Where Do I Meet Single Men If I’m In My 40s?

I am 44 years old and entering the dating scene again for the first time in 25 years. Where do you go to meet someone at my age? I am not doing the online singles sites…that is just scary to me. I don’t go to church. I am new in town, with a few happily married friends.I have four grown who are trying to set me up (I love them, but what a nightmare!!). What do single people do at 40 and over? So much of my time was taken up with caring for someone else that now I just don’t know how to fill that time. Any suggestions?


Thanks for highlighting an important principle for women over 40 seeking love:

You will not find it unless you do something differently.

You said it yourself. You’re new in town. Your friends are married. You don’t go to church. You won’t date online because it’s scary.

It’s about attracting men, understanding men, and making them want to stick around forever and ever. That’s what I do for my clients every single day.

What do you expect me to tell you? No, really. What?

Every day I get emails from women who want one-on-one dating coaching but don’t want to try online dating. I tell each one the same exact thing:

“If you’re dating a few men right now and can guarantee me that you’ll have at least one date a week for the duration of our time together, we can start coaching. If not, what exactly are we going to talk about for 12 weeks?”

They usually come back with a “Well, I thought, as a dating coach, you’d have some ideas on meeting men. Isn’t that what dating coaching is all about?”

No, that’s what articles in Marie Claire are all about:

“The Ten Top Spots to Meet Hot Guys!”

Here, I spared you the trouble of Googling it: The 14 Best Places to Meet Eligible Men

Without giving anything away, Loriann, here are the actual places that have been recommended by a site called AllWomensTalk: the bar, the market, online, church, the water cooler, newspapers, college, friends, the gym, restaurants, work, vacation, parks, airplanes.

Where does this leave you? Apparently, it means standing around a lot, hoping that a cute, age appropriate, interested single guy happens upon you at the bar, the market, college, the gym, restaurants, parks, and airplanes.

So if it’s not already abundantly clear, dating advice is not about WHERE to meet men. It’s about attracting men, understanding men, and making them want to stick around forever and ever. That’s what I do for my clients every single day.

As to where you meet men, yes, there’s one place that’s more effective in making introductions than 100 visits to Whole Foods and Art History class combined.

It’s called Match.com, it’s open 24 hours a day, and it costs a lot less than getting on a plane and hoping to sit next to a 45-year-old eligible bachelor.

…if you won’t go outside your comfort zone, I can pretty much assure you that nothing’s going to change.

I highly suggest you get over your fear of online dating, not because it’s perfect by any stretch of the imagination, but because it’s ubiquitous and effective in creating opportunity. Rather than dip your toe in the water and give up because you’re intimidated, I highly encourage you to check out Finding the One Online, in which I hold your hand through the entire online dating process, from getting over your fears, to choosing a website, to writing a profile, to flirting with men and so on.

You don’t have to be single if you don’t want to be, Loriann. But if you won’t go outside your comfort zone, I can pretty much assure you that nothing’s going to change.


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  1. 1
    Christie Hartman

    There a couple of things one can do to meet people, particularly if over 40. 1) Get out of your routine. Eat out, grab coffee, and hang out at different places each week. Go to any party you're invited to, join clubs with people who do what you like to do, volunteer, get involved socially. 2) Online date, as Evan said. As a dating coach, I know that people resist it because they're scared to try something so unfamiliar to them. But it's like anything else – there's a way to do it successfully, and it's a great way to meet people you wouldn't normally meet.

  2. 2

    You don't have to pay to date, either – I've never used them but Plenty of Fish and OK Cupid are both free, I think.  So is Meetup, and that might be a better way to just get involved with activities that you enjoy without it creating the kind of pressure/fear that the LW is experiencing currently.  Even joining some mixed-gender groups revolving around an activity will increase her social base, and they may be able to set her up with "pre-screened" folks.

  3. 3

    I would be curious to know why she finds online dating "scary" — that's a very specific word — is she afraid that someone will stalk and harm her? Or is it she's more "embarrassed" to have a picture/profile up / that people she knows might see her online….

    1. 3.1

      Online dating is scary especially if you are H female.  My online dating experiences have given me a bunch of messages from men that I would never give a second glance at.  One of them I recognized from him being arraigned for family violence.  (I am an attorney.)  I recognized him by his lovely neck tattoo.  I also received plenty of cheesy pick up lines and I love how all of the old men find me appealing.  I am not looking for an old man or a sugar daddy.  My first date was lovely.  My date was offended and elected to attempt to insult me when I didn’t want to sleep with him.  He changed when I actually met him.  I did google and research him.  I don’t wish my experiences on anyone else but I regret paying for this experience.  I also have to add that I already knew most of the decent guys that were online. 

