So you find yourself single in your 40s. This fact might scare the crap out of you if you haven’t dated since your 20s.
You might moan that you aren’t as thin, young, or hip as you were back then, but I’m here to tell you that there are plenty of reasons you’re better off now as a sexy, confident single woman than you were in your youth.
Then and Now: How Dating Has Changed
The scariest thing for women who start dating later in life is how much the dating landscape has changed. In college, they could meet a guy at a party, in class, or in the cafeteria. Now? They might be able to meet men at work…but who wants to date a co-worker and have it not work out?
Dating apps and texting are two of the biggest changes in the dating world, and I know a lot of women who struggle to understand these tools. It’s hard to get to know a guy through a screen, and you feel completely judged based on your photos.
Still, I insist that there are many reasons you can kick dating’s ass at any age, and the older you are, the better it gets.
#1: You’re More Confident
I don’t care who you are or what your story for the past 20 years has been: I’m willing to bet that you’re more confident now than you were then. You’ve experienced more of life, and you have fully developed into the awesome person you are.
Think back to your 20s. You thought you were a grown ass woman, but you still had some developing mentally and emotionally to do. You thought you picked winners to date, but c’mon, that dude with an earring? That wasn’t going anywhere.
Now you’ve had longer relationships. You’ve gotten to know yourself through them. You’ve met a variety of men, and know the kinds that are good for you and the kinds that aren’t. You’re more comfortable in your body. Your mind. Your financial situation. And that’s crazy sexy to a guy.
#2: You Know What You Want
While you might have tried to convince yourself that the roadie you met at the New Kids on the Block concert was going to be your baby daddy back in the day, you’ve learned since then what you want and need in a partner. You might even have a list of characteristics you want in a partner, and that’s great.
Knowing what you want in a man is the first step to attracting it now that you’re dating in your 40s and beyond. If you’re wishy-washy about it, you’re going to meet the grown up equivalent of that roadie. But if you decide you want a divorced dad that makes good money and will treat you right? Your chances are a lot better of finding him if you’ve identified those qualities as your goals.
#3 You Know You Don’t Have to Settle
Part of knowing what you want is understanding that you don’t have to accept anything less than that. You may struggle to find it, and decide that a “good enough relationship” is, well, good enough for now.
But consider what you’ve gone through to get where you are. Do you really want to keep ignoring a guy’s flaws just to have someone in your life? Or would you rather give Mr. Mediocre the boot and be alone (and be good with that) until someone who checks all your boxes comes along?
It can be frustrating, waiting for the right guy to come along. But know this: he will. Don’t try to make the wrong guy be the right one. Just be patient.
#4 It’s Less About Looks Now
Jeez. Remember how much effort you put into looking cute in your 20s? Of course, you still put the effort into being attractive these days, but you know (or if you don’t, I’m telling you) that looks aren’t all a guy cares about now.
He’s much more interested in your mind. The chemistry between you. Beauty is, after all, fleeting. You need something more solid to rely on as you build a relationship with someone. And hey: know that he may have less hair than he did in his 20s, or a beer love handle. Do you like him any less for it? I didn’t think so.
#5 Men Have Matured…For the Most Part
When I speak at universities across the country, the biggest complaint I hear from the ladies is how immature guys their age are. They’re only into partying, the women tell me, or one night stands. While women in their 20s are looking for long-term love, men are admittedly further behind the curve.
But now? You’ll meet more likeminded men when it comes to dating. You will date men who have been married. Men who have kids. Men who no longer sleep on a futon and work at the video store.
Sure, you’ll meet their immature counterparts, but it’s easier to find a man who is emotionally and mentally on the same page as you once you leave your 20s. And you might find that while you wouldn’t have dated a guy who was more than three years older or younger than you in your 20s, you now expand your range by 10 years younger or older, giving you a much larger pool of fish to choose from!
#6 You’re Looking for Something Different Now
Were you the little girl who doodled “Mrs. Jane Robinson” on all your notebooks, daydreaming about your most recent crush? In college, were you on a mission — much like a heat-seeking missile — to find a husband?
What about now?
Now that you’ve been through love, loss, heartbreak, maybe divorce, and even childbirth…
Are you looking for the same thing?
You might want to get married (again) someday. But maybe you’re not as singularly focused on this as a goal. Maybe you’ve come to realize that there are a variety of shades of relationships, none of them less valid than another.
You could date someone for a few months, then spend time alone happily.
You could live with your partner long-term.
You could have a long, fulfilling relationship, but each keep your own houses.
And yes, you could get married.
My point is, with less self-induced pressure to get hitched, you open yourself up to even more possibilities in the love department.
#7 Your Experiences Give You a Different Perspective on Love
If you have been married, and/or if you’ve been a parent, you likely look at love differently now.
You know that love isn’t a given, and that it takes a lot of hard work to maintain a happy, healthy relationship.
You know that being married doesn’t guarantee forever.
You know there are different types of love.
You know that your child comes first in whatever decision you make for your future.
You know that you are whole without a man in your life.
You know you can be on your own. You just might not prefer it.
Sure, there’s some appeal to thinking back to that period of innocence, before your heart got broken. Before you knew that life wasn’t going to be easy. But realize that the woman you’ve grown into is because of your pain and experiences, not in spite of them. They’ve shaped you into who you are, and who you are is a fabulous woman who is on the path to finding true love.