Grey Haired and Scared Part One - Top tips for dating after 45
Can I ever date again?
Who said love is for the young? Forget this rubbish about being over the hill, too old for romance; too droopy for sex.
There are women out there as active as teenagers (but with the wisdom to get it right and know when it is wrong).
We interviewed a group of Sassy love-seekers to find out what works and what definitely does not.
First meet Caroline
After two long–term relationships which went no-where she decided to settle for the single life. But hers was not a case of giving up. Far from it. She describes it as ‘time to settle, heal, be with myself’. It was a time of freedom, doing what she wanted, caring for her mind, body and soul. She focused on career and looking as good as she could – not for the sake of a man but for the sake of self-pride. Confidence grew and so did her sense of adventure. Someone suggested internet dating. Why not?
This time was different. Long gone were the days of crushes, trying to make every date into the perfect man, hoping he would be nicer next time, wondering if this was ‘the one’. After her time alone, Caroline, knew what she wanted. Values, shared interests, sense of humour and honesty were top of the list and down the list went money and looks. As it happens after a few non-starters Caroline was ‘liked’ by a man called John. After two weeks of messaging which went from caution to humour they picked up the phone. 90 minutes later they were still talking. The first date was like meeting an old friend and it only took a cocktail before they were hand in hand. As it happens, John happens to have looks and a great job, but these are peripheral to his personality in Caroline’s mind. Nine months later this couple are already living together and talking engagement. As Caroline says ‘he was a long time coming, but the wait was worth it. It’s better than when I was young. This time I bring confidence and assurance. I knew what I wanted and I found him.’
Then there is Vanessa
Unlike Caroline, Vanessa made just about every mistake in the book, including dating much younger men (then feeling like their mum); dismissing men after the first date (men are nervous too and do not show their best side when feeling judged); expecting all men over 45 to be as handsome as George Clooney (forget it – few are and he is taken!); pouncing on men who seemed like a good catch (good catches do not like to be caught in a trap); falling in love on the first date and wondering where that man went to on the third date (they all have a flaw); waiting for phone calls like a love-sick teenager (men do not replace career, work responsibilities and everything else in your life); moving in quickly and before learning about his very bad habits (we all have one); dating inappropriate men (and making excuses for them in the face of her friends dismay); dropping all her friends when a man was on the scene (never forget they give you what men cannot). She is in a good place now but only after a six year dating car-crash.
So what are the top tips for dating after 45?
The Sassistas have scoured the internet for every bit of advice going. Much is good, some is bad. So if you find any advice sites telling you to lie about your age or jump into bed on the first night (because what do you have to lose), please, please do not read them.
Know what you want. Yes we all want a mix of George Clooney, Idris Elba, Brad Pitt, Pierce Brosnan, Daniel Craig and Denzel Washington, but most men over 45 do not have that genetic code nor the entourage of stylists to make the best of their genes. Real men have real wrinkles. Far more important is to define your mate by their values, their interests, their character and their style. See our upcoming worksheet on ‘Creating your Mate’ to take a deep analysis of what person will really suit you and your life.
Get out and about. Your future partner is not going to knock on the door and sweep you off your feet if you are sitting on a sofa in a grubby dressing-gown, comfort eating chips. Going to bars is probably not a good idea. Instead, join a club, a sporting team, or join a community where you are likely to find men with the same values and interests.
Believe in yourself. There is a mate for everybody out there. But if you have low self-confidence it is hard for anyone to have confidence in you. Also, few mates want to be a therapist or a carer. Woman up, recognise your worth and think positive.
Go slow. Yes, the Sassistas believe in love at first sight (though science tells us it is more likely to be how he smells). For most of us, love grows over time. Try to treat all first dates as an opportunity to have a nice time and get to know somebody and not an interview for marriage.
Be honest. It is unfair on you and your date to make up a persona and a life which does not exist. The same goes for your age. A flirtation based on fibs will not flourish.
Look your best. You have about 40 seconds to make an impression. So brush up, make the best of your assets and dress appropriately for the venue. Before you go out, take a look in the mirror (front, sides and back) and ask yourself what words he would use as you walk through the door.
Take advice. If you are using dating websites, follow their advice. They are experts and will give you the right steer to finding your mate while staying safe. The top websites for over 45s are listed as eHarmony.co.uk (top for marriage reviews), Match.com (we like the strapline #love your imperfections), Elite Singles (aimed at professionals), Just Senior Singles (exclusively for people over 40) and Zoosk (focusing on ‘adventurous’ singles). Be careful of sites like Tinder unless you are feeling confident. This sites enables you to self-match by looks alone and you can only contact people who like you back. Potentially exciting, potentially crushing.
Finally, have faith. You are a Sassy women with much to give. You have life, love to give, a hand to hold and a desire to share. Do not settle for less than you are worth and, like Caroline, enjoy the hunt finding the one who is worth the wait.