Dating After 40: What’s Holding You Back?
03.22.2017 by Dr Judith Wright
Dating can seem daunting at any age. Remember your first date? Talk about awkward, right?
For most of us, after a certain age, dating doesn’t seem much more appealing now than it did when we were dealing with acne and braces. Whether you’re trying to get on the scene after a divorce or after the end of a long-term relationship, it’s hard—especially just getting out there.
The first battle is simply knowing HOW to get back out there. You can feel ready, but what do you do? Wear a shirt that says ready to date (yikes) or ask a friend to fix you up (maybe the t-shirt idea sounds better after all)…?
You might be interested in dating websites geared toward older adults. Or you might try some of the more popular dating sites, as they cater to all age ranges and many interest groups. For some of us beyond the millennial generation, though, online dating might not be within our comfort zone…yet.
So how do you meet people? Dating in the workplace usually isn’t such a great idea. Maybe your friends are mostly married and in relationships. There are networking events and ways to open up a dialogue, but for those of us not accustomed to putting ourselves out there…it can be a challenge.
But listen: if you’re ready, GO FOR IT! Stop making excuses and jump in!
No, you don’t have to wear a t-shirt or ask your coworker to hook you up, but you will have to be open about the fact that you’re single and looking to mingle. You might want to try to dip in your toe online, or you might feel more comfortable networking face-to-face. Embrace it!
Guess what? It’s fun!
Dating is an opportunity to really play as an adult. It’s a chance to meet people and test what you like and what you don’t like. You can learn more about how you interact with totally different personality types and people you would have never considered 15 or 20 years ago. You don’t have to marry them…or even LIKE them! Just engage and start meeting new people.
The world is before you! If you’re ready, GO FOR IT!
The Advantages of Dating at an Older Age
There are a few things you can do to shift your mentality a little when it comes to dating and opening yourself up to new opportunities and experiences. The first thing to recognize is that, in many ways your age and experience works to your advantage.
You’ve already let go of some of the dating “myths” that plague people in their teens and early adulthood. You know there’s no such thing as “the one” and there’s no Prince Charming (or Princess) riding in to swoop you up on his or her white horse and ride away, right?
For some who’ve been on the dating scene for a little while, you might be laughing a little—fairytale romance DEFINITELY doesn’t exist!
In truth, though, who would want that anyway? Love is beautiful in its own right. Relationships with all their messiness, their awkwardness, their burps and (yes, I’ll say it) farts, and who knows what else… They’re full of messiness. There are great things in the mess though, and you know that. You’re not afraid to get a little messy. You know it’s worth it.
Is it a Love Connection?
One of the keys is to assume good intentions and look beyond the superficial. You don’t have to make a love connection on a date, but try to see the other person for who they are. What are THEY looking for? What are your similarities and what are your differences?
Another great thing about dating in the adult world is you’re able to get down to some of the nitty-gritty pretty quickly. In our 20s, we’re often playing the field—trying to figure out what we want and ourselves. We aren’t always honest and up front with dates and we might avoid tough conversations altogether.
Now you’re ready to put it out there. If someone doesn’t want teenagers in their life and you have two, well, that might be a deal breaker, so you can get it out of the way right away. If someone knows they love to sit at home and zone out in front of the television and you love to travel, you can quickly cross that off the list. If your likes and lifestyles are different but compatible that’s okay, if they’re different and diametrically opposed, that’s okay too—but maybe you’re not a match. You might be great pals but maybe you’re not right for romance. The important thing is to be honest!
Also, as an adult in your 40s, 50s or even 60s, you’ve come to know what you want and expect. You know yourself, your limits, your strengths and your challenges. There’s a great deal of confidence and self-assuredness that comes naturally with age, even if you don’t feel self-assured or confident in every moment.
As an adult, you aren’t about pretense and putting on a façade when you get to know a new person. You can jump right in and be real. After all, if you’ve got kids or eight cats or stretchmarks or a bald spot, you might as put it out there now. There’s no reason to put on a false front and that in itself can be empowering. You know who you are, and you’re working to get what YOU want out of life. The hope is you’ll meet someone who’s the same!
Experience and Connections
So maybe you won’t find love tomorrow. Or maybe you will! Who knows?
The fun thing about dating is it opens up a world of possibility. You can meet new people, make new connections, and form new friendships. You get to try out different relationships and interactions with new people and think, “Is this someone I could grow with?”
Look for those who are willing to continue to learn and engage with you. Find someone who’s not afraid to explore the messy world of relationships. You might just find that you enjoy yourself.
So if you’re asking, should I bother dating? The answer is YES and don’t hold back! Our lives are fuller and richer with more experiences, more connections and more friendships. Meeting new people can only benefit you and help you get even more out of life!
Jump in and see where things take you!
For more on engaging, getting the most from your experiences, and grabbing life by the horns, visit www.wrightliving.com. Go forth, engage, and ignite your world!
Dr. Judith Wright is a media favorite, sought-after inspirational speaker, respected leader, peerless educator, bestselling author, & world-class coach. She is a co-founder of Wright and the Wright Graduate University.
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Wright Living is a division of the Wright Foundation for the Realization of Human Potential, a leadership institute located in Chicago, Illinois. Wright Living performative learning programs are integrated into the curriculum at Wright Graduate University.