"Enjoy yourself—that’s what your 20s are for. Your 30s are for learning the lessons. Your 40s are to pay for the drinks." —Sarah Jessica Parker as Carrie Bradshaw, Sex and the City: The Movie
That’s certainly one way to look at it. However, if you’re like the many single 40-somethings out there, you realize that you’re in the prime of your life, and enjoying yourself is the name of the game. In fact, with a myriad of life lessons already under your belt, now is probably the best time to find someone special—someone who is both a loyal companion and a true soul mate.
You may be on the lookout right now, using such successful online dating sites as Match.com or eHarmony, through which thousands upon thousands of people have found love. Or, you could be out on the singles scene in Atlanta, making connections as you visit the city’s numerous hot spots. There’s even a possibility that you’ve let yourself be fixed up on a blind date or two. Whatever avenue you prefer for meeting people, it never hurts to have some valuable, realistic advice from the experts as you navigate the sometimes choppy waters of finding real, everlasting love.
We’ve asked a panel of local experts to share their top tips for finding love after the age of 40. Their words of wisdom are designed to help you find the kind of relationship that meets your individual wishes and needs at this exciting point in your life. From professional matchmakers to experienced relationship coaches, we’ve gathered a group of love aficionados who understand what it takes for mature adults to identify what they want and how to achieve it.
40 tips from Atlanta’s Experts
Uli Eitel, president and CEO of Sterling
Introductions, a premier nationwide personal matchmaking service for upscale singles
Expert Tips 1-10
1. Get into the gratitude habit. When you are grateful, you feel good about yourself and you are in the right frame of mind to attract love into your life. Acknowledging what you have lays the foundation for bringing great things, events and people into your life.
2. Set realistic relationship goals. Define the values and qualities that you need to have in a life partner. Try to narrow it down to the most important ones. Remember, nobody is perfect! Trying to find Mr. or Mrs. Perfect will keep you single forever.
3. Visualize relationship success. Often, we are our worst enemies when it comes to having a healthy self-image and a positive vision for our life. Don’t let yourself be influenced by negative thoughts about your age. Every day, couples over 40 tie the knot! Love can and will happen at any age, if you are open and receptive.
4. Take good care of yourself. A healthy lifestyle and a positive mindset are a prerequisite for relationship success. How joyful and happy we feel is reflected in our appearance and energy level, and it is directly connected to our personal relationships.
5. Follow your passions. Many singles put their lives on hold until they meet “the one.” Don’t wait to take that special trip or try out a new restaurant. One of the great gifts I gave myself when I was single was a Caribbean Cruise. I had the time of my life and actually met a few eligible gentlemen on board.
6. Get out of your comfort zone. It is time to tackle your “bucket list!” If you always wanted to take that mountain climbing class, do it. Besides pushing your limits and challenging the status quo, trying new things also presents great opportunities to meet people.
7. Keep an open mind. If your ideal man is George Clooney without the commitment issues, it is time to revise your list. Be realistic about the type of partner you see yourself with. If you meet someone who has the core values and character traits that are important to you, but he may be a bit shorter than your ideal, give it a chance.
8. Learn from your past relationships. Being over 40 is the best age to finally know what’s important in life and relationships. We can now learn from past mistakes and get it right. Do you see unhealthy patterns in your past love relationships? Now is the time for change! You may hire a relationship coach to assist you in figuring out how to create that healthy relationship you deserve.
9. Practice flirting. Men love women who are easy-going, fun and flirtatious. Make eye contact and smile for an immediate connection. If your flirting skills could use some brushing up, practice in a non-threatening environment, such as a shopping mall or grocery store. Hold that gaze just a split second too long and you may be surprised by the positive responses you’ll receive.
10. Don’t be afraid to ask for professional assistance. We are open to reaching out for professional assistance in all areas of our lives—we hire tax consultants, investment professionals or personal trainers, yet when it comes to our love lives, we mistakenly believe that we can find our life partner by chance. Hiring a professional matchmaker will greatly enhance your chances of meeting the person who’s right for you. A reputable matchmaking service will only work with qualified individuals and will ensure a comfortable and respectful experience.
