Age isn’t a barrier in matters of the heart. And it shouldn’t be! After all, it’s just a number, love can strike anyone, anywhere, anytime, right? Unfortunately, reality isn’t that ideal. Ask a man who has slightly crossed the age barrier. When you start dating in your 40s as a man, you will find that the scene, rules, regulations and expectations are rather different!
Dating as a 40-year-old bachelor comes as a whole new world. Don’t believe us? Software developer Alex George, 45, an ‘eternally single’ man finds he has to deploy ‘new tricks of the trade’ to bag a date. “Is it the age thing?” he wonders. “The questions change so do the conversations with women. I have to be rather careful and mindful of what I say.”
Dating in your 40s as a man can be a different experience though it depends on varied factors. Yes ‘the age thing’ matters but so does the age of women you are seeking to date, their attitude, career growth and life experiences etc.
Plus your own situation plays a role. Maybe you are entering the ring after a break. Perhaps you have been through a nasty divorce or two and gradually trying out the dating scene again. Or maybe, you have always been single but never got lucky with commitment. You’re just navigating dating as a 40-year-old bachelor, wondering what to do.
So when you get back into dating in your 40s, you will find, like George did, that the language and the methods will need a change as opposed to when you are out in the field in your 20s or 30s. The key to success is to know what ticks, what to avoid and what to do to be desirable and attractive. Dating in your 40s is challenging, so we’ve got some tips and tricks for you, with some help from Kranti Sihotra Momin, a CBT practitioner with a Masters degree in Psychology and specialization in clinical psychology.
What To Expect When Dating In Your 40s As A Man
Truth be told, dating in your 40s as a man can be interesting and wonderful. You are older, wiser and should ideally have the wealth of experience. All these factors not just add confidence to your love language but actually increase your chances of finding the right person after 40.
But there challenges too. So much of dating is now tied to technology; and guys in their 40s and texting can be a little…daunting sometimes.
So in case you are among those who are back in the dating ring after crossing the fourth decade, here’s what you can expect. Maybe this understanding and some tips would help you sail and succeed!
1. How you fall in love changes
Dating coach Jonathan Aslay says how men in their 40s seek love will depend on how they have resolved their emotional dilemmas. “As men grow older, they are riddled by unresolved childhood wounds or adult traumas,” he says.
“Men who haven’t worked through them, will choose egotistic love and may seek love through sex. But those who are emotionally healthy, will look for deeper connections.” Simply put, expect a change in your love needs while dating in your 40s as a man.
Age might not be a factor, but life experience is, says Kranti. While some men in their 40s may be attracted to younger women, there’s a chance you’d want someone closer to your own age just so you can relate to them better. Dating in your 40s is challenging, and maybe you want someone who gets that.
“You’ll want a partner who is confident, mature, and knows her way about the world, someone with shared life experiences,” Kranti says. “While it’s not unheard of for younger women to possess these qualities, it’s possible you’ll find it easier to spend time with a woman close to your own age.”
2. You will find it difficult to adjust
Dating in your late 40s as a man would mean it’s difficult to adjust to new routines. Welcoming a new relationship will take some compromises but the question is, are you willing to do it?
Sachin Parikh, a widower says, “I meet some really nice women, but my lifestyle is very regimented. When they ask me to do something out of my comfort zone – be it a late night movie or a dance – my first instinct is to say ‘No’”.
Dating in your late 40s as a man could mean some changes in your regular routine, especially if you haven’t dated in a while. If you’re in a high-pressure job that demands long hours, you’ll need to clear some time to date, warns Kranti.
This won’t come easy at first, but having a personal life takes time and effort, so if you’re really looking to date and create a connection with someone, it’s wise to make some adjustments to your timetable.
Related Reading: 21 Do’s And Don’ts When Dating A Widower
3. Dating during the divorce process will be tough
Sometimes a contested divorce can take years to settle. At such a time, entering the dating pool can bring its own challenges. Dating in your 40s after divorce is no walk in the park, that’s for sure. If your spouse is looking for excuses to pin you down legally, dating openly can harm your case.
Plus, you won’t be able to offer commitment to a woman you fall in love with. Also, dating a man who is in the midst of a divorce can put off many women, unless both of you are certain you want to keep it casual and non-committal. As we said, dating in your 40s is challenging.
4. You have a clear agenda
If you’re dating in your late 40s as a man, you’ll probably have a good idea about what it is you want out of a relationship. Or if you want a relationship at all. Are you just looking to dip your toe into the dating pool? Or are you ready for a serious, monogamous relationship?
