Dating in your 40s is nothing like dating in your 20s—and for good reason. You’re wiser, more confident and have less time to put up with games and men who don’t know what they want in a relationship. Luckily for you, men in their 40s are in the same boat.
“A man in his 40s is confident and self-assured,” says Deanna Cobden, Dating & Relationship Expert and Coach. “He knows what’s important to him, what he wants in a relationship and will be open with you about it.”
Here’s what else you need to know about dating a man in his 40s.
Like a fine wine, (most) men get better with age. They’ve lived, they’ve learned and they’ve loved, which means your 40-year-old man knows what he wants in terms of dating and relationships. “His previous relationships have taught him what does and doesn’t make him happy,” says dating expert Simone Paget, author of the dating and relationship blog, The Skinny Dip. “He knows what he wants and he’s able to apply what he’s learned from previous relationships to new ones.”
Another bonus? Unlike the dates of your youth, there won’t be much guessing involved when it comes to his intentions. “He’s been around the block and won’t be playing games with you,” says Cobden. “He’ll make plans, follow through, and pick up the check on the first date.”
He might have baggage.
By the time you reach your 40s it’s pretty much a given that you’ve had other serious relationships. There’s a good chance he’s been married before and/or has children. His previous relationships might indicate he’s carrying some residual emotional trauma, or maybe not. “[A previous marriage] isn’t necessarily a negative thing, unless the person has allowed it to become one,” says Paget. “Instead, keep in mind that every person and situation is different. Just because someone is divorced or has children doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t give them a chance.”
Don’t assume that there’s something wrong with him.
Just as you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, don’t assume because someone is single in his 40s means he’s damaged goods. “Just because he’s over 40 and never been married doesn’t always mean that he’s a player,” says Cobden. “There are many men that focus on attaining their career goals before they are ready to focus on finding love.”
Echoes Paget: “Some people find love in their 20’s, other people in their 40’s, 50’s and beyond! For every ‘permanent bachelor’ there are tons of single 40-something guys who have just been waiting to meet the right person to settle down with.” Remember: timing is everything.
He’s not going to change.
They say you can’t teach an old dog new tricks, which might explain why you can’t teach a 40-year-old man to try on a new personality, either. “Once we’re in our 40s, our personalities have solidified and we generally know who we are,” says Paget. “If you are interested in a 40-something guy who could be ‘perfect’ if only he changed x, y, and z about himself, you might want to press pause. Forty-something men aren’t fixer uppers; they come preassembled. What you see is what you get. You either like it or you don’t.” So if he doesn’t tip the waiter more than 15%, for example, chances are he never will.
He’s (probably) not looking for a trophy wife.
Though there are some men in their 40s who still have their eyes on younger women (hello, Leonardo DiCaprio!), the truth is most 40-something men want to date someone close to their own age. “The idea that men only want younger women is a myth,” says Cobden. “There are lots of quality men looking for smart successful women their own age. The truth is that the number one thing a man is attracted to in a woman is confidence.”
Dating at any age can be awkward, and is seldom perfect, but fortunately your 40-year-old man’s ‘seasoning’ may actually improve your success. Sometimes, it really is worth the wait.