Whether you are newly single or a dating pro, there is no doubt online dating can be stressful and cause a lot of anxiety. There is a whole host of unknowns to deal with from being ghosted by someone you were chatting to, turning up to discover your date looks nothing like their profile picture or even just stressing over what to wear. Combine all this with midlife hormones, and it can lead to a few hot flushes! However, the good news is that a few simple strategies you can lower the pressure and increase the fun side of dating.
Online dating over forty is a whole different experience to dating when you are younger. I have some friends who love online dating. In fact, I think some of them are a bit obsessed and feel like kids in a sweet shop! But the result can be getting lots of instant gratification but not much substance. I also have other friends that find it all a bit stressful and get anxiety attacks which stop them arranging dates. Whatever your approach, we have gathered our best tips for online dating.
1. Be The Best Version Of You
When it comes to online dating there are hundreds of profiles to choose from. To attract the right person, show the real you. Be positive about yourself, describe the variety of things you like doing and show yourself in a relaxed well composed bright and clear photos. Choose a recent photo, and one that visualises when you feel happy!
2. Be Open To New Kinds Of Love
Be open to meeting new people, enjoying the journey and the possibilities of meeting new friends and lovers. Do not be too restrictive in your wish list. Does that extra inch on height really matter? Be open to new kinds of love, but at the same time have a clear view in your mind what key characteristics make you happy. I know people that have a spreadsheet to analyse people they are dating, but surely this approach holds back the spontaneous and the unexpected. Be open to online communications and once you start talking to them, listen to your gut instincts.
3. Try Out Different Sites
If you have been online dating for a while you will probably start discovering the same faces across a number of sites. I used to be under the misconception that the more you paid for a dating website the better dating pool – but the reality is that free sites like Tinder and Bubble attract many of the same people as E Harmony and Match. Shop around and see which site suits you and you could save a lot of money.
Tip: Understand dating site algorithms. The more you are on the site the higher up your profile appears so you get more views. Just like other social media sites, the more popular you are the more most sites promote you.
4. Think and Then Meet
There is a danger is you spend too long flirting you build up a false fantasy persona of your potential date. According to research, carried out by dating app Happn, older singletons tend to move faster. Younger daters typically taking up to three weeks to arrange a date online, while those in their 40s and older are happy to meet in person after just 14 days of chatting. It’s best to arrange something quickly so that there isn’t too much disappointment if it doesn’t work out when you meet.
5. Forget The Fairy-Tale
This is not Disneyland and it’s inevitable that everyone in midlife is going to have some sort of baggage. Embrace the perfectly imperfect for you.
6. Keep It Casual
A dinner date with someone you don’t know can end up feeling more high pressure than romantic. It can be a bit heavy, especially if you do not click. Stick to lunch, a quick after work drink, a coffee or a walk. Taking off the pressure also means that you may feel less nervous and also means there is less time wasted if there isn’t any chemistry.
7. Embrace Equality And Split The Bill
Sometimes it’s nice if someone buys you a coffee, but don’t enter dating with an expectation to always be treated. Only 28% of women over 40 believe men should foot the bill for a date, while for women under 40 that figure more than doubles. So even if someone offers to pay, be fair. Thinking women are should never pay is an outdated mindset. If you value yourself, you value being in a fair partnership.
8. Be Empowered Sexually
Times have changed. Do not feel constrained by old fashioned good girl rules. Today, it’s much more about sexual equality. Feel empowered in your own skin and do not feel you have to hold back. Do what feels right for you. It’s all equal, so do not hold back on the passion!
9. Get Out And About
It’s not all about online dating. Get out and engage in life – there is a growing trend to join meetups and groups. Join a local gym, try something new like park runs or look on sites like Eventbrite to join things in your area. Get yourself out to new places and mix up your routine. It can be as simple as smiling and making eye contact to meet someone new! You never know – you could even meet someone out shopping!
10. First and Last .. Be Happy With You!
The most important thing is to be happy with who you are, and don’t compromise yourself. Most of all, show some self-love because as Vanessa Redgrave says:
“Love finds you when you find yourself”
I have met some great lovers online, but have also wasted a lot of time flicking through profiles. It can be tempting to just keep searching through them, especially if you are lonely and trying to fill a gap. So take it easy, enjoy your freedom and embrace the dating process as part of a full social life. Good luck!