BRINGING ROMANCE BACK IN OVER-40 DATING

The 40+ dating scene can feel pretty confusing at times. On the surface, adulting may look tame and business-like, but there’s a lot of pent-up energy under all the baggage of divorce, estrangement, and break-ups. Even if (most) single, mature women aren’t sashaying around like the singers from Fifth Harmony, it’s normal and healthy to want to “flex” for that Mr. Wonderful you’ve been on a few dates with. You want him to kiss you, put his hands in your hair, and just generally make you feel 22 again — even if you’re perfectly content to actually be 47.

So how do you turn up the heat in a way that feels age-appropriate?

True glamour is ageless.  (Monica Bellucci, actress.)

True glamour is ageless. (Monica Bellucci, actress.)

Here are some tips for igniting romance when you’re starting fresh and playing for keeps:

TIP #1: Take it slow.

I know it has been way too long, you’ve never felt this way about a man before (seems like), and you’re longing to feel his arms around you. But be patient, girl. It’s no fun to be a man’s soft landing or rebound girl, after his heart was broken by The One and before he moves on to The Next One. Men respect you more and will find you more alluring when you have high standards.

TIP #2: Let him lead.

Just because you CAN make the first move doesn’t mean you should. As we age it can be easy for male and female energies to blur, either due to hormonal shifts or simply because we get used to living alone and compensating for a missing partner. Polarity is necessary to spark sexual attraction. While you may think you are doing nothing or “letting a great opportunity slip by,” it’s best to hold back and wait for him to move things forward if you want to progress beyond friendship.

TIP #3: Move on quickly if it’s not meant to be.

Don’t try to force a connection with a man who isn’t feeling it. He might say It’s not you, it’s him, and he’s not looking to start something serious. In man-speak, that translates into he’s not looking to start something serious. Don't be the woman who works hard to convince him otherwise, or who tries to earn his affection and attention. If he expresses any kind of hesitation, respect his honesty but don’t settle for a friends-with-benefits situation that will just leave you feeling empty.

TIP #4: Don’t forget to flirt.

Master flirts are so good at making men feel like men that they don’t even realize what they are doing. A great flirt wears feminine, form-fitting clothing, always smells wonderful, and lets her date order for her, open doors, and take the lead in conversational topics. Being ladylike, in general, is flirtatious. It telegraphs that you know your date is a man and you are behaving differently with him than you would with a pack of girlfriends. That is the essence of flirting — revealing your most feminine side with a member of the opposite sex. (For more tips on being light and breezy on dates even if you feel anything but read "How To Be An Unforgettable Flirt.")

Whatever you do, don’t buy into the idea that romance is dead and hook-up culture has replaced courtship. Just because singles now connect through apps like Hinge and Tinder doesn’t mean that our fundamental needs and desires have changed. Remember when guys used to honk their car horns at cute girls, an earlier form of swiping right? All that hope and excitement is still there. But now you are old enough to really savor it, taking it slow with someone who appreciates the chance to start something real — with you.

Robyn Wahlgast is a Rules Certified Dating and Relationship Coach for Women, and a happily married mother of three. Need advice about your own relationship? Consider booking a private consultation with Robyn. Never miss a new blog post: subscribe to our FREE newsletter.

ROBYN ORIGINALLY CREATED THIS ARTICLE, WITH LOVE, FOR THE WELLNESS UNIVERSE.

HE’S NOT FLIRTING… HE’S ACTUALLY PUTTING YOU DOWN

A handsome male co-worker sends you a suggestive picture with some jokey comment about oral sex. Your reaction is…

A: “Awesome! He thinks I’m hot.” You flirt back in your reply.

B: “Too bad…thought he had potential.” You delete the text and mentally move on. Mr. Handsome is obviously not trying to impress you or bring you his best game.

Back in my single days, we referred to ourselves as doormats when we let men walk all over us. Doormat behavior included:

  • Having sex right away (if we really preferred to wait instead);
  • Becoming part of some guy’s harem (if we preferred exclusivity); and
  • Going with the flow” when guys relentlessly pushed against our boundaries.
he's not flirting, he's actually putting you down

Being a doormat is accepting behavior that is unacceptable to you. You know in your heart when it’s happening. Most women recognize when guys are boundary-pushing in a disrespectful way. But there is one area that confuses many women, and that’s when men approach us with sexual or crude humor and flirtation. While some guys definitely do this in real life, you’re just as likely to encounter it on your phone, on dating sites, and pretty much everywhere in social media. Because some people refer to this behavior as “flirting” women aren’t always sure how to respond.

FROM E.L.F.

Here is the modern form of being a doormat: Allowing yourself to be a dumpster for sexually suggestive “flirting” and banter.

