40 and Single? Here’s 10 Tips to Finding Love After 40
Now that you’re 40 and single, things look a lot different than they did when you were in your 20s and single.
You’ve been hurt in relationships…and might even be divorced.
You might have young kids…or be an empty nester.
Whatever your specific situation, you might think that, at this age, there’s no one out there for you.
Sorry to say: you’re wrong! There absolutely is someone out there who’s right for you, who’s even better than any of your past relationships. It’s just a matter of you being open to how and where you meet him.
Tips to Finding Love When You’re 40 and Single
I know that whatever you’ve been through has made you a skeptic when it comes to changing your status from being 40 and single. But take it from me, the guy who has helped thousands of women — many of whom were 40 or older — find the love of their lives.
Yes, dating after 40 looks different than it used to. But consider this: you’re smarter than you were in your 20s, and you have enough experience in love and life to know what’s worth pursuing and what’s not. To help you find love at this point in your life, I have some customized tips to help you go from being 40 and single…to being 40 and in love!
1. Avoid Coming on Too Strong; It Can Scare Some Guys Away
You look at a first date like a job interview, only you’re the one doing the interviewing.
Where are you from?
Have you ever been married? Got kids?
What are you looking for?
I know you’re tired of the BS that comes with dating, and I know you don’t want to waste time on the wrong guys, but remember to make it fun! The truth is, while you want a long-term relationship, if you eliminate guys who don’t instantly say that’s what they’re looking for, you might miss out on some pretty great opportunities to get to know cool men. And you never know: you might have insane chemistry with a guy you start dating…even if there’s no long-term potential. So you might decide to keep things casual.
If you start at the outset making it clear you’re looking for your next husband, not only will you limit yourself, but you’ll also freak him out. Realize that a man is more likely to want a relationship with a woman who is confident, independent, and funny than one who’s grilling him about every aspect of his life.
2. Do Not Wall Away Your Heart
The more you’ve been hurt in past relationships, the harder it is not to do this, and I get it. As psychotherapist and blogger Ilene S. Cohen, Ph.D., says on Psychology Today:
“When we lose the ability to be vulnerable and close ourselves off to love, we also lose our ability to experience the joy that comes from relationships.”
So while you might try to take the Scarlet O’Hara attitude of not letting things bother you and not letting men get too close, what you’re really doing is walling yourself away from love. And truth be told: building a fortress around your heart doesn’t provide real protection from heartache. It only gives the illusion that it does.
So be vulnerable. Know that you’ll get hurt…and that this is simply part of life and love. With every heartache, you’re one step closer to finding the man who won’t break your heart.
3. Don’t Make Him Do All the Work
I know some women who won’t get on the dating app Bumble because it requires women to make the first move. And despite us living in a pro-feminist society, studies show that fewer than 1 in 10 women actually make the first move (what is that, half a woman??).
Maybe in your 20s you didn’t have to put out any effort to attract and date men. But things are different. Some of the men you date may have been married and been accustomed to gender equality in their relationships, changing diapers and mopping the floors while their women worked.
And gender aside: who wants to be the one putting in all the effort? If the man you’re dating always initiates texts, makes plans with you, and pays for everything, sooner or later he’s going to get tired of it. Show him that you’re into him by reciprocating his effort. It’s just good karma.
4. Know Exactly What You Are Looking For In A Man
I doubt many 20-year-olds have serious lists about what they want in a partner beyond maybe being cute and a good job. Hopefully since then, your list has become a bit more…sophisticated. You have more experience in relationships and therefore know better what you want (and what you don’t).
Knowing what you want in a partner can help you find it.
Do you care if he has kids?
Do you want him to have a white-collar job, or does it matter what he does?
What if he travels a ton for work? Is that a dealbreaker?
Do you want family to be a priority for him?
The women I’ve helped find love often start their lists with superficial features like how tall he is, what color hair he has, how fit he is. But after a while, they realize that what’s really important is the kind of person he is. Is he kind? Intelligent? Aspirational? Keep qualities like these in mind when building your list. And sure, go crazy with the physical details if you want. Just be open to what you find.
5. Don’t Limit Yourself Too Narrowly in What You Want
Speaking of being open…I know a lot of women who thought they would end up with a tall, suave CEO who has a pit bull…and they ended up with a short, balding accountant with cats. Did they settle? Not at all! Because, again, it’s not about the superficial.
This is where I think dating apps fail. They encourage a swiping culture where users barely spend time reading the profiles and instead ogle photos before deciding if they’re even remotely interested. A study by University of Michigan researchers found that both men and women tend to pursue potential partners 25% more desirable than themselves. The study didn’t reveal what portion of those turned into love matches, but we can assume that the model/actor guy you’ve been eyeing has his pick of the litter!
So the lesson here: be open. Maybe you think you want a college-educated engineer, but you find a truck driver who is crazy smart and funny. Maybe you thought you didn’t want to date a man with kids, but now you are, and his kids are worming their way into your heart, along with him.
