Dabbling in the Dating Demographics

Being single in your 40s means you may be tempted to do a little of what I would call dabbling in the boundaries of the dating demographics.

Whilst we’ve already delved into the downsides of dating a toyboy it is prudent not to launch yourself too far in the other direction either.

Whilst you may not be subjected to the Gen X tendencies for dubious texting, music festivals and trying to build generation gap bridges, venturing into a decade or so above your own can be as perilous as trying to keep Lindsay Lohan sober before lunchtime.

Here’s why.

 One – he might be a bit smothery.

Not all men with a level of chronological maturity necessarily possess an equivalent level of self confidence.  This can mean they are pre-disposed to marking their territory with the same eye-watering intensity as a crazed tomcat.

It might seem like a truly lovely form of affection or a nurturing streak gaining momentum after your BF emerges from his prior sterile and loveless relationship but more likely it is attributable to them trying to demonstrate that they are your significant other rather than your father.

At the point that it starts to take on characteristics normally reserved for WWF wrestling, you’d be well advised to MAKE A RUN FOR IT.

Celebrities Attend The Dallas Mavericks Vs The New York Knicks Game

Even if you don’t see this characteristic when you are out and about together, at a sporting match, browsing supermarket shelves in a state of mutual domesticity or dining at an outdoor café, do understand that you don’t actually have to be present for your BF to undertake a cringe-worthy PDA.

tom cruise

Two – he may have accumulated somewhat of a reputation

Its not just having the advantage of years that may mean several women have trod that path before you, it can also be that your new squeeze has been fairly prodigious in the dating market.

Two immediate warning signs from the online dating world:

  • He doesn’t remove his profile from the site whilst you are dating
  • He appears in the Top 100 list

If you suspect you are just another frequent flyer mile on his journey to platinum status, exit the aircraft through the forward doors NOW.

Definitely do so before you discover that his effect on women, and ensuing vanity has become such that someone has written about it….

…’you’re so vain’ …..


Three – there are going to be offspring

This in itself is not necessarily unique, and in fact a little carry-on baggage in the form of some miniature humans is the bread and butter of dating in your 40s.

You may be able to deal with this quite well, and find you have in fact now accumulated a couple of new BFFs to share fashion tips and beauty advice, but at all times, adhere to one single rule.

Avoid being photographed together for fear you somewhat awkwardly look like siblings rather than ‘steps’

rod stewart kimberley stewart

Four – there may be have been some ‘struggles’ before you arrived

 Beyond reputation and children, there may be other accompaniments when you latch onto someone with a few more miles on the clock than you.

They may have had some prior struggles.

And, yes, we know that no-one becomes single in their 40s without a little bit of alcohol-induced facebooking, some dabbling in ‘look at me’ type antics and some tabletop dancing injuries, but we’re talking here about something a little more ‘permanent-record’ and indiscreet.  

 You are well-advised to avoid anything that involves a well-documented sex addiction, bit of anti-semitic rambling or youtube-viral drunken slanging of your offspring.  Consider it an early warning sign. Yes. Really.

mel hoff md

Five – He may be ill-prepared to age gracefully

Surprisingly, you may have been a carefully cultivated encounter – one of a procession of thinly disguised, targeted campaigns to keep his arm candy in a demographic that suggests his own endless virility and youth.

It’s a slippery slope from here to other aberrant behaviour,  including pursuing the fountain of youth a little more aggressively than just secretly snitching your Elizabeth Arden eight hour cream.

Hello Mickey Rourke.


More commonly it exhibits itself as age-inappropriate fashion, a failure to recognise the attire that they could only have pulled off with any kind of swagger when 90210 last screened.

bad fashion

Sounds fairly innocuous. But its just a mere moment from mild awkwardness of this


To the consistent downright laughability of this

the edelstens

With the potential danger of you waking up one day to find that he has toned it down several notches and suddenly you are the one OUT ON THE SARTORIAL EDGE.


Dodge these pitfalls and you might just find your way to a solid long-term relationship with someone ready to be settled and stable.

Just be sure that doesn’t represent something that no amount of time will ever make ok.