      1. 3.1.1

        Gywnn, I hate to be that pessimistic female, but I am.  I endured your exact experiences 8 years ago, when I gave up.  I got lots of interest from older men.  After dating 6 or 7 different guys for very brief periods of time, I gave up when the last one got angry with him for not sleeping with him after 2 weeks. 

      2. 3.1.2

        My experiences were very similar.  I tried all the major online dating sites for years.  I’ve had a few not ver long term relationships come out of them, and all of them I realized, sooner or later, were not for me.  I tried to keep an open mind and I wrote positive profiles, but I finally decided that the vast majority of men my age who were doing online dating, were either uninterested in or unready for a serious relationship.  I have yet to meet that guy.  I gave up on online dating because there are way too many playboys and wounded animals to try to weed out.  I’d rather meet men in a no-expectations setting and get to know them first, while doing things I enjoy, than spending that time making just dating a major hobby.

  4. 4

    David – I can't speak for LoriAnn, but as for myself (55, widowed), the scary  of online dating for me is about personal safety. I couldn't care less if someone I knew saw my profile. (I guess that's one of the advantages of self confidence that comes with age – no fear of making a fool of yourself!)

  5. 5

    I agree with Evan that you need to get over your fear of online dating!  I was divorced after being married for 22yrs and online dating helped me ease back in to dating.  I got to know a lot of different men and it was fun emailing and chatting.  I think in any type of situation you have to be careful because you can meet someone who will be deceptive in some way.  I find online dating to be safe because you can ask those uncomfortable questions about who a person is, in the safety of your own space.  I won't meet any man who won't give me his last name and where he works, phone number, etc.  I then google them just to see if something pops up.  Most good men understand a single woman has to be extra careful.  Those that don't, they don't get a date with me!  Always meet in a public place a few times before you feel comfortable.  If you still don't want to take the plunge, pick up some classes with a hobby you have wanted to get into.  Be open and carry yourself in a way that makes you approachable.  But really think more about getting Evan's help.  He has truly helped me in many ways, to understanding relationships.  Good luck!

    1. 5.1

      No offense Cindy, but reading your post reminded me of some women I dated, and they were absolutely horrible relationships.

      Also, your little detective work would screw you out of some great guys if you are too harsh. I can totally understand if the guy pops up with a history of violence or drug arrests, but my friend is a member of a not so exclusive club. See, many men here in Florida get a restraining order put on them. It pretty much goes like this…women here often use them as power plays. Men with no history of violence end up with them. Biggest reason is that they don’t think they need to get a lawyer. Without a lawyer, a judge will almost always grant it.

      Here’s the worst part. For a long time, the state used to hold both parties accountable to the order. Not anymore. The lawyers got the State’s Attorney’s office to stop prosecuting the women when the order was violated. Why? Because when they know they won’t get prosecuted, they turn the guy in. What happens a lot is the woman asks for a restraining order. A woman who issues them said it is the most abused section of the law. So she asks for it, and the guy either doesn’t fight it, or doesn’t get a lawyer. Most guys don’t realize how serious hey are.

      OK, so a six month, or 1 year order may be in place. But after a couple of months, the woman makes contact, if it takes that long. The couple then start meeting on the sly. Dumb move for the guy, but many do it, trying to patch up a marriage or relationship. Anyway, at some point, the woman gets mad again, and when she does, she calls the cops on him. Guys have been arrested with the woman in his car. Doesn’t that sound dumb? Why arrest the guy when she got into his car? Or his apartment? Yet it happens.

      But by all means do the check.

      One of the women I had a short relationship with was like that. She was always checking up on me. And the thing is, if she had any kind of suspicion, she would never just come out and ask. She would try to beat around the bush. Why? Because she didn’t believe a guy would just be honest with her. For instance, one of her friends claimed that I hit on her. The truth? I did not. This other girl is a known trouble maker. She likes drama. Needs drama. She probably knew how my girlfriend was so suspicious and thus wanted to throw her in a tizzy. Well instead of just coming to me and asking me, she asked all of these weird questions trying to trip me up. It took weeks before I found out what she was up to. The thing is, I had verifiable proof as to where I was when I was supposedly hitting on her friend. But this was a pattern with her. And the worst part was, the only thing she would ever really believe was a negative finding. In other words, I am sure she always wondered if I really had hit on her friend. Had I told her I had, she owuld have believed that, even with the evidence that I could not have. So she was always digging, always playing detective. Good lord was it ever a nightmare.

