When it comes to finding love in your forties, the very thought of putting yourself back out there is overwhelming. It is assumed at this point in your life that you have had a significant romantic history, past relationships, marriage, children, and a host of other experiences that have shaped who you are and colored your whole world view on dating in general. Rest assured, all of this experience should not be looked at as baggage, but rather, rich experience that has helped you strip you down to your core and reveal what you truly want and desire from a partner.
If you find yourself newly single and in your forties, you might not know where to start when you contemplate putting yourself out there once more. Have you heard? Forty and beyond is the new fabulous; embrace who you are as you prepare for one exciting ride and a dating journey during which you can use your experience to have a lot more fun this time around. Check out these tips for dating in your forties and beyond:
1. Accept that there will be good and bad dates
Be realistic; remember that there will be good experiences and bad experiences–take them as learning lessons and use the time to craft your idea of the ideal partner for you. Be realistic though, and know that people our age come with histories, and making a decision on what you will and won’t accept in your life will make it much easier to choose who you’ll spend time with.
2. Identify your deal breakers
Your deal-breakers will be vastly different now than they were in your twenties and thirties; the more you can be clear about what these things are, the faster you can weed through the riff raff. If you would prefer not to date someone who has children, for instance, it will be much easier to choose potential dates. The same applies to religion, money, and lifestyle. It might be helpful to have a mental list of these qualities you DON’T want to see in someone that you spend time with, as well as an idea of who you are looking for.
3. Don’t badmouth past relationships
It is extremely poor form to badmouth past relationships when you are getting to know someone new. Not only is it an indicator that you still have sore spots, it give a future snapshot of what you would be like if you were slighted by them. If you want good relationship karma, start with a clean slate, wait awhile before old relationships and old business come up, and speak neutrally about what happened, taking responsibility for your part in the relationship.
4. Throw your perceived type out the window
Let’s get real for a moment—-you are in the middle stage of life right now, and while your “type” would have been blonde, buff, and sexy in your twenties, realize that you have aged, and you cannot expect to attract a picture perfect mate. Beauty is more than skin deep, and if you want a quality partner, it’s time to look beyond what the mirror is reflecting back to you. Focusing on qualities like honesty, integrity, and thoughtfulness will get you long term relationship results much more than the ability to bench press 150 pounds. Level up, buttercup!
5. Don’t compare
We all have relationships that we wish would have worked out, as well as those people that we never want to hear from again. Try not to write someone new off because they remind you of someone from your past; give them a chance to show you their unique qualities, and refuse to play the comparison game. That’s one dating game where no one wins.
6. Don’t just identify with age
Who says you have to choose a dating pool that is within a certain age range? There will always be people out there competing for others’ affections, and if you spend your time being jealous of other women who are also available, others will not see the wonderful qualities you have to offer. Own who you are, present your best self, and rock it. The right one will appreciate all of your qualities—and your age.
7. Make sure you’re ready
If your last relationship ended a week ago, you are likely not ready to present yourself to the world just yet. If you have recently suffered the loss of a loved one through serious illness and death, it will be awhile before you can work through these difficult feelings of grief and loss. Take the time to be comfortable with you again before you put yourself back out there, and you’ll find more success in relationships where you don’t require a partner to lift you back up out of a sorrowful situation.
8. Don’t over-filter yourself
In today’s world of social media, filtering, and camera angles, it can be easier than ever to paint an inaccurate picture of yourself. The more you filter, the more likely it is that your potential date will be disappointed when they see who you really are. Embrace who you are, present yourself in honesty, and the right person will accept you—-even if you come with a few extra pounds and some wrinkles.
9. Try not to take things too personally
There is rejection in the world of dating—expect it, and know that you cannot be attractive and desirable to everyone. Accept this fact, and refuse to take this rejection personally as you move through your experience and get closer to finding the right one for you.
10. Don’t be afraid to move!
If you find someone attractive, and you want to spend more time with them, say so! There is nothing wrong with a strong, confident woman making the first move these days; you’ll either be accepted or rejected, and wouldn’t you rather know now than sit by the phone for days, waiting for a phone call? Let your intentions be known!
You are on an exciting ride right now; dating in your forties can lead to more self-discovery, intrigue, and a bit of romance, perhaps—if you choose. Your dating life will be what you make it, so decide what you want, what your conditions are, and start looking forward to some fun-filled experiences that teach you even more about yourself and life!