How to Date in Your Forties

by Kathryn Rateliff Barr
Some online dating sites run background checks to weed undesirables out of their membership.

Some online dating sites run background checks to weed undesirables out of their membership.

Approximately 14.1 percent of the 2010 United States population is between the ages of 40 and 50, according to the United States Census Bureau, and some 40 percent of those individuals are unmarried. Whether you are recovering from a divorce or the death of a spouse, have never been married, have one or more children or no kids, there are other singles just like you in their forties looking for dates. You can step out there with confidence that there is someone for you.

Prep Work

Make sure you are emotionally and mentally ready to date, advises Dr. Pepper Schwartz with AARP. (Ref 3) Dating before your ready can put you at greater risk for an unhealthy relationship. Deal with any baggage you have from previous relationships so you can fully appreciate this new person you want to bring into your life. See a counselor if there are issues you have difficulty with, such as past abuse, substance abuse issues you experienced yourself or with a partner and experiences you have difficulty forgiving.

Consider your children, if you have them, and their needs. If they still need you close, you will have limited time to date without causing a deficit in their lives. Realize that they may react to a new person in your life with grief because you aren't returning to their other parent, excitement because they see you moving on or because they think this means a new parent, or mixed emotions because they don't what to expect and they wonder if this person will take you away from them. Know when you have time to date, based on their needs, such as on weekends when your ex has them for visitation, during the day when they are at school or in the evenings with the help of a sitter.

Evaluate what you bring to a dating relationship. You have many valuable qualities, such as maturity and life experience. Decide what motivates you to date and what you need and want from a dating partner. This will help you target your search and weed out those who aren't a good match for you.

Finding Singles

Join singles organizations in your area. This can include church singles classes and groups, Parents Without Partners, commercial singles groups and attending singles activities sponsored by the library, social groups and travel services. Put yourself out there where the singles are. Some of these options are inexpensive and fit into almost any budget; others carry a hefty price tag. Some programs provide childcare, usually for a fee, to parents attending the singles events. Target those that best meet your needs, such as groups that share your interests or cater to people in your age group.

Check out Internet dating sites for dating partners. Some online dating sites are free to join. Other sites require a payment to join, but may offer a free trial period to let you decide if the site is for you. Target a niche site to match your special interests, such as those catering to Christians, pet lovers, similar political views or ethnicities, suggests Schwartz. Be honest in your profile, even if you don't provide specifics, so your prospective partner doesn't decide that you lied when you meet. Provide a current picture.

Let friends and family members know you are open to dating. They may know someone suitable, if you tell them what you are looking for. Suggest that you meet new prospects in a group situation to reduce the discomfort of blind dates and meeting a stranger alone.

Dating Again

Let a prospective dating partner know what you want out of the dating experience and ask what his needs are. Clarifying expectations can reduce miscommunication and awkwardness when your needs don't match. Spell it out in your online dating profiles, but those individuals you meet in groups and through family and friends will need you to talk specifics.

Stay safe when meeting dates for the first few times. Meet in public places where you have your own transportation. Don't give out too much personal information until you develop trust in this person. You don't need a stalker or someone you have no interest in knowing where you live or where you work.

Limit contact between any children you have and your dates until you are sure they are safe and you are sure the relationship is going somewhere. First, date for several months and then bring up the question of meeting the kids, preferably in a group event or in an outdoor location. This way, you can see how personalities mesh. Allow your date and kids to develop their own relationship without imposing your desire for everyone to be happy together.

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