  6. 6

    I think looking for ways to expand your social circle is just as practical, if not more productive than online dating. Take classes, join fitness groups, find the community social events, get involved in a fundraiser, crash AA meetings (KIDDING), learn to golf, join a country club, if you have a dog, make friends at the dog park.  DOn't just focus on meeting men, or even friends, just try to make more social acquiantances and expand your social world.  And if your kids find anyone cool to try to make a match with, give it a shot – they will screen out the weirdos!

  7. 7
    Evan Marc Katz

    @Victoria – Hey, have you ever heard about the serial killer who preys on 55-year-old women that he met on Match.com?

    Me neither.

    Enjoy online dating. :)

    1. 7.1

      Serial killer, no – but certainly plenty of abusive, sexually driven or just plain creepy men!  While I would not advocate living by fear, and common sense will help to screen potential dates, to make a comment like Evan – that implies that there is no rational basis for fearing online dating – is both judgmental and wrong.

      1. 7.1.1
        Karmic Equation

        One is more likely to die in a car accident than from an aviation accident. Should one then sell one’s car and only find jobs within walking distance or instead fly to work every day?
        By your reckoning, we should cater to people suffering from agoraphobia?
        There’s a thing called common sense and self-awareness, and being aware of our surroundings. There’s danger in almost everything we everyday. But those “possible” dangers shouldn’t stop us from doing something if that danger is neither imminent nor pervasive.

  8. 8

    I understand that online dating can be scary, but it doesn't have to be! If you met a stranger in line at the grocery store, you'd likely meet him in public places on dates until you were comfortable having him in your home or going to his. The same rules apply in on line dating! Your instincts shouldn't change no matter where you meet a man. Usually, unless you meet someone through work or friends (and in each case, you'd have some frame of reference about who this man is), the first several dates are usually in public.
    Just as you have met men who made you uncomfortable while you were moving about in your everyday life, should you meet someone on line who makes you uncomfortable, you have options of getting him out of your life. The nice thing about match.com is that if a guy is causing you concern, you can report him and you can block him from being able to read your profile and/or contact you from the site.
    At the end of the day, it is about keeping your wits about you and staying tuned into what your gut is telling you about the guy. A strategy that I've used that has served me well is that I text at least two friends to give them the guy's first and last name, his phone number and the name of the place we are meeting and the time that we are meeting. This has worked wonderfully!! As women, we can always excuse ourselves to go to the restroom and if there is a problem with the date, you can phone a friend or text a friend, or if you are having a great time (which you probably will after being coached by Evan), you can send a text to your friends or family saying you are fine and that you are having a great time!!
    If I am uncomfortable on the date, at the end of the date, rather than letting the guy walk me to my car, I will say my goodbye to him (and let him know it was nice meeting him) inside the restaurant and say that I have to use the bathroom or pick up something at the grocery store next door and I will talk to him later.
    The take home message here is to come up with a plan for your safety and you will be just fine. Also, if you spend some time getting to know him on the phone (a few conversations) over the course of several days before you actually meet, you will get a pretty good feel for him!! Go for it and see what happens!!

  9. 9

    @7: This is the argument for online dating? “It’s unlikely that you’ll get murdered by a serial killer”?

  10. 10

    Loriann!  All the prior responses to mine have had great ideas.  Mostly I everyone including Evan is saying just get out there….it can happen anywhere at any time.  There are no specifics unfortunately.  I definitely have discovered that myself.  Mara was so right.  Hang in there there are alot of us in the same boat.  Online dating is foreign to alot of us. Eventually you will find your way through.  Give it a try and if you don't like it then just stop.  I have been on Plenty of Fish and numerous others.  Plenty of Fish I have stuck with…meeting some nice gentlemen.  Give it a try…just be smart and wise about who and where to meet….The normal guy off the street could also be a threat but you don't that right off the bat right? Same thing with online dating.  Relax, enjoy meeting people everywhere.  :)

  11. 11

    eHarmony seems decent for less experienced daters who need alot of hand-holding.  But there are so many other dating sites out there though, and there are Meetups and dating clubs. Personally, I think that being new in town is a great lead-in for a profile. You could write a catchy headline based on being the "new kid on the block", looking for someone to show you the city! 
    I have an over-40 friend who won't do online dating because it feels too "artificial". She'll occasionally go to a meet-up or an event she's interested in, but basically, she just doesn't date at all. 

  12. 12
    Cathy J

    @6 Mara – I like your list.

    Online dating can be fine depending on where you live. eg if you live in Australia and are on a site that is US based you will most likely be knocked out by most matches on location.

