stories of older singles finding each other from all over the country or around the world, but those are the exceptions. There could be plenty of great people to meet within a more manageable distance.
For example, if you live in San Francisco, you can expand your search to Sacramento, Redding, Gilroy, and the Monterrey area. If business or friends and family take you to Southern California on a regular basis, expand your search to that area as well. Ditto for SoCal residents who fly to Northern California at least once a quarter. A regular shuttle flight is almost the same as driving there.
Photo of a globe
Consider whether you are willing to relocate for a romantic partner. If not, try to keep your search parameters realistic.
Just keep it realistic. It’s best to keep your search to something the two of you can easily drive to every weekend to meet. Weekday dates can be more challenging, and you may have to meet halfway through the first few months of dating. Unless you’re okay with moving hundreds of miles away, don’t rush beyond finding a reasonable ride for you. How do you realistically date someone? Long distance relationships can work, but I don’t recommend starting there.
7. KEEP THE CONVERSATION MOVING
Not everyone is good at small talk, especially via emails and text messages. Some people can barely think of a few questions in the first message to break the ice. What can be helpful is actually taking the time to read someone’s profile, pick up on his or her interests, and inquire further. This keeps the messaging in motion.
Photo of a woman texting
Don’t just share information about yourself; ask your online matches about their personality, interests, work and family.
This is another reason to keep your dating bio shorter than a college entrance exam. You should leave something for potential dates to ask you about. Drop some conversation starter breadcrumbs in the body of your profile so potential dates can message you and ask you questions. This is especially helpful if you’re nervous about sending the first message.
8. DON’T GET STUCK IN A BLACK HOLE OF MESSAGES
It’s often around the third or fourth message that people can get stuck. If you don’t continue asking questions and sharing information about yourself, your potential date will have no reason to respond. Don’t just answer your potential date’s questions in your message without giving them a reason to respond.
Photo of a black hole
Messaging is fun, but you want to go to the first date so you can see if there’s chemistry.
If you haven’t received a response from a match within a day or two, revisit their profile and find two things to inquire about. ‘Hello, Jon! I see you like to read mysteries. Who are your two favorite authors and what do you like most about their books?’ Look, you asked about something he really enjoys, and he’s more likely to respond.
9. GO TO THE FIRST DATE
I hear from both older men and women that they don’t want to waste their time and money on dates that don’t lead to lasting love. Sometimes they spend too much time in the messaging phase to delete people they wouldn’t marry. I’ve also heard of singles making multiple phone calls before meeting for the first coffee or lunch date.
For God’s sake, it’s a date. It’s coffee and a pastry. It’s carbonated water and an appetizer. It’s not dinner for two overlooking the river Seine for five hours. You two are still complete strangers. I say please don’t waste your time reaching out over the phone to someone you have absolutely no personal chemistry with. Exchange a handful of messages showing that you’re interested and able to chat, then meet up.
Photo of a couple on a date
I recommend setting the first date after a few days of messaging.
I also recommend waiting with Google your date and searching for their social media profiles until after about three dates when it’s clear that both of you are interested in each other or not. Remember to keep the goal of online dating in mind: to meet some lovely people that you are unlikely to meet with your current lifestyle. Don’t weed potential dates so much that you’re not actively dating.
Aim to go to the first date, and remember that meeting more interesting, new people will keep your social muscles taut. Plus, dates who are great people but just aren’t a match for you can become woven into your extensive social circle.
10. GO FOR COFFEE OR LUNCH, NOT DINNER
Contrary to what I recommend for singles under 50, I suggest that you meet your first dates for coffee or lunch, and not for drinks after work. It can take the pressure off the two of you.
Maybe you meet and find that there are just no sparks. That’s really the point of the first date. It’s just to look at personal chemistry before the two of you give your heart away to a fantasy — only to be surprised when you realize you’re not curling each other’s toes. Remember it’s okay to make new friends.
Photo of coffee and pastries
Going for a quick coffee and pastry is much less intimidating than going for a two-hour dinner.
Keep breaking the ice with new people online, mixing up some different dating sites and apps to keep things varied and moving. Keep messaging and chatting with people, and go to the first date. Then choose to date them, weave them into your social circle, or bless them along the way. It is the applied law of physics. If you remain passive, you will stay exactly where you are. Once you get things moving, you’re dating and well on your way to finding love.
