It’s not always easy to discover love in your 40s, 50s and beyond – we all lead such busy and hectic lives that it’s hard to find time; and even then we don’t know how to go about it, it’s been so long. Here’s how to succeed:
1. Look at it as a project
Be businesslike about romance; set about finding it in a professional way. First: Get out and about more – socialise with colleagues at lunchtimes, after work and in the evenings. And: go to different places with them – pubs, restaurants and clubs. Also: Mix with neighbours, existing friends and family more often. Widen your circle of contacts as far as possible – the vast majority of new relationships are made with friends of friends. Plus: Join an adult education course, an amateur dramatics group, a creative writing course, the local birdwatching society – anything that brings you into regular contact with lots of people.
2. Join a reputable dating agency
Thousands of people join dating agencies each year, and the majority form lasting relationships. People use agencies because they are wary of meeting strangers in clubs and bars. And, they know that people who belong to agencies are sincere – they’ve paid a membership fee of between R500 and R1,000. Obtain details of agencies in local and national newspapers. Apply to agencies advertising in papers you personally like – you’re far more likely to meet someone with similar interests and outlooks.
3. Don’t be idealistic about your prospective partner
Everyone has a dream of what their ‘perfect’ partner should look like, but seeking physical perfection inevitably leads to failure and disappointment. Reason: Your perfect partner may exist, but they almost certainly don’t look as you’d expect them to. Think of past relationships – you’ve probably had partners who have been short and tall, blonde and dark-haired, and so on. Don’t: establish requirements that focus solely on physical appearance if you want to find someone that you can be happy with, and can make happy.
4. Concentrate on personality rather than looks
Make a list of the main qualities you’d like to find in a partner. Thinking about a previous love can be useful here. Also: draw up a list of your qualities too. You’ll be surprised at how similar your two lists are. Look for someone with those features you have in common. However, don’t set too many requirements as this reduces your chances of meeting someone suitable. So, cast your net as wide as possible – that way you’ve a better chance of finding the right person for you.
5. Focus on what you can offer a potential partner
Too many people looking for love via introduction agencies and classified advertisements concentrate on describing who they wish to meet and what they want from a partner. This discourages interest as other people want to know all about you. Describe yourself – you’ll receive more replies that way. Sex, age, general location, personality, likes. Avoid: Dislikes – people are much more responsive to positive, upbeat descriptions. These words appeal to the broadest spectrum of potential partners – ‘reliable’, ‘loyal’, ‘genuine’, ‘thoughtful’, ‘positive’, ‘honest’. Use at least three of these words in a description in order to maximise responses.
6. Take pride in your appearance
It’s easy to let yourself go when there isn’t anyone special in your life. For example, clothes are worn for another day to reduce washing and ironing, and junk food is eaten more often because it is convenient. You’ll look and feel less attractive, and lose confidence in yourself and what you have to offer. So, pay extra attention to your needs. Buy something for yourself each week if you can afford to, even if it’s just a colourful tie or a pair of jazzy socks. Have a haircut, a massage; anything that makes you feel good.
7. Keep trying and don’t expect instant success
Some people are lucky enough to find their ideal partner within a few weeks of starting their search. Expect it to take longer – up to a year or more. Measuring your progress every couple of months can be a morale booster – how many more places have you visited, hobbies have you tried, and friends have you made? Don’t just focus on meeting one special person; that will come in time. Enjoy your search – have fun meeting new people and pursuing different activities. you’ll widen your circle of friends, and they’ll have friends who may be just right for you.