Dating can be intimidating and overwhelming — and maybe even terrifying — for anyone, no matter your age. While dating after 40 might appear to have its unique set of challenges, it doesn’t have to be something to be dreaded. After all, 40 is the new 30.
Dating in Your Forties: Take Your Time
Don’t let a sense of urgency or the proverbial ticking clock impair your dating judgment. Use that wisdom that comes with age to carefully assess what you need — and to identify any red flags and non-negotiables that appear early on.
If you’re coming out of a marriage or long-term relationship, don’t rush back into dating if you’re not emotionally ready for someone new. To date successfully you can’t be holding your dinner companion responsible for the sins of an ex. Give your date a fair chance, not comparing him to those who’ve come before.
A date is just that: a date. Try not to rush the get-to-know-each-other process. It can take a few dates to know if there’s potential for something to develop between two people.
Dating in Your Forties: Be Honest
While it’s important to be patient when getting to know someone, you don’t have to waste time in the wrong relationship. Be clear about what you’re looking for in a relationship from the beginning.
An advantage to dating later in life is that you should know yourself better than you did in your younger years. You know what matters most to you and can identify your priorities and passions. Be honest about what they are. You don’t want to be with someone who can’t support you in those.
Even before you start dating again, think about what you want. Be specific about what you’re looking for — and who you are — on your dating profile. Share your thoughts with a friend who can hold you accountable to not settle for someone who isn’t right for you.
Dress and act your age. Be real. Trying to be someone you’re not will only hurt you in the long run. The best dating advice to anyone at any age is just to be yourself.
Dating in Your Forties: Enlist Friends
Speaking of friends, ask for help. Let people support your dating journey. Welcome blind dates set up by friends. Double date with a couple you respect. Be honest and open with trusted loved ones that you’re looking for love. They’ll be there to encourage you when you’re discouraged and to rejoice with you when love comes around.
Dating in Your Forties: Stay Positive
Focus on the positive. You may not like the toll time — and gravity — has taken on your body, but what about yourself do you still love? Boost your confidence by dressing to enhance your favorite features.
Look back at your former self and identify how you’ve changed for the better. Maybe you’re now more laid back. Maybe you’ve become more patient, more direct, or more ambitious with time. Celebrate what you have to offer.
You’re still young at heart, so lighten up and have fun. Smile. Let the pursuit of love be an adventure.
Dating in Your Forties: Consider the Kids
Kids are often a factor when dating in your forties. If you have kids, use discretion as to when it’s most appropriate to introduce them to someone new. If they’re young, it’s important to keep them from bonding prematurely with your date if you’re not yet in a committed relationship. If they’re older, talk to them about what’s going on, and let them voice their concerns. Kids need to know that you’re a parent first and that they’re still your priority, even when you’re going on dates and spending time away from them.
If you don’t have kids and your date does, are you okay with the possibility of taking on a stepparent role in the future? If you don’t have kids and want them, are you willing to walk away from a relationship if he doesn’t?
Dating in Your Forties: Take Risks
You may be a little intimidated by the dating scene, but don’t let those dating insecurities get in your way. Choose to be bold and fearless. Know your strengths, enlist a friend who’s good at pep talks to encourage you, and take a few chances. Maybe it’s time that you made the first move for a change.
Be up for change and try something new. Look outside your dating “type.” Date a little older or younger than you usually would. Take up a new hobby, enroll in a class, or just shake up your daily routine. Don’t get stuck in life. Take a few (calculated) risks. You’ll meet new people, learn things about yourself, and collect new stories to tell. Maybe you’ll even find love in the process.