Whether you’re recently single or just took a break from the dating game for a while for personal reasons, you can’t just pick up where you left off, two, five, ten, years ago. The world changes and, when it comes to dating and relationships, it changes fast. If it’s been a while and you’ve found yourself dating again at 40, here are seven ways to get yourself back in the game.
1. Prepare your body and mind.
Try to look at mingling and dating as a new adventure. Thinking about dating as a new experience you’re open to trying out, and not a dreaded job or chore you have to do, can raise your energy and excitement, suggests Patti Wood, a body language expert and author. Also, do whatever you have to do to make yourself feel ready to dive into dating again. Get your nails done, dye your hair, or change your wardrobe. They’re little things but they can give you confidence. Now’s the time!
2. Talk to strangers.
Whether you’re in a coffee shop, in a store, or in line at the grocery store, start conversations with interesting, safe people wherever you go. Not only is it good practice, but you never know who you’ll meet and where. “My mom met my dad at a dance she hadn’t wanted to go to because she was tired from a long day at work but her sister said, ‘Go, you might meet somebody.’ She met my dad on a Wednesday and married him a WEEK later,” says Wood.
3. Avoid blind dates.
If you’re just getting back into the dating game, David Essel, a life coach and best-selling author, says you should both exchange photos, and a little bit about yourself before you blindly go off for anything more than coffee. “If you’re going to go on a blind date, make it super short. Coffee, ice cream, a short walk in the park, or on the beach. Don’t put yourself in a situation of a blind date and a three hour dinner. Bad move.”
4. Look for Meet Ups.
Ask yourself what you like to do, or if you’ve been a homebody for a while what you use to like to do. Do you enjoy painting? Find a group and go to a studio that’s holding a class, or you can even start your own meet up and invite others. This is the perfect opportunity for you to be in your own comfort zone and the chance to talk to new people.
5. Go out by yourself.
It’s never fun being the third wheel and traveling in packs with friends can sometimes intimidate people who may be interested otherwise. “Eat out at restaurants you feel comfortable in and that the kind of people you feel good around go to. Sit at the bar where you can make new friends. If that seems overwhelming, go sit at the bar and order take out and get a drink, (sodas work if you don’t drink) so you sit there for a few minutes, then build up to sitting there for a full meal and talking to strangers around you,” suggests Wood.
6. Make an online dating profile.
This is a good way to put yourself back out their virtually, and once you start getting messages, it’ll help build up some confidence and self-esteem, too. “Too many individuals don’t have the time to go on a ton of blind dates, or out to bars hunting and searching for the perfect life partner. Online dating, if done correctly, can help introduce you to a variety of people you would never meet,” says Essel.
7. Ask your friends for help.
If you’re jumping back into the dating game, don’t go at it alone. Ask your friends and family if they know anyone who they can set you up with. “Keep saying what you’re looking for. Your friends and family may forget you’re looking. Remind them!” says Wood.
Dating again at 40 can seem intimidating at times but with the right attitude and a little structure, you may be surprised how much fun you’ll have. Approach every date as an opportunity to learn about someone new, don’t put pressure on yourself to meet ‘the one’ right away, and dive in. Dating is about searching for another person, but it’s also about finding yourself in the process.