Four Stages of Breakup Grief – aka don’t wear hotpants

When the impact of the demise of a long term relationship hits you in your 40s, your reaction to it is likely to be somewhat different to your experience when you last transitioned to single.  Whilst the younger version of you still wailed about the loss of your three-month-strong relationship with your gothic moody boyfriend, and you felt that as a tender 20-something you life was indeed now over, you were likely to have been somewhat resilient and onto a new thing with a second year university student faster than you can say Beer Pong.

In your 40-s however, despite the significant life experience you have under your calf-skin Fendi belt, and the strength acquired from career limiting moves, fashion faux pas, credit card shocks and family meltdowns, this breakup is going to be more painful than the combined physical and financial pain of a production line of root canals.

root canal

ie – it will suck.

Thankfully, this too will pass, although you will want to give a thorough bludgeoning to every well-meaning acquaintance that tells you so (hence I’m telling you this from the safety of an anonymous blog with full moderation power over any written bludgeoning you might post in the little comments box)

In the spirit of the tremendously compassionate Elizabeth Kubler-Ross who neatly parcelled up bereavement into five stages of grief, let me offer you the four stages of recovery from the mid 40s relationship breakdown (yes, I realise I’m one short, but seriously, no one has died….)

 One – it begins with a Breakup Song

 Every breakup worth its salt has an accompanying anthem.  It needs to have characteristics that embody anger, jealousy, bleakness and despair.

Just as every 90s wedding I attended was accompanied by Shania Twain’s ‘From this Moment On’, I’d venture an opinion that 90% of the last two years’ breakups will have aligned themselves to the musings of Adele.  (who in turn picked up the mantle from the bleatings of Alanis Morissette)

combined morisset and adele

At all costs however, ensure that you choose the breakup song and that it DOESN’T CHOOSE YOU.    This is for the simple reason that a song, and indeed the complete works of that artist, may be ruined for you forever if associated with your breakup.

So you must venture beyond your favourite genres to something completely disposable given the risk your nasty breakup becomes associated with it for all eternity.

Even if you have a twin love for The Smiths and The Cure, a team of chaps with nary a joyful theme in their entire back catalogue, don’t go there if you would like to allow them an ongoing position in your playlist.

combined morrissey and cure

Instead I would personally recommend Lady Gaga’s ‘Bad Romance’ as, once you have moved on, releasing this song from your life will be as insubstantial as the loss of a cluster of fairy floss after an ill-advised spinny ride at the local carnival.

 Two – It progresses to Dietary Dysfunction

This can go either way.

You may well dive head-first into a bucket of Ben and Jerry’s with the enthusiasm of a kid in one of those ball-rooms at Ikea.  From there you will progress to taking a large block of Lindt White Chocolate (the one with the almonds) in conjunction with your daily multivitamin in the firm view that both are equally essential to your wellbeing.

Alternatively, you will attempt to wrest control over your emotions by inflicting a vice-like hold on your eating habits to the point that you:

  •  Only eat foods of one particular colour (and let me tell you it won’t be white as CLEARLY all refined carbs will appear to you to represent poison)
  • Juice everything within reach with the objective of being reincarnated as that relentlessly joyful Gwyneth Paltrow
  • Make your way through the A-Z of diet books, from Atkins to Zone.

Either way, it can’t last, and you can expect a very Lindsay-Lohan moment as you arrive home one day to an intervention assembled in your lounge room – albeit in your case pushing a somewhat voluntary trip to a health spa rather than anything court-ordered.


 Three – Alcohol becomes a food group

Its misleading to depict these as phases as this and the dietary dysfunction phase are interchangeable, and in extreme cases occur in parallel.

In discussion of this phenomenon with one of my BFFs she recognised it immediately as ‘Ohhh, the divorce diet, ie open the mini-bar – I’M COMING IN’

Another described it as ‘Its OK Mummy, we might not have milk but your vodka is  in the freezer’

Thankfully, there is not a prescription drug on earth that can counter the nausea of a true divorce-hangover so you will eventually tire of losing your weekends to endless horizontal hours trying to ingest Gatorade and get upright.

You will, therefore,  move on.

