It was a wise man who once said “Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forward.” And boy, when it comes to matters of the heart, truer words have never been spoken!
You remember your 20s, don’t you? You were youthful. You were independent. And if you’re really honest with yourself, although you thought you knew more than your mom or aunts (women who probably already had at least a two-decade lead on life), you were actually pretty naïve. Especially when it came to men.
And perhaps that’s why you have so many stories in the form of lessons to share now. Some good. Some not-so-good. Many of them the kind that you wish could do over with the 40+ wisdom that you have now. (Remember “that guy”? Every woman has a novella’s worth about a man from her 20s who was so ridiculous and/or heart-wrenching that he doesn’t deserve a name other than “that guy”!)
The silver lining is that you survived those years and you can actually live to tell about it. Not only that, but you’re wiser when it comes to dating too. So, whether you’re about to go on a first date with a guy from work, someone is trying to set you up on a blind date or you’re seriously considering setting up an online dating profile, here are five reasons why, on this side of wisdom, you’ve got things more under control than you might think!
Dating in your 40s means you know yourself better. There are a lot of studies which indicate that getting married before 25 significantly increases your chances of filing for divorce. Why? Well, for one thing, your brain has literally just finished developing. Not only that but when you’re young, you are still trying to figure out who you are: what you want to do professionally, your likes and dislikes, what makes you tick (and what doesn’t). But when you’re in your 40s, you tend to be more settled and self-assured. And when you know who you are as an individual, that makes it easier to know what you’re looking for in another person.
Dating in your 40s means you are able to detect a waste-of-timer a mile away. One of the best things about dating in your 40s over dating in your 20s is you realize just how precious time is. And so, you are able to snuff out red flags a lot quicker. A man who only texts you. A man who doesn’t answer direct questions. A man who is not interested in the same kind of relationship that you are. These are all things that you don’t ignore. Instead, you are able to step back and ask yourself “Is this what I want?” within the first couple of encounters. And if it’s not, rather than ignoring or trying to change the person, you simply say “Thanks but no thanks” without any regrets. (At all.)
Dating in your 40s means that you’re not (quite so) impatient. When you’re in your 20s, whether you realize it or not, you tend to be pretty competitive. You want to get married around the time all of your friends do. You want to have children before the proverbial clock stops ticking. At the very least, you want to be in a relationship so that you don’t have to be alone on Saturday nights and so you have someone to bring home on the holidays. However, whether you’ve never been married or you’re divorced, by your 40s, in many ways, you feel like you’ve “already seen the movie”. You realize that there is no million-dollar cash prize for doing things first and there’s no real humiliation in being the last in the bunch either. And so, you are usually less impatient, which means you’re less anxious, which makes you more discerning when it comes to choosing Mr. Right.
Dating in your 40s means that you embrace your power to choose. Speaking of “choosing Mr. Right”, when you’re in your 20s, you seem to care way too much about what people think. Does your mom like him? Does your best friend get along with him? Will he fit into your social circles? By your 40s, while it’s certainly a bonus that your significant other gets along with those you care about, your greatest concern is that he makes you happy. Everything else is simply…icing on the cake.
Dating in your 40s means find a man who complements you rather than completes you. Do women in their 40s still like chick flicks? Of course, they do (or at least a lot of us do). But when you’re in your 20s, you tend to idealize movie characters. In your 40s, you take the movie for what it is: a good two-hour (give or take) story. No more, no less. This means that if you happen to catch Jerry Maguire on the tube, rather than gushing over the “You complete me” line, you tend to subconsciously edit it with “You complement me”. Not only because it’s more realistic but because it’s healthier. When you’re in your 40s, you are more whole than you’ve ever been and so you’re looking for someone who suits you; not completes you. And that makes you a perfect date for any man!
So, what do YOU think are the benefits of dating now rather than in your 20s?