6. Maximize Opportunities to Meet Men
I know: it’s 10 times harder to meet men when you’re 40 and single than when you were in college. That means you’ll have to work 10 times harder getting yourself out there!
But attending keggers at frat parties is no longer an option for you (seriously. Don’t even consider it!), so you need to find more age-appropriate ways to potentially meet men.
I know women who have had great luck joining Meetup groups, either for singles specifically or centering around some activity, like hiking. There are even groups for people who are 40 and single (or older), so you don’t have to worry about being surrounded by college singles!
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I know it may feel like all your friends are partnered up at this age, but if you put your feelers out, you may find that even those friends have single brothers or coworkers. Don’t be shy about asking if they know anyone you’d be a good fit for. Having a friend you trust set you up could have positive results!
7. Be Confident in Yourself: Confidence is Super Attractive
You may not feel confident right now, being 40 and single. You may feel like you’ve been through the ringer and dated every loser over 40 (and even some under!). You may be asking yourself, “what’s wrong with me? Why can’t I find love??”
I get it.
But you’ve got to pick yourself up from your pity puddle, not just because men love confident women, but also because you’re damaging your own ego and perception of self-worth the longer you let your past experiences shape how you see yourself.
Instead of focusing on how you don’t have a man right now, think about what’s going great in your life. Maybe you just scored a new client at work. High five. Maybe you’ve successfully raised a productive member of society (your Mini-Me). Go you! There’s plenty in your life to feel good about, so don’t focus on having a man to feel confident.
8. Don’t Pre-Judge Someone Before You Meet Him
So you’ve been chatting with a gentleman on a dating app, and he just asked you out for coffee. Suddenly you find yourself staring at his photos, thinking that you won’t be physically attracted to him. Should you say no? Ghost? You don’t want to hurt his feelings…
Let me say that it is incredibly hard to gauge chemistry when you’re messaging someone you haven’t yet met. Clearly, there was something about this man you liked when you first started chatting. Has the conversation been good? Does he make you laugh? Have interesting things to say?
If so, then go out with him. He didn’t ask you to marry him. He asked to meet. He, just like you, wants to see if there’s a spark between you. And certainly, you’re not guaranteed that there will be. You won’t know until you’re face-to-face whether there is chemistry. And you might just be surprised: even if he’s not your physical ideal, he just might be the guy for you!
9. Be Open To Different Family Lifestyles and Setups
You have a 14-year-old son, and you’ve decided that you don’t want to date men with kids younger than yours. Just a few more years and you’re done parenting (er, sorta)! So what happens when you meet an incredible guy with a 5-year-old daughter? Do you walk away, not even bothering to see what the potential for a relationship could be?
Or do you give it a try?
At the very least, you can commiserate over co-parenting woes and custody schedules. At the best, you might discover that you get to see what being around a little girl is like (something you have no experience with, having raised a boy).
Or maybe your family lives across the country and you see them infrequently. Your new beau’s parents live locally and he sees them every Sunday. This freaks you out. Parents should live far, far away! But on the other hand, it’s nice to be so close and see his bond with them.
You’re 40 and single, and certainly, you’ve gotten used to your own family dynamics. But if you’re open to other arrangements and loosen your expectations, you might just find love.
10. Don’t Focus so Hard on Finding Love ASAP
Maybe, 40 and single, you feel like your best years are behind you. You got divorced a few years ago and you want to get into your next big relationship before you feel like your looks are fading (trust me: the right guy will not notice those crows’ feet that you obsess over). You’re looking for love so hard that you’ve become frustrated. You’re going out with men you know aren’t right for you because you’re clinging to the small hope that you’re wrong.
If you’re going on a ton of dates, you may actually be hindering your ability to find love. There’s even a term for it: overdating.
On the other hand, you may be desperate to find love and find yourself with no date prospects.
Either way, realize that acting from a place of desperation in wanting love only makes the Universe focus on the lack of love you have…and so it continues to deliver it.
Instead, realize that your life is filled with love in so many other areas: your friendships, your family, your passions, your hobbies. Dedicate yourself to being happy in other aspects of your life and love will sneak up on you when you’re not looking for it.
Conclusion: Treat Dating Like a Marathon and Enjoy The Process
Look at it like this: you will not be 40 and single forever. Or 50 and single. Or 60. Or whatever age you are. In the movie, How to Be Single, there’s a beautiful message for single women of every age: despite the frustrations of dating, the tears, and the heartbreak, it’s never permanent. Look at being 40 and single as a unique opportunity in your life to really focus on yourself and carve out the life you’ve always wanted.
You might not meet Mr. Right tomorrow. Or even this year. But dating can be fun if you let it. Dating after 40 gives you the opportunity to meet new people, figure out exactly what you need in your life, and then be selective about who you choose to let into your heart. Your 20-year-old self would be envious.