Sunday, October 17, 2010

Who Dates After Forty-eight?

Who dates after forty-eight? You'd be surprised. In my state there are more single people at the age forty-eight than married. I know this because of the latest census. I'm not surprised, too much. At least half the women I meet are divorced . Sometimes it is more than half. So you figured there has to be at least that many divorced men out there, along with the widowed and never married men. Plenty of folks to meet if I was so inclined and I am.

Back when I was in my twenties and married, Doritos ran a commericial with teens talking about people over thirty how dull their lives must be. The backdrop to their discussion was hot thirty somethings at a party laughing, flirting and gobbling Doritos. I found the commercial amusing because I had my doubts about older folks being all that interesting, but now I am the older folk.

It's funny how everything changes when it is you. Occassionally, I find myself surprised that I am not married. When you spend the major part of your adult life being married some habits are pretty set. I need to quit using expressions like my husband and I, especially on dates. Tends to startle my date some.

I know there are other women out there who are going through the same thing I am.I thought it would be beneficial to share. Letting all the other forty-plus women out there know that yes other women are experiencing the same weird date syndrome; however, I am betting my dates are weirder than yours.

It wasn't my plan to be single, but it grew out the fact that the children were leaving home and I would be left with nothing, but a husband who seldom talked to me. When I tried to talk to him, he turned up the television. The thought of another twenty-plus years of this type of life had me considering divorce. Didn't bother my ex too much because in his words, he would be steak on the dating market. He felt he was so much better than any other man out there.

After the divorce, I wasn't out there dating madly, far from it.My new financial situation had me working two jobs to get by. The only man I saw on a regular basis was the butcher at my grocery. He was very friendly...and married.Like so many women, I joined an online dating site.

Oddly, I didn't get many dates from the site. Instead the men my age would spend hours literally interviewing me to see if they wanted to go out with me. After they initially contacted me, asked me various questions about religion, children, occupation and sexuality they decided we didn't suit. I had long phone conversations with a couple of them, even set up first meetings that they cancelled out on usually after I had already dressed. What was it? Before I married and had kids, I had no trouble finding dates. Was it how I looked? As a middle-aged catholic school teacher, I tended to favor sweater sets, pants and flats. Did I need to change?

My second job was in an upscale women's clothing shop. Most of the other women were younger than me and took me on as a project. Their goal was to make me into a hottie, the older version. I resisted the mini-skirt, the leather pants and the sky-high stilettos. My pistol-packing manager convinced me I was wearing clothes one size too large for me. I tend to listen to an armed woman who also has a tendency to be a bit volatile.

The outside transformation took weeks as I took baby steps out of my comfort zone. The pants got tighter and I started wearing skirts with heels. Because we had such a strict dress policy at our store, my nails and toenails had to be polished. For so long, toes were something I hid with a pair of socks. Dressing takes so much longer when you are creating an image.:)

When out, I would look for the women who were dressed well, I tend to think of it as on the prowl dressing. Might be a normal suit, but the color was more provacative or the fit was tighter. Nine out of ten times I could recognize the divorced woman in the grocery line. Ever wonder why the divorced men don't step up their game? The men you see all pulled together are looking, but not for women. I tried to step it up more with makeup.

I piled on the mascara since my eyes are my best feature. It was hard for me to take makeup too seriously because I never wore it much. It would seem so fake--not me. I've gotten over that by now, but this was then. Ironically, the person who helped me the most was my teenage daughter. The same person who was sure I ruined her life because the divorce took place in her senior year.

Ladies, and gentlemen if there are any, I would be interested in hearing about your transformation. Next time, I will tell you about my first date with a much younger man.


  1. I'm not in your situation, but it was an interesting post. As a romance writer, I'm always studying the interactions bt. men and women. There's nothing wrong with touching up your appearance because men are visual, but I think you're wise to resist too much transformation. You want the guy to like the you that you are.

