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Dating Rules after 40: How to Find the One When the Game’s Changed

Re-entering the dating world? Well, you’re not the only one getting back into it. But things have changed a bit, so follow these dating rules after 40.

dating rules after 40

If you’re over 40, you’ve been-there-done-that with the dating game. For whatever reason, you’re back in it. And you need to learn the new dating rules after 40.

When you were in your twenties, you were probably bored of dating. I completely understand why. Sure, in the beginning, it was fun and exciting to meet new people and hear their stories. Maybe even hook up with them.

Then, after a while, you’re thinking to yourself, is this everything? Isn’t there something more, something with depth? Well, you know that the answer is yes, but you also know that it’s not easy to find. [Read: The lessons you need to learn to find true love]

15 must-know dating rules after 40

You are in a completely different phase of your life than when you were in your 20s, looking and wanting different things than you do now.

Does this mean finding love is going to be impossible? No, it just means you’re going to have to approach it in a different way. These are some dating rules after 40 to help you navigate through it. Let’s face it, you’re not 20 anymore.

#1 You actually want to date, right? Don’t just start dating again because you’re scared to be alone for the rest of your life. Though, I understand the fear. But, you don’t want to just pick someone out of a hat. You should want to find someone new. Make sure you feel ready to start dating again before you start. [Read: How to stay single until you’re seriously ready to mingle]

#2 Don’t stick to one form of dating. Listen, if you want to actually find someone you’re compatible with, then you expand your dating resources. You have all the options you could ever ask for when it comes to finding love these days.

You can join endless amounts of dating sites, apps, speed date, matchmakers. I mean, you can expose yourself any way you want to. [Read: Single and ready to mingle? Get out there in the world]

#3 Know what aren’t you looking for. You’re not really interested in dating people that aren’t a match for you. I mean, you probably have kids, work, the last thing you need is to waste your time with people who don’t have the same goals and values as you do.

Before you even start dating, know what you don’t want. There are some things that are deal breakers for you, so figure those out and stick to them.

#4 You can make the first move. The times have changed, and this is one of the biggest dating rules after 40 you need to remember. If you’re a woman, you were probably chased by your last partner. Now, it doesn’t matter who makes the first move. If you like something you see, grab it *figuratively speaking, I don’t need you in jail*. If you see someone you think is interesting, then make a move, don’t let it pass you by. [Read: 15 creatively sweet ways to make the first move on a guy]

#5 Don’t judge your date too quickly. Yes, you have your list of things you’re not looking for but that doesn’t mean you should reject someone too quickly. This doesn’t mean you should lower your standards but know that not everyone is going to check every box on your list.

#6 Be you. When I say this, I’m talking more about your online presence. Yes, I know you want to make yourself look younger but the thing is you’re not as young anymore. It’s okay to use a photo on your dating profile that looks like you, not the you that was 20 years ago with no kids. Your date is going to see you eventually, so don’t hide.

#7 Lose the idea about having a type. Yes, we all have the imaginary “type” of person that we want to be with. But if anything, this is only limiting yourself. You don’t know if you’ll hit it off with someone who has completely different interests than you. If anything, it may open your perspective of the world as they’ll be able to show you new things and vice versa. [Read: How to start over and win: 12 keys to finding your second chance]

#8 Accept that they probably have baggage. The people you were dating in your twenties are still around but now they’re forty-five and newly divorced with kids, paying child support. In other words, they come with baggage.

This isn’t a bad thing, but it’s something to be aware of. The older you get, the more issues you have, it’s normal. So, don’t expect anyone to be “baggage free,” and if they are, there’s a possibility that something ain’t right.

#9 Know not every date is going to be good. You may not remember this, but you may have to go on a couple of dates in order to get a decent one. When we think about our single moments, we remember the fun times but not the times when we got rejected or waste our Friday night on a date with someone who doesn’t talk. Expect some unsuccessful dates mixed among good ones.

#10 Younger? Older? Who cares. You may be interested in someone ten years younger than you which makes you nervous. The good thing is that it doesn’t matter. You’re over 40, there aren’t any rules when it comes to age.

Do they make you happy? How about make you feel good? Do you feel yourself around them? Then who cares how old they are, just as long as they’re legal. [Read: When does age difference matter in a relationship?]

#11 Competition is fierce. This doesn’t mean you need to get a facelift, but you do need to be aware that the good ones get taken off the market quickly. So, don’t be shy when it comes to approaching someone you think may be interesting. It’s time to take what you want. If not, someone else will come and take it from you.

#12 Be honest with yourself. What are you looking for? Are you only looking for sex? For a relationship? For something in between? Well, be honest with yourself and know what you want. Then, be honest with the person you’re dating. If they want something casual and you want something serious, don’t waste your time.

#13 Expand your range. Don’t just look for someone in your town, expand your geographical range. Try dating people from surrounding cities rather than limiting yourself to one location. You don’t know who’s living in the city/town next to you, so date people from that area and see what happens. Who knows what will happen.

#14 Indulge in the date. Listen, small talk can get boring, but this is your chance to make a positive experience from dating. Come up with fun date ideas and really let yourself go with it. When you were younger, you were worried about what people thought, etc. But now you don’t care what your date will think, so have fun with dating. [Read: How to explore the happiness and freedom of singledom]

#15 Always check in with yourself. After a big date, check in with yourself and see how you feel. It’s so easy to get wrapped up in the idea that we must find someone. What happens is that we lose ourselves and end up with someone who doesn’t make us happy.

When you come home from a date, think about how they made you feel and note potential red flags.

[Read: Understanding what it means to be dating someone]

Understanding the dating rules after 40 will help you refocus in the dating game. Love it out there, go and find it for you!

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Natasha Ivanovic
Natasha Ivanovic is an intimacy, dating, and relationship writer best known for her writings on Kiiroo, LovePanky, Post Pravda, and more. She's the creator and ...
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