In a lot of ways, dating in your 40s and beyond can be completely different than dating in your 20s and 30s. You’re at a different stage in life, and you’ve been through countless experiences since then. While some pieces of wisdom are universal, it’s also good to get advice and perspectives that are relevant to you and where you are in your life. So if you’re a woman dating in her 40s, these tips are just for you.
Here are eight dating tips for women over 40:
1. Make sure you’re truly ready.
According to the Pew Research Center, divorce rates have increased by 14% for adults between 40 and 49, and for adults over 50, the increase is 109%. If you’ve just gone through a divorce or breakup, it’s probably best to not jump right into dating. You want to give yourself some time to heal, reflect on the relationship, and focus on yourself. The same can be said if you’re single and have just experienced something tragic in your life like the loss of a family member or job. Immediately getting into a relationship will just be a distraction from what’s really going on.
2. Know your deal breakers.
We can all be too picky sometimes when it comes to dating, but try to separate your surface-level deal breakers with your deeper deal breakers. For example, someone liking the same movies as you isn’t really a must-have is it? But it’s probably important if they have the same opinions about religion, children, and where you want to live. Think about the qualities and beliefs you want your future date or partner to possess that you can’t live without, and then go forward from there.
3. Join a couple dating sites and apps.
Online dating is one of the best and most efficient ways to meet people if you’re over 40, but you don’t want to put all your eggs into one basket by joining just one site/app. Numerous dating platforms are meant just for older adults, and many of the popular platforms really know how to cater to this audience. The benefit of joining multiple dating sites is that you get to try out different features and have the chance to be exposed to even more types of people.
4. Look beyond your type.
Everyone has their dating preferences, whether they apply to a person’s appearance, interests, education, lifestyle, or something else. However, you shouldn’t put limits on yourself. Society already puts us in enough boxes, so you don’t want to do the same. (For example, by saying, “I only like to date men who are over 6 feet tall.”) Give people who you might usually look past a chance. You honestly never know how the date will turn out. Plus, it makes dating more exciting when you aren’t sure what your date is going to be like and you two don’t have all the same opinions.
5. Be willing to make the first move.
I think most of us can agree that the guy shouldn’t always have to make the first move when it comes to dating and relationships. Yes, it can be scary to put yourself out there, but most of the time making the first move pays off big time. Try sending the first message, asking for the date before he does, or going in for a kiss if it feels right. More than likely, your date will appreciate it and be attracted to you for your initiative.
6. Know that not every date is going to hit the mark.
It’s easy to get your hopes up, especially with online dating. Their profile seems just right, and they’re saying a lot of great things. Then you meet in person, and there just doesn’t seem to be any chemistry. It happens. Don’t let it get you down. Just as you would with most things in life, dust yourself off and try again. Every single date isn’t going to be a home run. Instead of focusing on whether this person is the one, just have fun and enjoy getting to know someone new.
7. Don’t bring up your ex too much.
If you’ve just gotten out of a relationship, it’s inevitable that you’ll bring it up on a date at some point, but try to keep the ex to a minimum. Your new date may think you still care for him or her romantically or that you‘re holding a grudge and aren’t ready to date. You want a fresh start, and you want to set the right tone for this date and possibly a future relationship.
8. Remember age doesn’t matter, really.
To be honest, there are no hard-and-fast rules for dating in your 40s. In fact, there are no hard and fast rules for dating, in general. As long as you’re enjoying yourself, being honest, and not hurting anyone else, you’re on the right track. So forget about any preconceived notions you may have about dating at “a certain age.” The number is irrelevant. You can date whomever you want, wear whatever you want, go wherever you want, and everything else in between.
Hayley Matthews is editor-in-chief at DatingAdvice.com, a popular site featuring advice from more than 250 dating coaches, matchmakers, and other relationship experts. In addition to expert tips and guides, the site also publishes reviews of online dating sites. When Hayley isn’t writing about dating and relationships, she’s listening to The Beatles or watching Harry Potter.