Dating when you’re a woman 40 or older, due to a divorce or break up of a long term relationship, can be very intimidating.  Most likely, you don’t have much experience with online dating or where to go to meet men to date.  The good news is that even though the internet has changed how we meet men to date, you can use it to your advantage to be more in control of your dating environment, who you date, and most importantly doing it SAFELY.

There are many different ways to meet men, but online dating seems to be essentially how everyone dates now, whether we like it or not.  At first dating online can be a bit scary, but it can actually be safer than just meeting a guy at the gym or at a bar where your judgement is impaired due to alcohol consumption.  The best thing about dating online is you have full control over the situation.  If you don’t like the person you can move on without that person knowing where you live (granted you did not give out personal information), and have friends set you up on a blind date, only to have to tell your friend you don’t like the person.  

Best of all you can find out, prior to even meeting the person, if they have the same interests, passions, and values you have and exactly what you are looking for in a man.  Questions about children, marriage, and finances can be talked about right away.  This is the perfect time to ask all the questions you want to know prior to becoming emotionally attached in anyway.  Do beware that there are creeps out there, but with some common sense and asking the right questions you can weed out many of these guys.

If you do decide to take the internet dating plunge here are some tips:

  • Free dating sites are fine, such as OkCupid, but I found more success with paid sites such as, Match.

  • Use a nice, good quality picture of yourself that is current and a representation of what you look like today.  Many women use pictures where they are 5-10 younger and/or more fit.  Many men use pictures where they look like they just rolled out of bed.  Personally, I will not respond to a man who does not look like he takes care of himself.  I’m not sure what this phenomenon is all about.

  • ALWAYS meet in a public place for the first, second, or third time.  You are responsible for your own safety.  If you are out drinking alcohol, don’t leave your drink at anytime and don’t drink so much you blackout.

  • I find it is always more comfortable to go somewhere I am familiar with and maybe have a couple friends lurking in the background just in case you do get a creepy feeling.

  • If you feel like you click with someone younger or older give it a chance.  It’s difficult enough to find someone without putting strict age limits on what you are looking for.

  • BE YOURSELF.  If you’re not, he’ll will figure it out someday anyways.

  • HAVE FUN!  You will most likely not meet the man of your dreams right away, but you might meet some really good people and great friends.

If you’re not ready to take the internet dating plunge, here are a few, less intimidating ways to meet men (and make some new girlfriends too!):

  • Take a look at Meet Up, which is free and easy to use.  Meet ups have a wide variety of activities and groups, such as wine tasting, trying new restaurants, singles brunch or happy hours or even professional networking groups (you never know where you might meet someone!).  I’ve found this way to the best way to meet people in a relaxed atmosphere, doing something new, fun, with no expectations.

  • Volunteer at a charity.  A great way to give back and meet someone with your same passions and interests.

  • If you like to be active, join something like a softball league or some other .  Warning, I am found that the “leagues” are more alcohol based than playing and personally I am over that kind of activity, but if you like that sort of thing then I say “Go for IT!”.

Congratulations, have made the decision to get out there and find your life partner!  Remember:

  • Be SAFE

  • Be yourself

  • Relax

  • HAVE FUN!!!