5 Must-Know Tips for Online Dating after 40

Let’s face it: Meeting single men can be hard, especially if you’re in your 40s, 50s or beyond. You’re not meeting men at work or in bars anymore. You can talk to only so many men in the grocery store. Your circle of friends is either the same it’s been for years, or post-divorce you are now creating new friendships.

If you haven’t yet figured this out, online dating is the new hot spot for boomers and older adults. There are literally tens of millions of men over 50 online. I won’t lie: As a woman in midlife, you will need to do a little extra work. But like me, who met my amazingly perfect-for-me man on Match.com when I was 47, you can meet your dream man online!

So if you’re not already online, I suggest you read up on tips and techniques (starting here), learn all you can about the RIGHT WAY to do it…and then make a beeline to at least one online dating site. If you’re online but not getting results, stop or slow down, get educated, and go back online with a vengeance!

Here are five tips to get you started.

#1. Be the Boss
I don’t mean be bossy. I mean be in control of your experience. Online dating opens you up to thousands of more possibilities, and it’s a completely new way of meeting people. Make decisions and set some personal guidelines about how you want to integrate it into your life. How many hours will you spend each day? (Warning: This can get addictive!) How will you ensure your physical and emotional well-being as you talk to and meet people? What can you learn or change to be a successful dater?

Considering these things up front gives you a road map and, more importantly, an expanded awareness. I want you to have fun, be open to new things, and enjoy the experience; just do it consciously and like the grownup woman you are.

#2.  Stand out
You have competition, girlfriend. As we age, the ratio of women to men grows further apart. Some statistics say it’s as much as 11 women to each man after 55. Yikes! If you’re hopping online after 40, I want you to know how to jump up and down and say “me, me me!” (You’re reading this, so you’re already ahead of the game.)

Stand Out Rule #1: Make sure your online profile pictures are great. Get them done professionally. Don’t argue…just do it. $150 is not too much to spend to attract a fabulous man, right?

Stand Out Rule #2: Your profile needs to be unique and speak to men. If your girlfriend loves it, it probably sucks. Learn how to write a profile that attracts men or get your profile professionally written.

Stand Out Rule #3: Every communication needs to scream how special you are! Show your personality and tell him very clearly that you’re interested in every single email. To start, your subject line should be flirty, fun and/or intriguing. “Hi” on the subject line means you wait in line or get deleted.

#3. Be honest
You’re online, but your goal is to actually meet men, yes? One of the top complaints of men is that we post pictures that are…let’s say…out of date. Just don’t do it. Post lovely, yet current, pictures. It’s disingenuous and a waste of time to do otherwise.

Also, be clear about what you’re looking for. At 40, 50, 60 and beyond there is a wide spectrum of what type of partnership men and women are looking for. We’re all grownups, and there’s no reason to hold back telling someone what your dreams are for the rest of your already-fabulous life. Whether you want a dinner partner or a husband, put it out there. There’s no need to scream it, but weave it into your profile. If you want a life partner, you don’t want to attract that man who’s out there “just having fun.”  (Trust me, with Viagra and a computer…a man can have a lot of fun these days!)

#4. Consider a makeover
When is the last time you updated your look? Have you changed the way you apply your makeup or wear your hair? Have you bought any newly styled clothes? Doing this is as much about looking good for a man as it is about feeling good for yourself. A confident woman who takes care of herself and looks healthy is a man magnet.

Go to your local department store and have a free makeup session. All the lines do this; did you know? Splurge for a fancy hair style. Check out catalogs like Coldwater Creek, J Jill, or Chicos. You don’t have to necessarily buy, but check out what’s hot (and what’s not) for women your age.

#5. Check your baggage
Don’t drag your nasty divorce, ungrateful kids or your challenges in business into the conversation. (At least not anywhere near the beginning of getting to know someone.) As important, don’t drag in all those beliefs and decisions you made 20 years ago. The woman you are today is nowhere near the girl who dated way back when. It’s time to review all your checklists.

Check your list that defines “the perfect man” and what he must do or not do to get to the next date. I bet many things you thought you wanted at 30 are no longer important. Also check your “truths” about yourself, men and dating. Are you stuck in some old stuff? It’s important to ground yourself in who you are and what you want in your life today. Do this by yourself, with a friend, or with a coach. But do it.

Get prepared, and then get out there and have some fun!