Your divorce is final.  The kids are with your ex and you just bought a membership to an online dating site.  You run your first search and suddenly you're overwhelmed by the possibilities.  You write and re-write your profile, but somehow it still doesn't seem just right. 

When, where and how to meet new people

You look at other profiles for a little friendly comparison, but suddenly you're finding the whole thing a bit cliche'.  You wonder if you made a mistake.  Are you really ready to date?  

Maybe not.  But, no worries, with these easy steps to dating success, we'll have you on your way to finding the right person, at the right time, the way that's right for you.

Top 10 things to do before dating after 40

1. Being in a relationship for a long time means you haven't been on the dating scene for awhile.  A lot has changed and you're one of those changes.  You're not the same person as you were years ago.  Career, family status, interests are common changes that will definitely influence your decisions.  So, decide what you want from a new relationship before you meet someone new.

2. Give up the pain and anger before your first date.  If you aren't over it, keep the details of the awful ex for your therapist or good friend(s).  Your new love interest can quickly lose interest if you're still bitter about your divorce or former marriage.

3. You're over 40 and your metabolism has changed along with libido and general energy level.  Start a new physician approved exercise plan.  Make it about feeling better instead of losing weight or getting into shape, that stuff will come naturally.  Improving your sense of well being is the goal that will move you towards more energy and stronger sex drive.

4. Talk with trusted friends and family that have recently dated.  Don't be afraid to engage them in conversation about the dating scene and anything you should consider or avoid when seeking a new relationship.   Just remember, consider your source and make sure their advice is genuine and qualified.

5. Get out there!  Don't worry if you're not ready to date, but get social and stay active.  You don't have to date until the time is right.  After a divorce it's not uncommon for some to be ready the day the papers are signed, while others aren't ready for years. Both are totally ok.  Regardless, it's a great idea to join a gym, start a hobby, get out with your friends and/or join a local meet-up that matches your interests.

6. It might be time to evaluate your "look".  It's not unusual for many adults who have been in a long term relationship to let their appearance suffer.  In fact, you may not even realize it; but it's time to up your game and update your look.  Hair, clothes, shoes are a good start.  This is one of those times to let vanity surface and give your whole look an update. Don't be afraid to ask your older children for a little advice.  They will love the idea of helping mom or dad get a fresh new look of which they can claim some ownership for your trendy new self.

7. Make sure you have time set aside for dating before entering the scene.  If not, it might be time to open your schedule a bit.  Don't be afraid to take care of yourself and personal well being.  If you need some time to work on your love life make it a new priority.  Speed dating sounds great, but in reality you need sufficient time to meet the right person.

8. Talk with your children about the changes that are happening.  You do not need to ask their permission, but don't hide your intentions or new love interest.  This will insure a good introduction and possible long-term relationship between all individuals involved.

9. Make it less about meeting someone and the right person might just appear.  Sometimes we are so focused on meeting someone that we fail to see the right person is there in front of us the whole time.  It's good to know what you want in a person, but if things get to be too much, take a step back from dating and spend some quality time with family and friends.  You might just find the right person when you least expect to.

10. Consider the options to protect yourself. Practicing safe sex means being prepared with adequate protection prior to dating.  Make sure you meet blind dates or casual meet-ups in a public location.  Take your time getting to know the person before you are alone with each other, especially when there is alcohol involved.


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