The DREAD of Dating after 40

I recently read an Instagram post from a lady that was ‘feeling a little bit heart hurt’.  She had been on her umpteenth date and it had proved to be less than successful. She stated that dating after 40 had not been a great experience for her.

The implication was that this was a recurring theme. This was not the first time I had heard similar woes, and it made me wonder what the underlying reasons were. Not just for her, but for my own friends and acquaintances of similar age. It seemed that dating after 40 suddenly posed a lot of problems.

Is Dating After 40 really that tough?

By mid 30’s we have usually managed to struggle through the early years of marriage. Have a husband, wife, kids, cars, houses and everything else that we imagined when growing up.

But for some that have never settled down, or for a larger number that did, then experienced the upset of a divorce, that ideal can sometimes seem beyond reach. If you are just starting dating after 40 it can be a minefield.

hello im 40 sticker

So I found myself mulling this over. I am a 40 something myself and in a long term relationship (my 3rd – I’m a bit of a serial monogamist!). I found myself wondering how it would be if I were ever back to being single again.

At this stage in my life, would I dip my toe back in the dating pool.  After some consideration I have to say that the answer is a resounding “NO!”.  Not saying that if someone came along I wouldn’t entertain it, but I would no longer ACTIVELY seek out a mate.

A sentiment that has been echoed by many of my friends and family, gay and straight, rich and poor, which are all around the 40 year age group or older. So why is dating after 40 so hard, and why are we increasingly abstaining?

“Everyone that is our age is either broke, or broken by now”

A good friend of mine swore off dating after several failed attempts. He theorized that ‘Everyone at our age is either broke, or broken!.” Now I’m not sure that’s strictly correct. It is a very generalized statement.  But on hearing many friends stories and experiences. I kind of know what he meant.

It seems that there is a large contingent, not everybody, but a large contingent of people hitting the dating scene, especially the online dating scene, that are not honest about who they are.

Lying about their current situation or what they want (long term or short term relationships).  Then there’s the ones that are not over their ex-wife, ex-husband, have being widowed, are dealing with raising kids single handedly, or navigating one of the many other traumas life can throw at us. 

Considering those events, it seems to get even more complicated.

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The Online Dating Dilemma

There is a massive amount of online dating options to pick from, some good, some not so good. 

For the brave souls that do venture in, most are intelligent enough to weed out the wounded or dishonest people but it still causes upset along the way. I had a friend recently that met a guy online that wanted to come to her house. They had been chatting online for a few weeks. He seemed to be pretty genuine.

My friend has a young daughter and being a sensible mum she asked him to send a pic of his drivers license. She wanted to confirm he was who he claimed to be.

couple meeting from online dating

It seemed a little extreme to me until she went on to tell me she just ‘had that gut feeling’ (don’t ever ignore that by the way). The man in question was not very agreeable. He wasn’t offended that she asked. But because he, and I quote, “was having a terrible day at work, the boss was on his back, and he couldn’t send her the information because he had lost his wallet that morning”…..hmm, maybe that gut feeling was right after all?

“Don’t ever ignore your gut feelings”


Is Dating After 40 too much compromise?

I have heard many reasons for deciding to avoid the dating game from various friends and colleagues. Ranging from financial, to reluctance to share living space, to not wanting to deal with someone else’s kids. 

I wonder, is it just an age thing – or rather, our gained knowledge and experience!? When we are in our 20’s we are willing to accept and compromise on lot more issues. Not so much when we reach 30, 40, or 50 something.We own a home, have a career, pay in to a pension plan, and all the other things that come along with maturity.

If you have been single a while it seems harder at that age to think about sharing homes or co-mingling resources. Swanning off to the south of France at the drop of a hat, or saying ‘YES’ to that last minute skiing trip with your friends is common place by now.

It’s a freedom you can soon become used to. Might be why the number of people ‘Living Apart Together or LAT’s is a growing demographic. More about that HERE.

Yes, I’d love to look after your 6 nephews and nieces.

I am not saying all dating (online or offline) is bad. Some people have had wonderful experiences that have lead to long term relationships or marriage. The purpose of this article is to question why so many are simply deciding not to pursue the goal of finding a suitable partner.

For some, it seems that the investment doesn’t seem worth the payoff any more. For others it seems that there is just so much more to do, or focus energy on.

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Back to that compromising thing. At 20 something I was happy to share a home, debate what picture should go on which wall, and compromise on colour schemes. 

Not to mention the ‘We’ll go to YOUR parents on Christmas Day and MINE on Boxing Day then”.  Or the “Of course your brother can stay a while until he gets back on his feet”. Or the “No, I’d LOVE to look after your 6 nephews and nieces every other Saturday”.

keep calm and carry on christmas ornament

All these are things that we might make allowances on in our youth. But as age and experience racks up it seems that we are more inclined to put on the brakes and say ‘Hang on! Is this REALLY what I want to be doing with my time?’.

If you have met and married someone in your middle or later years then congratulations, more power to you. Love is a wonderful thing. But there is definitely a growing number of people, especially women, dating after 40, that have sworn off the whole game entirely.

Please add your comments about your own experiences, positive and negative. 

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