A couple in their 40s walk arm-in-arm along a street at night

5 realities of dating over 40

by Fran Creffield - May 13, 2013

If life begins at 40, how is it that so many people think that they’re too old to date?

There’s no getting away from the fact that when you’re over 40 your perspective on life and love is different from when you’re in your 20s, but what is it really like to date in your fifth decade? Here are 5 realities of mature dating over 40 

1. Family

Although many women now wait until their early 40s before starting a family, the chances of conceiving do diminish when you’re over 40. Men can continue to father children until much later in life but for women, if they haven’t had a family by this time their priorities for a relationship will be different from that of a younger woman.

Older people often have children from previous relationships and it’s becoming more common for families to be ‘blended’ with step brothers and sisters, aunts, uncles and grandparents. This can bring up lots of different issues within a relationship but as long as you and your partner are on the same page and work together as a team, it can be very satisfying.

2. Body

It’s often in our 40s that our bodies become less forgiving and slower to recover from excesses or injury. Whether its middle age spread or pains in the joints, it’s inevitable that our bodies will change as we grow older and we need to do more to stay in shape.

If you’re particularly body conscious this can become a real block to dating. Rather than resigning yourself to a life alone because you don’t feel confident about your body, try doing all you can to take care of yourself. Just the basics of eating a balanced diet, getting enough sleep, drinking plenty of water and exercising regularly will help you feel more confident about yourself. Your relationship with yourself is the most important and remember, there are lots of examples of people later in life who look better than they did in their 20s.

3. Physical intimacy

According to experts, women reach their sexual peak in their 40s and men can still be in full sexual health throughout life. Aside from illness, any problems with physical intimacy usually arise from a lack of self confidence, particularly if you’ve been on your own for a long time.

The key is to not expect yourself to be as energetic as you were in your 20s. The chances are that your partner won’t be either, if they’re around the same age as you. Accepting your own imperfections will help you to also accept others. Sex later in life is often more sensual and an expression of emotion because it’s not being driven by the biological urge to procreate.

4. Attitude

When someone is over 40 they usually have a different attitude towards relationships than younger people. They’re more likely to be ready to make a commitment because they know what they want in life. They’ve also had many more life experiences and will have developed strategies for dealing with problems and challenging emotions.

Time seems to speed up as you get older and people realise that they have one chance at a relationship and happiness. The realisation that life is short is often a good incentive to make the most of every day and not be too burdened by the past or fearful of the future. Being comfortable in your own skin often comes with age and can allow you to relax and enjoy relationships more.

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5. Expectations

As we grow older our list of what we want from a partner will change significantly. Instead of being hung up on looks, status and the type of car someone drives, older people are likely to say that they’re looking for someone who is kind, considerate and has a good sense of humour. This is because life teaches us that inner substance is more valuable than outer flashiness.

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The one thing that doesn’t change, no matter how old you are, is the desire to give and receive love.