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What’s Your Real Dating Age?

“Age is just a number.” We may roll our eyes at the adage, but it’s easy to see there’s some truth in it. A youthful energy is attractive, defying age. Case in point: Some 48-year-old men look like cartoon professors. Others look like Brad Pitt and Johnny Depp. (Yes, they both turn 48 this year.)

We’ve heard the term “real age” thrown around by Dr. Oz and Oprah, but it’s a concept worth considering: Does your health and appearance reflect a woman much younger than your biological age? Do you defy time or fall victim to it? What’s your real dating age? It’s an important question to ask yourself as you start your online dating adventure.

Your real dating age: Don’t lie.

You take care of your body. You eat well, get plenty of rest, and exercise daily. Just because you can fit into your jeans from high school doesn’t give you permission to shave a decade or two off your age when dating. Dishonesty is never an effective dating strategy, especially when looking for a long-term relationship built on trust. Still, this doesn’t mean you can’t redefine what your age looks like. Besides, Demi Moore doesn’t lie about her age.

You real dating age: How young do you feel?

Fifty can be the new 30 if you’re intentional about living life to the fullest. It’s easy to complain that men are interested in much younger women, but it’s often women’s vibrancy that’s attractive, not the dates on their birth certificates. Seek out things that you’re passionate about, get your beauty rest and surround yourself with positivity. Take any symptoms of poor health seriously, and treat your body well.

Your real dating age: How young do you look?

Just because you’re not lying about your age doesn’t mean you have to look it. Don’t dress like a teenager, but don’t fall victim to “older” fashions, either. Dress appropriately for your “real age.” You may get a senior’s discount, but so does 66-year-old Helen Mirren. She knows how to dress for her body, and understands how to use personal style to her advantage. Choose a hair and makeup routine that enhances your natural beauty rather than competes with it.

Your real dating age: How do you date?

Let dating be fun. Go out for ice cream or take a dance class together. Dating in middle age doesn’t mean that you’re beyond laughter-filled adventures with your prospective partner. Let the thrill of romance make you feel young together.

You real dating age: Use your age to your advantage.

Your age can be an asset. You’re likely more confident in your skin than you were in your 20s. You know what you want. You don’t take life — or your Pilates-toned legs — for granted. You’re ready for a commitment, you know what you have to offer, and you’re already committed to a healthy lifestyle.

Embrace your age. And then defy it a little.