Sure, some guys on YouTube may imply that public groping and sexual references to body parts are the equivalent of flirting these days. Just normal dudes expressing interest. But seriously—NoThat’s not flirting, it’s dumping. When a guy makes references to his “meat” the only sane response from a woman with options—a High Value Woman like yourself—is silence. Cross him off your list and move on.

Why? Because guys say that stuff to impress other guys, not you. It’s a display of crudeness that many men (not all) find entertaining and harmless. But also, it is sometimes used to “put you in your place” as a woman. That’s right: the “sexy” comments that some women think are encouraging, or a stepping-stone to romance, may communicate something different to men. An obviously sexual come-on says: I refuse to put this girl on a pedestal—she is nothing special to me.

FROM BCBG

I was helping a single client with her Facebook page recently. Her male friends-of-friends kept posting raunchy, crude posters on her page. I advised her to change her settings to prevent their posting. I further suggested that the next time they text her “funny” pictures that contain the f-word or are mean-spirited or crude in any way, she should reply with “Please don’t send that stuff to me—I don’t like it.” Then make like a ghost and disappear.

My 26-year-old client couldn’t understand this advice at first. Weren’t these guys flirting with her when they sent her some meme about threesomes? Shouldn’t she be flattered by the “attention”? Doesn’t everyone drop the f-bomb in casual conversations these days? And, aren’t the most popular women on dating sites the ones who brag they have a “dirty mind” or “like it rough”?

Here’s the point: Guys who are willing to risk offending you with crude language don’t think you’re very special to start with. They aren’t overly concerned about your individual feelings and opinions. You’re just one of many of women they are approaching. They aren’t worried about the outcome.

FROM ZALES

TIP: If you aren’t sure how to respond to a guy’s sexually-charged text, consider this: Would he send the same message to Katy Perry, Selena Gomez, or Rihanna?

Probably he wouldn’t. He’d be on his best behavior with a woman he admires. He knows the difference. So is it flattering that he sent that message to YOU? The answer is “B”—it’s not. Ignore him and hold out for the man who really wants to talk to you, not just swagger in front of his friends. Sometimes that’s the very same guy, after he’s had a chance to sober up and clean up his game. If he’s truly interested in you, he’ll get the hint and try again later with a classier invitation.

ROBYN ORIGINALLY CREATED THIS ARTICLE, WITH LOVE, FOR MICHAEL FIORE'S DIGITAL ROMANCE

Robyn Wahlgast is a Rules Certified Dating and Relationship Coach for Women, and a happily married mother of three. Need advice about your own relationship? Consider booking a private consultation with Robyn. Never miss a new blog post: subscribe to our FREE newsletter.

WHAT MALE PICKUP ARTISTS CAN TEACH YOU ABOUT FLIRTING

I don’t usually promote advice from the PUA (pick-up artist) crowd. But when a bunch of smart, analytical men go to work on a problem—any problem—they are bound to come up with some valid insights... 

Here’s one PUA observation that is so critical to dating success, I thought it was worth sharing with other women:

Tension is a key element of romantic interest. If you choose to avoid tension, you will always end up in the friend zone. If you learn how to let it build, you can become irresistible to the opposite sex.

Although women enjoy the dance of romantic tension, deliberately seeking to create tense situations is a foreign idea to most of us. Instead, we focus on reducing social and emotional tension in our lives.

Here are common ways we seek to defuse a tense situation and shift attention in a different direction: 

  • Quickly say something—anything—in order to change the subject 
  • Make jokes and try to lighten the mood with humor 
  • Sooth and reassure the person who is the source of tension, by moving closer to them or touching them 

This instinctive move to dial down stress and uncertainty is fine among friends. But if you are seeking romance, you have to practice letting go, and letting the tension build....

CONTINUE READING THE FULL ARTICLE AT DIGITAL ROMANCE

Robyn Wahlgast is a Rules Certified Dating and Relationship Coach for Women. If you're online dating (or thinking about it) read How To Have An Awesome First Date With An Online Guy for road-tested tips and advice. If you're curious about The Rules, find out how to rock The Rules your own way and why reading The Rules book just might change your life. Never miss a new blog post: subscribe to our FREE newsletter.  

DATING TIPS FOR ALPHA WOMEN

WHAT MEN REALLY THINK ABOUT SMART, SUCCESSFUL WOMEN

Many women have told me that they believe their relationships fizzle out—or that they aren’t attractive to men in the first place—because they are “too Alpha.” The thinking is that a man prefers to feel superior to his potential mate, so if you project success and intellectual ability, you will scare away eligible bachelors. (And be careful about seeming too independent or competent, some say.)

Yet, we see time and again that exceptionally smart, successful women do captivate quality men. Celebrities like Beyoncé, Katy Perry, Angelina Jolie, and Amal (Alamuddin) Clooney are popular examples of Alpha Female magnetism. I bet you can think of a few strong, capable women in your own life who have managed to attract lasting love.

