What you need to know about dating after 40

What you need to know:

With a myriad of life lessons already under your belt, now is probably the best time to find someone special—someone who is both a loyal companion and a true soul mate

A few years ago, dating after 40 seemed like a no go-zone, especially for women. This was largely due to stereotypes that women should marry in their 20s and at worse, in their early 30s to match their ticking biological clocks. But things have changed. More women are opting to build their careers and financial independence before they start dating.  As well, women are no longer held back by the biological bogeyman, with new reproductive technologies that allows freezing of eggs and surrogacy. However, dating in the late 30s and 40s is not the same as dating in your 20s. Priorities have changed.

Put yourself out there

You cannot cage yourself and expect to find a date. Barton Goldsmith, a psychotherapist and the author of Emotional Fitness for Couples says you should deliberately put yourself in the open.

“You need to get off your couch and drive over to those social meet-ups. While searching for a date will not necessarily be your primary focus, it is at such places that you could meet your next big romance,” he says. These social places do not include clubs designated for younger revelers. You are more likely to find people you are compatible with at business oriented places such as conferences, cocktail parties, and evening shopping areas that match your position in life.

Respect your autonomy

It is likely that your date will be an individual with their own independent adult life or even children. Lisa Firestone, the author of Sex and Love in Intimate Relationships says you must acknowledge and respect your mutual adulthood and individuality.

“Respect and be patient with each other as autonomous individuals. This will help you get close while maintaining your separate identities,” she says. In your late 30s and 40s, you already have an independent life, character, behaviour, and outlook which you would not be too willing to forego. The same applies to your potential dates.

Can of exes

If you are coming out of a divorce, avoid the urge to turn your dates into replicas of your ex-husband.

“If you have just come out of a lengthy marriage, you may still be hurting from self-blame. You may feel you did not do enough to save it. Do not try to turn your date into a replica of your ex so that you can have a second chance at saving your relationship. It will not work,” says psychologist Jackson Muhia.

Hook ups

While you may not be up for the traditional dating hook-ups, there are chances your close friends will attempt to set you up with dates. Go on and meet such dates. Your close friends know you and it is likely they will introduce you to people you will like. Do not turn them off because this is one of the best ways to meet good dates. Muhia, however, recommends you go slow on getting too serious, especially if you just came out of a lengthy marriage or long term relationship.

“Do not be in a hurry to get serious. Do not be desperate to find a date. Take your time, and put your emotional wellness first by examining the dating pool from a safe stand,” he says.

No games

Be clear about what you want from the people you meet.

“Know from the beginning if you are dating for marriage, long term partnership, or casual hook up,” says Muhia. When you go out on a date, do not be too cagey or domineering simply because you have seen life from multiple angles. Let your dates know what is important to you and search for clues that they share the same attributes. Remember, there can only be real chemistry between two people who are both revealing their true selves, traits and attributes.

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