Lessons learned from dating after 40
Dating after 40 can be challenging, but it can also be surprisingly rewarding. Rachael Lloyd explains how she’s learned to make the most of the experience
Dating. It seems such a light way to describe the often-challenging search for love.
My dating life began more than 20 years ago, long before online dating was commonplace. Back then, I either dated men I’d met socially (typically in the local nightclub, dancing round my handbag) or knew through friends. There was no panicking about what they’d look like in ‘real life’. No such thing as an online dating profile or picture filter.
The new world of dating
Imagine a world with no iPhones and no Netflix; a world where you trek to the university library to access something called the ‘Internet’.
The world has changed. Online dating was launched at the turn of the millennium and went mainstream in 2012 with the launch of free dating apps. This new dating landscape offered instant connections and no costs. No financial costs at least.
While singles could gain from an increasingly-accessible dating pool, in many ways we’ve been assaulted with too much choice and too little substance.
Seemingly, there’s an app for every taste. But since I’ve been dating after 40 and started looking for a more meaningful relationship, I’ve learned to be more discerning about the dating brands I choose and the kind of interest I want to attract.
Men and women dating after 40
For single women over 40, dating can be anarchic and confusing. There’s no definitive norm, each of us must choose our own code of conduct. I’m sure it’s equally baffling for men.
I’ve had dates with single men over 40 who’ve never settled down – and don’t seem in a hurry to do so. They’re eternal playboys, best left to it. And dates with battered divorcees, working long hours to pay maintenance and giving up chunks of their weekend to be with their children.
There have been great dates. And toe-curling disasters. Along the way there have been two longer-term relationships. One with a former Etonian – cultured, gorgeous and way out of my league – and one with an identical twin from the countryside – passionate, energetic, but not a conversationalist.
Increase your chances
Truth be told, there’s no quick fix when it comes to finding love after 40. My prescription is to think carefully about what you want and have faith. Be picky, but not hold yourself to impossibly high standards.
Furthermore, I’ve decided to build up my social life with activities that I enjoy and might increase my chances of meeting the right person. Yoga, singing, literary talks are all passions of mine and it would be great to meet someone compatible.
When it comes to online dating, I believe authenticity is key. There’s no point knocking five years off my age, using overly-flattering photos, or writing a girlishly-light profile. That isn’t me.
I’m unapologetically sassy but middle-aged. I like Radio 4, The Times, and singing around the house to my 90s playlists. Take it or leave it.
I’d like to find someone attractive and solvent, and if they play a mean hand in backgammon, all the better. Is it too much to ask for? Watch this space.
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