Have you ever worried that you are "too alpha" to attract quality men—too independent, successful, career-oriented, or smart? Relax. The truth may be quite the opposite.

Have you ever worried that you are "too alpha" to attract quality men—too independent, successful, career-oriented, or smart? Relax. The truth may be quite the opposite.

So what’s the truth? Do successful men really not want strong, independent mates—leaders, in other words—or is something else going on?

After years of working in the corporate world, I have come to this realization: that men and women have different ideas of what alpha looks and acts like. In other words, the very women who believe they are “too alpha” may not be perceived as strong and confident enough by the men they seek to attract. (And though it's not within my scope to discuss it here, learning to signal alpha to both men and women at work will ensure that you never get passed by for a promotion.) 

Tip: The very women who believe they are “too alpha” may actually come across as not alpha enough to the men they hope to attract.

Over the holidays I had the pleasure of attending a gathering of young professionals, mostly under the age of 40. I brought along a simple set of photographs to explore my theory that men and women read leadership cues differently. As a warm-up, I asked 11 men and 9 women to discuss the attributes they would look for in a life partner.

Tommy Hilfiger

As a group, we agreed that confidence is one of the most important qualities that both men and women look for in a potential mate. Confidence signals that a person is emotionally healthy and at peace with who they are. In fact, the men said that possessing confidence is so critical to a woman’s appeal that it directly influences a man’s perception of her physical beauty and intelligence (attributes that they would also look for in a potential long-term partner.)

Tip: Confidence is the determining factor in a woman’s appeal, influencing a man’s perception of her physical beauty and intelligence. A woman who seems confident is more desirable to men as a long-term mate. The catch is that men and women look for different cues to signal confidence.

I asked both men and women women to look at photos A and B (below) and tell me which of the two models projected strength and confidence. I also asked them to come up with some adjectives to describe each woman. 

Which one is the Alpha Female?

THE WOMEN VOTE FOR "A"
8 of 9 women said that the model in Photo A projects more alpha. 1 of 9 said that the model in Photo B appears more confident.

THE MEN VOTE FOR "B"
8 of 11 men said that the model in Photo B is the Alpha Woman. 3 men said either A or B could be perceived as strong and confident. 

Note that all 11 men saw the woman in Photo B as projecting alpha while only one of the women picked her. The more interesting information, though, is in the adjectives that the men and women used to describe the photos (below).

PHOTO A (POINTING)
Women:

  • "Smiling"
  • "Active"
  • "Direct communicator"
  • "Confident" 

Men:

  • "Smiling"
  • "Trying too hard to make the sale"
  • "She's clearly not the boss"
  • "Cute"

PHOTO B (READING)
Women:

  • "Passive"
  • "Shy"
  • "Content"
  • "Self absorbed"

Men:

  • "Smart"
  • "She knows something"
  • "Self contained"
  • "Mysterious"
  • "Poised"
  • "Confident"
  • "Beautiful"

Now I realize this is hardly a scientific study. My goal is just to start a conversation about the differences in how men and women interpret social signals. How important is it that the woman in Photo B is withholding eye contact?isn't that often associated with people in power? The women in our group did not consider that aspect of model B's pose, but perhaps the men did, at least subconsciously. Did the women prefer model A because she embodies qualities we might seek in an Alpha Male?

You can see how our biases make it easy to miscommunicate, simply through body language and expression. This is why tips on flirting are so often misguided. Making eye contact with a cute guy seems so subtle to womenlike being passive and doing nothing at allwhile a man will say "Oh, she practically threw herself at me" because he perceives her gaze to be a direct invitation.   

e.l.f. cosmetics

What's the conclusion for strong, independent women? I believe it's this: You don't need to pretend to be less than who you are to attract a strong, capable man. 

But you should consider whether you are actually projecting inner confidence, or inadvertently appearing insecure to your dates. Do you tend to feel that you need to "do something" to call attention to yourself or show that you are in charge? (i.e., Acting out behavior that you would find attractive in your guy.) To men, it may appear that you are trying too harda sure sign that you don't value yourself highly enough. Next time, scale back on the effort. Practice sitting calmly, and let others approach you if they wish. Look your best, but don't feel you have to provide witty conversation or sultry glances. At its core, serenity is strength. Each day, bring a little peace into your life, and you may be pleasantly surprised to find that you attract both love and respect in the process.

Robyn Wahlgast is a Rules Certified Dating and Relationship Coach for Women, and a happily married mother of three. For more tips on signaling confidence, learn how posture affects others' perception of your power and attractiveness. And if you're looking for ways to project more feminine energy on dates, try this article on Love Energy. For more on masculine-feminine dynamics in dating, read this article on using The Rules to date with healthy boundaries. Never miss a new blog post: subscribe to our FREE newsletter