As a 40-something single person, you might feel a little lonely. Friends have gotten married… maybe more than once. And you’re alone.
But the reality? You’re in the absolute prime of your life! No doubt you’ve been through enough highs and lows to have learned a fair few life lessons. You know how to enjoy yourself and get the most out of your life. Crucially, you know who you are and what you want.
After all, it’s those life lessons that teach you about yourself and force you to get your priorities in order.
They also mean that you’re in a great position to find someone special. Someone who is truly a great match for you in all the ways you want and need. That’s something pretty hard to achieve in your 20s or even 30s, decades I’m sure many wouldn’t want to revisit.
Maybe you’re already actively on the lookout for love. These days it’s a given that you might be on dating apps at any age, from 18 to 83. You’ve got the big dating apps like Tinder, or the more women-centered Bumble, as well as sites like Eharmony, or Silver Singles, which are great sites aimed at those with a few more years under their belt.
You may be getting matchmade left and right by your friends: a blind date here, a coffee date there. Maybe you’ve got your favorite local spots to meet people, be it the bar, library, or gym.
However you prefer to meet your matches, it’s always good to be open to new things and accept a bit of advice to help you find your way in the tough world on the lookout for true love.
As a dating expert, I’m going to give you a list of helpful, realistic advice that will guide you on your way to finding that special someone. Someone who meets your relationship criteria, as well as your individual wants and needs at this time in your life.
Now’s the time to really understand what you want and go get it!
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1. Stay open-minded
We can all conjure up the absolute ideal person: the person who never annoys us and is impressive in every way, as well as being drop-dead gorgeous.
But thinking in this way won’t yield very successful results. If anything, it will work against you. Don’t overthink the small stuff and try to find someone who is aligned with your core values and beliefs. The rest can be a fun journey of discovery!
2. Have realistic goals for your relationships
Think about what you want in a partner and what qualities could potentially be a “make or break” for you.
Try to focus on the most fundamental things. If you’re super fussy about the small stuff, finding the right person quickly becomes an impossible task.
So, are you looking for someone outdoorsy? A good cook? A family-oriented person? A travel lover? You could even make a list of real essentials. Everything else, well, that’s negotiable.
3. Positivity attracts positivity
Now I’m not saying you just have to be happy, period. That’s a pretty big ask!
But, while dating, focus on the positive aspects of the person you’re with.
Notice what’s interesting and fun about them and the situation rather than looking for issues. If you’re both there with a positive outlook, you’ll definitely have a better time, even if it’s not forever.
4. Jump back in
You may have been hurt in previous relationships, and are a bit anxious about getting back in the game.
But you have to take the plunge, and remember that love itself requires openness and trust. Easier said than done, I know but the more you are conscious of this the more open you will be.
5. Keep visualizing relationship success
No matter how society, the media, or people in your life make you feel, don’t let your age get you down!
People find love over 40 all the time for a million different reasons. Love happens at any age, and some would argue that the love you find in your 40’s is the most solid since you know yourself much more than when you were 20 or 30.
Think positively about your relationship potential and don’t become your own worst enemy as that will only drag you down.
6. Take care of yourself
If you don’t have a healthy lifestyle and aren’t in a good headspace, it’s much harder to maintain a healthy relationship. How happy you feel will be reflected in your mood and energy levels as well as how you carry yourself. Whatever this means for you, whether it’s exercise, skincare, clothes, or leisure activities, keep it up.
7. Pursue your passions
It’s common for people to put all their focus on finding ‘The One’, leaving fun things like nice restaurants or exciting trips by the wayside in the hope they can share them with a partner.
Don’t do it! Take those trips and visit those restaurants alone or with friends. There will always be more fun to be had later down the line when you’re sharing your life with someone. You need to live your life in the present or you might stop enjoying it.
Also, the more places you go, the more chances you have of meeting someone great. “The One” may be offline as well as online. And, anyway, your location-based dating apps will get loads more pings.
8. Get into the habit of being grateful
It’s really important to acknowledge what you have to be grateful for in your life. Big or small it’s worth it!
Being grateful helps you feel good about yourself, which in turn puts you in a great mental space to bring new and positive experiences and people into your life.
9. Break out of your comfort zone
Don’t wait any longer! Grab each day by the horns and tick those ‘maybe one day’ activities off your list. Skydiving, getting your scuba license, hiking Machu Picchu, or even learning a new language or cooking a new and unfamiliar cuisine. I’m sure there are many things you’d love to do. Challenge yourself and become more used to taking risks and welcoming new experiences.
10. Practice Flirting
This isn’t just for youngsters! Flirting is an important way to connect with people romantically or intimately, and it goes a long way to excite the person you’re interested in.
