Maybe you thought looking for love would be easier now that you’re older, wiser and have your career and finances in place.
Finding a quality partner in your 40s is a lot trickier than when you were younger.
Not just because the dating pool is smaller.
Not just because you may be rusty at dating.
But because 21st century dating is ever-changing and more challenging than what you may have been used to when you were younger.
I’m an experienced flirt, love expert, and dating coach, and I witness these challenges with my clients every day. So please, take a moment to read this article so I can give you some tangible takeaways about how to make the most of dating after 40.
Can a 40-Year Old Woman Still Find Love?
And it’s not even debatable. The majority of my clients are over the age of 40 and, as you can tell, plenty of them are falling in love and getting married.
But that doesn’t mean it’s easy.
At age 40, only 25% of college-educated men are single.
Among that 25%, some of them never want to get married and some are single because few women would want to date them.
Finally, if a man is in his 40’s and wants his own biological children, he’ll generally search for women under the age of 35 – so he can have a few years to date, fall in love, get married, and enjoy the relationship before he dives into fatherhood.
(I married a woman three years older who was about to turn 39; I feel fortunate that we had two children in our forties, but many men won’t take that risk.)
Despite all of the caveats: that STILL leaves millions of men who are educated, relationship-oriented and looking to connect with you. So…
What Can You Do To Succeed in Dating in Your 40s?
You may feel that 40 is old but considering you’ve got a good 40 years left, it would seem to be in your best interest to prioritize finding lasting love.
And while people’s situations do change as they get older – people in their 40’s are often dealing with divorce and children – the dynamics of dating are universal.
That’s why having a healthy mindset and realistic expectations are key to your success.
Here are five things you can do to attract good men at any age.
1. Don’t Rush To Get into a Serious Relationship
If you just had a grueling divorce, focus on self-care first before going back into the dating scene. You need to reclaim your sense of value and worth, and it’s important you spend enough time healing so that you can attract exactly the right kind of partner.
When you’re ready to get back out there, the key to successful dating after 40 is to act like there’s no urgency. As much as you want kids, you don’t want to rush into marriage and children in a year, only to end up a divorced single parent to an innocent toddler.
Slow and steady – getting to know whether a man is high-character before you make life-altering decisions – may not be how you want to proceed, but it’s truly the only way.
I get that if you’ve struggled with men for decades, you may feel like snapping up the first cute guy who calls himself your boyfriend, but the stakes are too high to make a mistake.
In the first month of Love U, I talk about this counterintuitive process – being proactive, patient and positive, despite the face that you hate dating and would prefer Mr. Right to just knock on your door and propose to you right now.
2. Create an Online Dating Profile That Reflects You
Dating apps are everywhere and it’s easier than ever to just post a photo and start swiping.
The problem with dating apps is that they’re almost purely age-based and looks-based, and since everyone has an infinite number of options, it’s hard to make a real connection.
That’s why I recommend conventional online dating sites like Match and OKCupid and why I’ve spent nearly two decades writing online dating profiles for women at e-Cyrano.com.
If you don’t want to invest in a professional writer to attract quality men, that’s fine, but you do have to do something different to get a different result.
The most powerful example of how to write a better and more authentic profile is to provide short anecdotes about what he gets out of dating you. “I would throw a Super Bowl party for your friends and serve my famous five-bean chili” is a much more appealing sentence than “I like dancing, swimming and walks with my dog.” Write for your audience, not for yourself.
3. Don’t Be Scared To Make the First Move
Merely having live profiles on different online dating sites isn’t enough to find a great guy.
You know this because you don’t like 90% of the men who reach out to you.
So if you’re not satisfied with the quality (or quantity) of the men who are writing to you, the most powerful thing you can do is to initiate contact.
That may feel a little foreign to you, especially if you’re of the belief that men should always make the first move.
But it’s not really about WHO is making the first move; it’s about HOW you’re doing it.
A confident woman will something funny about one detail in the guy’s profile – without complimenting him, without asking him out, without giving away your power – and discover that around 30% of men will write back.
You may focus on the 70% who don’t but the truth is that if you write to ONE new guy per day, you will have more dates than you can handle.
