Don’t initiate

Chatting with a friend yesterday, he observed that dating for woman over 40 was different than for women under 40 because of the mixed expectations. Many mid-life women have had career success because of their assertiveness — sometimes even aggressiveness. While that serves them in work, men don’t typically want an aggressive woman in their personal lives.

However, my friend continued, younger women are expected to be aggressive in both parts of their lives. He believes younger men expect and accept that in a romantic partner.

I think it’s difficult for most over-40 women to compartmentalize their lives and behavior to be aggressive at work but not in dating. While I have been successful in business by initiating contact with potential clients, in my personal life I have a do-not-initiate policy.

With few exceptions, I don’t send the first email. I also never initiate the first date. I wait for the man to say “Shall we get together?” If he is not interested or assertive enough to ask, we aren’t a good match. One man talked to me several times a week for a month and never asked me out. Finally, I told him we weren’t a match, but he still emails periodically.

While dating sites encourage you to make the first move, 90% of the men I contacted first either didn’t respond or said they weren’t interested. The few who responded positively ended up not being good matches.

Most men still want to be the pursuer. After the relationship has begun, it’s usually OK to call him, or suggest an activity. But let him take the lead. If he doesn’t, he isn’t a match.