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Bad Dating Habits to Ditch After 40

A woman and a man in their 30s on a park bench looking at a city on a date.

Bad dating habits are never advisable at any age. However, those in their 20s and 30s might not have the life experience to really let go of time-wasting insecurities or nit-picking idiosyncrasies. At 40, you’ve seen and done a lot more, and bad habits that might have been excusable in your early days of dating are a lot less tolerable now.

Here are some dating patterns that, if you haven’t already, you should seriously consider ditching after 40.

Dwelling on Past Relationships

Have you recently been through a divorce? Are you recovering from the loss of a long-term partner? Are you frustrated by strings of short but unsuccessful relationships? Leave your baggage at the door. That doesn’t mean this information won’t come up as you become more intimate with a potential mate. But dragging the ghost of relationships past into first date territory is a definite no-no.

Wasting Time on Dead-End Dates

At 40, it’s time to sit down and figure out what you want from a partner—if you want anything at all. If you’re not looking for commitment, then continuing a superficial but perhaps sexually satisfying relationship isn’t problematic. But if you’re looking to settle down, then wasting time on someone who isn’t giving you clear signals that he likes you is a rookie mistake. Likewise, if you’re only feeling lukewarm about someone you’re seeing, but are looking for a lasting connection, don’t string her along. Be mature, cut the cord in a diplomatic and courteous way, and move on.

Focusing on Minor Flaws

Once you’ve dated around quite a bit, it’s easy to say you’ve seen (and possibly done) it all. You might start out your relationship on the defensive, looking for the flaws. And guess what? If you look for the flaws, you’re going to find the flaws.

Perhaps he’s losing his hair. Maybe she made an awkward joke. Maybe his nerves got the better of him and he talked about himself a lot to fill the silence. Try to read between the lines and look for the good. That doesn’t mean forcing something that’s not there (see: wasting time). But it does mean letting go of the idea of a perfect match. There’s no such thing as the perfect person—even you!

Being Inflexible

Sure, when you’re 40 years old, you probably have a good idea of who you are and the way you want to live your life. And if you’ve been single for a while, you’re probably used to handling everything on your own: finances, career, home, and potentially even kids. It’s hard to introduce another person into the equation, though, if you are unwilling to change or compromise.

Keep an attitude of compromise in mind as you grow in a relationship. It doesn’t mean giving up on the things that make you you. But it does mean making space for someone if they’re deserving of your heart.

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