Let’s face it dating at any age can be hard. The highs, the lows, the definitely Nos! But dating in your 40s when you may or may not have been out of the game for a while, when you may or may not now have little people to think of and when you may or may not know what the hell you’re doing (‘which way do I swipe?’), can certainly throw a whole new pressure into the mix.
And while many 40somethings might dream of sipping a Porn Star Martini across from an Idris Elba-alike, the reality can often be quite different (‘The name’s Brent, David Brent’.)
But though there will undoubtedly be some hurdles to navigate, there are also plenty of upsides to dating when you’re a proper grown up.
“Dating in your 40s is better than your 20s or 30s in many ways,” explains Bela Gandhi, Founder of Smart Dating Academy. “Those above 40 know how to have a ‘live’ conversation on the phone (gasp!). We are not as obsessed with texting, selfies, and social media. Ok so there are less singles in their 40s than in their 20s or 30s from a numbers standpoint, but quality is high in the 40s!”
And when you’ve reached your fifth decade you have a much better idea of who you are and what you’re looking for in a mate. “One of the benefits of dating in your 40s is that you’re likely more relaxed, your expectations are more realistic and you have an established life – friends, family, hobbies, work that gives you joy thus taking the pressure off you to impress every date that comes your way,” explains Madeleine Mason, dating and relationship Psychologist and Director of PassionSmiths.
Plus a recent survey revealed that the majority of both men and women believe their sex lives reach a peak during their forties.
Ya see! With that in mind we’ve gathered the dating gurus to reveal their top tips of finding love at forty plus and explain why your (love) life could begin at 40!
Always value yourself highly
“This doesn’t mean demanding 5 star dinners and champagne on ice,” says Dating and relationship expert Rachel Vida MacLynn, a chartered psychologist and founder of the Vida Consultancy. “It simply means always ensure you surround yourself with people who build you up and make you feel great.”
Embrace your freedom
For many people their thirties can be dominated by the decision of whether or not to start a family, but it is often different for those in their forties. “Most people in their forties have a new found freedom: either the realisation that they don’t want kids, can’t have kids, or already have them,” explains Rachel Vida MacLynn. “The focus is therefore on “this is who I am, and this is who I need to make me fulfilled”.”
Take a ‘when’ not ‘if’ mindset
“When we’re in our 40s, we often wonder if we are too old, if there is anyone left out there, if we look good enough, if we can compete with younger people, so getting into a ‘psychotically optimistic’ frame of mine is ideal,” says Bela Ghandi. “This means believing at any cost that love IS meant for you – it’s a WHEN not an IF – which makes staying in the dating game a lot more fun and positive!”
Develop a ‘Dating Village!’
You don’t have to fly solo. “Dating requires a great group of people surrounding you, to keep you motivated and inspired!” explains Bela. “Maybe it’s your buddies from work, school, your family, your neighbours or even your kids. If you don’t have the built-in village, consider enlisting a professional, someone who can help you maintain enthusiasm, and set and achieve goals. Your dating village should be filled with people who support you, and will bring you up vs. bringing you down.”
Enjoy what people have to offer
And don’t be too quick to place them in the friend zone. “You may go on a date and not think much of the person, but you can still enjoy their company and have a good time,” advises Madeleine Mason, dating psychologist and director of dating expert company PassionSmiths. As founder of the DIPN (Dating Industry Professionals Network). Plus it takes time to really know someone. “Try to stop thinking you know what your date is like, and instead take time to get to know them,” she continues. “We think we know people when we see them, over the years we have accumulated ‘types’ and categorise people, but as such good people get dismissed because we are too quick to judge.”
Embrace dating technology
And join as many sites and apps as you can afford. “Spend some time understanding how the dating sites and apps work,” advises India Kang, dating and relationship coach and author of ‘Why Men Ask Dumb Dating Questions,’ and ‘How to Date – Single Girls’ Dating Manual.’
“Get familiar with the user experience and functionality and see the subscription costs as an investment. The investment is your happily ever after. My oldest client is 72, if she can online date, so can you.”
Follow the Two ‘outs’ per week rule
India also recommends attending at least two social situations every week, where you could potentially meet other singles. “Get out as much as you can,” she says. “You have to leave your house in order to meet other singles.”
Don’t let your fears hold you back
Just because something has happened in the past doesn’t mean it will happen again. “Most people will have had their hearts broken by now, and many will fear it will happen again,” says Madeleine Mason. “But that fear will stop them from ever getting to the heart of a good relationship… essentially sabotaging themselves from ever finding lasting love.”
Know what you want
And then have the courage to ‘ask’ for it. “If you want a serious long-term relationship, don’t say things like ‘I want to see where things go’,” advises Madeleine. “If you want a fling or something short-term, don’t take long-term actions like introducing your date to friends and family. It is surprisingly difficult to stick to this and it gets people into all sorts of emotional trouble.”
Think outside the ‘my type’ box
Because your future mate may well come to you in a highly unexpected package! “Don’t rule out someone who is a little taller, shorter, skinner, heavier, a different colour, older or younger than you “think” is your type,” says Bela. “You should be attracted to the person, as that is important long term, but be open on your idea of ‘the package’.”
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