Some people might ask, why bother dating when you’re in your 40’s and beyond? You may already have a full and busy life with children or grandchildren absorbing much of your time, money and energy. Every day may be spent helping them out with their many and varied requirements. Or you may have ageing parents who are seriously invested in your life, making demands and in need of regular support to ensure that they’re okay.
You may be comfortably settled after years of accommodating others, your children, your ex, your job and the associated socialising, joining groups and societies which were a requirement of that way of life. Now you’re in a new phase of life; surely it’s far too much hassle to introduce a dating element. Why bother dating now?
– For some, the breakdown of their marriage may mean a return to their parental home and its associated support, if only in the short-term. Going to live with parents can, in part, feel like a backwards step. Starting to date again and bringing a new ‘friend’ home can seem disrespectful and wrong, totally out of the question. Even the thought of it can bring up all sorts of issues for everyone involved, especially at the start of a relationship.
– Many people in their 40’s find themselves sandwiched between their children and parents, trying to accommodate their needs at both ends of the spectrum. Being relied on as the primary carer for a fragile, infirm or ailing parent may well be a dampener to a new relationship, potentially limiting your ability to stay out overnight or book a weekend away. Being a carer doesn’t lend itself very well to nights of passion in the next bedroom along the corridor either! Neither does having to fit in childcare and baby-sitting duties.
– Many people admit to being set in their ways as they get older. They know what they like and don’t like and will often be reluctant to tolerate an uncomfortable situation or compromise too much. It’s often good though to push our boundaries a little and try something new. It helps keep us flexible in our thinking and approach to life. Being empathic, able to appreciate another point of view is often what maintains our youthful engagement in life.
– Dating keeps us relevant and up-to-date. We have to look after ourselves, perhaps keep our appearance modern and be interesting. Visiting a fashion show and gaining new ideas and enthusiasm or sitting in the shopping mall over coffee, watching how passers-by dress and accessorise themselves can help. Book a makeup session in your department store or go to another hair salon or barbers and get restyled by a different pair of eyes.
– Keeping up to date also means being aware of the news, popular culture, what’s happening around and about. Dating again inspires us to keep our conversational skills topical and relevant, so maybe watch the TV show that everyone’s talking about, be interesting and interested in what people have to say. Be prepared to make the effort.
– Feeling ready to date again can galvinise us into action and so explore things we’re already interested in. If we want to meet someone with similar tastes then it’s good to go to places where they’re likely to be. We may not be desperate to date but it can be fun to join a walking, dance or music group, enrol in a pottery, painting or language class or join a book club. That way you’ll widen your social circle, have a regular appointment to keep and possibly meet potential new love interests. Remain disciplined about looking nice and making an effort. It prevents apathy and inertia from settling in.
– Dating when you’re over 40 may mean trusting your friends if they suggest someone they think could be a good match. They know you well, know your tastes and idiosyncracies. They may have someone in mind who’s a perfect fit for you. Go along, practice flirting and refresh your conversational skills. You may be a little rusty if you’ve been out of circulation for a while.
– Whilst we don’t want to lower our standards too much when dating in our 40’s and beyond it’s also important not to be too fixed, inflexible and judgmental. Remember, you’re not as young as you were either, are perhaps less fit, unlikely to be as slim and stunning as you were in your 20’s.
Finding someone who respects us, cares for us, makes us laugh and wants to be with us is a very attractive proposition at any age and is a good reason to keep on dating into our 40’s and over. By now we know what we will and won’t accept as treatment, are confident enough to ask for what we want. Date and enjoy a relationship that adds value to your life.