Dating in your late 30s (especially if you are dating after divorce with kids like me) is sort of like sifting through a garbage can, hoping to find a huge diamond and a pair of Manolo Blahniks. I don't mean to say that every available man is worthless when you're in your late 30s but rather that the game is hard, and guess what, ladies: it's still a game, even at our age. Here are some truths you need to know if you're about to head out into the dating pond in your late 30s.
1. They Want Them Young
A lot of men want their ladies young. These are the bachelors that hit late-30s and into mid-40s and suddenly realized, "Oh snap! My sperm is getting old, too, wouldn't you know? And now that I am all grown up, I think it's time I settled down. I think I will pick a nice 25-year-old." Even though you're their age or even quite younger than them by years, you're still old to them. It's BS. The right one won't care that you're not in your 20s, absolutely, and you're not old, but yet there are guys who will completely shut you down, especially online, if you're a year over his age range. It is what it is.
A lot of the allure of the young woman comes with an assumption of fertility. Men who have waited to have kids or who had kids with their first wife but perhaps not as many as they would have liked, are looking for a fertile woman. You could be "Fertile Myrtle" and they might not know it simply because you're over 35 and they didn't bother to ask because you didn't fit the criteria.
You could be gorgeous, witty, successful, and smart and it won't matter. In fact, the better of a woman you are, it seems, the more apt they are to reject you out of intimidation.
2. The Young Want You
You're young enough to be considered sexy, but old enough to be considered seasoned, so as soon as you post your online profile — bam! — the young 'ins are there waiting to date you. They will message you as young as 18 and as "old" as 25, wanting you to be their sexual teacher and some of them will bluntly ask and others will be dying for a "relationship," which really means they're looking for a mother figure that will have sex with them. Sure, you may snag a guy who is younger than you are and mature, but a lot are just dying for that older woman fix. Yes that's right: you have hit that "older woman" territory. Sigh.
If you also look younger than your age, (I do, mostly because I am short) expect that when you go out, the younger men will be making a bee-line for you. Is this bad? Not at all! It's a good thing, if only you could manage to find someone old enough to suit your lifestyle and goals.
3. You're Intimidating
You're older, you're wiser, and you're sexier.
In other words, they're afraid of you. So now you're intimidating, when before at 25, you were sweet and unassuming.
4. The Biological Clock Is Real
If you're childless, dating can have that extra strain as you imagine your ovaries spontaneously combusting or your eggs expiring with each bad date. It's hard not to feel the strain of biology and hormones as you get out there.
5. Having Children Can Be Complicated
If you have kids, dating in your late 30s is complicated by numerous factors such as: Does the person even want to date you if you have a child? Many guys will opt-out because you're a mother. Or if they opt-in, the next struggle is, do they have kids as well and if yes, does your custody schedule mesh with theirs? It's a huge challenge.
Then there are the challenges of simply getting out there and arranging a date once you have an interested taker. This has to be timed with a babysitter or when you don't have your children, which burns at least 500 calories just to accomplish finding the time and place. And if you do meet someone, does this person have the potential to meet your kids? Yes or no? That's a serious matter and in my opinion, kids don't need to meet anyone unless you think the person has some serious permanency.
6. You Know What You Want
Dating in your 30s means you know what you want, which means a lot less dates. You're more set in your ways, and your life (and mind) has less flexibility than it did in your 20s. When you were 25, you had a list of particular traits but had a taste of a wide variety of men as you looked for a good fit, but when you're 35 you've got a longer list and the stakes are higher if you're looking to start a family or get serious. If you're not and simply want someone for fun, then it's a good idea to ease up on the pressure.
7. Wingwomen Are Gone
Most of your wingwomen are gone and married now, so you're not only single, but you're single and looking to mingle with a smaller group of comrades, which makes going out in itself difficult, especially if most of your friends are married with children.
8. The Dating Pool Is Filled With Burned-Out Bachelors
As you sift through the available partners, some are great, but there are also a lot of wounded birds, angry or bitter from a divorce or the worst — perennial bachelors who won't settle on a date if their lives depended on it. They will message you or flirt with you forever while they do the same with others and keep you on the backburner.
9. 40 Looms Ominously
People told me, "At least you divorced before you turned 40," or "As soon as I hit 40, fewer men responded to me." There is this pressure that once I turn 40, I expire sexually and romantically. That I will fade into the air and be gone from men forever, and let me tell you, I would like to believe that is false, but considering my first point, it's hard to not feel a little crushed as I face my 40th birthday.
The down and dirty? Dating in your late 30s is hard. It is tough to not become despondent, but the fact is there is still hope. People fall in love every day. Besides, if love were all that easy to come by, it wouldn't be special anymore and it would lose its allure. At the heart of it all, you are most likely an amazing woman and anyone would be lucky to have you. Keep on searching!