How to Meet a Man in 7 Not-So-Easy Steps
I hear it again and again from my 40-something single girlfriends. At this age, a good man can be extremely hard to find. “Online dating is such a crap shoot and time-consuming. I’d prefer a more organic approach but where do you go? Add to that that I do find that men my age want younger women. It’s tough,” says Lisa*, a 45-year-old mother of two.
West Coast Matchmaker Jane Carstens says dating can be tough at any age but meeting Mr. Right is definitely not impossible. She advises taking stock, adjusting your attitude and tactics and offers these tips on finding love.
Chances are, your knight won’t simply come knocking on your overpriced condo door.
“When we buy a car, we go and test-drive cars. When we’re looking for a job, we seek help from a coach or a headhunter to get us on the right path. When it comes to the most important thing in our lives, we leave it to fate and chance? A partner in our lives is one of the top things… he’s not going to land in your lap.”
That means taking a pro-active approach, doing research and following some of the rules below.
Expand your Age Range
Meeting someone at the same stage in life is key to making a relationship work. Carstens says women, on average, are 10 years older emotionally than men. As a 45-year-old woman, you may then need to consider men closer to 55.
“You have to take a step back and say okay I’m in my 40s and my kids are in their 20s, then the likelihood of me meeting a guy who’s in his 40s and at the same stage as that has kids the same age and I don’t want any more kids, is really unlikely. You’re wishing for a needle in the haystack.”
(Men need to be more realistic in this regard too, see below.)
Assess your Expectations
“There are things that are negotiable and there are others that are non-negotiable. And really look at those things. Religion, that’s non-negotiable,” says Carstens.
I was rather surprised to learn that many women say height is non-negotiable.
“Did you know there’s only 16% of the male population is over six feet? Married or otherwise? If you’re saying I need six feet or over, then the pool we’re going to draw from just goes poof.”
For men, the non-negotiable is children – either having them or not having any more. Carstens says she often has to call fathers out when they say they want a woman who’s 10 year younger.
“I ask [him] you want a girl in your 30s? Are you ready to have another baby? Then no. They have some expectations and you need to coach them through that process.”
Tap into Another Network
“Meeting men in my age group is challenging because there doesn’t seem to be a good bar or social scene where I live. Plus, in Vancouver, there’s also a big risk of cross pollinating,” says Lisa.
It’s a common complaint. But chances are you are really only consorting with those in your immediate circle or area. If you’re a graphic designer, do you know all the single doctors or financial advisors in town? Find a way to tap into a new “network.” It sounds cliché, but join a group or take a class in something new. (And one that’s likely to draw members of the opposite sex.)
Make Single Friends
If you’re in your 40s, chances are most of your friends are married. Hanging out with the smug marrieds isn’t very conducive to meeting new people and very few men are going to come up to a group of married couples and introduce themselves to the one singleton among them. Find some single friends and start doing things together.
Choose New Haunts
Start going to places that are more male skewed. Think sports bar, leather club chairs, etc. And go right after work. “Single men don’t want to go home right after work. They want to go out and have a drink and have a bite, they don’t want to go home and be alone,” says Carstens.
Take off your Business Hat
Many of my 40-something friends are successful, beautiful, fit and self-sufficient. Basically, the whole package, but one that can be intimidating to some men.
Carstens points out that men want to be appreciated, they want a woman who’s feminine and they want to be needed. She cautions, “Keep that business hat on when you’re trying to put together a road map to find a partner. But then take it off when you go on dates.”
*Name has been changed