TAKE CONTROL OF YOUR ONLINE DATING LIFE
Taking the proactive approach to your dating life is a lot more fun. You move out of the house and have a great social life while looking for a lifelong love. When you enjoy life, smile and are happy, you are magnetically attractive wherever you go. With that kind of inner and outer brilliance, you attract your life partner sooner than you think.
Hitting the dating scene in your fifth decade can feel so… complicated. After all, there are likely to be children in the picture, and behind every potential partner is a sheer lifetime of romantic experience (and a much, much longer trail of exes). But we’d argue that none of this is a bad thing. In fact, if you’re dating as a forty-something, you’re guaranteed to be wiser, better at dating, better at knowing what you want, and a lot less impulsive and sensitive to rejection.
Awesome (and Cheap) Date Ideas
That said, if you’re recently single for the first time in a long time, you may not know where to begin. So we tapped dating experts and compiled the very best dating tips for women on the cusp of middle age, which you’ll find right here. (And if you happen to live in any of The 50 Cities with the Best Dating Scenes, these rules are especially applicable.)
1Accept That There Will Be Good Dates And Bad Dates
Especially since they might be different from when you were in your 20s and 30s. “When you know what you won’t tolerate, it’s easier to date smart,” says April Masini, a New-York-based relationship and etiquette expert. “For instance, if you don’t want to date someone who has kids, you’ll save yourself loads of time by simply saying no to anyone who wants to date you and who already has a brood. Same goes for money, religion, and lifestyle. Forget judgment—just be true to you and you’ll be successful at dating.” And if you’re dabbling in online dating, make sure you know the 30 Worst Phrases to Use on Your Profile.
3Don’t Badmouth Your Ex
It’s just poor form in the beginning stages of a relationship. “It’s a big turn-off and it shows you haven’t moved beyond that relationship,” says Elliott Katz, author of Being the Strong Man a Woman Wants: Timeless Wisdom on Being a Man. “The man you are dating may have an ex-spouse who already badmouths him; he’s not looking for another.” And for more essential dating advice, don’t miss the 20 Signs He’s Going to Ghost You.
4 Write Your “Type” on a Piece of Paper and Burn It
“Sure, we may all have had a ‘type’ that attracted us in the past, but to find a quality partner, it’s time to grow up,” says Laney Zukerman, a relationship coach and author. “There are many potential partners out there that are diamonds in the rough. It’s not always easy, but think outside the box.” And for more heartfelt advice, know the 40 Secrets of Couples Who’ve Been Married 40 Years.
5Don’t Write Someone Off Before You Even Meet Them
“A lot of women who have been dating for a long time arrive to the date with certain assumptions because a man ‘seems’ like someone else they’ve gone out with,” explains Samantha Daniels, relationship expert and founder of The Dating Lounge dating app. “Try to just get to know the man in front of you instead of comparing him to men in your past.”
6Don’t Be Bitter about the “Age” Thing
“Just because there are younger women available does not mean that a man will choose one,” notes Megan Weks, dating and relationship expert. “You get what you expect in life, so if you’re out there deciding for him, you will show up as less desirable based on your inner beliefs.”
7Make Sure You’re Really Ready To Date
“Too often women over 40 rush back into dating because they are accustomed to being in a relationship,” says Monte Drenner, a licensed counselor and consultant. “They feel like they need one or they are pushed into the dating scene prematurely by well-meaning friends or family. I always encourage clients to make sure they have healed from the wounds of previous relationships prior to pursuing another one.”
8Don’t Hide Who You Are on Dating Apps
“If you are overweight, have some wrinkles, whatever, don’t post a photo online of you 20 years ago,” advises Jane Coloccia, author of Confessions Of An Online Dating Addict. “A guy is going to show up to a first date expecting to see that girl—not the woman you are today. Just accept yourself and be okay with who you are now. When you own who you are now, you’ll be in a much better place to be in a truthful, honest, open relationship.”
9Try Not To Take Things Personally
“Dating can require a tough skin. Start developing one now,” recommends Renée Suzanne, a dating coach. “Nothing that a stranger does online is really about you. Having a fulfilling love life is worth enduring a few setbacks. Hang in there!”
