Have you given up on finding love because you think you are too old?
Love…a magical word and a magical feeling. But no matter how wonderful it is to be in love, it’s equally as terrifying. However, searching for love in your 40s brings both joy and challenges to your life.
If you’re single in your 40s, chances are you either left an unsuccessful marriage or you’ve been in the dating world forever, and now you might feel ready to find love. According to Brian Bishop, a recently divorced 40-something man from Connecticut, if you’re dating in your 40s, you definitely need to consider how come you’re still dating in your 40s. Were you never married? Are you divorced?
The answer to these questions is very important because it affects your perspective and it might help you understand what you search for in a person. For instance, if you were never married but you really want to be, and you also want to have children, you might find yourself in a rush to find someone, compared to someone who’s already been married or has kids.
Additionally, if you have young children at home you need to follow a different strategy compared to an empty nester. As Bishop has explained, these factors are very important when it comes to finding the right partner.
Read on to find the best tips on how to find love in your 40s!
1. Don’t let your past affect your future.
According to Stacy Karyn, an online dating consultant, we all need to learn from our past, but letting it define our future is not OK. If you want to find love again, you need to learn how to move past the past.
Is not just about how you feel, but also how you project yourself, especially in the beginning stages of a relationship, explains Karyn. If you’ve just started dating someone new, make sure you’re not talking about your past relationships right away. Your past doesn’t define you.
2. It’s OK to be single.
According to Jennie Lynn, relationship expert and author, being single will help you understand who you are as a person and how to protect yourself. Instead of hating solitude, learn how to make the most out of it. You need to learn how to be single in order to attract the right person for you. Also, you’ll learn a lot about yourself when you’re not surrounded by people.
3. Now is the best time to find true love!By the time you reach 40, chances are you’ve experienced the butterflies and the intense feelings, but also the heartache, frustration, and rejection. Because just like you can’t have a rainbow without rain, you can’t have happiness without a little bit of pain. And while you can’t change the past, you can definitely learn from it.
According to Jodi J. De Luca, PhD, a licensed clinical psychologist in Colorado, now is the best time to make use of your past life experiences that contributed to making you who you are today. Besides the fact that you probably know already what you’re looking for in a partner, what you like and what you don’t like, chances are you’ve already felt that magical love at least once, so if you’ve felt it once, you can feel it again. Love can make its way into your life at any age.
4. Don’t be pessimistic.
You need to be ok with the past, acknowledge your mistakes and learn to forgive the people that have done you wrong. However, starting a new relationship with a negative attitude won’t give you the relationship you’ve always wanted. As Jonathan Bennett, relationship coach recommends, you shouldn’t let your bad experiences transform you into a cynic.
“Instead, try to connect with the old energy and excitement you had before you had these experiences.” However, while staying positive is essential, do not forget about the life lessons you’ve learned. Allow yourself to enjoy the present without associating it with the past.
5. Be aware of what you bring to the table!
As Margaret Bell, MA, a Colorado-based mental health counselor has explained, now is the time to use all the other life experiences and have the courage to fight for what you want. By the time you’re 40, you’ve met your share of people, and some even left a few scars. Those scars are life lessons that must never be forgotten.
Now that you’ve experienced the good and the not-so-good aspects of love, you’re ready to build the relationship you’ve always wanted, with someone that has the same values and interests as you. And this time it will work out.
6. Do not set very high expectations.
While being optimistic is vital in helping you find the right person, there is such thing as setting very high expectations. According to Sara Anderson, a licensed professional counselor in Georgia, “Expectations lead to disappointments.”
A good idea would be to try to keep your hopes up, but your expectations low. This way, you won’t be disappointed in case it doesn’t work.
7. You need to learn to be OK with the choices you’ve made in the past.
If you’re dating in your 40s, you need to be OK with the fact that there will be people that will feel like you’re disturbing some natural order. As Tanya Fruehauf, MA, CSAT, CCC, a Canadian psychotherapist has explained, there will be people that won’t understand, and they’ll want to know why.