    Re online dating being scary – I once took another friend with me when I caught up with the guy – I think he thought it a bit wierd but I am still unsure why. We are more comfortable around friends and meeting somewhere public for coffee especially with another friend seems wise. Others I know,male and female, just do it more subtley, have friends just happening to be in the same place or sitting a few tables away.

    Places to meet – anywhere that interests you… just meander, take it slowly. Make eye contact. Stop and smell the roses. Smile and laugh – that will attract the men to you.

    My last month’s theme was on Guy Magnet: Attract Love!

  13. 13

    This dynamic between how men approach online dating is very interesting to me. Mens attitude is basically whats the big deal? Lets meet and see if we have chemistry. For some women, it just seems like dating online is such a big deal, such a big commitment. Its coffee and conversation, not marriage! Relax, use common sense, and have fun. Dating should be fun.

  14. 14

    I just canceled my Plenty Of Fish account.   The software wouldn't let me update my profile unless I provided Plenty Of Fish with information about income.

    The owner of the site decided he needed that information for a matching function he created and he is cutting features off for POF members who do not provide that information.

  15. 15

    You took a friend with you on a date and don't understand why the guy thought that's weird? Seriously? I mean, seriously?
    As women, we need to be cautious, but there's a line between being cautious and seeing killers everywhere.

  16. 16
    Cathy J

    No, wasn't thinking serial killer. 
    I suppose that's the difference – your dating expectations.  How do you know if you like someone and may want to get to know them better until you have spent some time hanging out.  Why does it need to be one on one?  This is why the singles dinner groups are so popular.  You get to meet new people in small groups where they are more likely to be relaxed.  I used to hold parties regularly and invite a few singles just so they would have the opportunity to meet other singles and relationships, friendship or potential romantic ones, could develop naturally.
    Wouldn't the world be boring if we were all the same :)

  17. 17

    Kinda makes you wonder why anyone who's familiar enough with Evan would email him THIS question?? When we all know as should anyone that's even vaguely  familiar with this site what the answer is. Unless you have a bar or bars  that specifically caters to an over 40 crowd like we used to have for 10 yrs in my area before it closed you have to do internet dating.
    Like Evan said by the end of your first full day on Match.com you'll have 75-100 guys wanting to take you out for a drink.Let's ask all the guys on here,which one of us wouldn't cut off a testicle just to have those numbers to be possible for men? Oh yeah,and you'll probably never have to pull out your wallet.
    On a different note I've noticed a lot of people in our area are using Meetup.com groups as a low pressure way to "meet people and mingle" without the pressure of going one on one and actually dating per se. You just join a "Meetup group" that has your interests and go hang out when they have a get together.You can see pics of all the people in the group on each site but people don't say any stats about themselves like a noraml dating site ie: age,height,weight,income and marital status that we've all come to love. Many people that are of Match,POF,Yahoo etc…. are in at least 1-5 Meetup groups as well.

  18. 18

    @Steve #13
    I'm curious as to why the owner of POF would make restrictions on the site based on providing income information. Is he trying to match people based on comparable incomes? I've never been on a dating site, but isn't it customary that discussion about income/financial resources come as part of getting to know someone, not before?
    I was raised that a person's income is no one else's business. I would be put off by such an inquiry on an internet site. Wonder what they were doing with such information. It just sounds…tacky.

  19. 19
    Karl R

    Loriann asked: (original post)
    "Where do you go to meet someone at my age?"
    I'm a 40 year old man. This isn't rocket science. The world is filled with men and women. There's no secret place to go. It's how you meet the men (or women) who are all around you.
    Loriann asked: (original post)
    "So much of my time was taken up with caring for someone else that now I just don't know how to fill that time. Any suggestions?"
    Get a hobby. Do something that you're passionate about. Try something new. You might meet new people. You'll definitely seem more interesting to anyone you meet.
    Loriann said: (original post)
    "I have four grown who are trying to set me up (I love them, but what a nightmare!!)."
    Why is this a nightmare? You're willing to ask a complete stranger on the internet for dating advice, but you think it's horrible that the people closest to you keep trying to introduce you to men who meet their approval? Given that the worst case scenario is that you meet someone you're not interested in, I'd say your nightmares are really bland.
    Loriann asked: (original post)
    "What do single people do at 40 and over?"
    The successful daters DO something. I sing in a church choir. I go to a couple yoga classes each week. I go to the dance studio and out dancing a few evenings per week. I go to the free outdoor theater….
    But I also met an attractive woman while sitting at the counter of a diner … while I was still wearing the same sweaty clothes I'd just exercised for 3 hours in.
    Every day you're someplace where you can meet men. Do you know what to do when you're there?

