10 Things Every Woman Should Know about Love and Dating by the Time They’re 40!

Love is a fire. But whether it is going to warm your heart or burn down your house, you can never tell.”     Joan Crawford

In honor of Valentine’s Day, we’ll keep this focused on love and dating and we’ll keep it light and fun.  This is for every woman over 40 who still is searching for love in their lives. It can be a tricky road navigating life as a single woman, particularly if it’s been awhile since you’ve been single.  But by this age, we’ve seen and experienced some things that make us a bit wiser than we were in our younger years.  Some of the things we’ve learned had to be learned the hard way, with a little bit of pain.  But you know the quote by Maya Angelou: “When you know better, you do better”?  Well, that’s the way it is with love and dating when you’re old enough to know better.

#1 Expect nothing. When you lower your expectations, you begin to settle for what’s available rather than what you deserve. It’s also entirely possible to have expectations that are too high or shallow and inconsequential, such as: tall, wildly successful, rich, etc.  It’s so much more interesting to meet people to simply learn about them and explore the possibilities of what might be.  A wise woman once told me, let life come to you.

#2 Shiny objects in the mirror are usually duller than they appear. I once had a man tell me he is always “the big screen in the center of the room.” The men that are “shiny” are many times also false and slick, conceited and narcissistic. There is typically a lot of sizzle in his looks, charm and money, but very little substance. They’re fun and exciting at the beginning, but can’t be taken too seriously without a heaping helping of caution.

#3 We’re too grand to play small. By this time in our lives, we know what we have to offer in a relationship and our love, energy, and gifts are large – at times, downright enormous. This is not the time to hide or play small or God-help us, act like a dingbat so they’ll think we’re cute.  Been there, done that….20 years ago.

#4 THE ONE is a myth. This feeling that there’s only one soul out there meant for us or only one person with which we could have a tremendously happy life comes from an idea of scarcity.  “There’s not enough. I have to make this one work. What if he’s THE ONE?” We overthink, overanalyze and generally drive ourselves crazy trying to figure out if this is “THE ONE.”  Stop.  Slow your roll. There is plenty of love available to loving human beings. Enjoy the ride and know that your answers will come to you.

#5 Far too grown.  We are far too grown by this time in our lives to spend energy worrying about when he last called or texted us and what we’re making that mean for ourselves. If he hasn’t texted you in the last day, he could have lost interest, he could have been really busy, he could have been planning a big surprise for you or he could be locked up in jail.

#6 Absolutely, positively….no drunk texting.  If you’ve been together for less than a year – don’t do it.  If you’ve recently had an argument – now is not the time. If you’re out at a bar and feeling lonely – just turn your phone off (right after you call a cab!).

#7 Be classier than that. There are only a few types of photos that a man that you’re not married to should ever see of you on his phone and none of them involve being nearly naked. If you wouldn’t want to see it on the bulletin board at your office in the morning, then don’t send it to your new man. This is something people in their 20s and 30s are doing – that doesn’t mean you have to participate. You’re classier than that.

#8 Gimme a Break. If he “needs a break,” then he’s no longer interested in being in a relationship with you and isn’t man enough to just say so.  Don’t hang onto some false hope that time apart will somehow make him see you through new eyes and want you even more.  Next….

#9 Look for the Lesson. We know by now that every person is in our life to teach us something – so when a relationship isn’t going as planned, look for the lesson.  There’s something you’re supposed to learn and if you don’t learn it now, it will continue to be presented to you in a variety of similar-looking individuals.  You know those people who say, “I keep attracting the same kind of men!”  That’s because they haven’t learned the lesson those men are there to teach her yet. Once you learn the lesson, you become healthier and your relationships automatically improve.

#10 Trust your gut. Women are intuitive creatures, but we can easily ignore our own inner voice when our minds start talking too loudly.  We know when love is real and when it’s not.  We know it feels different when it’s right. But, sometimes when we don’t like the answer, we ignore that feeling. Tune in. Your inner voice – what’s on your heart – may get quiet but it never stops talking.