The image of men in their 40s, 50s, and 60s chasing after women half their age has driven many woman over 40 into my office. Are there men who will seek out a younger woman given the opportunity? Yes. Is it a reality that by the time a woman reaches 65 her gender outnumbers single men 2 to 1? You betcha. So are those the biggest factors that contribute to women over 40 having a hard time finding a match. No way. In my 10+ years as an online dating coach it’s become clear that the reasons why older women fail at online dating can be broken down into 4 major factors: mindset, lifestyle, chivalry, and algorithms.
I often hear clients say, “There are no good men in ______.” (Insert whichever city, the problem is the same.) The client believes that since they haven’t been able to find good men or they aren’t approached by as many men as they were in their 20s or 30s that it means that the well of good men in their town has totally dried up. It’s not a universal problem, it is due to their location, their status, their career, their divorce/kids/etc. I tell these clients that they are right. If they believe that there are no good men around them they definitely will not see them. When you train your brain to be biased towards seeing a particular outcome that will become your reality. Therefore, the first step is to begin retraining the brain to see something different. There is a reason why ancient yogic principles to lead you towards enlightenment involve mantras. Mantras are words that are repeated with the purpose of aligning your thoughts with nature. If yogis have been repeating Sanksrit words for centuries surely the average woman can change a couple negative words around every now and then.
Exercise: First become aware of your patterns. Instead of using phrases like “no, but” try to replace your wording and thoughts with “yes, and…” Even if the negative mantra is only in your head, “I’m too old to find a man,” or “I’m too fat, if I lost 10 lbs. someone would want me,” with supportive, loving statements. It will feel awkward at first – like trying to drive on the other side of the road in another country or like writing with your non-dominant hand. That is all part of the process of becoming aware and mindful of your thoughts. After a week or two of changing your mantras, you will likely notice you are also, quite literally, changing your mind.
You are accustomed to a certain lifestyle and you should not have to change that for a man. However, the reality is that to incorporate another person into your life it is unrealistic to expect everything to remain exactly the same. You have lived 40+ years of your life a certain way. Rather than seeing it as a burden to make changes, what if you saw it as an exciting opportunity to experience life in a new way?
I once had a very successful female client who made over $400,000 a year. Her fear of attracting gold-digger men led to one major deal-breaker – the man she dated had to make more money than she did. So let’s look at the numbers:
Her salary puts her in the top 1% of earners nationwide. If she can only consider men who make more money than she does that means that her pool is predominantly over 50 (in the case of this client, that was another deal-breaker). Also, half of the top 1% are already married so that reduces her pool even further. Now, when we start getting into geographic restrictions, religious and political preferences and down right attractiveness, you can see how this pool of eligible bachelors suddenly becomes very small.
She ended up meeting someone she really liked but he didn’t make as much money as she did. He in no way wanted to leech off her income but she made it very difficult for him to keep up with her. She loved to travel and stay at 5 star resorts and dreamed of being able to make this trip with the man she loved rather than with girlfriends or alone. He wanted to be with her but couldn’t afford to take the trips that she wanted to take and she was afraid to set a bad precedent by paying for him to go with her. They were stuck. She wasn’t willing to adjust her lifestyle to let a great guy in.
Many of my clients are not top 1% earners but they create similar boundaries by being unwilling to date someone outside of their immediate geographic area, without their same level of education, or who doesn’t have kids. The list goes on but the issue remains the same – women over 40 are staying single because they have lived their life a certain way for so long that they cannot adapt to another person being in it.
It’s not fair. Images of princesses being swept off their feet by rich, kind prince charmings has been clockwork oranged into our pupils for decades. This is what we see so this is how we feel it should go for us, but the ideas that older women hold about chivalry and how courtship is “supposed to go” are hurting their chances of finding love.
Have you ever been frustrated that a man didn’t open the door? Or that he didn’t order for you at a restaurant? Or that he didn’t pay for your valet? Or that he didn’t call or text that evening to make sure you made it home safely? Women keep an internal scorecard of chivalry for men but often times men do not know the rule book by which they are playing. Each woman’s ideas of what is chivalrous vary. Some would be off-put if a man ordered for her. Others would think it’s overbearing to call that same night. It’s unfair to mark a man down far on your scorecard if he doesn’t know what your expectations.
Technology has impacted our lives in irreversible ways. Google maps forever changed how we get where we want to go. Amazon forever changed how we shop. Facebook forever changed how we communicate with loved ones. Yet when it comes to dating, the expectation is that everything should remain the same as it did in the caveman era. It’s time for us to embrace the impact of technology on the mating process. The playing field of courtship has been leveled and it allows for connections to be made and relationships to be formed which would never have had a chance a few short decades ago.
If you change nothing else about your search for a man after reading this article, at least hear this: most women think that they will upset the rules of chivalry by sending a message to a man but they forget one very crucial thing. You are not dealing with a man when you are online dating, you are dealing with a computer and your behavior on your dating site is telling it who to show you to and which choices you will be presented with.
Has this ever happened to you? You signed up for the site, hopeful that your inbox would be flooded. You waited and waited and waited, but the messages you received were depressing at best. So, you logged in less frequently, and you received fewer messages. Then you figured you’d just wait out the rest of your online dating sentence since you already paid for a month or three or six and you would just check/log in when you got a message but the longer that went on, the fewer messages you received at all. This is a classic case of what I call “Algorithm Blindness.”
If you do not log in and actively send and reply to messages you are telling the site that you don’t matter. You aren’t enhancing the experience of other daters, you aren’t telling your friends how much you love the site, you won’t buy additional features, you’re an ‘inactive user.’ This means that you are bumped further and further down in the search and you are being shown to fewer and fewer men.
How to Fix Algorithm Blindness – To boost your ranking you can do 3 things immediately:
- Start sending out messages to the men you would like to meet. You have to assume that based on your prior behavior, you never came up in their search so the only way to be visible to them is to send a message.
- Sign in at least once a day. This will boost you to the top of the search when someone is looking for a woman like you.
- Swap out your photos (especially your primary picture) once a month. Men are visual and if they didn’t respond to your initial photo in a thumbnail and didn’t click your profile, you could have a new shot with them by posting a new primary picture. Click here to read my online dating profile photo tips.
The myth of women over 40 being unable to find love needs to be dispelled. With confidence, a computer or cellphone, and these tips, a woman of any age can become an online dating success story.
You could also be making one of the 5 Biggest Online Dating Mistakes. If you want to know how to fix them watch this free video.