    You must know how to flirt because you said you were successful in your earlier days. Practice smiling at guys. Not for a date. Just for fun. You'll be amazed how many guys will say something to you. Again, that doesn't mean they'll ask you out but it will boost your confidence and improve your odds. If you even think about smiling, you will look more approachable. Studies show that even though guys think they do all the work to approach a woman, the fact is they generally approach only after being signaled by the woman. Eyes. Smile.

    You can find a good man. It might take work and patience. Good luck!

  2. Way to go, Morgan. You've got your eyes wide open. Dating in mid-life is not for wimps. Not only has the whole ballgame changed, but the players have changed as well. And, making a transformation from a neglected wife to a savvy, single, desirable woman who is also approachable is the toughest of all. Congrats, I think you've accomplished it!

  3. I was divorced for 10 years before I was emotionally healed enough to try dating. After many toads at the online sites, I found my Prince on I learned a lot about the attitudes of men--and single women, too often they are willing to settle. Make a life for yourselves. Learn who YOU are first, then start looking.

  4. Morgan, thankfully I'm not in this position (knock on wood, throw salt over my shoulder) but I think you are very brave to tackle this subject. Americans as a whole are getting older and living longer. If we are going to be around for awhile, let's live it well. I'm so tired of twenty-somethings thinking people over 40 don't even have sex. Puleeeze! At 40-something, it is better than ever. Hope you find someone just as special as you are to spend time with.

  5. Wow - I needed this post! I'm recently separated, my choice after much much worry and hesitation and 20 years of marriage,many Golden Retriever puppies (which I breed) and no kids. He was a great guy, we just weren't clicking emotionally and I didn't ever want to be that couple at the restaurant, she with her book, him with his beer, his eyes glued to sport mania on TV, never a word uttered between them. My husband and I, in our day, were too much more than that.
    People do change, though, esp. when u hook up so young. It's funny all the younger guys that are hitting on me. I wish I was that kind of girl, that Samantha Sex-in-the-City type, but alas I'm not. After a kiss or two, it just got too icky 4 me! Now, I'm just writing like crazy to finish my second book, a novel called Night Surfing, where I'm giving my character Sosie Bend Love Amnesia and both she and I are trying to learn what love is really all about! Vonnie, thanks for sharing that it took you ten years to feel emotionally healed. I was beginning to think I was just a loser - not happy in the marriage, not happy out. And Morgan, I still say my husband all the time, esp. since neither of us has filed for divorced yet but r living apart. Thank God all of Hollywood is falling apart. At least on my worst days, I can imagine what Courteney Cox is thinking and doing,
    esp. after her husband is on Howard Stern saying they haven't had sex in four months! Although she is RICH, has her own TV show and a beautiful daughter, so there really are no comparisons, although, again on my good days, I could prob. pass 4 her sister!!! Morgan, God Bless You for getting out there. I'm a big baby, all talk and absolutely no steps toward dating. But that's ok. I know I'm not ready yet. Again, thank you all. I soooo needed this post!

  6. Hi Carly,
    Thanks for stopping by, continue to do so, because you'll be amazed about dating in the middle years. I was and I still am.


  7. Thanks Shari for your comments, although sometimes I feel rather wimpy. I'd rather stay at home and watch a video than go out and have a glass of wine with the guy I just met. The video doesn't involve makeup or straightening my hair.:) But it does depend on the male.:)

  8. Vonnie,
    I did go to a divorce workshop that cautioned you should wait four years to heal. People remarrying shortly after divorce or the death of a spouse are just in rebound relationships. Who needs that! Take care of yourself.


  9. Jill James,
    Thanks for stopping by. Yes, people over forty have sex, as we both know. The good news there are many women who want to read about romance for the over forty set. Keep writing.

    During the day, I teach. Some of my students were absolutley shocked I wasn't married. One girl hesitantly asked me, "Do you date?" I think it was the equivalent of asking me if I was gay.:)


  10. Word Actress,
    Young guys hit on you, be glad. I believe young guys don't go through the mental gymnastics that older men do before they talk to a woman. Older men are often planning pre-nup agreements before they say hello. Young guys just think she looks good, maybe I have a chance of getting next to her.

    Next blog is my uncertain entry into cougarhood. I didn't stay there too long, by the way.