It is not all over! Dating in your 30s and 40s - Part 2
I recently discussed dating in your 30s and 40s and my inbox filled with messages from women (and men) who are looking to meet someone and settle down. Some of you said that you feel like the last single person left on earth. That you spend your weekends with your friends and their families, constantly the third wheel. I am writing this to follow up on your questions.
The first thing I want to draw your attention to is TIME. If you are a woman in your mid thirties and dreaming of a family and a house full of children, better get your skates on. You can absolutely not afford to dilly dally. You have reached an age when you can quickly separate the wheat from the chaff. You know what you want so don’t waste any time with men that don’t fit the bill and/or are not ready to commit.
Don’t settle for a partner that you sort of like just because your biological clock has turned into the bells of Notre Dame. The relationship won’t be healthy, nor will it last. However, this is the time to stop waiting around for the prince on a white horse to show up at your door. You aren’t perfect, so stop seeking perfection in a partner. Be ready to compromise on those things that don’t matter to you as much.
Speaking of princes, yours, may be already onto his second princess. Many couples divorce around that age (or a bit older) and there will be an entire new population of marriage trained men in the dating pool, ready to give it a second go. Some will surely come with baggage, but you should not discount the fact that they have shown that they can commit at least once.
The biggest threat to your future happiness is the time waster who will never marry you. Yes, you know who I am talking about. The on/off boyfriend, who lives in your flat, gets all the perks of married life, but after 7 years of dating is still not ready to get on his knees and pop the question. If you want a family and kids, ditch him today. A year or two can make a difference to your fertility but will make none to his. When he is good and ready to commit, he is just as likely to go for a newer model and where does this leave you and your dreams?
Pay attention here. You need to understand how important this is. It is not just a year or two, it is a life you will be giving up if you stick it out. Make sure you are crystal clear on this. The power that you have in your early thirties, in your little black dress and your sky high heels will disappear as you approach your forties and you will be surpassed but the wave of younger women coming behind you. You friends will be settling into their young families and suddenly you will find that the train has left the station.
At this stage, many women seek therapy for depression. Am I scaring you yet? I hope so, for your own sake. When you reach your mid thirties, it is time to make a conscious effort to take a step back from driving to the suburbs every weekend and actually put the effort into finding a partner. Your biggest advantage is also your biggest problem. Women in their 30s are stunning and irresistible. They are confident in and out of bed, intelligent, most likely settled in a career and quite possibly with savings and a home. They have finally discovered what looks good on them, their makeup and wardrobe have been perfected. They are beautiful and independent , BUT there is the elephant in the room…TICK, TOCK, TICK TOCK and the men hear this and run, run away. What can you do? Did you know that divorced women find it easier to remarry than single women? I have theorised that it is because they are not desperate or in a hurry and this comes across in their demeanour. Guys don’t feel threatened when dealing with divorcees. How can you best emulate their attitude?
Truthfully the best and wisest strategy is to stop scaring the boys. I know that you may be scared and anxious yourself but keep it in check. Give your date space and time, don’t go exclusive until he does and make sure that you continue being the person that he was originally attracted to. Find ways to demonstrate to him that you have options, you are desirable and sought after and the reason you are not married yet is because you are picky, not because you are not good enough to be propose to.
Don’t fall in the trap of thinking that every successful date means you met “the ONE”. I know it is hard not to. He is thoughtful, caring, texts you all the time and you are already practicing your new signature as a married woman… Well don’t. Let the relationship happen in the present. The more pressure you put on it, the easier it will crumble, and you will be back at square one.
Finally, I will reiterate what I said previously. The best place for you to meet the man of your dreams is where you can showcase your assets, maturity, confidence and intelligence. Meetup groups focusing on your interests (or organise your own meetup group), outdoor activities (hiking, swim meets, running clubs), short courses, work conferences, film clubs etc. Also, don’t neglect singles holidays, or tour groups. When everyone is seeing new things and are relaxed away from work, it is the perfect time to meet someone and strike a new relationship.