It's safe to say that when you're over 40, the dating game changes significantly. You aren't imagining it. In fact, the challenges of dating for women over 40 are so specific that getting good advice is critical to finding love with less heartache, pain, and confusion. (Fact: over one-third of Americans over 40 are single, and more than 25 million of them are women.)
As a part of the over 40 category of daters, the same dating advice that works for 20 somethings is not always the same advice that you're seeking. Here's why:
- As a woman over 40, your main focus is not necessarily getting married and having babies. You may have already been married, you may already have babies, or perhaps neither is true; but either one could be a non-issue.
- The dating game has changed significantly since you dated in your twenties. Sexting. Texting. Internet dating. Speed dating. Even matchmaking. All are viable alternatives in the 21st century. If you don't know how to use these tools or have a belief that only "losers" would use them, you may be sabotaging your success dramatically.
- You aren't sure who to date when you're in your 40s. Is it appropriate to date men in their 30s? What about feeling like you aren't attracted to men in their sixties, the exact men who may be pursuing you the most online? Is it a must to find someone who's your age exactly and can recite lines from Gilligan's Island right alongside you?
- What are your relationship goals? Are you looking to get married? Do you want to have kids? Are you simply looking for a serious relationship with Mr. Boyfriend Material?
Whatever your concerns, here are the keys to our advice for women over 40 in three short but sweet tips!
1. Use your dating experience in an appropriate way.
Whether you recently went through a messy divorce or have had several long-term relationships and are ready for a relationship, you probably have some (if not a great deal) of dating experience. As a dater who is over 40, you want to make sure you don't "leak" any of this energy or knowledge, negative or otherwise, into new relationships you find yourself in.
It's fine to remember things you've learned in past relationships, but it might be a good idea to check with a dating coach to ensure you're taking the right stuff with you! Avoiding making assumptions like "It happened before and therefore must happen again" can impact all your dating if you aren't armed with a clean slate before you jump into the dating pool.
2. Get yourself out there.
Have your friends been encouraging you to join that online dating site? Well, guess what? One out of every four people who are in a committed relationship or married met their significant others on an online dating site.
Remember that there are tons of good relationship-ready men who're going to be interested in you, but you need to meet them first! Joining a Meetup, starting a new fitness routine or creating an online dating site profile are really great ways to meet great men. Hanging out at a bar every Saturday night? Not so good, so get active online and outside.
3. Be honest about what you're looking for.
Hopefully you aren't finding yourself saying things like "There are no good men out there." But if you find yourself heading down that path, get yourself in the opposite direction immediately. There ARE so many great guys out there!
Because of the multitude of amazing men just waiting to meet you, don't find yourself compromising for someone you think is "almost good enough." If someone isn't meeting your needs and you have openly communicated about what those healthy needs are, move on.
On the other end of the spectrum, having a list of things you're looking for in a man is great. But be sure you aren't checking people off your potential list because they're missing something like "dresses well all the time" or "cooks like a gourmet chef." Ultimately, getting stuck in "lack" mentality will keep you feeling disempowered and stuck.
Remember, once you feel confident and know that you're worthy of an amazing man, amazing men will become magnetized to you. Paradoxically, when you think you have to settle, you attract men who you feel are just "good enough." Get out of this vicious cycle and dig deep to find your "inner awesome" so you can get exactly what you want out of love in your forties.
The most important tip for women over 40 is this: remember to have fun. You know what you want, you know yourself, and you know what you're looking for in a partner.