When it comes to dating, there are new joys and challenges with each passing decade. As someone who believes that anyone can find love at any time in their life regardless of age, I also believe that our priorities, tactics, and perspectives must also evolve over time. I’m certainly not going to be dating and communicating with someone in their twenties the same way that I would be in my forties. (At least I hope not!) That said, it’s often easier said than done, which is why I asked a couple of relationship experts for their opinions on dating at 40.
It can be easy to fall into the same relationship over and over. That can mean being stuck in a pattern of falling in love with people who don’t treat you well, having a hard time communicating, or feeling drained and frustrated after too long on the dating carousel. Dating at 40 comes with a whole new set of mysteries, joy, and (for better or for worse) baggage.
For some advice on dating in your 40s, I spoke to Dr. Jamie Bronstein, to relationship therapist, coach and host of “Love Talk Live” on LA Talk Radio, as well as Dr. Melanie Ross Mills, relationship expert and creator of Bonds of Life. Her insights offer a fresh perspective on how to navigate dating in your 40s so you can feel fulfilled, happy, and at peace in your relationships.
Dating at 40 vs dating at 30
Both Dr. Bronstein and Dr. Mills point out that dating at 40 differs from other ages because you’ve had time to solidify what you want and what you don’t want. People tend to better understand who they are and what they are looking for romantically. They have had many years of experience in life and relationships, whether in marriage or in a relationship, which has informed them and given them a wealth of insider knowledge and wisdom to draw from as they set out on their dating journey to find love again.
Dr. Mills goes on to say that this insight and wisdom he has gained over the past 10 years can be a game changer as to who he chooses and why he chooses them. You are more sure of your identity and you accept your value and you know what you bring to the table to a greater degree.
You feel more comfortable with your skin and that is attractive: you worry less about what others think and more about what matters most to you.
She explains that in your 30s, you’re still trying to find your balance in life. Yes, you are more grounded and stable than in your 20s, but you are still building a career, discovering the dynamics of friendship and witnessing the people around you get divorced. The real challenges and opportunities of life are being set in motion. Everything you learn at 30 turns into acceptance and wisdom at 40, making it a beautiful time to go on a date with a lot less baggage if you’ve taken the time to get the job done.
Dr. Bronstein also points out that some 40-year-olds usually finish having children, so they don’t evaluate their date in terms of whether or not they would want to have a child with them, which means there is less pressure during dating. process. This often means that there is a more relaxed energy between two people who are dating in their 40s. There is less pressure regarding the need to get married and have children, so things are generally more relaxed, which always helps.
Scroll for some expert dating tips in your 40s
Dr. Mills strongly believes in priorities: we spend time on the things that matter to us. Whether you are determined your ways or not, you are still making time for the things that matter most to you. If you want a satisfying relationship, you take the time, go the extra mile, and sacrifice when necessary. It is not that complicated. She reminds us that relationships are challenging and require us to overcome it. They are beautiful and they give us the love we need to live a full life, they offer security and stability. This does not mean that we surrender ourselves, it means that we surrender ourselves. Fit is a must because if you can’t fit in, you’re probably not ready to settle down.
Be respectful when children are involved
Compassion is key! Dr. Bronstein advises clients to cultivate compassion for themselves, their children, and their date. Everyone is doing the best they can. Do your best to strive for balance and be as honest as possible with yourself and your date.
Dr. Mills emphasizes that it is very important to always consider children at this age because they are more likely to still be under your roof in their 40s. Her preference is not to introduce the kids to anyone you’re dating until they’re ready. The fewer people children see entering and leaving their life, the better. It is important to respect their hearts and listen to yours. You may be excited to share them with your new partner, but make sure this is an introduction that has the potential to be a long-lasting partner. When it comes time to introduce them, she recommends making plans that involve other families and children so there is less pressure.
Dr. Bronstein agrees and states that, ideally, it would be best not to introduce your children to someone you are dating until you have a committed relationship. It can be a challenge for kids to keep meeting a different love interest frequently, and you want your kids to know that they come first and that they are your priority.
Do the work to heal old wounds
Each decade is presented with unique challenges, and Dr. Mills has found that dating in your 40s can be challenging if you’ve established yourself in their ways. You may be holding back due to past wounds and unhealed wounds. It can be challenging to expose yourself if it’s been a hot minute since you dated or if you have an ex who won’t give you the freedom to date. Strive to become the best version of yourself that you can be and you will attract healthier people and look more attractive as well.
To get up from the sofa
Dating apps feel like the norm these days, but it’s still possible to meet people in real life! Dr. Mills believes that there really are no limits to where and when you will meet someone. However, there is a guarantee: you will not find them sitting at home. Get out, hang out with friends, run some errands, and keep your eyes open.
As Dr. Bronstein says, “Think about the things that interest you and do them. For example, if you love to play tennis or go to the gym, go more often. “What do you have to lose?
Find the right dating app for you
Dr. Bronstein discovers that many of his clients in their 40s are very successful with Bumble, Hinge, Coffee Meets Bagel, and good old fashioned Match. This is how she met her husband in 2011!
Dating apps are not the same for everyone! If you choose to go this route, Dr. Mills recommends proceeding with patience. It may take some time to figure out what your style is, like what level of activity you want to have, a paid subscription vs. a free, members-only service, etc. Actually, it’s more about which and which type is best for you. So take the time and find out!
Learn to compromise without sacrificing
It can be difficult for people who have lived very independent lives to learn to compromise, but Dr. Bronstein advises practicing patience. However, there is a difference between compromising and sacrificing yourself. If you feel like you are losing yourself in any way, that is a sacrifice. She recommends being aware of how you feel in a relationship.
Do you feel like you are honoring your need for alone time? Be aware of what it takes to feel like you are living a balanced life and honor that. If you are with the right person, not only will they understand you, but they will love you even more for respecting yourself enough to be honest with them about your needs. You should also be open to hearing what they need to be happy and balanced in the relationship.
Take the pressure off
Have fun! Dr. Bernstein believes that whether it is your first date or you are celebrating your 50th wedding anniversary, the fun and joy of a relationship should never end. Relationships and dating have to do with the joy they feel when they are together and she believes that people lose sight of it. Find someone you enjoy being with, whose presence makes you feel alive, who intrigues you, and who makes you feel like your heart is going to explode. It really is a feeling of peace!
Be on the lookout for red flags early on
Dr. Mills reminds us of the old adage, Actions speak louder than words. Take some time to observe whether or not your actions align with your words, not just in this relationship, but in other parts of your lives. People have to earn your trust, so let them. The commitment is present, it is not assumed.
If the person you’re dating is constantly unstable, Dr. Bronstein cautions, don’t waste your time with them. If you feel like you’re not as serious with yourself as you are with them, that could be a red flag. Use your intuition to find out if they are looking for the same things, and don’t hesitate to ask them if they are looking for a committed relationship if you feel they are not.
In general, Dr. Bronstein says that when you are on the lookout for red flags, you can always use this acronym: “AVOID.” If your date has any of these qualities, walk, don’t run as far from them as possible.
OR: Out of control
I: Ignores you
Dr. Bronstein recommends opening up to the possibility of meeting someone new by saying yes to things that you would not otherwise do. Attend networking events, join clubs and recreational activities, and say yes to all invitations and opportunities. Even if you’re not in the mood to go, chances are you’ll have a good time and never know who you’ll find there. See everything as the opportunity to meet your person, because the truth is that you can meet her anywhere and at any time. As long as you show up in life feeling good from the inside out, you’ll be a magnet for the right partner for you, sometimes even when you least expect it.