You can practice this wherever you go: (except at work, in most cases. In fact, definitely don’t flirt at work unless you want HR on your back. But that still leaves…) the grocery store, the coffee shop, the library. Make a bit more eye contact than you normally would, smile more, and see what happens.
11. Trust professionals
Many situations in life require a bit of professional help, just think about personal trainers, wedding planners, or accountants. Sometimes it’s obvious that we can’t do things ourselves! Yet, people think that when it comes to their love life, they’re meant to go through it alone and know what’s right with no outside input.
The fact is, hiring a relationship coach or matchmaker could change your life. It’s their whole job to get people happy and comfortable in relationships, so why wouldn’t they be great at it? Putting your trust in these professionals might be the way to go.
And if you can’t quite stretch to that, there are a few sites, like eharmony, that do pretty much the same thing as a professional matchmaker! You can even try eHarmony for free so what’s there to lose?
12. Love yourself
In the famous words of Ru Paul, “If you can’t love yourself, how the hell are you going to love somebody else?” And it’s true.
Learn to appreciate your good qualities and practice self-love, and you will be much more ready and open to loving somebody else.
13. Look forwards, not back
The fact is that you have the vast majority of your adult life left to live.
Think about it, there are so many possibilities and experiences laid out before you.
Get excited about it!
Dwelling on the past can be a real downer and will stop you from living in the present and looking forwards to the future, a future that will most likely involve a whole lot of great things, including love.
14. Resolve past relationship traumas
Everyone on earth has experienced hurt and disappointment from relationships, romantic or otherwise. These experiences shape us and how we go on to form connections with others.
Sometimes we need to resolve or process issues from our past to move forwards in new relationships. Break the cycle!
15. Be forever a student
It’s always a good time to learn some new skills. Take dance lessons, or start playing tennis. Not only will this enrich your life and make you more happy and interesting, but it will only increase your desirability and opportunities to meet like-minded singles.
16. Remember to smile
Surprisingly, smiling has many health benefits. Did you know that smiling reduces blood pressure? And strengthens your immune system?
And of course, it makes you seem approachable and more attractive. Just something to keep in mind as you go about your day, though of course, we all have our off days.
17. Try a virtual date
I wouldn’t be surprised if you were already on this one. There are so many dating apps and sites out there. But online dating is the number one way people meet each other these days! So it’s absolutely a great option to try.
You’ve got the new classics like Bumble and Hinge, eHarmony, or one I love to recommend to daters who are a fair bit over 40, Silver Singles, a dating site specifically for those over with a few more years under their belt. And one we can offer a free trial for!
If you’re overwhelmed by all those options, just take this quiz to find out which site or app will suit you best.
18. Join social groups
There are many groups around for different types of people. Including those over 40. This will be your chance to try different activities as well as mingling with others for friendships and maybe more…
19. Learn from the past
By 40 you might have had love in the past or at least a relationship here and there.
You’re probably aware of mistakes made in relationships in your life. Perhaps you can see unhealthy patterns that have formed or habits that aren’t very positive.
Now is the perfect time to work things through, and try and take only what you actively want into your next relationship.
This is not always a simple task, don’t be afraid to speak to a therapist or relationship coach who will guide you to be your best self.
20. Platform the love in your life
You know that you’re looking for love, but I bet you already have it as well.
Focus on the love that already exists in your life, love for friends and family. Let these people know how much they mean to you and make efforts so they know you appreciate them. Be a loving person.
Helping others and being involved in your local community obviously brings all sorts of benefits with it, including meeting others with similar values to your own.
22. Get out more
If there’s one place you’re not going to bump into your future spouse, it’s sitting at home. Instead of drinking coffee on the sofa, why not head out to a coffee spot. Instead of shopping online, go out into the real world and browse. After all, people find love in the most unexpected places. And go on dates, don’t just chat online because it’s easier. Online dating means the dating starts online, it doesn’t stay there. That would make no sense.
23. Go to networking events
Local networking events are great professionally but also socially. Find out about events online and go along with a smile and an open mind. At a minimum, you’ll make some professional connections, and maybe more…
24. Go to your high school reunion
A surprising amount of people rekindled old flames and connections at their high school reunion. And I can see why. These are people you spent your formative years with, and you will all have been through a lot since then. Take this opportunity to reconnect with your high school sweetheart.
25. Walk away from Negative Nellies
It’s common for people to be pretty down on dating in general, particularly at slightly more mature ages.
If people around you want to drag you into conversations about how dire dating at 40 is, or how all the good ones are taken, just don’t engage!
There are 7.7 billion people on earth, definitely more than enough for you to find some great matches.
