Let’s face it, meeting men is hard, especially if you are over 40. You’re not meeting men at work or in bars anymore. Your circle of friends is either the same it’s been for years, or post-divorce you are now creating new friendships.
If you’ve been avoiding going online because you’re thinking that it’s only for 20 year olds…think again! Dating sites report that their fastest growing segment are people over 50. There are literally millions of men over 50 online. Online dating is the new hot spot for boomers and older adults. As a woman over forty, you need to do a little extra work. But like me, you can meet your dream man.
Here are five tips to consider when dating over 40:
#1. Be the Boss
No, I don’t mean be bossy. I mean be in control of your experience. Online dating opens you up to a thousand more possibilities, and it’s a completely new way of meeting people. Make some decisions and set some personal guidelines about how you want to integrate it into your life. How many hours will you spend each day? (Warning: this can get addictive!) What things can you do to ensure your physical and emotional well-being as you talk to and meet people? What can you learn or change to be a successful dater? Intuition and special situations will create forks in the road. And as time goes on, you’ll likely tweak some of these decisions. Considering some things up front, however, gives you a tentative roadmap and, more importantly, an expanded awareness. I want you to have fun, be open to new things, and enjoy the experience; just do it consciously and like the grownup woman that you are. Remember those jerks you met in bars 30 years ago? Well a few are still out there; they just have gray hair now. You need to be able to deal with them in a classy yet direct manner; the best way is to have a good sense of what you want and who you will “be” out there.
#2. Stand Out
Plain and simple: you have competition girlfriend. As we age, the ratio of women to men grows further apart. Some statistics say it’s as much as 11 women to each man after 55. Yikes! If you’re dating after 40, I want you to stand up and stand out. You’re reading this so you’re already ahead of the game. Make sure your pictures are great. Get them done professionally. (Come on…$150 is too much to spend to attract a fabulous man??) Your profile needs to be unique and speak to men. Here’s a tip: If your best girlfriend loves it; it probably sucks because it’s too girly. Every communication needs to scream how special you are, show your personality, and tell him you’re interested. (“Hi” on the subject line means you wait in line or get deleted. Flirt a little and have some fun.)
#3. Be Honest
You are online, but your goal is to actually meet men, yes? One of the top complaints of men is that we post pictures that are…let’s say…out of date. Just don’t do it. Post lovely, yet current, pictures. It’s disingenuous and a waste of time to do otherwise. Also, be clear about what you’re looking for. I find that at 40, 50, and beyond there is a wide spectrum of what type of partner men and women are looking for. Whether you want a dinner partner or a husband; put it out there. There’s no need to scream it, but weave it into your profile. If you want a life partner, you don’t attract that man who is out there “just having fun.”
#4. Consider a Makeover
When is the last time you updated your look? Have you changed the way you apply your makeup or wear your hair? Have you bought any new styled clothes? Doing this is as much about looking good for a man as it is about feeling good for yourself. A confident woman who takes care of herself and looks healthy is a man magnet. Go to your local department store and get a free makeup session. All the lines do this, did you know? Splurge for a fancy hair style. Check out catalogs like Coldwater Creek, J Jill, or Chicos. You don’t have to necessarily buy — but check out what’s hot (and what’s not).
#5. Check Your Baggage
Yes, I do mean don’t drag your nasty divorce, money troubles, or last case of gout into the conversation. (At least not anywhere near the beginning of getting to know someone.) But, as important, don’t drag in all those beliefs and decisions you made 20 years ago. The woman you are today is nowhere near the girl who dated way back when. It’s time to review all your checklists. Check the one that defines “the perfect man” and what he must do or not do to get to the next date. Check the one that has all your “truths” about yourself, about dating, and about men. It’s important to take time to ground yourself in who you are and what you want in your life today. Do this by yourself, with a trusted friend, or with a coach. But do it.
Let me know how it goes after you implement these 5 tips!