Helpful Tips for Online Dating After 40

A couple online dating over 40, gazing into each other's eyes on a first date.

It’s never too late to date, however that may not always feel true when it comes to dating in this day and age. Whether you’re recently divorced, widowed, or are just finally ready to date again, exploring the big world of online dating can be overwhelming. For some people over 40, going online may not be the most natural or comfortable or familiar way to date, but it seems like it’s the only way to meet anyone anymore.

If you’re online dating after 40, here are some helpful tips for how to approach it and have a great time:

Find the right site for you.
An important piece of online dating is choosing the sites or app that works for you. Not everyone is made for Tinder, and Tinder is not made for everyone. There are ample dating apps and websites that will fit your style, your taste, and your interests. Find the right one that works with your dating style and what you’re looking for. 

Reconsider your type. 
Especially if it’s been awhile since you’ve dated, it’s important to redefine what you think your type is. You might come across a lot more people than you’re used to while online dating. If you dated before and haven’t been at it in awhile, you may get overwhelmed with the number of people that there really are when you log on. In the past, did you only date men who had never been married, or didn’t have kids? Or did you only go for women who were brunettes? It’s important to throw those little things out the window when you’re online dating and be open to different types of people. The world can feel a lot bigger online, so getting stuck on something like hair color is not the best approach.

Keep your standards.
That being said, don’t lower your standards just because you now have access to so many different kinds of people. It’s wonderful if you can strike up a conversation online with someone who owns a dog grooming business even though you consider yourself a cat person, but you don’t want to lower your standards on the important stuff. Stay true to what you believe in politically, religiously, and with the major subjects like morals and values. You will come across a lot of people that don’t meet your personal standards while online dating—and it’s okay to scroll on by.

Try not to get down on yourself. 
Are there younger people on dating apps? Yes. Does that mean you don’t have a chance? No. Dating data shows that men in their 40s typically match with women who are two years younger than them. So though there are some gender norms at play, that’s really not much of an age difference. Likewise, women in their 40s tend to match with men who are three years older. Being over 40 means you have the emotional maturity and life experience that many young people have yet to gain. Other daters are looking for that and looking for you. 

Use real and recent pictures.
Over 40 or not, it can be tempting to use a picture where you look younger, fitter, happier, more vibrant; a picture with fewer gray hairs and wrinkles. The truth is, your online dating profile should be a reflection of who you are right now. You may have more smile lines than you used to but that certainly doesn’t diminish the fact that you are happy, healthy, and lovelier than ever. Use that picture your best friend snapped over happy hour last week, or the one where you’re holding your daughter’s hand at her middle school graduation. Use pictures that show the real you in your real life. You are much more likely to attract someone you’re interested in if you’re being your true self.

Remember, you’re not alone. 
It’s important to remember that you’re not the only one who’s new to online dating. Online dating and dating apps are not second nature for most people. If you find it awkward or hard to navigate, remember that the people you’re matching with and talking to likely feel the same way .

Date a few people.
If you find yourself chatting with more than one person (even on more than one dating website), don’t feel like you have to limit yourself. It’s absolutely okay to meet up with a few different people and see who you have the best vibe with. It may be out of your comfort zone to line up multiple dates over a few weeks, but you’re already trying something new with online dating. Leaning into it and having the full experience is worth it.

Set a date.
Speaking of dating a few people, one of the most important parts of online dating is actually setting a date to meet in person. Often times, people will end up chatting for weeks without ever making a plan. That’s a surefire way for the initial chemistry to sizzle. If you like someone, reach out and suggest meeting up for a drink or dinner. 

Pick the right place.
When you do finally set that first date, make sure you’re picking a place that makes sense for you, or agreeing to meet at a place you feel comfortable in. It may be tempting to meet somewhere young and fresh, but if you think you’ll feel out of place and uncomfortable, it may not be the best first date of your life. It’s okay to pick a quieter bar on a Thursday night rather than a raucous one on a Saturday. Be true to yourself and the date will go that much smoother.

Make the first move.
Nobody wants to make the first move, but if you don’t put yourself out there, online dating will be much harder. If you’re shy it may be unfamiliar to send the first message or suggest the first date or offer up your phone number first, but someone has to do it. It might as well be you! Online dating can be clunky and strange at first, but if you put yourself out there and show your interest, you’ll meet someone great.. So be bold! You deserve it.

Online dating certainly seems like the way of the future. If you’re over 40 and new to the big world of internet dating, welcome. Once you get the hang of it, you’ll even find yourself having a little fun.

Jessica Tholmer

Freelance Writer

Jess Tholmer has been writing on the internet for what feels like most of her life. After studying English Literature in school, she has leaned into her degree and is a full-time content writer, social media manager, and freelance contributor to websites like HelloGiggles.com. You can find her @tholmz on Twitter and Instagram!

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