I know it can be tough putting yourself out there and finding someone. Especially if you’re newly divorced or coming out of another long-term relationship.
But here are some of the specific complaints I hear:
“There aren’t any good men.”
“No one is worth my time.”
“Guys don’t want to commit.”
Yes, many older men are either jaded, too stubborn, or uninterested in starting over and building something beautiful with you. But there are good men out there too. There are good 50-year-old guys out there. Just like there are good 20-year-old guys.
Here’s what I think the difference is.
As we get older, we tend to lose patience. We’re more rigid in our likes and dislikes. More demanding.
Dating stops being “dating.” It’s not about getting to know someone. About having fun. About forging a connection.
In effect, it becomes a job interview. Does this person possess the necessary qualifications?
Some women tell me they know if a man is “right” for them within a minute or two.
If he’s not “right,” they tune out. They start thinking about setting up a date with the next guy.
These women are not trying to date – they’re trying to close a deal. Trying to reach a finish line.
The desire is understandable. Some may feel like they don’t have time to waste. Others may barely remember what it’s like not to be in a committed relationship.
But there’s a big problem with “dating” like this: It’s exhausting! Demoralizing! Boring!
Dating is supposed to be fun. Interviewing is the opposite of fun. So, of course, dating becomes a slog. And many older women give up on it.
Don’t fall into this trap. Dating after forty can be amazing. You just have to reframe how you look at it.
It’s a mistake to arrive with a checklist of mandatory qualities. Don’t immediately try to determine if a man “fits” you. Take a deep breath.
Look at it as just a fun night out. An opportunity to get to know a new man. To see if he’s interesting as a person.
This is what most of us did when we were younger. You hung out with guys and got to know them. Sometimes a relationship would naturally flow out of that. Sometimes it didn’t.
That kind of dating is a lot more satisfying.
Because you focus on having fun. On simple companionship. On getting to know someone.
This is far better than trying to find someone to match the imaginary ideal in your head. Because you get to discover real people. And you feel less stressed when you leave your list of ideal attributes behind.
And it’s a lot easier to fall for a person over time. You discover depths you never would have noticed with a checklist-style of mate selection.
Are you ready to embrace this advice? Then let’s talk about how to make this mindset a reality as you search for relaxed enjoyment…and just maybe discover a partner in the process.
The first and most obvious thing to do: ditch your list of requirements for a man.
Now this doesn’t mean you can’t have “wants” and “deal breakers.” But be open to getting to know a guy before writing him off.
Maybe you want someone funny. And in the first five minutes, he isn’t. Writing him off is closing the door. But if you’d just chatted over the course of several days, he might have warmed up and shown more humor.
With that general idea in mind, let’s look at what you can do to focus on dating rather than mate selection.
Emphasize the activity. Fun dates mean doing fun things. Coffee dates are fine if all you want to do is sit and talk. But don’t be afraid to suggest something more exciting.
It doesn’t have to be hang-gliding either. Go bowling. Attend a concert. Take a hike. Hit up a local festival or carnival. Explore a new place.
You’ll learn a lot about what it’s like just to hang out and do something together. And even if you don’t click, hopefully the event itself will be fun!
Be present. Dating is about making a connection. But if you focus on requirements and prerequisites, you can’t make that connection. Because you won’t be present.
So instead of listening only to see if his “resume” fits, really pay attention. Ask open-ended questions. Get him telling stories. Be a good audience.
This will make him more likely to open up. And give you a far better idea about whether or not you have a connection.
Date outside your “type.” Tall. Conservative. Practical. Serious. Reads scientific periodicals. Enjoys TV crime dramas.
It’s okay if you typically go for a certain type of man. But if your “type” is too specific, it becomes restrictive. You basically end up limiting your options. Then you come to a relationship coach like me, saying there are no guys out there.
If this is working for you, great. But if you’re having trouble, there’s a way out of the rut.
Deliberately look for a guy who goes against type for you. Think of it as an adventure. Like going to a foreign country. You’re learning about the culture.
Many women who do this are surprised. Because they learn that dating men outside their “type” might not be so bad. It opens up their potential pool of men.
And you know right from the start that this guy is not going to fit your typical requirements. So, you become more open to just getting to know him. More open to having fun.
Dedicate time. Don’t give up on dating after a few first dates. Some women may find a great guy that quickly. But others won’t.
It takes time and effort. And you have to be willing to seek out new places and ways to find men that interest you.
And I’ve touched on this already, but it’s worth repeating. Don’t write guys off too quickly. Unless you’re literally speed-dating, you have to give a man more than one shot at impressing you.
When you decide to go out with someone, mentally dedicate yourself to a block of time. At least an hour, but preferably two or three hours spread over two or three different encounters.
If the experience is absolutely awful, obviously, you don’t have to stay. But in general, giving up too quickly is just going to make your dating experiences harder.
Remember, first dates shouldn’t be about finding a life partner. There’s no way you can really tell if someone will be right for you in the long-term in just one date.
So, have fun. Learn about him. And see if a connection – even a small one – starts to emerge.
Eventually it will happen. And the excitement you feel will utterly trump any satisfaction that comes with meeting a guy who matches your list.
To find a great guy after forty, slow down, have fun, and expand the range of “types” you will let into your life.