If you are navigating the love and romance scene at the moment you may have realised that modern dating is a minefield. Illustrating this is the launch of a new podcast Truth Flirts by the spiciest of Spice Girls Mel B, where she debates adjusting to the single life and rethinking what new love could look like in her 40s, Cherise Rhoden asks four women to share their experiences of dating in their 40s.
Love! Finding it, having it, losing it and then looking for it all over again is no easy feat. One person that knows all about this is Mel B. Following a complicated and public divorce, she is now hosting a new series called Truth Flirts for social networking App, Badoo. The online dating podcast features specialists and personalities like Jamelia, to highlight some much-needed dating and love advice for the modern-day singleton.
Let’s face it, listening and watching shows like this shows that we’re all a little curious about how others are ‘doing dating’. It’s important to rediscover what your ‘non- negotiables’ are. Would you approach a man first, or is that a little too forward for you? Do you think bill splitting is fine or are you looking for a gentleman that always pays for dates? Would you share your home and finances this time around, or is a regular companionship a couple of nights a week enough?
It’s very possible your style and requirements have evolved since you first started doing the dating dance years ago. There’s certainly a lot to consider but it is entirely up to the individual on what dating looks like in your 40s and beyond.
Here, we bring you four readers who share their experiences of dating in their 40s.
Joanne 44, Boutique owner
Joanne is a bubbly, successful business owner and a divorcee. She has lots of single friends her age and is VERY knowledgeable when it comes to dating in your 40s. She sums it up succinctly. “Dating a man is like gambling.” Like you could end up with a great prize of a man? “Err not quite”, she says. “You can take a casual approach like those who only play the Euro Millions at Rollover, only interested in playing for a big win” She explains that this group hold out to only date the man they think ticks all their boxes and is likely to be long term.
“Others find dating to be an addictive activity”. She’s referring to those that subscribe to all the dating apps, swiping left and right and lining up mini coffee dates, and gossiping about what did or didn’t happen with their friends.
Joanne also talks about the active dating ‘Gambler’ who goes to networking events and parties where the type of men they like may frequent, hoping they will bump into their counterpart. We see where she’s going with this. Much like a visit to a Vegas casino. This serial dater invests in flattering outfits, and hairstyles mastered so that she stands out from the crowd. Capable of holding a stare, with full confidence in all the cards she holds. Who knows, she just might strike it lucky. The old saying goes, ‘Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity’.
Joanne continues, “There’s also the woman who doesn’t like taking any risk and this often trickles into their dating style. But that’s as good as stubbornly staying at home and hoping that the right man will break in and sweep you off your feet!”
Speaking about her own circumstances, Joanne says: “I keep wondering to myself if being one half of a couple again is worth it. I feel like I would be literally gambling the life I have created for myself for a fleeting chance of love. It’s really such an effort.”
What in the Generation X crisis, is going on?
Seema 42, Administrator
Widowed unexpectedly seven years ago, with two teenagers 13, and 14, Seema works part time as an administrator. She admits it was a struggle to raise her children in the aftermath of her husband’s passing. She then lost her mother three years later which caused more emotional turmoil. Whilst Seema is more comfortable today, partly due to an inheritance from her mum, she is still hesitant about dating and not sure if she’s ready to move on.
“I am a very different person today than I was and I barely dated in my younger days. I have incorporated some major lifestyle changes in my life too and now follow a raw food diet. I cycle and generally am more conscious of my environment and my sense of peace as I get older.”
“I have a beautiful home and I am satisfied with my career, but I have lost two of the most important people in my life and that is a heavy burden I carry every day.”
Seema’s circumstance raises the question of how to find someone new when the bar has already been set high by a predecessor. She says, “I’m unsure about dating someone who will respect who I am and what I have been through. I’m a single mother because I’m a widower, but single, nonetheless. I am yet to meet someone who shares my values and who doesn’t recoil at my lifestyle choices. Would they be willing to occasionally swap a hearty home meal in favour of carrots sticks?”
“A few weeks ago, my friend convinced me to sign up to a dating app for Christians and I’ve been talking to a lovely man. I am surprisingly enjoying the experience.”
We’ll watch this space!
“Now that I am dating, I have to confront the question of how to navigate the merging of our lives and to what extent.”
Olamide 43, PR Executive
“I was very reluctant to date as I have had a few short relationships but nothing that has lasted longer than a year. I’ve been dating Ash for 10 months and it’s going very well. I’m happy and healthy and my social life is reasonable, considering how hard I work in my career. That being said, I have unwittingly absorbed societies’ judgements about what it means to be single.”
“The times when I have been in a relationship, I am constantly questioned about when I’ll be engaged, married or cohabiting, this only increased once I hit 30. I don’t have children and I don’t know if I will – simply because I don’t have the ability to see in the future and give these answers, I wouldn’t mind knowing for myself either. Things have changed now though. I have decided to date without setting any goals and timeframes that I don’t choose for myself. I finally feel freer to do as I, somewhat, please.”
“My new guy Ash adores me and is a painter and decorator. He has a 10-year-old from a previous relationship. I met him when he was doing up my neighbour’s house and then he did mine.”
“Financially, my livelihood is much more secure and well paying. I consider myself to be comfortable. I own an apartment and have savings; my only responsibilities are to myself. Now that I am dating, I have to confront the question of how to navigate the merging of our lives and to what extent.”
“Is it fair to want to protect my assets even though I see a future? I feel like I’ve built my little empire on my own, but a relationship is all about the coming together of two people, right? If I wait for a man whose finances are more in line with mine, I could be waiting a long time… I’ve done enough of that already.”
“He has a child and I wonder about how active I need to be in the child’s life as a stepmother, do I need or even want to be involved?”
“I’ve thought hard about it and I’m willing to be a breadwinner in exchange for love this time, even though it’s yet another societal norm that I’ll be breaking. I love him but if I’m honest, I’m a little conscious of our differences when people in my circle ask me about his occupation.”
How much would you give up for love?
“I’ve got lots going on, I won’t be sitting around waiting for a man to choose me, that’s one thing I can assure you about.”
Yvonne 44, Lecturer
“I actually want to date. I’ve been single for three years me and my last relationship was through a blind date organised by mutual friends. I have had two long term relationships in the past so it would be nice to be in a new relationship.”
“I probably don’t put as much effort into my appearance as some women, but not every man wants makeup and fancy heels. I know I’m still attractive, but my style is subtle. I think for me, a big challenge is that I don’t like the idea of clubbing, dating apps or being approached on the street like a 20-something. How I meet someone matters.”
How does she hope to meet potential suitors? “I socialise by going to the theatre and comedy shows and lovely restaurants, but the men there always seem to be in relationships already. The gym is a bit cliché for me. I do my workouts from YouTube in front of my Smart Tv. I don’t know how I’ll meet someone, but I want it to be in a way that feels organic and appropriate. I don’t want to give the impression that a fling is ok. In the meanwhile, I’ve got lots going on, I won’t be sitting around waiting for a man to choose me, that’s one thing I can assure you about.”
“As much as having a partner would be nice, I’m absolutely fine at the thought that I might not find love again.”
Self-love is the first love.
So, there you have it. Dating in your 40s can be extremely complex. Maturity and financial security certainly appear to add several layers of challenges, but in our opinion that can only be a good thing. A big thank you to all the ladies who shared their experiences and for their honesty. Do you agree with them, or perhaps you can offer some advice? We’d really like to hear from you. Please share your thoughts in the comments below.
*Names have been changed