You’ll also be clear about what you can compromise on, and what is non-negotiable to you. “I was ready to date again in my 40 and I realized my expectations had changed,” says Henry, 44, a professor of entomology.
“When I was younger, I wanted a partner who shared my passion for entomology (the study of insects) and basketball. Now, I’m okay if they’re a bit put off by bugs or if they don’t like basketball. I just went out with someone, and we were discussing Michael Jordan. My date said, ‘Oh, he’s the guy from Space Jam!’ I laughed and laughed, and we had a good time. I realized I really want a good sense of humor, and basic respect for all people,” Henry muses.
Finding love after 40 success stories aren’t manifold, but those that we know of tend to veer towards depth rather than matching hobbies and professions.
5. Balance independence with compromise
If you are still a bachelor well into your 40s, you’ve probably settled into a way of living and being. Dating will mean you need to make room in your well-ordered life for another person, who also likes things done a certain way.
Keep an open mind. It’s possible you’ll date someone who’s a neat freak and will look askance at the piles of magazines on your coffee table. That said, if you’ve been living as a bachelor, please make sure you’re not living like a college student. Clean up, make sure your bathroom is guest-friendly, keep some extra coffee mugs around if your date is spending the night.
6. Online dating can be tricky
Just because you are in your 40s doesn’t mean you are a fuddy-duddy but leave the Tinders and the Bumbles to the ones younger than you. If you are seeking dating apps, look for women your age. Learn the chat lingo and get to know them. Look for alternatives of Tinder since guys in their 40s and texting don’t always gel well.
However, these apps are mostly hook-up devices and you would rarely find women (and men!) who are serious, so don’t be ripped off. If you must, join an elite dating service. Or learn how to work these apps to your advantage and then use them with a tech-savvy mind.
Related Reading: How To Choose A Life Partner – 12 Expert Tips To Find The Best Mate
7. Your friends are your best bet
If you want to start dating in your 40s as a man, perhaps talking to friends would be the best bet. Tell them what you are looking for and you might be surprised at the results. Instead of trying to date unknown women, perhaps leave it to the wisdom of friends to help you meet someone who they think will be a good match.
If you are looking for a serious relationship, don’t hesitate to spread the word in your group. But be clear about what you want otherwise you might just end up embarrassing them. For instance, if you are only looking for casual dating and not a serious relationship, just be clear and candid to them.
8. You might feel out of practice
Entering the dating scene after a long break can seem daunting. You may have been the ultimate ladies’ man during your younger days, but times change! Especially if you are not meeting anyone organically – say, friends playing Cupid or you meeting someone at work – you might feel rather…umm…out of practice.
What is the right thing to say to an attractive woman you get introduced to? How do you make the first move? Have women’s expectations changed over the years? Should you text first or never initiate a text? These and several other questions might play on your mind when you re-start dating in your 40s as a man.
Related Reading: 20 Rules Of Dating A Single Dad
Pick up lines or killer looks that worked even a decade ago will not have any impact in a post-modern me-too era. So if you enter the dating ring without adequate homework or without judging how women meet and behave these days, you might be in for a huge shock, especially if you have started dating after a long break.
Women have become a lot more upfront and bolder about their needs and wants so if you don’t feel old-fashioned or like you have been left behind in the race, try and be friends with women first and then play your charm. Know them, understand what they want in a man and mold yourself accordingly.
A lot of flirting and dating happens online or via text now. It’s possible you feel guys in their 40s and texting don’t go together and have no idea what the aubergine and peach emojis mean. Don’t worry too much, there’s plenty of people out there who still prefer face-to-face conversation. And you’ll catch up on the emojis.
9. Understand that the world has changed
Whether it’s gender stereotypes, sexual orientation or the question of chivalry, you’ll be navigating a whole new minefield when dating as a man in your 40s. It could be something as incongruous as holding the door open for a woman, or who picks up the check for dinner, but you’ll realize it’s bigger than that.
“I went out a few times with this man who wanted a polyamorous relationship,” says 47-year-old Barry. “I didn’t really even know what a polyamorous relationship was, but I looked it up and we talked about it a lot. It wasn’t what I was looking for, but we ended up having some great conversations, and remain friends still.”
“A woman I had a date with insisted on buying me dinner,” says Jerry, 46. “I was taken aback at first. I’m an investment banker and I’m used to picking up the tab on a date. Also, the last time I dated was 10 years ago and the women I went out with were rather impressed at my job and income level. This woman was a marketing director and I realized she’s doing great at her job and didn’t need me or my money. It was humbling, but also gratifying because she liked me and enjoyed my company without expecting me to support her financially.”
