What makes midlife dating different?

I’m often asked what makes dating in midlife different than dating in your 20’s and 30’s — at least for women. While I know the following are gross generalizations and there are always exceptions, here’s what I’ve come up with:

  • Having more/any biological kids is past. Most people are finished with the early part of child rearing, although some may want to adopt. Some people still have kids at home, some people’s kids are grown, and some have grandkids. The biological clock has stopped ticking for most midlife women, which releases a tremendous amount of pressure from the dating process.
  • Physical attractiveness has begun to wane. While there are still plenty of pretty/handsome midlifers, most have had some loss of beauty — at least from their perspective based on what they had in their youth. Many people are physically active, some even buff, and some in better shape than they were a decade or two ago. But most have some wrinkles, and perhaps a bag or sag or two, unless there’s been surgical enhancements. And some are more attractive with those signs of experience on their face.
  • windsurfingHealth challenges may be present. High cholesterol, aching joints, high pressure and diabetes are common among midlifers, no matter how healthily you eat and how many days a week you work out. Much of this is managed through diligent diet, exercise and medication so it has little affect on activities, but some more severe cases limit activities. This makes dating more of a challenge when you have to explain why you can’t go backpacking or windsurfing or rock climbing on your dates.
  • Financial fitness is more common. Although divorce and health issues can take a financial toll, by midlife many people have figured out how to manage their money, and often have financial security through investments. Even if they are not affluent, most have a strategy for getting by. And many can afford time off and grand vacations.
  • More responsibilities make it harder to find time. Dating takes time. Midlifers are more likely to be looking after their parents and kids simultaneously. Add to that a job, physical fitness, friends and hobbies, and many don’t have much time left over to devote to dating. However, if the kids are on their own and the parents don’t need much attention, there can be plenty of time to explore activities with a sweetie.
  • Clarity about what they want. After a break up or two, most people reflect on what they don’t want to repeat. They are clearer about what they want their next relationship to entail. In fact, if someone has been married a time or two, in midlife they may decide they don’t want to be married. Instead may want an activity partner, but not someone who they will live with.
  • Wisdom about life. They may be slower to anger, quicker to forgive, mellower, more willing to love and be loved. Some people think midlifers are way more interesting to be with than younger dates, even though there is lots of hype about wanting boy/girl toys.

What can you add to this list that you notice about midlife daters and dating?

Technorati Tags:,,,,,,,, , , , ,

Got a topic on dating after 40 you want Dating Goddess to address? Send your issue to Goddess@DatingGoddess.com.




3 responses to “What makes midlife dating different?”

  1. Alexis Avatar

    I’m still in my twenties and single, but I no longer feel pressure to find someone by 30. My mom didn’t find “true love” until she was almost fifty, and got married for the first time at 48. She seemed to know herself a bit better, and did a better job at choosing the men she chose to date as she got older.

    She seemed to have less tolerance for B.S., and often broke it of quickly when she realized the relationship wasn’t going anywhere.

    I’ve never seen her happier.

  2. Mitsy Avatar

    Clarity about what they want…..

    I’m afraid that is my number one problem with many men I’ve encountered. By all accounts, that SHOULD be an obvious assumption. Sadly, many men in their mid-40’s are still unsure of what they want and who they want to be with–if anyone. The perfect woman could come along and if they are stuck in their immature, selfish ways of their 20’s, they will still be alone when they are 60.

    The fickleness of men in midlife is baffling for sure.

  3. Bookyone Avatar

    Hi Mitsy,

    I agree, it is baffling. That’s why I’m sticking to penpals for now, (which is actully working out great, I have more penpals in 3 days than I know what to do with. I didn’t know there were so many men out there who actually enjoy writing as much as I do).

    Maybe it’s the whole male midlife crisis thing. Or maybe male menopause/andropause, (that’s been getting a lot of hype lately, although I’m not personally convinced it exists).

    Maybe if they had to experience real menopause (as I am at present, ugh) they wouldn’t be so quick to dismiss physical symptoms as “all in your head”…

    DG, great list and IMHO all of it ringstrue. I always learn something new every time I come here. 🙂

    Best wishes from bookyone 🙂