To be honest, dating in your 40s can be a lot of fun. You’ve never been more courageous, intelligent, wise, or intuitive. If you use these characteristics as your secret superpowers, dating in your 40s can be a lot more enjoyable and effective than dating in your 30s and 20s.
However, there are nuances to consider that we didn’t when we were in our twenties. You may not have been as committed to your job at the time, or you may have had fewer financial obligations. Additionally, you might not have had the chance to gain knowledge from more in-depth exchanges.
So, if you’re looking for love, don’t be concerned: Kelly Campbell, Ph.D., Fran Walfish, Psy.D., Ramani Durvasula, MD, and relationship specialist Carmelia Ray were asked for their thoughts on dating beyond 40. We distilled their outstanding advice into 13 practical pointers to remember at every stage of dating, from the first date to falling in love.
If this has peaked your interest, stay reading to learn how to date at this beautiful age.
1. Select Your Partner Carefully while dating in your 40s
Half of all marriages end in divorce, we’ve all heard the shocking statistic. We’re delighted to report, however, that this estimate is no longer correct. Divorce in America is on the decline, according to the Institute for Family Studies, which obtained its data from the Census Bureau. Even better, in 2019, the divorce rate hit a new low. In 2019, 14.9 marriages out of 1,000 ended in divorce.
This positive news could be owing to more young individuals deferring marriage in order to achieve more life experience, financial security, or a stronger sense of self—all of which 40-somethings have had time to work on. If that’s the case, Campbell, a psychology professor at California State University, San Bernardino, advises against entering a meaningful relationship too quickly. Going to get married in your 40s, especially when it’s your first experience, implies you only have a few years before death, so this may be The One. “As a result, you’ll want to make the best decision possible.”
2. Check to see whether you’re both ready for dating in your 40s.
Unlike when you were dating in your twenties, you’ve almost surely been in a serious relationship, whether it was in a marriage or a long-term companion, and the person you’re seeing has almost certainly been in one as well. Campbell says that you and your date have both processed these relationships and are ready to go forward.
What signs can you look for to see if you or your partner are living in the past? One warning flag is when they speak negatively about their previous relationship. If they can’t address it objectively or clearly identify each individual’s role in what went wrong, it could be a warning sign that they aren’t over the other person, are still harbouring a grudge, or are in danger of replicating maladaptive behaviours in the new relationship.
“Nothing turns off a new person more than hearing you rag on somebody else,” says Walfish, a Beverly Hills-based family and relationship counselor. Your new partner may suspect that you were the source of the relationship’s problems.
3. Wait until your children are old enough to introduce your partner to them.
If you’re a parent, anyone you date will be getting the whole package, so prioritising your children’s emotional needs over your need for romantic love is vital. Children require time to adjust to their parents’ divorce, and it may take at least two years to get through anger, sadness, and other emotions. “Introducing a new love relationship too soon may cause this process to be slowed or hampered. You owe it to your kids to take things cautiously when dating.”
It’s probably time to tell your kids if you’ve been dating for at least four to five months and are confident that you’re about to make a major commitment. Tell them what you enjoy about your new partner and encourage them to voice both negative and positive feelings about it. Before preparing a group outing so that everyone can meet, actively listen and validate their feelings. They may be wary of your new partner at first; just wait for them to warm up and keep chatting.
If your relationship is still developing, date while your children are with their other parents or family members. If things don’t work out, Walfish says, “introducing your children to someone you’re dating casually may cause confusion and ambivalence for them about intimacy.”
4. When it comes to sex, be patient.
It can take all your strength to say “no” in the heat of the moment. But it’s certainly worth the effort, especially for grownups. It takes time to get to know someone, and conversation is the force that binds people together. “Jumping right into sex can disrupt spoken communication and turn it into a lusty rush.” If you want to have the finest sex with a new partner, wait until you’re sure about the direction your relationship is going, unless you’re simply seeking some fun. Set your boundaries right away by telling your date you like them but simply saying, “I don’t sleep with people until I’m really ready.” In the long run, the reward of deep and passionate lovemaking will pay dividends.
5. Be both self-sufficient and interdependent.
Being 40 offers the advantage of allowing you to work on yourself and be more confident in who and what you are now than you were a decade earlier. If not, spend some time thinking about your dating goals, values, and passions. Without being overly rigid, be aware of your relationship’s expectations and deal-breakers.
This enables you to be both an independent and interdependent partner, according to Campbell. You can function effectively on your own while still being able to meet your partner’s vital needs, and vice versa.
