Dating At 40+

Do you think of dating as an activity intended for teenagers, college students and twenty-somethings? Do you wonder if you can use terminology like boyfriend, girlfriend and going steady without inspiring snickers?

By Randy B. Hecht

o you find yourself thinking, as you survey the mid-life dating landscape, “I’m too old for this?”

Hey, cut yourself some slack.

On January 1, 2004, the last of the baby boomers (what I like to call the “baby” baby boomers) turned 40, and the oldest among us
So you’re not exactly alone out there.
entered their sixties in 2005. If you were born between 1946 and 1964, you’re a member of the single largest population group in history. Everything we do, we do in large numbers—and that includes mid-life dating. So you’re not exactly alone out there. And if our children and even grandchildren are listening to our music, how uncool can we possibly be?

Still feeling nostalgic for your dating youth? Consider these reasons why dating at 40+ really is a plus:

You can afford the movie and a nice dinner
If you’re a boomer, you’re old enough to remember drive-in movies… and if you remember those, you probably also remember some guy from high school who would stop his car just outside the entrance to the movie and tuck his poor date into the trunk of his car to snare a two-for-one admission to the show. I don’t know what the 21st-century equivalent is, but whatever it is, isn’t it nice to be past that kind of economizing?

You don’t have to leave a sock on the doorknob to tell your roommate to go away
Actually, I can’t add a thing to that thought. ’Nuff said.

You’re not struggling to establish your professional self
Okay, the younger you had more energy and stamina than you can muster
It’s not just the professional you who has scored some major achievements.
today. But do you remember how much energy you had to expend on getting your career on track, perhaps even just getting it going at all? Now that you’ve accomplished something professionally, you exude the kind of confidence it takes time to develop—and that’s got an appeal all its own.

You’ve been somewhere, done something and gotten a heck of a lot more interesting over the years
It’s not just the professional you who has scored some major achievements. Whether you’ve trekked the Himalayas, outdone yourself year after year with your gardening or just survived parenthood more or less unscathed, you’ve given yourself extra layers of definition that are bound to appeal to anyone worth dating.

You’ve got a good idea of what you want and what turns out not to be so important after all
This is the biggie. You’ve learned to appreciate the difference between prospective partners who take good care of their cars, wardrobes or investment portfolios… and those who will take good care of you. Flash fails to impress you, and substance wins your heart every time. In other words, you can date more happily now than you did then—because you know how to date smarter now.

Randy B. Hecht is a freelance writer who frequently contributes to Happen magazine.
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