What you need to know about dating after 40

Respect and be patient with your date.

Respect and be patient with your date.

What you need to know:

  • You cannot cage yourself and expect to find a date.
  • It is likely that your date will be an individual with their own independent adult life or even kids.
  • If you are coming out of a divorce, avoid the urge to turn your dates into replicas of your ex-husband.

A few years ago, dating after 40 looked like a no go-zone area, especially for women. This was largely due to stereotypes that women should marry in their 20s and at worse, in their early 30s to match their ticking biological clocks. But things have changed. More women are opting to build their careers and financial independence before they start dating. As well, women are no longer held back by the biological bogeyman, with new reproductive technologies that allows freezing of eggs and surrogacy. However, dating in the late 30s and 40s is not the same as dating in your 20s. Priorities have changed. You’re mature than you were 20 years ago.

Put yourself out there

You cannot cage yourself and expect to find a date. Barton Goldsmith, a psychotherapist and the author of Emotional Fitness for Couples says you should deliberately put yourself in the open. “You need to get off your couch and drive over to those social meet-ups. While searching for a date will not necessarily be your primary focus, it is at such places that you could meet your next big romance,” he says. These social places do not include clubs designated for younger revelers. You’re more likely to find people you’re compatible with at business oriented places such as conferences, cocktail parties, and evening shopping areas that match your position in life.

Respect your autonomy

It is likely that your date will be an individual with their own independent adult life or even kids. Lisa Firestone, the author of Sex and Love in Intimate Relationships says you must acknowledge and respect your mutual adulthood and individuality. “Respect and be patient with each other as autonomous individuals. This will help you get close while maintaining your separate identities,” she says. In your late thirties and forties, you already have an independent life, character, behaviour, and outlook which you wouldn’t be too willing to forego. The same applies to your potential dates.

Can of exes

If you are coming out of a divorce, avoid the urge to turn your dates into replicas of your ex-husband. "If you have just come out of a lengthy marriage, you may still be hurting from self-blame. You may feel you didn’t do enough to save it. Do not try to turn your date into a replica of your ex so that you can have a second chance at saving your relationship. It won't work," says psychologist Jackson Muhia.

Hook ups

While you may not be up for the traditional dating hook-ups, there are chances your close friends will attempt to set you up with dates. Go on and meet such dates. Your close friends know you and it is likely they will introduce you to people you’ll like. Don’t turn them off because this is one of the best ways to meet good dates. Muhia however recommends you go slow on getting too serious, especially if you just came out of a lengthy marriage or long term relationship. “Don’t be in a hurry to get serious. Don’t be desperate to find a date. Take your time, and put your emotional wellness first by examining the dating pool from a safe stand,” he says.

No games

At this point, life is serious. Be clear about what you want from the people you meet. “It is critical for you to know from the beginning if you are dating for marriage, long term partnership, or casual hook up,” says Muhia. When you go out on a date, do not be too cagey or domineering simply because you have seen life from multiple angles. Let your dates know what is important to you and search for clues that they share the same attributes. Bear in mind that there can only be real chemistry between two people who are both revealing their true selves, traits and attributes.

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