Dating Over 40
I work with a lot of singles who aren’t just over forty, but are even in their fifties and sixties. And they all have one thing in common when they first come to me: They don’t have a clue how to ‘date’ at their age.
Well I have a secret to tell you…it’s not that hard!
Below I’ve outlined my favorite – and most common – suggestions and tips for dating over 40 and the mature singles out there searching for their forever someone.
Tip #1: It’s Okay To Want Marriage
I know, I know…this might seem like a strange thing to say. But believe it or not, there are a lot of older clients who walk through my door and seem almost shy to admit they want to get married when asked about their long term relationship goals.
This can be for a number of different reasons. Maybe they have been married once or twice before, and think it’s in bad taste to try for lucky number three. Sometimes they’re embarrassed. Or maybe they never got married, and now they’re sheepish about it because they’ve decided they’re too old to be a blushing bride or groom in their fifties and sixties.
But as I say to each and every one of them: none of this is true. I give to you the exact same advice I give to younger singles looking for love:
If you want to get married, then own that desire proudly. Don’t be shy about putting your intentions out there for a potential partner to know about. First, because it’ll surprise you just how many other people your age want the same thing (I’m telling you, it’s very common). And second, it’s better to be clear from the get go that you and your potential new partner are on the same page.
So get out there and be proud to declare what you want! Age doesn’t determine how bold or romantic you’re allowed to be, and just because you’re older doesn’t mean somehow you’re excluded from enjoying an engagement and a wedding.
Tip #2: Be Realistic About How “Young” You Should Date
I’m often asked by my older clients about “the age factor”, and whether or not I think there’s an age cutoff when looking for their ideal partners. And while every situation is different, and there are always exceptions to the rule…more often than not I tend to advice clients to stay closer to their own age when actively looking for love. For several reasons.
- Like any relationship, your priorities and interests have to align. More often than not, no matter how ‘fiery’ or ‘intense’ or ‘fun’ you think your connection is, a thirty-year-old has far different priorities and interests from a forty or fifty-year-old.
- Teenagers are the ones who are notorious for not being able to think beyond next week…supposedly you as a sophisticated, mature single are a bit more evolved than that, right? So think about where you’ll be in five…ten…fifteen years with that younger person. It’s one thing to have chemistry in the here and now, and maybe you and your family and friends can overlook a big age difference…but what about when you get older and start thinking about slowing down and moving into retirement? If your partner or spouse is too much younger than you, they won’t be anywhere close to that stage and it will lead to conflict. You have to plan ahead with these things, as unromantic as it sounds!
Ultimately when it comes to age, there can absolutely be chemistry between two people regardless of age…but generally there’s a magical window where everything is great and then the window closes and there are a lot of hard and fast realities to face. So to be safe, I always advise listing an age range on your dating profile that’s closer to your own age, just to be safe.
Tip #3: Fun Isn’t Exclusive To Singles Under Forty
Don’t let grown up responsibilities take the fun out of dating. You can be mindful of your responsibilities and still have a great time meeting someone new. You can still go dancing…you can still stay out until 2AM or steal a first kiss in the doorway…you can still slurp spaghetti à la ‘Lady and the Tramp’ if you’re so inclined, and giggle if you make a mess on your shirt.
Just keep a few things in mind and you’ll be good to go:
- If you have children or grandchildren you take care of, make sure you’ve lined up a good babysitter, and be willing to pay a little extra for the sitter to stay late. Or if you share custody, then initially go on dates only when your children are with your ex, so you can rest easy knowing they are taken care of while you enjoy yourself. Children and grandchildren are wonderful, and are a huge part of your life, but they aren’t ALL that you are.
- Don’t throw the baby out with the bath water; just because you can’t be quite as spontaneous as the old footloose-and-fancy-free days, that doesn’t mean you can’t be fun. Maybe a date requires a little more advanced planning, but if you allow yourself to truly have time on that date…you can still leave room for spontaneity, laughter, and fun.
- And on that note…ALLOW time to have fun. It doesn’t matter how many responsibilities you have in your life. YOU HAVE TO MAKE TIME to truly have a good date. Don’t squeeze it in between meetings, functions, and events with children or grandchildren. If a relationship is a priority to you, then make it a priority with your actions.
Tip #4: Love Your Age
Just because you might not be in your twenties or thirties any more doesn’t mean you can’t still be vibrant and attractive. Remember…gray hairs can be colored if they bother you. There are a thousand different creams to help with wrinkles and fine lines if that is something you agonize over each morning when looking in the mirror. Just never allow those gray hairs and fine lines to define you.
Don’t try and be something you’re not; don’t try and squeeze into miniskirts or low-ride jeans in an attempt to recreate your youth. Instead be comfortable in your own skin. Embrace the sex appeal of being a classy older woman or sophisticated older man. Learn to love suits and ties and blouses and blazers.
Whether you’ve come out of a long-term marriage, are newly widowed, or simply never felt the urge to settle down until now…you have as much right to happiness and satisfaction as your younger single counterparts.