DATING OVER 40. WHEN IS THE RIGHT TIME TO HOP BACK INTO THE DATING ARENA?

40 years and above? Is it too late?

You must have lost count of the time you have ignored a potential mate just because you found them at a grocery store. Truth is, there is no right way to meet someone. It is important to give second chances. You just never know.

“Own your life, who you are and be confident in your values and personality

Growing up, I always imagined that dating ceased when one was 29 years old. I looked around me and everyone I knew had settled down by this age. My parents had me when they were barely 29. I was certain that no dating happened after that because everyone had found their partners and were busy building a life.

Now that I am turning 29 in a few years, I cannot emphasize how wrong I was. Apart from not having a child at this age like my parents, I am not seeing anyone. What is worse, there is no one in my life at the moment whom I can claim to have a thing with!

What I’m trying to say is, nowadays, people get married later in life. We also have people who are re-entering the dating life later in life and it is perfectly okay.  In my opinion, there is no right time to hop back to the dating scene.

You see, we all go through life and our experiences shape our thought processes differently. It is important to make sure that you are ready to date and to have a clear agenda.  When I was younger, the main agenda of dating was to have a good time and company in the clubs.

Over time, my dating goals have changed and I’m clear on the reasons and expectations of dating. I believe the same happens when one is over 40.  In this phase, a lot is happening and one has to balance between dating, career, family and financial responsibilities among others.

Ways to jump back into the dating scene

Prepare your mind and be confident

I am always intrigued by confidence and I believe that that is the sexiest thing anyone can bring on a date. By the time you are getting to 40, you have already tried being someone else and I know that did not work well.

It is important to feel comfortable in your own skin. That said, remember to look at dating as an adventure. Be open to trying it out and leave the fear out of it. You have to do everything it takes to feel ready and confident again.

Get your nails done, put on your favourite dress and put on makeup. They may seem like small things but I can guarantee you that they will boost your confidence.

Talk to strangers

How many times have you ignored someone in line at the grocery store? Lost count? Me too. How about at the coffee shop or when walking your dog? One day, I was at the supermarket. I was waiting for my turn so I could make payment and go home.

It was a hot day and being around people made it feel worse. A quick glance to my left and I noticed a guy who was drinking soda from a bottle, a 2 litre bottle. I smiled in disbelief and I caught his attention.

He shrugged his shoulders as if to tell me, “Well, I’m too thirsty to wait.” I nodded in acknowledgement and continued minding my own business. Five years later, I still wonder what would have happened if I had encouraged a conversation.

Now, I’m not encouraging you to talk to every stranger that you meet. No. However, if it feels safe to strike a conversation with them, do it. You just never know who you will meet.

Avoid blind dates

Blind dates are often arranged by a mutual friend or acquaintance who feels that you might have something in common. It is possible for your friend to set you up with someone they feel they would like you to date. However, this person may end up not being the ideal partner.

One time, my friend set me up with a colleague whom she felt we would look good together. I did go for the blind out that turned out to be a disaster because he was the complete opposite of my ideal guy.

It is good to exchange photos and information about each other before you blindly go for anything more than a coffee. Based on the information you get about each other, the two of you will decide whether you want to take it to the next level.

Look for meetups

I have been a homebody for a while and that ended when I decided to put myself out there.  I looked up for meet ups and I was spoilt for choices. I found several that carry out several activities e.g. coffees, hangouts and others that involve hobbies like music, art and drawing etc.

I also found a group that is called let’s drift. They organize hikes, sundowners and more. Involving yourself is a perfect opportunity to move from your comfort zone, talk to new people and create connections.

The don’ts

Do not use old photos as your profile pictures

I have already mentioned that I have been homebound for a long time. I have gone through long periods of loneliness. As a result, I decided to try online dating and before long, I had signed up for Tinder and OkCupid (Okc).

Initially, I joined the platform as a joke. I pulled out some old photos of me. I also snapped quick photos and posted them. This yielded zero interest and I was not happy about it. My friend on the other hand was having a time of her life on the apps. I asked her to tell me about the tricks and hacks on these sites.

She went through my profile and determined that my photos had to go. I needed to post the most recent and better pictures. Look good for the camera, do your hair and put on some makeup. You know the effort you put to look good on the fourth of July? That is the kind I am talking about. Think of the photos as a first impression and put in some effort.

Rushing to jump back in

Going through a breakup or a divorce can leave you feeling exhausted. In the beginning, getting through the day without a breakdown is a challenge. This is the wrong time to get back into the dating scene.

Instead, spend this time refilling your emotional tanks. Focus on other aspects of your life like friends, jobs and self-care. Go through a period of healing. Nurture yourself with a balance of activities that you enjoy engaging in while enjoying solitude and introspection.

Age should not hinder you from hoping back into the dating scene. Besides, they say life begins at forty, no? I believe that even love life begins there. Remember that you are at the right age to find love. Own your life, who you are and be confident in your values and personality. You will be more likely to find someone suitable for you.

Keep trying new things and do not get hung up on what you think you want. Be the single person you want to meet by exploring new hobbies and interests. You will have exciting things to discuss when you go on dates or meet new people. The best version of you will be magnetic.

I have often found myself unwilling to flex a bit and rule out ideal mates too quickly. I create a list of the traits that my desirable partner should have and stick by them. When my dates do not match up, they get dismissed faster than they can say their names. This has prolonged my single status.

I am not able to differentiate between when I am being judgmental or following my gut. However, I have made a conscious decision to turn over a new leaf. I am teaching myself to look for qualities that deserve a second chance in the people that I meet.

Additionally, comparing your date to someone else you have met before is not right. Try to know the person in front of you and stop comparing them to other people you have met in the past. Comparison happens all the time especially with social media pages being filled with “thriving couples” and “couple goals.”

Comparing will put you in a sad state and make you forget to appreciate what you have. Understand that each individual and relationship is different and that is okay.

Lastly, it is important to know your deal breakers. This helps in creating boundaries and having clarity from the onset when you are meeting new people Knowing what to tolerate and who not to makes it easier to date. For example, I do not want to date someone who has children and this is something that I communicate from the beginning. The same goes for beliefs, money, lifestyle and more. This is not being judgmental. It is being true to yourself.

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