Are you over 35 years of age and are thinking about dipping your toes into the dating scene? Are you unsure on how to go about in finding and attracting love? I have interviewed licensed Marriage and Family Therapist Michael Karp to help you discover places to find love and how to attract love.
Tell me a little bit about yourself?
“I have been a licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in the state of California since 1982. From that bit of information alone, you can tell that I fit well into the category of “over 35.” When I was between marriages from 1990 to 1996, I dated frequently and wrote about it in a series of columns that appeared in a local Big Bear newspaper. Come to think of it, even then, I was over 35.”
How is dating over the age of 35 different from those who are younger?
“There are several reasons why dating is different when you are over 35. People over 35 are more established in life. They have likely finished their schooling and are well-established in a career. They have experienced life and are more worldly and “mature.” Religious, political and other beliefs are fairly well-formed. They are financially self-sufficient. They have most of the material things they need to live, i.e. established households. They may have children'”and possibly grandchildren–of their own. They have likely endured at least a few unsuccessful relationships.”
“The ramifications of these situations are many. When people have had to live independently and on their own, they have experience with both gender roles. Dating becomes more unisex in that it would not be unusual for women to take more of the initiative than they would if both partners were younger. Both parties can be expected to be busy with well-established work and social routines. Fitting in time to date can be problematic. Fitting a new person in their lives can also be logistically difficult, particularly when children are involved.”
“Since lifestyles tend to be established, ask many questions and be an observer of your new date. How do you compare as spenders vs. savers? Which activities do you enjoy? How do your child-rearing methods compare? How involved are each of you with ex-spouses? Is there a contentious divorce in the process? Are you and your date over your last relationship?”
“On your early dates, you will likely spend most of your time in public places. Ask questions. Carefully consider the answers. Feel free to not delve too deeply too soon. There needs to be a good dose of fun and playfulness. Later on, observe your date’s lifestyle when you visit them either at home or work. Every step of the way, evaluate your comfort level with your date. You should be at least as comfortable as being by yourself. It is even better if you are more comfortable in each other’s company. Being in a relationship should not entail routine discomfort or a lot of work. It should enhance your life.”
“Beyond your 40’s you need to become more health-aware. If you want a parent for your child as well as a partner, this is a very important issue to consider. If you are into your 50’s, be aware of your potential partner’s health history as well as his/her health appearance. You’ll likely want to have as many years as possible to spend in quality activities.”
What are some places someone over 35 can find love?
“If you are religious, joining a large congregation can provide several potential individuals from which to consider dating. In addition, it helps to ensure that you have a similar worldview concerning religious and spiritual matters.”
“If you work for a large corporation or government agency, you might encounter many people there. Take opportunities to meet additional people through agency trainings or other large group meetings.”
“Join organizations that sponsor or involve activities that you enjoy. If you enjoy the outdoors or defending the environment, try the Sierra Club or Audubon Society. If you enjoy doing community service, try a service club like Lion’s, Kiwanis or Rotary. Then there are computer clubs, car clubs, and political groups of all persuasions. Consider that you and others will be at your best and look most attractive when you are engaged in meaningful activity and enjoying yourselves.”
“Don’t be afraid to approach people you encounter in daily living, say, at the grocery store, vet, car repair shop, etc. Sometimes simply striking up a conversation then directly or indirectly gauging mutual attraction and availability can pay dividends. Consider all levels of directness.”
“Then there are the online dating services. If you lack the outlets listed above or that introverted, this can be a great way to go. Some online services offer considerable guidance on how to proceed. Also, ask around for advice from others who have experience using them. There is no one-way to use online services. Take in advice and recommendations, and then proceed in your unique way.”
What are some tips you can give someone over 35 to help them attract love?
“Keep in good shape. The radiance of health shines through, beyond any facial treatment, toupee, stylish clothing or hair coloring.”
“Be yourself. If you are trying to please others or are too preoccupied with presenting a good appearance, your personhood will get lost in the process. Along with that goes your vitality and uniqueness: the very things that will make you attractive.”
“Know thyself! Take an inventory of your strengths and weaknesses. Embrace both: frankly revealing the former and vowing to work on the latter. Realize that your potential partner has strengths and weaknesses as well.”
“Do not be preoccupied with waning physical appearance or physical strength and agility. This cannot be helped. Your date will either accept you for your current looks or not. Trying to over-compensate for natural aging can actually make you less attractive.”
What last dating tip would you like to leave for someone over the age of 35?
“Over-35 dating is a unique time to be dating. You have likely endured some bad relationships and likely have learned from these experiences. Take time to consider how you tend to behave in relationships and patterns concerning the people you have chosen. Try not to make the same mistakes again. You might consider seeing a psychotherapist for some guidance, a “check up,” or for some deeper work if you notice some troublesome patterns and are concerned that they might reoccur.”
“Also, by this time, there is a good chance that you have grown confident in yourself, the world, and your way of being in the world. For this reason, you should not need another person to “make up for your deficits.” A partner should bring pleasure into your life rather than “completeness.” Dating should be more fun and easier. At this age you should not be concerned that you are being judged. You are who you are and some dates will adore you for it and some will want to “pass you by.” And you have the same prerogative and privilege regarding others. So, relax, take your time and consider dating to be an adventure rather than a burden.”
Thank you Michael for the interview on dating over 35.
Dating Tips for More Confidence
How to Deal with Dating Anxiety
Senior Dating Opportunities