Meeting someone is hard. Sometimes it seems like the older you are, the more difficult it gets. In your 40s, it’s less common to meet other people in bars or through friends. Many of your peers are married (or divorced), and dating just isn’t what it used to be. But fear not, dating is alive and well for people of all ages. Maybe you’re divorced, frustrated with looking, or happily single. No matter what you are, here are some helpful tips for anyone dating after 40.
1. A lot of dating happens online.
It’s increasingly rare to strike up a conversation at a bar or out in the world that leads to something more. Why? Because everyone is online. If you’re new to online dating, welcome. We know it can be a lot to take in at once, but it really is a fantastic (and easy) way to meet quality people who check your boxes. If you’ve been hesitant to join the online dating community, we highly suggest giving it a shot.
2. Not everyone you like online will like you back, or even message you back.
You don’t automatically click with everyone you meet in the real world, and the same goes in the online dating world. It’s exciting to find a profile you like and send a message to a potential match you’re interested in, but it’s also important to be realistic about the response rate. Sometimes, even if you’re certain you’d hit it off with somebody, you just might never hear back from them. There are so many reasons why messages go unreturned, but try not to take it personally. Trust us: It happens to everyone. Don’t look back; look ahead to the next match.
3. Take charge.
You’re in your 40s. You know who you are, what you like, and what you don’t like. You have lots of life experience and great things to offer. If you like someone, take charge and go for it! And if you feel like you’re too old to chase people or play games, then you don’t have to. You’re in charge of your love life, and we encourage you to own it to the fullest.
4. Try not to judge your dates too quickly.
When you know what you want and what you don’t want, it’s easy to assume people aren’t right for you and turn them down. But we’ll be honest: There are simply less eligible fish in the sea than there used to be. We’re not saying that you should settle, but if there’s someone who caught your eye but doesn’t check every single box on your list, consider giving them a chance. You’ll never know if you have chemistry until you give it a shot.
5. Make yourself stand out.
Thanks to online dating, men and women have a lot of options these days. And while it’s great that there are so many potential matches out there, it also means you have to sift through a lot of frogs to find your prince. One way you can help speed the process up is by making yourself stand out. Be unique! Be flirty! Daters so often complain that every single’s profile is filled with the same overused clichés. So dial up what makes you, you, and show the world just how awesome you are. It’ll make a big difference.
6. Don’t rush into things after a divorce or serious breakup.
After a marriage or a serious relationship ends, it can be tempting to jump into the arms of another right away. And while it’s ok to date—hey, it’s a nice distraction!— it’s also important to take some time with yourself. Reflect on why things ended and take ownership of what you can improve about yourself. That way, when you are ready for another relationship, you’ll be much more mentally and emotionally prepared.
7. Be yourself.
If you’re looking for something serious and want to settle down, you don’t have to pretend like you’re interested in casual hookups. If you’re going gray, you don’t have to use pictures on your online dating profile that are from 2004. If you like ice fishing, don’t say you like shopping and going to the movies like everyone else does. Just be yourself! You’ll be much happier, and attract the right kind of people.
Forget about the stigmas and stereotypes of dating after 40. Plenty of people are out there doing it, and they’re waiting to meet you. Be yourself and have fun out there!