“The reality is, however, that the timeline of finding love in our youth is an arbitrary and outdated prescription. Own your singleness as a choice you’ve made, whatever your reasons are.”
8. Forget about ‘your type’.
Dating just people that fit ‘your type’ might keep you away from finding someone great, especially if you tend to focus on appearances. According to relationship expert and author Rich Gosse, you should stop focusing on how people look, and concentrate on how they act. Looks aren’t everything, especially when you’re a grown-up.
By forgetting about your type, you’re allowing yourself to meet new people, and who knows, maybe you’ll be pleasantly surprised. A lot of great love stories happened when people started dating outside their type. For instance, if you’ve watched Sex and the City, you’re probably familiar with Charlotte and Harry’s love story. Harry was definitely not her type, but he managed to be the love of her life instead!
9. You can date outside your age group, too.
Forget about the ‘age-appropriate’ notion and date who you want. It’s ok to date older people, just like it’s ok to date younger ones. While it’s true that they might be in a different stage of life than you, that doesn’t mean it’s not going to work. But in order to find out, you need to start dating outside your age group, too.
10. Dating outside your city limits is also a good idea.
It’s so much easier to find a date when you’re in your 20s because let’s face it, single people are everywhere. Plus, you definitely go out more when you’re young and carefree. But as the years go by and you reach 40, finding potential dates can be harder than expected, because most of the people you know are either in a relationship or happily married.
But that doesn’t mean you’ll be single forever. Maybe the right person lives a few miles away. You shouldn’t exclude someone just because they live 50 miles from you. You’ll have to drive one hour to see them, but you two are compatible, so it won’t feel like an effort.
11. Expand your social circle.
Your social circle is very important, even in your 40s. According to Shannon, the proprietor of Shannon’s Circle, a matchmaking service based in the San Francisco Bay Area, “As we get older, our social circles have a tendency to shrink.”
Life can get so busy that you tend to neglect your friends and your social life. Also, as you get older you begin to meet fewer people, that’s why it’s important to expand your social circle.
12. Don’t involve your kids until you’re sure the relationship is serious.
Most of the time, single people in their 40s also come with kids, which makes things a little more challenging. According to Lynn Maggio, a 40-something divorced mom of six kids and 2012’s Mrs. Alabama America, there’s no reason to introduce every person you meet to your kids unless you’re having serious thoughts about them.
In fact, Maggio recommends waiting at least 6 months before introducing a partner to your kids. This way, you’ll manage to figure out if they’re in for the long run or not.
13. You can talk to your date about your children or theirs.
Talking about children is a conversation that you must have from the first date. Also, if you’re dating someone that has children, you need to understand that they will be a priority in their life.
In fact, relationship experts consider this topic very important. Not asking someone about their children might make them believe that you’re not looking for something serious.
14. Stop trying to find the perfect partner.
A very common mistake people over 40 make is trying to find the perfect partner. Especially if you’ve been dating your whole life, you tend to become pickier. So what if the man you’re dating is not into sports? Or the woman you’ve met two weeks ago doesn’t like jazz?
It’s almost impossible to find a partner that will meet all your needs, so you should stop doing it. If you have a few things in common you’re good to go.
15. Treat everyone as an individual.
As previously mentioned, you shouldn’t let your past define you, so it’s important to remember that each new person that comes into your life is exactly that: a new person and you shout treat them as such.
As Kimberly Hershenson, LMSW has explained, just because you’ve had your share of toxic relationships in the past doesn’t mean that every individual you meet will turn out to be a bad experience. Projecting your past experiences into a new person is not OK. Give them the chance to prove they’re worth your time.
Also, you have more chances to get to know a person if you see them as an individual, instead of associating them with your previous partners. People can surprise you if you give them the chance.
16. Treat each first date with an open mind.
When you’ve had your share of bad dates, it’s easy to assume that all your dates will be the same, explains Hershenson. But falling into a negative thought pattern will only make it harder to connect with other people. Instead, Hershenson recommends going to each date with an open mind.
