Monday, December 15, 2008

Attracting Men When You're Over 40

Hi Terry!

I am in my late 40s, never been married, and most of my friends are now married or in serious relationships, so my whole social group have almost instantly disappeared), and I am very social and used to having things to do every night). I work from home, so don't meet a lot of new people these days and most of my activities are not conducive to meeting men e.g. going to the gym to exercise classes which are all women etc.

I would love to be in a relationship, but my challenge is how to meet new/eligible/straight/unmarried men! I toyed a bit with on-line (although I may not have given it a fair try), but the guys on-line my age are looking for 20 year olds and even though I am a beautiful woman - I don't think that beauty comes across in my photos, so I don't think the on-line medium does me justice. I have a high level of education and I speak several languages and am looking for someone with an international perspective - sometimes I think it's where I live that limits me, but I talk to people in New York/ Washington, all over the country and world and it seems these men are few and far between.

So my question to you is -- if the on-line dating scene creeps me out (which it does) - what other avenues are there for being proactive in meeting decent men! As I said, I am far from shy and once in front of people can easily break the ice. It's just that I am not meeting them!! I never used to think age was an issue - but I guess in this situation maybe it is?

Looking forward to your perspective on this.


Dear M.-

Yeah, a lot of guys in their 40s do look for younger women (just as more women in their 40s look for younger men), but, believe me, men who want to date a women their own age exist.

Some men really do prefer to date someone who was about their age in 1980; it gives makes them feel they have something in common, it makes it fun to reminisce, and it helps the woman fit in more easily with their friends.

Speaking of friends, when ours marry or become involved in serious relationships, a lot of them definitely disappear (very annoying, I know). The challenge is to always be meeting new people.

You're in the gym, and that's great. Are you making friends there? Who cares that they're all women? Make a friend and see where it leads. She may have a brother or a cousin or a co-worker who wants to meet a woman just like you. (Just don't drop her when you do meet someone special. We all need friends.)

You work from home. Is there a coffee place in your neighborhood where you could spread out with a newspaper and take a 45-minute break several times a week? The coffee places in my neighborhood tend to attract men with laptops. Become a regular. See who you meet.

Pick a night and go to a bookstore with a cafe. Choose some books, buy yourself a coffee, and hang out. The great thing about bookstores is that nobody will think you're weird if you're in there by yourself, and you're approachable if you're alone. Become a regular. If they have an open-mic night, be sure to go.

Find a friend and go to a high-end restaurant for drinks. In other words, go where educated men go, like a good steakhouse. (I know of one celebrated steakhouse that actually offers free drinks to women during certain hours; in other words, they get a lot of men hanging around, and they want more women.)

It's key that you go in there focused on enjoying your friend's company (avoid looking like you're on the make). Once in a while, splurge for dinner there. Become a regular. Treat the bartender well (once they get to know you, bartenders can be an excellent source of introductions).

Volunteering is a beautiful way to meet people, too. Try Volunteer Match or Habitat for Humanity.

Be a beacon of light wherever you go, whether it's to the supermarket or the dry cleaner or to the library (did I tell you the story about the ex-nun who met her very well-to-do husband when she worked as a clerk in a company library?). You never know who'll you'll meet, who'll see you, who'll know someone you'd like to know.

But, before you ever leave the house, it's important to know what you're looking for in a man, and I'm talking about more than just his looks and income. Look for honesty, a sense of humor, and generosity, for a start. Pull out a pen and write it down! Build that man in your imagination. Believe that he exists and is on his way to you.

While your beauty and education certainly have value, in the end you don't want to be loved for them. Embody the qualities you want in the man you attract (in other words, be the person you want to date).

You can't miss.