  20. 20

    I won't meet any man who won't give me his last name and where he works, phone number, etc.
    Has this been an effective strategy?
    I mean, *I* wouldn't answer similar questions about myself to someone I haven't even met yet!

  21. 21

    Cathy, #16-
    Ok- what you're talking about- groups of singles hanging out, is different from what I thought you were saying. I totally agree with that. I thought you meant bringing girlfriends along on dates with guys- as in, like a 'chaperone' from Jane Austen novels.

  22. 22

    I've been doing online dating on and off for almost a decade now, and never once have I felt that I was in danger, nor, I might add, have I ever taken the precautions some here describe.
    It's so baffling to hear these fears about the safety or the stigma or anything else somehow associated with online dating, especially now after so many years it's been popular that it has become the prevalent way of meeting people.
    Demanding personal info from complete strangers, Googling them for verification, bringing a friend (!), I have to wonder – where do you choose to meet with your dates? In abandoned warehouses in secluded areas? Why all the paranoia?

    1. 22.1

      So you been doing online dating on and off for a bout a decade? You haven’t found any good guys or serious relationships have you? There’s a reason they go on there, they’re either creeps looking for they’re next prey or complete losers who can find a real woman.You’ll never know what the person is about or if you can completely TRUST them from online dating.Who knows what they were doing on there while talking to you or if they even stopped after dating in person.And forget about if if your are christian looking for a christian man.Impossible!

  23. 23

    I appreciate the real life experiences & the ffedback of the postings here.
    Evan – I have  been reading your blog, and purchased both "What friends would tell you" & most recently "why he diassapeared". You  have  good insights to peolpe, so I'm surprised @ how harsh your response to my concern about personal safety was. Ask Allison Armstrong about the prevelancy of women who know they are alone, that no one is looking out   for their wellbeing but themselves, and their instinctual concerns about their safety.

  24. 24
    Evan Marc Katz

    I appreciate your comment – and recognize that my answer was glib. Intentionally so, to make a point.

    A majority of my clients are women over 40 and probably 1/3 of them are over 50. So, believe me, I really do understand the plight of single women better than any of your other fiftysomething married women friends.

    And while I could clearly have shown more sensitivity to you, my feelings remain the same. Yes, you’re alone. Yes, no one’s looking out for you. Yes, you are going to have a greater concern for your safety than men.

    Yet you should be far more concerned about being seduced by a Nigerian scammer who wants money than you should be worried about some 60-year-old lonely man turning violent. I have heard many incidents of financial fraud against women over 50, and NO incidents regarding physical safety. As such, your fear is more in your mind than in reality.

  25. 25

    If someone hasn't dated  in 25 years, perhaps they still view online dating the way it might have been seen 25 years ago. Personal ads were just starting up and there was still some stigma attached  to finding dates this way. I'd say online dating is the norm now, even for much younger people who typically have access to many more singles in their age range.

  26. 26

    @ Evan #24,
    I spent a lot of time lately shutting down Nigerian scammers; the good news is, they give themselves away.  You can pretty much flush them out immediately and get rid of them.
    I guess there is still sort of a stigma with online dating, but so many people do it these days that it's kinda silly.  After all, there was a day and time when we used to have mail order brides.  I don't know if I will meet "the one" online; I don't even know if I will meet him "offline".  It's just an option for increasing opportunities.

  27. 27

    As someone who has yet to try online dating, what I find unappealing about it is that it is essentially going on rounds of "blind dates". I've been on blind dates, either as set up by friends, or in two cases, men I met through an internet venue and find I much prefer to meet people in casual settings. There is an *expectation* factor in blind dating that isn't there when you meet someone before you agree to a date with them.
    That said, unless you have a huge social circle, or a convenient "gray bar", it can be difficult to meet new people in middle age. I smirk when I read about meeting men in grocery stores – how often does that actually happen? Anyone? I've been grocery shopping literally thousands of times and I don't think I've ever had so much as a casual conversation with a man in the produce aisle. Or any other aisle.
    So, I think if a person really wants to meet someone for a relationship, internet dating sites are certainly an option worth exploring.

  28. 28

    Women, don't forget to make yourself presentable/doll up, once a week, every two weeks, etc. when you are free to do so..I know many of you hold jobs…and go to coffeehouses, family restaurants, etc. mostly, during morning hours….. 

  29. 29

    @24: ALL women have concerns about their physical safety that men don’t. If you don’t consider your physical safety in situations that involve strange men, you are not being smart and are more likely to be victimized than your more cautious sister. Until you know a guy, you don’t know whether he is predatory or not. And yes, older women are a big target group for predatory men. Not necessarily for the serial killer kind of predator, but for the financial scammers.

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