17. Forget about playing games.
Playing games might have been fun when you were 20 and looking to have some fun, but as you become more mature you understand that it’s a bad strategy. Also, forget about playing hard to get. If you like someone, go for it.
18. Be a good listener.
This applies basically at any age, but especially when you’re in your 40s looking for a serious relationship. As a relationship coach, Linda F. Williams has explained, by listening closely you’ll find everything you need to know about that person, especially when they share with you their past experiences or even relationships.
When the other person is talking, don’t focus on how to respond, but rather on understanding what the other person is saying. Being a good listener will help you understand better the person standing in front of you.
19. Find new passions and interests.
It’s never too late to find new passions. Besides being a very fun way to spend your free time, you also have the chance to meet new people. Maybe you’ve always been interested in volunteering at a local charity but never had the time, or you can join a book club if you love reading. Find new passions or explore old ones and you might even get to meet interesting people when doing so.
20. But what about new hobbies?
You’re single, you’re in your 40s, and all your friends are happily married or living a busy life? Finding new hobbies might be the best option for you. Try activities where you get to meet a lot of people. If you’re looking for a man, there are a lot of them on golf courses. Conversely, a lot of women join running clubs, so it might be a good idea if you’re trying to find a partner. If running is not for you, you can join a gym, beginner’s yoga, or even a cycling class.
21. Give technology a chance, even if it’s new to you.
In this day and age, it’s perfectly acceptable to ask someone out via text message and you certainly don’t need to call every time you need to tell them something or see what they’re doing. Also, give social media a chance, you might find a potential partner there.
Also, there are a lot of dating apps you can use to find new potential partners. In fact, a lot of 40-year-olds are now using online dating as a tool to find a partner. “If you don’t make at least some attempt to use current technology, you’ll miss out on many quality people,” Bennett advises.
22. Online dating might be perfect for you!
According to Esme Oliver, relationship expert, and author, people in their 40s usually don’t have a lot of spare time for dating or relationships, since they might have a lot on their plate, including a job, maybe children, and older parents to take care of. Also, since most of your friends are either married or very busy, they might not be able to set you up.
Therefore, meeting new people might be very challenging. But thanks to the dating apps that can be used from the comfort of your home, a potential partner might be just one click (or swipe) away. Toni Coleman, LCSW, CMC, recommends not getting discouraged too quickly. Sometimes it takes time to find a good match.
23. But don’t settle just for online dates! You can find love in real life too!
According to Anderson, putting yourself out there on online dating apps is a good idea, but make sure you’re not neglecting real life. You can find someone you like even when you’re going for a walk in the neighborhood or doing groceries at the supermarket. If you see someone you like, just go and introduce yourself and ask if they want to join you on your walk.
Before meeting someone new, it would be a great idea to familiarize yourself with some psychology concepts, so you can know how to avoid people who come with too much baggage!
24. Never talk badly about an ex!
Talking badly about an ex-partner will say more about you than it would about them. After all, it was you that allowed them to enter your life, so the other person might feel like you’re either bitter, disloyal, or have terrible taste in men/women. Also, never date someone who’s badmouthing their ex-partners.
25. Be consistent.
If you want to find a partner, you need to be consistent. In fact, experts recommend treating looking for love the same way you do when looking for a job. According to Stacy Kaiser, MA, psychotherapist and relationship expert, that means saying yes to blind dates and putting yourself out there more often.
“If you get tired or feel defeated, take a short break, but then get back to trying to find a good companion for yourself,” Kaiser says. Don’t give up until you meet the love of your life.
26. Don’t rush into finding a partner.
Older people especially tend to be in a lot of rush to find love. According to Dr. DeLuca, as the years go by, single people feel a sense of urgency to find a partner. However, rushing into a relationship might make you choose the wrong person. Choosing a life companion is just as serious of a matter as buying a home, a car, or investing in a business.
And we all know you can’t rush when we’re talking about those aspects. So why would you rush to find a partner? Focus on getting to know the other person better, spend time together and see how compatible you are with them.
And if you’re feeling isolated and lonely, you should definitely be checking out these brilliant ways to cope and combat such feelings!