We believe it has to do with advancements in medical science and the re-adjusted longevity and actuarial tables which insurance companies and pension fund companies are trying to analyze. Imagine what would happen to their coffers if they continue sending checks to centenarians!
If you’re one of those who are bothered about the fact that you’re 40 and up, just think that if the 80 year old is the new 60, then that makes you only 20 years old in the eyes of many. Hope springs eternal.
Even if your body looks 40 and your gait is suggesting that the 50s are just around the corner, your spirit is saying the opposite. You’re a spring chicken, and if you haven’t joined the dating game, now’s a good time as any.
Look at it this way: because of your mature age, you won’t be committing the foolish mistakes that an absolute beginner is most likely to commit. In our spiritual lives, we have a saying that goes, “to err is human, to forgive is divine.”
In the dating scene, “to flirt is divine, to find the wrong one is human.” If the seduction exercise does not work out, you don’t feel short-changed or unloved. If the bait doesn’t bite, that’s their loss, not yours. You just go with the next name on your black book. You can go on flirting and you can make life divine.
Dating After 40 - Rules are Slightly Different
Your past experience will dictate how you approach the dating game in your 40’s. Your instincts will tell you that it’s not same arena. The ball will always be in your court, and it may turn out to be a stalemate at love/40. Meaning, it could go both ways. You have zero feelings and the other is only 40% into you. Or, your date is not really interested in love, but just curious if a woman of 40 is more…well…kinky. Replace the word “kinky” with adventurous.
In other words, you’re going to meet all kinds. Be prepared for the likelihood that who you meet in your 40s will not be your average Joe Bloke. At 40, each person has dined, loved and broken up many times over, not to mention his or her whole baggage of emotions.
Dating at 40 means you’re aware that chivalry may really be dead. It’s not like Cinderella where Prince Charming slips the glass slipper into her delicate foot and scoops her up so they can live happily ever after.
It’s more like, “I got a mortgage, you got a mortgage, how about if we split the bill 50-50?”
Forget about the chauffeuring too. By the time a person hits 40, driving becomes a chore, not a joy ride full of ecstasy. Don’t wait for any offers to be “collected” from your place. “I’ll be standing by the lamp post just outside Dupont Circle metro. Will you be on time for 7:30 pm?”
And before you’ve had the chance to give the waiter your order, the question pops up – “so what do you expect from this relationship? I’m okay for involvement, but I stay away from commitments.” It’s not the tender “what kind of music turns you on?”
At 40, you’ve learned the art of no-nonsense talking and no-nonsense dating. You get straight to the point and skip the niceties. Did it ever occur to you why some web sites have this little button with the words “skip intro” right next to it? It’s because web site designers know surfers have no time to sit back and enjoy the jazzy and the spiffy. Never mind the dazzling colors and the whistles and bells. They want only want they’re looking for. If the web site doesn’t provide it, they click on to the next.
And that’s what dating after 40 can mean to some. It’s “so tell me about your debts or skeletons in the closet”; not “tell me, do you like walks in the rain?”
Don’t forget the kids, by the way. At 40, one or both of you must be playing parent to a child or half a dozen children. Already, a dating father and mother have limitations. Different dynamics and different expectations.
Once we sat across a couple in a restaurant who looked like they had just met each other. The man’s cell phone rings. He answers and chats for about two minutes. He hangs up, smiles at his date and says sheepishly, “sorry, that was my five year old. He wanted to know if I could drop by the video store and rent Dumb and Dumber.” After five minutes, his phone rings again. It’s the kid again and the man is getting irritated. The kid’s simply lonely for his father. We look sideways at the woman. Her body language said it all. Her mind was made up. This may be the right guy, but she’s in the wrong movie.
Love at Last!
And yet, dating is such a wonderful experience that for the lucky ones, dating at 40 could actually usher in true love – the one that lingers. You’ve persisted in looking for love and you’re now being rewarded for your efforts.
Your first husband or wife turned out to be another person, the frustrations were real and the hurt was deep. But by dating again, you’re doing it not only cautiously, but smartly as well. Playing your cards right means you could actually ace that relationship.
Maturity and experience have a lot to do with it. You’ve learned the ropes. You’ve become a good judge of character. You can sniff the wrong motives with the accuracy of a Swiss watch.
Psychologists and life coaches encourage people in their 40s to approach the dating game with the same innocence and excitement of youth, and to avoid putting up barriers that suggest you’re cynical or afraid. You can be cautious, yes, but be spontaneous and natural.
Remember, in the eyes of people who are preoccupied with longevity tables, you’re only 20.
It all boils down to attitude.
Nicholas Boothman wrote an enticing book which he titled, How to Make Someone Love You (in 90 Minutes or Less) Forever! (2004). This may be a book that a 17-year old might get excited about and spend her week’s allowance on, but people in their 40’s would probably say that it’s a book with just hoopla and woopla without a grain of wisdom. Nuggets of wisdom or not, there was one section in the book that we had to agree with. It was what Boothman calls the “hi” and “bye” attitudes.
Boothman calls our attention to these attitudes and says:
“There are two distinct classes of attitude – those that attract and those that repel. When you see someone who’s happy, confident and relaxed, you’re likely to be attracted to him or her. These are appealing “Hi!” attitudes. The opposite is true for someone who seems arrogant, gloomy, tense, angry, or dejected. No one wants to hang out with gloomy or irritated people because sooner or later they sap all your energy. They have “Bye!” attitudes. The key to opening up yourself socially is to leave your gloomy side alone and consciously choose to look on the bright side - the side that gives you unlimited access to opportunity.”
The power of the mind is a subject that has been discussed, re-hashed and re-cycled by many writers ad nauseam. And if you’re looking for love and passionately believe that it can still happen to you – whether in your 40’s or 70’s – it will. For people who refuse to throw in the towel, love can be lovelier the second time around.
Besides, being 40 translates into more self-confidence, poise and emotional intelligence. You’re prepared to hack away until you find what you want – that lost treasure buried somewhere in the sea of humanity.
Dating is an exciting stepping stone to a happy married life. Dating at 40, however, takes on a slightly varied meaning: it’s a chance to make new relationships via a stimulating exchange of ideas. But this time, it’s more full bodied and with more texture. Plus a flirting style that’s been honed to perfection!