Arlene Ingram, executive director and owner
of Atlanta’s Upscale Singles, an Atlanta-based
service that offers singles aged 45 to
60 a positive, upscale, relaxed social environment
that provides opportunities for networking,
friendships, dating and relationships.
Expert Tips 11-20
11. Love yourself first. Self-appreciation is the first essential step to accepting or giving love. The value you place on yourself is measured and returned by others. If you do not love yourself, how can you expect others to love you?
12. Resolve relationship issues. Anyone above 10 years old has encountered disappointments and hurts in the area of relationships. Hence, past experiences and issues may need resolution before love becomes a possibility.
13. Learn something new. Take golf, tennis or dance lessons. Ladies, men congregate on the course for business and pleasure. Gentlemen, an invitation to dance is usually welcomed and provides just enough time for introductions. In Atlanta, tennis is a popular sport. There is sure to be love with mixed doubles on the courts.
14. Always wear a smile! Smiling makes you approachable, enhances your appearance and attracts others.
15. Join a social group for singles age 40 and better. These types of groups offer diverse activities monthly and provide an instant social network.
16. Volunteer your time and talents to a charitable organization. Helping others feels good and can be an opportunity to meet others with common values. (Visit www.bestselfconnect.com for volunteer opportunities.)
17. Get out of the house! Leave the office! The FedEX person will not deliver your significant other to your door. Rather than sipping coffee alone, go to the nearest Starbucks or coffee spot. It is a great place to meet other singles.
18. Attend networking events. Check online calendars such as Events in Your Area or Atlanta Buzz for local options. Approach others with a smile and your business card. Ask how you may assist them in their profession. Networking events are great places to make connections. (Visit www.bestselfconnect.com for networking opportunities.)
19. Check out online dating sites. Many have met as a result of online sites such as Plenty of Fish, eHarmony, Match.com and Perfect Match. Submit an interesting profile with a current picture and let the communication begin!
20. Attend your high school reunion. Get reacquainted with old friends. There are plenty of stories about high school sweethearts rekindling the romance.
Irene LaCota of It’s Just Lunch,
a professional dating and matchmaking service
with franchises throughout Georgia
Expert Tips 21-30
21. Check the baggage. If you’re over 40 and single, you’ve either dated a lot in your life or not very much. (If you were married for years, the idea of dating again may be overwhelming!) It’s normal to have baggage from past relationships or feel drained by the dating process, but remember not to unload heavy emotional issues or hurt feelings about your ex on early dates.
22. Positivity attracts. Speaking of baggage ... not only should you check negativity at the door, but also focus your attention on what’s fun and interesting about your date, and you will enjoy the date more. Besides, people are drawn to people who are positive!
23. Network with people you know. Your friends and your network may be one of the best resources when you are single. Not only will they be there to support you, but they also can help facilitate introductions. Before you consider looking for love far away, consider that people in your community may have connections for you that you haven’t thought about.
24. Pick up new friends. At a certain age, it’s common for singles to feel that they are in a different life stage than their married friends. If most of your Saturday nights are spent hanging out with your friend, his or her spouse and two children, even if you adore them, it may be time to pick up new single women and men for friendship.
25. Know your deal breakers. If you keep dating the same type of person and it’s not working, it may be time to revise your checklist. Ask yourself: what are your top five deal breakers? You may want to base this list on qualities people possessed who were difficult for you to handle in past relationships. (You won’t have different results if you keep dating the same type!)
26. Look in the mirror. You’re fabulous, no doubt, but there are probably things you did—or didn’t do—in your last relationship or on dates that you can learn from. So often we blame others and don’t take time to reflect on how we showed up. Once you look at your self-defeating pattern, you are less likely to repeat it.
27. Play up your passions. What are you passionate about? Passion is one of the sexiest qualities you can possess. If you haven’t done something in a while that brings you pleasure, make a commitment to try it again and you will have a certain je nais se quoi that will make you irresistible in dating.
