Dating at 40 is very different than it was when I was in my 20’s.. I spent my 30’s married and divored. Now, at 40, the scene has changed significantly.
First and foremost, I wanted to let everyone know, that the man who sent me the Dear Paula Letter is a kind person. I was lucky to spend every minute with him, he was of the upmost calliber – he was a true gentleman with the highest of integrity, was honest to the bone, had true grit, had the greatest energy, and was a blast to be with. He has set the bar very high for the next round of gents I date. So please don’t confuse my sadness with anything that he did. I own my grief…. I was/am sad that the person I truly enjoyed being with, that I had tons of fun with, that I conncted with did not feel the same way about me. Oh well, that is part of life. I’ve got my big girl pants on now… its fine.
What I have been pondering lately is the new dating scene I’ve found myself in. I’ve been thinking a lot about these past few weeks. There are a couple of things I’ve learned/am learning/will continue to ponder:
- What I find attractive is so very different now. What I wanted in my 20’s is definitely NOT what I want now. In my 20’s I was looking for someone in my same boat – single, looking to build a partnership/relationship in the spirit of creating a family. I don’t want this anymore. I am single, without kids, but given my experience with my niece, I feel like I’ve lived a full life – raised my kids, enjoyed the ups and downs of unconditional love. I do not need to give birth to a baby to feel complete. So I have no biological clock ticking …. I am looking for someone who is NOT looking to start a new family, is older, wiser, wants to develop a strong friendship/bond, and a fun, drama free relationship.
- Whats on the Market Now. On the market now are either single guys in their 40’s or divorced men in their 40’s. Given the option to date a single person with no children or a divorced person with “extras”. I’d pick the divorced man. 40+ year old men without a long term relationship and/or a family just does not have enough life experience for me. They are often too needy, still want someone to mother/take care of them… I don’t want to be someones mother, I want someone who can take care of themself (like I do). So, I go for the more complex option – man with history/a past. I want someone who has struggled, has learned about themselves, has dealt with adversity, and is able to clearly articulate who they are and what makes them happy, sad, energized, etc.. I know that being with this kind of man presents its own challenges, meaning they may have kids, ex-wives, financial setbacks… I get it. But I’m o.k. with this – I am attracted to men who take care of their families, who want the best for those around them, who know how to compromise, know how to make tough decisions, know how to communicate. Its just what I prefer – and its a good thing, because at 40, there are adult men, good men out there who have been through the ringer, and are looking for a solid, genuine, independent woman to share a few good times with.
- The Art of Dating. For one, I don’t think I have dating game – I want to get there and meet new people, find friendships, establish connections, and just maybe, find that special somone I can explore this life with. But I have no idea really how to go about doing this because everything is different now (points 1 & 2 above) …. … This hit me while I was getting my hair done and reading the Dating Virgins article in this months Marie Claire. Basically this article points out that women (and men I suspect) tend to fall back into the comfort of a full relationship rather than enjoy dating. Dating can fun – getting to know someone is exciting. My favorite quote from the article is “dating is a marathon, not a sprint.”. Personally, I’m in no hurry to get into another relationship – I have no end goal that I’m trying to accomplish. But after reading the article, maybe I do .. just because I don’t know what I’m doing AND when I find someone I like, I do want to spend as much time with that person as possible…… maybe this is too much too soon? I don’t know. This is something I’m going to watch as I begin my dating adventures. My focus will be on enjoying the moment of getting to know someone, not pushing, not rushing, just enjoy what is.
So, dating is different now. I’ve changed, and the dating pool has changed, the game has changed. I’m open to this new life, willing to take that leap of faith, get out there and have fun with a lot of intersting adult men. I’ve got nothing to lose and a whole lot of new friendships to gain and interesting experiences to have.
I’m a few months shy of turning 40 and still found this post extremely releveant. The dating landscape definitely changes drastically after your twenties. It’s no longer ‘how cute is he’ . Now you’re looking (looking very hard I might add) to how much is he a compliment to what I’ve achieved, what I’ve developed and to who I’ve grown into as a person.