After the death of my husband over 2 years ago I finally re-entered the dating world after 18 years of being away from it. Now in my 40’s I wasn’t sure about what to expect. Would men still find me attractive? (I am the mother of twin boys now – stretch marks and all.) Would I remember what to do on a first date? Where do you go on a first date? What was I really looking for in a date?
At the prompting of one of my best friends I began by trying online dating. My friend knows I live online and thought it would be a great way to begin the process. She was right. I created a really nice profile about who I was and the things I liked on a popular dating website. I focused on being positive and projecting an upbeat image. I read some of the suggestions about what type of photo to post and then I took a picture of myself with the camera on my laptop. I had fun with it and I was laughing in most of my photos. I put up my photos and prepared to wait.
It wasn’t long before I got lots of winks and a few emails. Great confidence builder. I wasn’t sure what a “wink” was or how to respond to one so I just read the profiles of the men who sent them so I could see the type of guys who responded to my profile. They were all types of regular guys. They came in all heights with various occupations and they lived all over the U.S. They were willing to engage in conversation and even friendship no matter where they lived. I thought to myself, how encouraging. I got to choose who I wanted to talk to. Who I wanted to respond to. The ball was in my court. I kinda liked that.
So it has been about 7 months and I have gone out on a few great dates. I have been taken to wonderful restaurants for dinner, to listen to jazz music, and out to Starbucks for a latte and just to talk. I have made some great friends, even if we didn’t make a love connection. The process has been so fun and has taught me so much about myself and has revealed some insights that I thought I would share with other women in their 40’s who want to date a nice guy.
- Know who you are and be comfortable with yourself. By now you should know yourself pretty good. You have had more than 40 years to make a lot of mistakes. If you are comfortable with who you are, it will show. You will project confidence and self-esteem. Men respond well to women who know who they are. If they don’t, then they are not strong enough to complement a woman like you. Next.
- Set clear boundaries. I read a great book before I started dating entitled Boundaries in Dating which really helped me establish what I wanted for myself. You can even articulate your boundaries in your profile. Thing like “no image, don’t bother email”, “no flirts”, “no profanity”, etc. They will know that you are not interested in someone who is not engaged in the process. You took the time to post your picture and the courage to write that email knowing it may never get answered, so should they.
- Don’t be afraid of rejection. Everyone is not going to be attracted to you or want to know more about you, even if you look like Halle Berry. If it takes a while for someone to reach out to you, it doesn’t mean that there is anything wrong with you. It could be the way your profile is worded or the way you looked in your picture. Ask friends to edit and proof your profile before you post it. If someone you are attracted to doesn’t feel the same, don’t worry. It’s OK. You took the chance and went for it. The next guy may be the one. Don’t jump out of the game just because one guy didn’t see the gem you are.
- Always be a lady. Even online you can project a ladylike image. Post nice pictures of yourself dressed comfortably and in modest poses unless you want to attract a man who is only looking for one thing. Believe me there will be jerks online who will only be after one thing, who do you want to attract?
- Be a good listener. The art of great conversation is being able to listen as well as talk. If your date is talking, be attentive. If you are speaking he should do the same. If you are having great conversation the evening will go off great.
- Be authentic. Eat if you go out to dinner. Don’t sit pushing salad on your plate if you are starving. If the relationship goes further, he will learn anyway 5 months down the road that you have a voracious appetite and will remember that first date.
- Have fun. This is not supposed to be like going for a root canal. Make it light and easy. Every man you meet may not be your next boyfriend or husband. You don’t have to grill them about marriage or children or talk about your last relationship. Get to know your date and find out about things he likes and dislikes. Stick to topics you feel comfortable talking about. Great thing about online dating is that you are usually matched on similar interests and by the time you go on a date you probably have had a few conversations about things you both like.
- Don’t have any preconceived lists. Get rid of your lists. You will be surprised by how wrong they are. You may find that you were looking for a guy closer to your age but then a guy a little younger will ask you out and you two will hit it off. Be open to dating someone who shatters all the myths you held concerning men. You may be surprised at who you click with.
- Be careful and smart. Don’t give out any personal information until you know more about the person you are communicating with. If he is not giving out any information, you don’t either. Don’t be so eager that you tell him everything about yourself in your first conversation. Take it slow. It is not a sprint. Meet your date at a public location for your first 3 or 4 dates until you know he is trustworthy. If you need to you can even check him out online to make sure he isn’t married. There are a number of websites which offer these services for a fee.
- Trust your gut! Women have amazing intuition. Don’t push away that little tingling because you really like a guy or because he is really good looking. If something doesn’t feel right, run! You could be saving yourself a great deal of heartache and time. It is amazing how great my gut is. I have avoided some situations just because I listened to my gut. You should trust yours too.
So I hope this helped some of you out there as you continue the process of online dating in your 40’s. We are still fabulous, except now we are a lot smarter, and in my opinion, sexier, more incredibly beautiful and fun!