10Don’t Be Afraid To Make The First Move
“The most important thing a women over 40 can do to increase her chances of meeting a great guy is to initiate contact with a shy guy,” says Richard Gosse, author of The Donald Trump Syndrome: Why Women Choose the Wrong Men to Love. “Forty percent of the American population is shy,” according to Dr. Phillip Zimbardo, Director of The Shyness Institute at Stanford University. “That’s millions of guys who seldom meet women because they are too shy. There’s very little competition for these bachelors—and you can have your pick, if you are willing to make the first move.”
11Look For Someone With Similar Core Values
“Usually, the more couples have in common on core areas of life the more likely they’ll have a successful relationship,” says Dr. Wyatt Fisher, a licensed psychologist in Denver, CO. “Therefore, spend time finding someone similar to yourself.”
12Know What You’re Looking For
“Many women are looking for a ‘good’ partner but have not defined what good looks like,” Drenner explains. “The more clearly ‘good’ is defined, the sooner your will be able to eliminate those that don’t fit the criteria.”
13Don’t Rely On Self-Deprecating Humor
“It’s very easy to fall back on humor when you’re nervous, but you need to make sure that it’s not at your expense,” says Laura Bilotta, a dating coach and matchmaker in Toronto. “Even if you are genuinely joking, your date may perceive you to be very negative and lacking self-confidence.”
14Treat Yourself Well
“You don’t have to grace the cover of Vogue, but you do have to strive to be your best, unique self,” Masini says. That means exercising, eating well, and taking up grooming habits you enjoy—like regular mani-pedis, if that’s your thing.
15Meet His Friends and Family
“Seeing how someone interacts with his friends and his family will tell you a lot about who he is as a person,” says Monique Honaman, author and relationship expert. “With so many dating scams out there and people pretending to be who they are not, this is a great way to see for yourself that the person you are dating is authentic.”
16Show That You’ve Learned From Past Relationships
“Everyone makes mistakes. It’s acknowledging your mistakes and showing that you learned from them and are a better potential partner for it that will make you attractive,” Katz notes.
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17Skip The Bikini Shot
“You may have a great body, but your attempt to show that you are incredibly hot in your 40’s is not the best way to be taken seriously,” says Rhonda Milrad, LCSW, relationship therapist and founder of online relationship community, Relationup. “Your date will be objectifying you before even meeting you, and thinking about getting you naked rather than getting to know you.”
18Don’t Be Defensive
There’s nothing wrong with being single in your 40s, so no need to act like there is! “Keep in mind that the man across the table from you is ‘still single,’ as well, so don’t be embarrassed or uncomfortable about your own dating status,” Daniels suggests.
19Join More Than One Dating Site
“If you were catching birds would you place your bird seed in multiple places or would you have it in just one place? Your odds of meeting someone increase when you are more visible, so take a risk and put yourself out there,” Weks advises.
20Don’t Stress If The First Date Isn’t Fancy
It doesn’t have to be luxe to be fun. “Dating is expensive for both parties and men also want to make sure that the person that they like is going to stick around past the first few dates,” Safran says.
21You Really Do Need To Put Yourself Out There
Chances are, love won’t just fall into your lap. “Singles hate this advice because they want the universe to provide,” Gosse says, but this standard dating guidance really is true.
“Women over 40 sometimes convince themselves that there are not many good opportunities for a future mate on the dating scene after 40, and therefore settle for the first good candidate who comes along,” Drenner says. “Too often, they make the ‘smart choice,’ meaning a good potential partner that cares for them, rather than the ‘heart choice,’ who is someone they love.” So go ahead and hold out for someone who you really, truly love.
“If you’re meeting someone online, be sure to spend several weeks getting to know them online first through emails and video chats,” suggests Fisher. “It’s also recommended to do a background check to ensure they have no criminal background and aren’t already married. If all checks out, be sure to keep your first few dates in public and bring your own mode of transportation to maximize your safety.”
24Be Open To Older Guys
“I know that a man who is 55 or older might seem like your father, but he is actually your contemporary now—especially in the dating world,” Daniels says. “Age is just a number, so give him a chance.”
25Don’t Talk About Your Kids Constantly
“If you have kids, don’t make your life and your conversations all about the kids. Men want to know you have a life outside of your kids, which will hopefully include them,” Coloccia says.
26Ask For Advice
“Choosing another potential mate can be an extremely difficult process. I recommend that women form a ‘committee’ of trusted advisers to help them to navigate all of the difficulties of the process of finding another mate,” Drenner says. “These committee members can help identify areas of concern and help to prevent mistakes.” In other words, go ahead and ask your friends and family what they think of your new potential partners, and encourage them to be honest.