28. Focus on what makes you a fine catch. So many daters focus on their flaws and why someone they like would never be interested in them. If self-doubt creeps up, replace the negative thought with something you absolutely love about yourself. Write down 10 things that make you a great catch. If you can’t think of anything, enroll good friends to help.
29. Take the pressure off. Early dating shouldn’t be full of pressure. You shouldn’t know if you want to marry someone after the first five minutes (contrary to popular belief and speed networking events!). The only question you need to ask yourself on an early date is if you’re having fun and want to learn more about the other person or not.
30. Take risks. If you’ve been hurt (and let’s face it, at a certain point in life we all have!), you may be anxious about getting back into the dating game. Remember that the act of love requires taking risks and being open—with your mind and in your heart.
Amber Salisbury, love coach and owner of
Feel the Love International LLC, an Atlanta-based professional matchmaking service.es
Expert Tips 31-40
31. Look at it as an adventure. Look at this journey to love as an adventure, not a difficult task that may never end. Start getting excited about all the new people you will meet. Get excited about how much you will learn about yourself during this process. Pretend that you are a dating scientist and you are cataloging all of your interesting dating experiences. Do whatever you need to do to keep this experience fun, light and exciting. Fun people are ridiculously attractive.
32. Focus only on what you want. Whatever you focus on will grow. If you focus on fear, you become more fearful; if you focus on doubt, more doubtful. But if you focus on love and how much you already have in your life, you will find yourself more grateful, more satisfied and more loving. This will also help you to let go of any feelings of lack or neediness. Neediness is NOT sexy.
33. Don’t wait until you are in love to start loving. Now that you are focused on what you want—love—start acting on that emotion. Make a list of all the people you love. Friend love and family love are both very powerful emotions. Start concentrating on the relationships that you already have in your life. Let these people know how much you appreciate them.
34. Forget that you are 40. Instead, remind yourself of your brilliance and beauty. Make a list of all the things that are extraordinary about you. What do YOU bring to the party? Attraction doesn’t have much to do with age or even physical appearance but has everything to do with self-confidence—the way you carry yourself and the belief that you carry about YOU. Own and adore all that you know you are.
35. Don’t engage in negative conversations. Steer clear of any conversations about how terrible it is to be dating at 40, or how there are “no good men or women out there.” Remember to keep your focus on what you want and also remember that you only need one. With billions of people on the planet, I promise you there is at least one good one left.
36. Create a Dream Partner List. Creating a Dream Partner List is possibly the most important thing you can do when you are looking for love. Dedicate one evening to writing your list. Grab your journal and a glass of wine, put on some Barry White or whatever does it for you and then go to work on capturing all of the qualities that you want and desire in your partner. Don’t worry about being too specific. The truth is that your list is just an exercise to help you be clearer about what it is you want to attract and what you will be looking for in a mate.
37. Create a Partner from Hell List. This list is easy to do. We all know what we don’t want and have probably dated him or her several times. Think of all of the relationships that have not worked out in the past and capture—on paper—all of the qualities that you are certain that you don’t want in your Dream Man or Woman.
38. Be patient. Allow yourself to enjoy the process. Don’t become too anxious or fearful that it is not happening fast enough. Finding the right partner could happen overnight or it could take a little time. Just have fun with it. Remember—anxious, needy people are NOT sexy.
39. Make a vision board for your love life. Your brain thinks in pictures. It is easier for your mind to “create pictures” of how you want your love life unfold. Schedule an evening, invite some friends over and go through magazines, finding pictures that represent the life that you want and the partner that you want. Sunset cruises, a couple on a beach, a loving family—whatever it is that you desire. Look at this visual representation every night before bed and each morning as you wake up. Again, this is just another way to have fun with this process.
40. Celebrate bad dates. This one is key. Celebrating dates gone wrong is really important. As you are out in the dating world, experiencing many different people and dating experiences, take the time to open up your journal and capture the things you like and dislike from each person you encounter. Add to that Dream Partner List and the Partner From Hell List. Remember that each bad date is giving you more clarity about what you know you don’t want, which means that you now have an even more solid idea of the partner you want to attract. Saying NO to one thing is actually saying YES to something else.
Originally this article appeared in bestselfatlanta.com