10. Your past will play a role
Your past history will rear its head in any new relationship you seek to enter. If you have had unfortunate or bad marriages and relationships, it will hamper in some way or the other, when you start dating again. Whether you are serious about someone you meet or want to keep it casual, it would be best to reveal your status.
If you’re dating in your 40s after divorce, be honest about any emotional baggage you’re carrying. You would not want your date to hear anything problematic about your past from another source for that can only create misunderstandings.
You need not get into details until the relationship has deepened but do not hide anything major that has happened in your life. Your honesty will be appreciated.
However, says Kranti, you’ll also have the benefit of hindsight. It’s possible you made some poor personal choices when you were younger (who hasn’t!) that didn’t work out for you. Now, you have a better idea of what works for you and what doesn’t. And that makes you a stronger contender for finding love after 40 success stories.
Related Reading: 21 Things To Know When Dating A Man With Kids
11. You will have more responsibilities
In your 40s, you will your plate full with career, family and other matters. Needless to say, you can’t be as carefree about life and relationships as you were in your 20s or even 30s. Your love life will get impacted as your attention span will be consumed by several things other than relationship matters.
How successful you will be when you start dating in your 40s as a man will depend a lot on how you negotiate your time and attention. For instance, if you are seeing someone, will you be able to devote enough time to her and the budding relationship? Can you find the appropriate work-life balance? Think well.
12. Expect the sex to be different
Sex isn’t exactly impacted by age nevertheless your drive might change as you grow older. Hopefully the societal pressure of sex and aging should not affect you but it can unconsciously add to the pressure in a new relationship.
If you are dating someone much younger, age-old judgments about aging might play a role in how you behave in bed. Middle aged sex can be wonderful if you know how to treat your partner well, a lot of women enjoy sex with older men as they are supposed to be better lovers in bed. Sex in your 40s can be really satisfying. But that will happen only if you do not have any insecurity about your own sexual needs or abilities.
13. Be wholly, completely, you
You might be a little conscious entering the dating field. How you dress, how you conduct yourself etc. For instance, you wouldn’t want to hear things like ‘Isn’t he too old to wear that?’ Or ‘how could he crack a bawdy joke? Isn’t he a parent?’
But, you bring a wealth of experience and these are experiences that have made you who you are. As long as you’re being decent, kind and open-minded without being dim, you’re okay. Do not under any circumstances try to be “younger” or “cooler” than you are. Just be yourself.
14. You will need to manage family and kids
If you’re dating in your 40s after divorce, it’s possible you’ll have to factor in kids somewhere, either your own or your partner’s, or both. Dating in your 40s as a man does not mean you can ignore your responsibilities towards your children’s emotional needs.
If you think you are getting serious in your relationship, you will need to think of a way to introduce your date to your children. “Figure out the how and when of this introduction beforehand,” advises Kranti. “Don’t ambush your kids by suddenly bringing someone home. Have a conversation with them and reassure them that they come first. Also, trust your instincts about when to tell them – you’ll know when it’s a good time.”
Sometimes, kids in divorced families can react negatively to the idea of their parent’s dating. They may also be embarrassed if their father in his 40s or later starts seeing a younger woman. While you are entitled to lead your life the way you want, these can be awkward situations which you are likely to face.
15. Acknowledge the midlife crisis
Dating in your late 40s as a man could include dealing with some mid-life turmoil, says Kranti. Whether you’re dating as a 40-year-old bachelor or dating in your 40s after divorce, the reality of a midlife crisis cannot be discounted.
Some relationships at this stage can be come as a direct result of a midlife crisis, where you re-evaluate your life choices thus far and feel the tremendous to make a change, or do something out of character.
Sam, a 45-year-old divorced man, found himself deeply attracted to Karen. Karen had two kids and Sam, who was estranged from his son, loved spending time with them. It took him a while, however, to realize that he loved the idea of having kids around, more than Karen herself.
“I liked her very much, we got along great, but I realized I didn’t feel very deeply about her. I had reached a stage where I was terrified I might not have the chance to have more kids, and Karen and her daughters seemed like the perfect solution,” Sam said.
“This is not uncommon when dating in your 40s as a man. That’s why you need to understand that you could be in a different phase of life to your partner’s which could lead to confusion and conflict. Maybe your desire for relationship is born out of a fear of being alone, or other, deeply embedded fears,” Kranti says.
Love is a wonderful thing and age should be the last thing on your mind when you enter the dating ring. However, having self-doubts or even self-esteem issues are natural. Work on them first and understand yourself and your needs. Once you are clear about your goals and what you want from a relationship at this age, the road ahead becomes a lot smoother. Hopefully, you’ll be one of the ‘finding love after 40 success stories’.