27Be Open to Different Family Setups
“Frequently when dating past 40, different scenarios come into play such as co-parenting and step-parenting relationships,” Honaman points out. “This may require flexibility as you work around ‘I have the kids this weekend’ or go on ‘dates’ with children involved. I’ve found some women get frustrated with the ‘I have the kids this weekend’ scenario because it can dampen their spontaneity and they lose that one-on-one time that’s so important when dating, but it also might mean that the following weekend is a ‘child-free’ weekend.”
Read also |
28Set Boundaries And Enforce Them
“So many women (and some men) think they know their boundaries and yet accept unreasonable demands when they think they meet ‘the one,'” Zuckerman explains. “If you are accepting the unacceptable, over time it is a recipe for disaster! Know what you will and won’t tolerate in a partner and no matter what, hold your ground.”
29Be Honest About Your Marital Status
“Lots of people who are married but living as single fool themselves and others into thinking they’re legally single,” Masini says. “When it’s found out that they aren’t, all hell breaks loose and allegations of lying and cheating are flung about. Remember, if you’re married but separated, you’re married. If you’re married and living single, you’re married. If you want to date married, at least be honest with yourself and those you’re dating. But best of all, if you want to be single, make sure you are—legally.”
“If you think that love should ‘just happen’ or it’s not meant to be, it’s time to rethink your dating plan,” Suzanne says. “Think about it, you’ve gotten where you are in life by taking action, not waiting for the fates to drop the things you want on your doorstep.”
31Make It Clear You Can Take Care Of Yourself
Generally, it’s a good idea to project that you’re self-sufficient when dating older men. “The man you are dating may have children he is supporting,” Katz points out. “He’s probably not looking for another dependent.”
32Have A Man Snap Your Dating Profile Picture
Seriously. “David Ian Perrett, an expert in the science of human attraction, found that men consistently rate photos of women taken by a man as more attractive than photos taken by a woman,” says Scott Valdez, founder of ViDA. “So if you’re investing in pro photos for your dating profiles, book a male photographer, and if you’re taking casual snaps with friends, hand your phone to one of the guys.”
33Don’t Bring Up Baggage Right Away
Save it for later dates. “Your ex or a custody battle may be a large part of your life, but it’s probably best to not let it control your conversation on your first few dates,” Bilotta says. “You want your date to learn about you and what makes you great, and you want to find out about them.”
34Treat Dating Like a Marathon, Not a Sprint
“For most women over 40, the dating scene has changed a great deal since they were in it last. The majority of women I counsel underestimate the time, effort and energy it takes to find someone they really desire to be with,” Drenner says. “If they are prepared for a long process, they are more likely to keep persevering rather than settling or quitting.”
35Know That It’s Okay to Need to Be Single
“Take some time to be alone, be comfortable being alone and with yourself, and decide what it is that you really want out of your next relationship,” suggests Coloccia. “By getting clear about who you are and what you want, the right person will show up.”
36Limit Time with Friends Who Have a Negative Outlook on Love
“Stay positive and surround yourself with people who have a positive outlook and who believe in love,” Weks recommends. “Negativity is contagious, and it’s the very last thing you need around you when dating.”
37Don’t Be Afraid to Change It Up
“A lot of people end up in dating ruts by going to the same places and seeing the same friends all the time,” Daniels says. “Try new places, reach out to other friends for setups, or try a new dating app and see if that can help you meet some new men.”
38Consider Dating Apps If You Haven’t Already
You might think they’re for 18-year-olds, but in reality, they’re pretty great for people of all ages. “Tinder and Bumble are fantastic because you need to express interest in someone before they can contact you,” Suzanne explains. “This means you won’t have an inbox full of messages from men you’d never want to meet. These apps aren’t just for hookups. Real couples meet on them every day.”
39Let Things Take a While to “Get Serious”
“Make sure you keep your options open until you know that this man wants what you want and wants it on a similar timeline,” Weks says.
40Get Help If You Need It
If things just don’t seem to be going your way on the dating scene, don’t hesitate to recruit a professional. “Ask an expert, spend time doing activities you love without worrying about meeting someone, take a break, and put new pictures up every three months,” Safran advises. “Remember that it’s okay to need a break and it’s okay if you need help.”