What if I told you that falling in love when you are 40, 50, 60 or beyond is the BEST time? Better than when you are 18 and hot to trot, better than in your 20s when you didn’t know yourself from a hot rock or your 30s, when your baby and/or career clocks were ticking so loud you couldn’t hear yourself think.
This is the best time in your life to find and nurture true love and a great relationship…if you let it be. All of your experiences to this point have been preparation for finding fabulous, grownup, lasting love. And, yes, it’s true even if you’ve never fallen in love, picked the wrong partner time after time, been on hundreds of crappy dates or been dumped by your last 3 loves.
I got married for the first time at age 47, and am now a dating and relationship coach for women over 40. So I know of what I speak; both personally and professionally.
So here are 6 reasons why love is so much lovelier for the over 40 single:
1) You are good on your own. You now know that your happiness can’t be wrapped up in one single person. The fantasies of finding your perfect “10” and all of the sudden becoming whole have long since passed – and good riddance. You’ve had years of creating your own happiness and contentment. You have a support system that has gotten you through the tough times and stable friendships that celebrate and cheer you on. You and your life are terrific, but The Right Someone” can make it even better. Now that’s a great basis for a relationship!
2) You know what’s real. You are less emphatic about hanging on to romantic notions of what love should be. Stability and compatibility become more important than butterflies and chemistry. You have accomplishments under your belt, and you’ve experienced some bumps and bruises along the way. You know life is not always fair and that people are fallible and complicated. What 25-year-old can say that? Your life well lived has honed your ability to empathize and show patience and understanding; which you gladly pass on to your mate. A more realistic view of love and romance takes a lot of pressure off a relationship, so you can focus on what counts.
3) It’s all about you (and him). As you mature, other areas of your life require less attention. There is space for playfulness, love and sex. You are not running after little kids anymore, having to prove yourself in a career or trying to keep up with the Joneses. You have given yourself permission to make your life about You. (You haven’t forgotten everyone else, you just no longer feel responsible for their happiness.) You have time in your schedule and room in your finances to splurge a bit more, and struggle a bit less.
4) Science is on your side. As we approach and cross through middle age, our brains tend to become more like the opposite sex. Gail Sheehy (remember Passages?) contends that middle age is an opportunity for women to enjoy “postmenopausal zest” and for men to explore “serene potency.” The volatility of the reproductive years is ending and your brain biochemistry is rebalancing estrogen and testosterone. Men relax and become more comfortable with their feminine side and women often seek fulfillment in their lives from a sense of mastery. It’s a wonderful opportunity for men and women to move closer together. If you are looking for love at this time in your life, you can enjoy compatibility with the opposite sex like you never have before.
5) Your passion is in overdrive. Your body may be aging but your capacity for romantic love remains intact. An AARP study of men and women over 50 found that 70% of 50-64 year olds and 63% of people 65+ report being currently in love. And of those over 65, 46% reported being passionately in love. Don’t underestimate the intensity with which we can both give and receive love later in life. The need to love and be loved remains strong, if you’re willing to nurture it.
6) You don’t sweat the small stuff. Your experience with your aging and departed parents underscores the limits and fragility of life. You’ve experienced illness and debilities – your own and/or your peer’s — and it’s a clear reminder that you don’t have forever to get it right. Being more cognizant of your mortality, along with the perspective gained from the most consequential of experiences, does wonders in helping you not sweat the small stuff. (That, by the way, was the only advice my 75-year-old Father gave me at my wedding: “Just don’t sweat the small stuff, sweetie.”)
Your life experience, physiology, self-knowledge, realistic expectations and capacity for love make your middle to later years the absolute best time to enjoy all that companionship and partnership has to offer. Finding love later in life can feel like a little miracle, but the reality is that this joy is found by many. Frank Sinatra was right. Love is lovelier the second (or 3rd) time around.
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