Dating at any time of life is a journey. Whether you’re 20, 30, or 70, there are always highs and lows involved in the search for a partner. While there are many misconceptions about dating “later” in life, the truth of the matter is this: You can find romance no matter your age.
Discover the advantages of dating after 40 and learn about the do’s and don’ts of navigating the dating scene as someone who is older and wiser.
The Advantages of Dating After 40
Dating over 40 can be freeing, eye-opening, and just plain fun! If you find yourself entering the dating world as an over-40-year-old, remember these key benefits of doing so at this time of your life.
You’re More Confident in What You Want
People in their 40s, 50s, and above have become a lot more sure of who they are. You’ve said goodbye to the angst of your 20s and even 30s as you figured life out and now have quite a few life lessons under your belt. Maybe you’ve dated a lot or have even married, which has helped you better understand what you do and don’t want in a partner.
But confidence at this age goes beyond partner qualities. People in this age group often have a good grasp of work-life balance, career goals, routines, and so on, and are confident in their ways. And this confidence expands into other areas of their life.
You Have More Life Experience to Guide You
As people age, they get smarter and more insightful. The twenties and thirties are the learning years—full of mistakes, accomplishments, and sometimes regret.
Use these learnings as fuel to drive your decisions. If you’re dating over 50 or another age, chances are that you’ve learned how to make better, more loving choices for yourself. You get to use all of your accumulated experiences from the past decades to your advantage to create the very best version of yourself today.
Your history also becomes your compass to true happiness and meaningful relationships.
You’re Probably Settled in a Career/Location/Etc.
At this time in your life, you probably have family obligations, careers in full swing, children to care for, lifelong friendships, and so on. You could be settled in a home or at least in a location and have built up more of a financial footing.
While some might view these as hurdles to finding and fitting another person in their life, try to see them as the parts of life that you’ve worked hard to build for yourself. Take pride in how far you’ve come and the beautiful life that you’ve created, even though there have probably been challenges along the way.
You’re Still Evolving
Another one of the advantages of dating after 40 is that though you’re confident in who you are, you are also still evolving and have so much more life to enjoy. This is a time of growth and self-exploration, where you can try new things, be open to new adventures, and meet new people. Just because you’re more settled than you used to be doesn’t mean that you can’t open yourself up to new and exciting opportunities.
Dating Over 40: Do’s and Don’ts
When it comes to 40+ dating, there are some things to keep in mind throughout the process. Use these do’s and don’ts as a guide for your romantic journey.
Do: Shift Your Mindset
Use dating as an opportunity to rediscover yourself and what is important to you. Try not to think about finding your soulmate or “the one” but rather about trying to make meaningful connections with someone.
Do: Reflect on the Past
What mattered at age 20 might not be what concerns you at 50. Think about how your priorities have changed and what that might look like in a potential partnership (especially if you’re dating someone younger). Going out on dates can act as your telescope into how you want to navigate the future, what is meaningful to you now, and what makes you happy.
It goes without saying that when you’re dating over 40, you have a lot of life that you’ve lived. That means that you’ve likely had a variety of relationship experiences, from dating to long-term partnerships or marriage. Try not to let a negative past experience dictate your future. Instead, enter the dating world with fresh eyes and a new take on what has worked for you in the past. Take comfort in the fact that whoever is sitting across from you at your next date has been in similar situations, too.
Don’t: Air Out Your Baggage on the First Date
Though most older people have relationship baggage, that doesn’t mean you should blow the whistle on all of your relationship horror stories on a first date. Don’t use your limited time on a date to complain about your ex or be pessimistic about finding love. Instead, focus on the fact that your paths have crossed and you have a chance to get to know each other.
While being open and vulnerable is important when getting to know someone, consider saving the heavy stuff for a future date. Think about a few topics that you do feel optimistic about and be purposeful in leading the conversation in those directions. If you find yourself talking about things and people you hate, practice stopping yourself and redirecting to one of your positive topics.
Do: Be Patient
Finding a partner is not a race—though, it can often feel like that when it’s one of your goals. Try to be patient and embrace and relish this time. The goal of your first few dates with a new person should be to get to know them and that can take time. Don’t use the first date as your opportunity to grill your date while you mentally check off your potential spouse checklist.
Remember to have fun, be in the moment, and joke around as you get to know each other. You’ll find someone who you connect with, but it takes the right person at the right time.
Don’t: Rule People Out Before You Get to Know Them
One rule for dating for grownups? Sometimes it’s worth it to ditch the checklist.
By now, you probably know what traits or qualities that you do and don’t like. But before you rely on preferred personality types or physical traits as your north star when dating, remember that people can surprise you.
Go out with different kinds of people and explore. Go on that second date with the person who you never imagined yourself being with. Lean into the intrigue of your “opposite”—because opposites can attract.
Discovery through dating is how you’ll become more aware of what you like and dislike. You might be surprised by the difference between your preconceived ideas of the “perfect person” and who you come to love.
Do: Embrace the Beauty of Aging
Growing older means that bodies change. People, especially women, in these age groups often deal with feelings of insecurity about their aging bodies—and these can certainly become negative thoughts once you start dating. What attracts a man and a woman is confidence and self-love.
Instead of comparing your body to how it used to look or perform, remind yourself of how well your body has served you throughout your life. Think of the physical activities that you do every day and remember that your body—no matter how old—is helping you do them. Once you’ve boosted your self-love, you’ll be more confident as you date. And confidence in dating is very attractive.
You’re Never Too Old to Find Love
Understanding the advantages of dating after 40 is just the beginning of your 40+ dating journey. Now it’s time to allow yourself as many dating opportunities as possible so that you’ll hit the love jackpot.