 Four – Relentless Reinvention

Possibly more positive, but still ever-so-slightly dysfunctional, is the procession of steps you will take to try to reinvent yourself.  This can include, but is not limited to:

Clearin’ this house out of joy that I borrowed
From back in the day
Threw away my old clothes
Got myself a new wardrobe
I got something to say

 as long as you understand that gold hotpants are NOT FOR YOU now.

kylie m

  •  Taking on an extreme physical challenge. This might, hypothetically, entail you training for the New York Marathon, a feat so bizarre that even the universe laughs and feels compelled to intervene by sending Hurricane Sandy to save you from that fate.
  •  Getting new hobbies.  Ballroom dancing, Cross-fit, Knitting, Volunteering, Cycling, Blogging, Macrame.  Just understand that these are not an end in themselves and are only necessary so you can Facebook-check-in at all associated venues and give an air of someone having a riotously full life.

Don’t let it come to this

. two warnes

Rookie mistakes

If you become single in your 40s and attempt to re enter the dating scene, the universe should present you, on arrival, with an honorary hashtag, that you will eventually work out has something to do with twitter. It is this


If you had hoped that the folly of your youth was behind you, and the worst disasters that could happen already had, you are W.R.O.N.G.!  If you have managed to steer clear of errors since the 80s and the last ones you remember were that ambitious home perm, Faberge jeans and overconsumption of Ouzo,

bad80s - Copy

be aware that you have now entered a whole new territory of peril.

Your valuable life experience in navigating your way into your 40s means nothing when it comes to the new era of traps for (not-so) young players.  The era of social media, the online dating phenomenon and texting didn’t exist when you were last single and have joined forces with the age-old demons of alcohol and everyday poor-judgment to provide unrivaled potential for error.

It took less than a 15 minute lunchtime survey of my single friends to compile this list of the classic #rookiemistakes.

 Not proof reading your online dating profile

Sounds relatively innocuous, but in the cut-throat demographic of the 40something on a dating website, anything less than robust literacy can have you cut off at the knees given the sheer number of singles who can get this right/pay someone to check it for them.

One of my surveyees reminded me she had culled a potential that matched all her criteria, over a minor matter of punctuation.  Note: a simple spellcheck is NOT ENOUGH!

 your vs youre - Copy

The premature and random shirtless selfie

Again, thankfully, not one of mine, but there’s something new and uncharted in the male psyche that prompts them to send you the more-than-occasional unsolicited selfie.

shirtless all - Copy

If you happen to be dabbling in the gen Y demographic, its likely to be more than shirtless

Guys – don’t be that person.

FB stalking catastrophe

 If ever there was a place for the rookie mistake it is Facebook.  The upside: if your new romantic entanglement is a little liberal with his facebook settings, you will be able to analyse every detail of his social media history, at your leisure and without any bunny-boiler connotations.

Just be VERY, VERY careful that when you systematically stalk all the female companions in his last three months of FB photos that you NEVER accidentally click LIKE on one of their photos.

LIKE - Copy

Worse still, don’t click on Friend Request on one of those girl’s profiles  –unlike the blessed ‘UNLIKE’ option that may remove all traces almost as quickly as you erred….. – there’s no taking that one back……..

The FB overshare

While we are on FB, if things are going swimmingly, there is one surefire way to

a)      send it cascading straight to hell

b)      have your other, long time single friends de-friend you

Post something like this

 oversharing - Copy

Go for 100% compatibility

The beauty of online dating is that you can either use your own criteria to narrow down your search to the exact person that shares your love of crossfit/ossobucco/scrapbooking/Bhutan/single malts/gel kayano 19s/Ben&Jerry’s clusterfluff  or just have the rocket-scientist devised algorithms deliver your perfect match to you almost daily.

The downside – you actually don’t want the person who is EXACTLY like you.

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Be hungover on your first date

Navigate all the new social media traps, and it is still old-fashioned alcohol that will let you down.  Any day of the week.  An early warning – don’t even over-indulge the NIGHT BEFORE a first date.  Another true story offered by one of my mates who has no fear about her experiences being blog fodder…..  Her date turned up despite suffering the serious side effects of a big night before.  All points for trying, kudos for ordering a three course meal to allow intervals for the possible discreet dash for projectile vomiting, but he took on the WRONG WOMAN.  She knows from bitter experience how to recognise a sweaty hangover sheen, knew that even inhaling near him put her at risk of a DUI and dispatched him promptly into a cab and out of her RSVP inbox.    When she declined to give him a second shot,  he referred to HER decision as an error of judgement.  Go figure.

And while we are on the topic of alcohol, avoid the true #rookiemistake and consider a change of outfit stashed in your handbag in case you take the walk of shame………..check out the video…