6. Gender Stereotypes: How to Avoid Them
When it comes to dating, there are a lot of contradictory messages in today’s world about gender roles. It’s possible that you and your partner will have conflicting beliefs and ideologies if you’re financially independent and used to being single. Who picks up the check and how often does it happen? Do you want someone to help you open the door or do you want to do it yourself? It can be unpleasant and hostile when people aren’t on the same page. “All forms of role distinctions in relationships require open, honest communication between two loving and gravely devoted partners,” Walfish argues. Talk to your partner about how they see gender roles and what they need from you. If you have a different point of view, you can decide whether it’s a deal-breaker or if you and your partner can be flexible and reach an agreement.
7. Your Gut Feelings Should Be Trusted
According to a professional psychologist, the majority of relationship errors happen because people don’t trust their intuition early on and stick around hoping things would change. She advises that by the time you’re in your 40s, you’ve had a lot of human interactions, so trust your gut. If you trust yourself, you’ll be able to go far beyond type and move ahead based on feelings and shared values, which are the foundations of successful marriages. Types are for people who are looking for something that they believe will benefit them. Do you want to impose such restrictions on love?
8. Make a detailed agenda while dating in your 40s.
People while dating in your 40s may be looking for everything from friends to casual hookups to marriage, but when they were younger, having a great time was generally your main dating goal. Furthermore, you must create a balance between your dating objectives and your current job, financial obligations, family, children, and lifestyle. Durvasula confesses, “You are no longer a 25-year-old living with roommates and with minimal financial ties.” “Because there may be a greater range of motives and expectations when it comes to dating, be specific about yours. Knowing your hopes will help you make judgments that will not leave you resentful down the future if someone is not on the same page as you.”
Ray, a relationship specialist, and celebrity matchmaker, agrees. Set your deal breakers and don’t sacrifice your core values just to impress someone you care about. I’ve been there and done that, so don’t waste your time.
9. Maintain Control Over Your Social Media Expectations
For most 20- and 30-year-olds, social media is an integral part of their daily lives. However, for someone from a previous generation, their relationship with Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter may be more tumultuous. The social habits of your date could range from “the 45-year-old who is as connected as a youngster to the 48-year-old who has never used Instagram,” according to Durvasula.
After you’ve established your relationship, ask your date before sharing a photo of the two of you together. Durvasula suggests against making a big issue out of it or posting too soon, as this could make the other person uncomfortable.
10. Accept Conflicts in Scheduling.
Many persons while dating in your 40s have a large number of duties that necessitate additional planning. Due to tiredness, Tuesday night dates that run until the early hours of the morning may not be practical on a regular basis. That’s not to say you should eat the blue plate special and call it a night at 7 p.m., but you can’t miss breakfast after a first date.
In addition, parents must juggle childcare obligations. “It may get tough,” Campbell continues, “since it means a lot less time for dating and a lot less alone time.”
Don’t try to read between the lines if your date has to rearrange or cancel. It’s typically due to their own duties, so be understanding, and they’ll most likely reciprocate.
11. Never Apologize for Who You Are.
Although you may have had some experimentation, it does not have to be referred to as “baggage.” Instead of berating yourself for a prior blunder, focus on the growth and learning that arose from it on a date. Because of perceived shortcomings, women, in particular, apologise or denigrate themselves. “There’s no need for apologies; you’ve lived a complete life.” Accept responsibility for your errors and use them as learning opportunities.” They would enjoy it if you listen to your date’s mistakes without passing judgement or offering unsolicited advise. People want to be acknowledged, validated, and accepted for who they really are, flaws and all.
12. Don’t Make Assumptions while Dating in Your 40s.
It’s much easier now than it was in your twenties or even thirties to perceive things through the lens of your former experiences. If you’ve had bad dating luck in the past, you might think the person you’re dating has the same characteristics or behaviours as someone you’ve met before. Assuming that everyone you date is the same isn’t a good idea. Try to be open minded and don’t judge as possible before your first date (while still keeping your wits about you, of course). By doing so, you’ll give your date the opportunity to surprise you, resulting in a more good first impression.
13. Maintain the First Date Light.
The goal of a first-date conversation should be to get to know one other, identify common ground, and determine compatibility. However, if you’re tired of being single and you feel a connection, you could be inclined to go into detail about previous bad dating experiences. Ray warns about falling into “the TMI trap.” It’s natural to have moments when you’re unsure if you’re doing something incorrectly, and you’d like your date to reassure you. But, she argues, that’s not why you’re there. Lacking self-esteem or being unhappy with yourself and your situation is not attractive to someone you’re dating in your 40s for the first time. Instead, model yourself after the person you want to attract. Have fun getting to know your date by smiling, being the greatest version of yourself, and being yourself. Draw them out and concentrate on them, then watch as things unfold naturally.