Writing to a guy doesn’t mean you’re needy, desperate, or even that you have to MEET him. It just means that instead of passively waiting for attractive men to write to you, you’re taking control of the situation and doubling your chances of meeting a great guy fast.
4. Learn To Say “No”
Just because men are flooding your DMs for a date doesn’t mean you have to respond to everyone who reaches out. It’s not only exhausting but it’s also time-consuming. You’re not a human resources department at a big corporation; you’re an individual with a limited amount of energy. That doesn’t mean you should dismiss every guy with a mediocre profile who says “Hey, what’s up?” but rather that you should devote your time to men who make a greater effort.
If you’ve got 7-10 active conversations going on with men who sound sane, serious, and are making a consistent effort, you don’t need any more leads.
Better to go on one quality date a week with a guy who has earned the right to take you out on Saturday night than to text 25 guys in hopes of meeting 4 of them for coffee.
Finally, if you’re a woman who wants to have kids, restrict yourself only to men who want kids and single dads. Life is too short to date a guy who isn’t sure if wants to be a dad.
5. Focus on the Present
Finding good relationships in your 40s often involves meeting a good number of men who have been married or already have children.
At the same time, there are a number of wonderful divorced guys who have issues beyond their control. Controlling exes. Alimony payments. Shared custody. Demanding jobs and mid-life crises. These guys – like many divorced women – are wary of marriage, wary of losing their assets, and you shouldn’t rush them into commitment.
In other words, if you’re a marriage oriented woman in your 40’s, you can’t expect a guy to marry you in a year. What you can do, however, is to choose a man who IS marriage oriented, and together, explore over the next two years whether you’re a good long-term fit.
It’s not your job to make a man want to commit to you; it’s to see if he’s worthy of your commitment. If you’ve made mistakes before, pay attention to your feelings and your anxiety.
Good relationships are easy and should feel organic. Instead of wondering about whether your kids will get along after the first month of dating, just enjoy the present and appreciate having a partner who is equally excited about you.
6. Think Positive
After years of dating and jumping from one relationship to another, it’s normal to be disappointed. But that bitterness will only hurt you.
Rather than filling your mind with doubts on whether you still have a shot at a great relationship, why not replace it with optimism? Change your mindset of “relationships are scary” to “dating is fun.” Erasing negative thoughts can help connect more with men and date with positivity.
6. Talk to a Dating Coach
Dating coaches are specialists, just like plumbers and piano teachers and heart surgeons.
If you’ve tried everything and are thinking of giving up on dating, relationships and men, getting help from a relationship expert can transform your entire life.
From providing motivation, confidence, and techniques to better attract and connect with the opposite sex, to teaching you how to choose a compatible man, the best dating coach offers perhaps the most valuable service you’ll ever need.
Have Fun With the Process
Even if women in their 40s are more self-aware, experienced, and aware of what values to look for in their partners, there’s always a sense of fear and vulnerability when it comes to dating.
Even though you know, intellectually, that it’s not personal when you reject a guy, it sure feels personal when a guy rejects you.
Which is why it’s essential to have a detached approach from dating. “Short-term pessimism and long-term optimism” is what we practice in Love U. Not expecting too much from any one man, not putting too much pressure on any one date, and knowing that most guys are not meant to be your husband.
If you go on a date per week for three months, that doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong with you. It also doesn’t mean that there’s anything wrong with men. It probably means you just haven’t met your match yet. Why? Because finding one person to trust with your entire life is not easy, no more than getting to this place in your career was easy.
When you’re dating in your forties, do your best to reserve judgment.
Bad dates will happen. They make for good stories.
Mediocre dates will happen. Forget about them.
Good dates where men disappear or disappoint afterwards will happen. Shake them off.
It’s all part of the process.
You don’t have to decide immediately on the first date if it’s going to work or not. You couldn’t possibly know. Neither could he. If you have fun and can relax on a first date, go on a second one. If not, don’t. It’s really okay.
Now that you’re at the age where you know who you are and are confident with yourself, you’re most likely to find a mate better suited for you. Just have fun and enjoy the process!