26. Leave your baggage at the door
Chances are that if you’re 40 and single you’ve either done quite a lot of dating or not much at all.
Potentially you were married for years and find the idea of dating pretty overwhelming or stressful.
Or you’ve had a lot of relationships that didn’t work out. Whatever the situation, it’s totally natural to carry a bit of baggage. But the thing to remember is not to unload it up top.
No teary chat about your ex or how you’re done with dating during the early stages of your new relationship.
27. Use your personal network
Your friends, family, and wider network are hopefully there to support you in general in your life. But this also extends to dating, as many introductions could be made through people you already know. Ask around and let people know that you’re up for being set up.
28. Make single friends
Often single people might feel like they’re at a different stage in life than their coupled-up friends, as over the years people around you start settling down, having kids, getting married, etc.
If you feel this way or find yourself spending most of your free time with couples or families, make some single friends! There are so many singles out there of all ages, and it will revitalize your social life.
29. Know your own deal breakers
If you’ve had a few relationships that haven’t worked out, ask yourself if there are any common things amongst these people.
Make a list of your top five deal breakers and don’t cross those lines anymore. If you keep dating similar people, you might keep getting the same result.
30. Recognize your flaws
No doubt you’re an absolute catch, but you wouldn’t be human if you were perfect. Reflect on things from past dates and relationships that you could have done differently.
It’s easy to blame others, but often if we look closely we can recognize self-defeating patterns in ourselves.
31. Keep passion in your life
We all love a passionate person. Passion is a super sexy quality and that’s a fact. If you have things you’re passionate about, commit to them and don’t let them slip away. If you’re feeling bored, reconnect with things that make you feel passionate and you will gain some points in the dating game.
32. Recognize your good qualities
Sure, it’s good to know your flaws. But it’s also important to know what makes you great and why someone would be lucky to date you. Write a list of things that make you a catch and think about those things if self-doubt gets in your way.
33. Celebrate the bad dates
We all have them. Bad dates are just part of dating. It’s really important to remember that each bad date gives you a bit more clarity on what you actually want and value in a partner or an experience.
If you dwell on them or see bad dates as a sign to give up, you’re only defeating yourself! If anything, bad dates are a sign that you’re putting yourself out there and taking chances, which are things that are only going to help you on this journey to love.
34. Remember that life is an adventure
If you look at life and love as an adventure rather than a tough task ahead, things will be easier. Adventures have highs and lows! If you can get excited about all the people you might meet and the experiences you will have and don’t focus on the end goal or your perceived failures, you will have loads more fun. And fun people have fun.
35. Lower the pressure
As we age, dating seems a bit more pressured. Maybe there are specific things you’re looking for in a serious relationship, or maybe it’s coming from your date. But try and let this go! Sure you have to ask the big questions at some point, but for the first few dates just try and have fun and see whether this person intrigues you or not.
36. Focus on the good stuff
When we focus on something it takes up space in our life. If you focus on your fear and anxieties about finding the one, that will be the majority of your experience, and that’s no fun. Give yourself a lot of time to think about what you do have in your life, what makes your life good.
You will feel more satisfied and happy and this will come across in your dating life. You are not lacking a partner, a partner would be a happy bonus to your life.
37. Write an ideal partner list
While it’s good to have some flexibility in your search for love, it’s also really vital that you know what you’re looking for. Spend a few hours thinking about all the things you like in a partner and what makes someone compatible with you.
This doesn’t have to be exhaustive, and, definitely, don’t rule out people that don’t tick every box. This list-writing exercise will help you clarify what you like in a partner.
38. Write a worst possible partner list
This compliments your dream partner list, and I bet it will flow pretty easily. Identify qualities that really turn you off a person, or things that you know don’t gel with you based on previous relationships.
Again, it’s possible for people to make up for negative qualities with their other attributes, but be realistic in whether things will work out if someone fits this list.
39. Don’t be impatient
Anxiety and neediness are hard to squash, I know. But you know as well as I do that those emotions can stress people out or put people off. Try as best you can to go with the flow and accept the pace your life is going at. You will be in a better place to find love.
40. Don’t focus on your age
You’re in your 40s, but so what?
Age isn’t negative or positive, it’s just a fact. If you let thoughts about being over the hill plague you, it will only serve to make you feel bad about yourself and where you are in life.
Age and physical appearance play a part in attraction, but not half as much as personality, confidence, and energy.
We all know people who are young at heart, and I bet they’re not worrying too much about their age.
What percentage of 40-year-olds are single? Plenty, according to Pew Research (a pretty reliable source if you ask me). So, what are the chances of getting married after 40? High enough! And there are lots of dating sites that are great for over 40s looking for love or fun.