40 and Single — Now What?

Dating at 40 and how to work on starting a family even if you’re not in a relationship

Image for post
Image for post

Most your friends are married. And have started a family. Some of their kids are even college age. What happened to you?

You’re 40 and still single.

Maybe it’s not that important to you. But you’re open to being in a relationship. Or maybe it is important. But if you haven’t found the Right One.

It’s never too late. Plus, you aren’t even quite middle age yet in today’s world. Don’t feel pressure to rush it. There’s nothing wrong with you. Relationships aren’t for everyone. They take effort and attention.

But — what if you want to start a family?

40 is not too old (for many) to start a family. But you need to start working on that now. It should be a priority over other goals in life.

Possible solutions to start a family:

-If you’re not in a relationship (and want to start a family), make it a priority to take the steps needed to find time to date and find a suitable partner. Start dating regularly, and not just on the weekends. If you don’t know the person at all, meet “for coffee”. That way there is no pressure on who pays “the check” and how long the date will last.

Go out regularly, having the goal to make friends. Attend meetups where people have similar interests.

Don’t come across as desperate or trying too hard to find a mate. First impressions are hard to erase. To calm yourself, think, if you’ve met the right person, they will like you for who you are. You don’t want to do silly things you’ll regret on a first date, like drink too much. If you end up in a relationship with this person, that will be your story of how you first met.

So you don’t set yourself for unexpected disappointment, think that you may not find your “soul-mate” relationship in dating (with a deadline for starting a family). A potential mate could turn into a “meant-to-be” mate (or “soul mate”), but that would be a bonus.

Cast a wider net. Enlist your friends to help. They know you. And they know others. But don’t put any pressure on your friends. Just let them know if they think of anyone, to keep you in mind.

Date others your friends don’t know either. You may have to cross some things off your ideal list for a partner. Like height or weight. But don’t accept deal breakers. Like if you know you don’t want to raise little kids, and he or she has them in a divorce situation, find someone else to date, before you get serious with this person. Otherwise, you’d be compromising when that all could have been avoided.

If starting a family is a priority, then bring that up early on in a relationship. You don’t need to announce that on your first date, but don’t “beat around the bush” when the topic comes up. If it doesn’t come up after dating several times, and you mutually want to continue dating, have that conversation. Don’t be afraid of the answer. There are many “fish in the sea”.

You may have wrong thinking (based on your dating experience) you may need to correct, like “all the good ones are all taken. The bad or leftover ones (divorced or rejected) are the only ones left”.

That’s just not true.

Many people have chosen not to marry at 40 because of career choices, have not met the right person (that could be you), or other life reasons.

You need to lay your cards out on the table, so you don’t waste each other’s time. It is good if the other person says they are looking for someone to start a family. You could be that person.

Usually people tell you what they really want in life and their deepest dreams, in the first few “getting to know you” dates. If they say that they aren’t ready to have kids, or that’s not what they want, know they can change their minds but it’s not as likely.

You have to use your instincts and see how much you like this person versus the idea of marrying anyone. If you have the opportunity, it’s good if you can get a perspective from one of their close family members, siblings or a best friend they know, so you can learn deeper into “who this person is” that you’re dating.

Pay attention and listen to any warnings you hear.

Don’t fret over your 40 year old single status. You have maturity that you did not have in your 30’s and 20’s. You bring to a relationship so much more now than when you were younger, trying to find nice restaurants to impress, good shows, hanging with your old friends, and good laughs. Having fun and good times together are important, but there is so much more to a committed relationship, like sharing goals, finances, family, relationship boundaries, and health status, for better or for worse.

At 40, you have experiences from work and dating, that make you smarter. You’re probably less interested in sounding cool to others your age, than being happy — whatever that means to you.

Besides starting a family, if you want to be in a relationship, dress the part. I mean, be someone that is attractive. Be yourself, but be your best self.

I was watching fireworks with a group, where there was a nice girl who told me a series of bad dates she went on and how the ones that had potential, didn’t call back. I then looked down at her fingernails. And they looked like she had not taken care of them in over a decade. Men don’t care so much if you get your nails painted, but your appearance needs to look groomed or you’ll turn them off.

I also knew of a 40 year old guy, who had a terrible reputation as “a player”. Unless you wanted to be played, why would you try dating this person? Unless you saw something deeper, inside that 40 year old. If the guy is still “playing”, then he’s probably someone to keep at a distance until he gets out of that phase. It shouldn’t take that long as he should realize he’s no spring chicken (if he’s actually a suitable mate). In the meanwhile, you could keep him as a friend, but date others and don’t get too involved with this person unless you want to get hurt.

If and when you’re in a relationship at this age, and want to start a family, seriously talk to your partner now and make sure you are on the same page, and then get moving in that direction.

It’s usually not that simple.

If your partner is reluctant, then you may want to give it a certain amount of time, before you need to move on. They may change their mind in favor of kids, but if you don’t do anything, they may not do anything. Sometimes your moving, gets them moving (towards you). It’s a gamble worth taking if you want to start a family at 40.

If you’re the one not ready, ask yourself why you want to start a family. Are you responsible? If you’re not, then you may be better without full-time children. You could be an aunt or uncle (if you have siblings), or a step parent to someone else’s kids.

-Or you could adopt. There’s a great need for adoptive parents. Figure out why you want to have kids. Do you want to be a parent? Do you have a fear of missing out (FOMO) — everyone else is having kids? Do you want to experience the process of giving birth?

Or all of the above? If you would like to be a parent, raise kids that don’t have to be your own, or want to give back, then you may be a good candidate to adopt. And there’s no age deadline and you can bypass the whole giving birth process (if that scares you). There’s a right fit for everyone.

If you’re 40 and don’t want children, then you have less dating pressure on time and clocks ticking. The good news is that 40 is a great time to date! Besides being more mature, and smarter, it’s a prime time to go out and do things… travel… take up adventure…participate in sports and hobbies…. And find someone to do things with.

You hopefully are in a more secure, financial place and have the means to do more than you could in your 20’s and 30’s. You’re more settled into a career or know what you want.

At 40, you can even date those in their 30’s or 50’s and the age difference isn’t significant enough to raise an eyebrow from objective parties. If those you are interested in, have never been married, they may not have found the right person or a reason to marry, so use your instincts, and time to discover about this person’s story and if you want to be part of it. That’s what dating is for.

Those who are divorced and dating are good candidates, as they know what it’s like to be in a committed relationship… and they’re still willing to get in a relationship. The trick is to find them at their right time. If they’ve been single for a while since their divorce, then they are not likely to “be on the rebound”. So if they’re available, don’t have other yellow or red flags, and you’re interested, go for it!

The Startup

Medium's largest active publication, followed by +771K people. Follow to join our community.

La Dolce Vita Diary 🎉

Written by

Inspired writer giving helpful advice for a happy and healthy life full of love, peace, joy, influence, and wisdom. https://www.healthyhappylifesecrets.com

The Startup

Medium's largest active publication, followed by +771K people. Follow to join our community.

La Dolce Vita Diary 🎉

Written by

Inspired writer giving helpful advice for a happy and healthy life full of love, peace, joy, influence, and wisdom. https://www.healthyhappylifesecrets.com

The Startup

Medium's largest active publication, followed by +771K people. Follow to join our community.

Medium is an open platform where 170 million readers come to find insightful and dynamic thinking. Here, expert and undiscovered voices alike dive into the heart of any topic and bring new ideas to the surface. Learn more

Follow the writers, publications, and topics that matter to you, and you’ll see them on your homepage and in your inbox. Explore

If you have a story to tell, knowledge to share, or a perspective to offer — welcome home. It’s easy and free to post your thinking on any topic. Write on Medium

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store