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. 31

    Jody #29

    I live in NYC – it's difficult to get away from people here even if you want to. One would really have to go out of their way to create an unsafe date environment for themselves.
    And btw, I have never once felt uncomfortable at the end of the date in the sense Sylvia describes (#8). The absolute majority of my dates end with me not being attracted to the guy – that's the extent of the discomfort.
    Sylvia also mentioned letting two friends know before going on a date, along with telling them the man's name and whatever other information she has on him. I would do this, but not in a going on a date situation (and I would think, my friends have better things to do (as do I)). I would do that if I decided to go visit a long-distance prospect I had a virtual relationship with.

  2. 32

    @ Jody 29:
    It's just like until you know a woman, you don't know if she's crazy or not.

  3. 33

    @mic 32:  Uhm, I'm sure your goal wasn't to offend, but you might want to do a little fact-checking before making assumptions about what you probably consider "older" singles.  As a woman over 50, I can tell you that my peers and I are not only sought after, but we're even sometimes considered "hot" to men in similar age groups OR YOUNGER — if you can get your mind around that.   And if you're implying that men over 45 are no "threat" because they've got no lust left in them…har! Nothing could be further from the truth.  I do think that men my age have usually (not always) matured to the point where they are more respectful of boundaries, but don't assume the over-50's crowd is sitting home with their support hose on hoping that they'll remember where they left their dentures.  We are out there, and we like sex.  Oh, the horror! 
    I'd like to weigh in as a seasoned OKCupid user and I'd say I've been happier with OKC than any other dating site I've used — which is quite a few.  It's free, there's a great deal of variety, and it doesn't take itself too seriously by trying to manipulate numbers or guaranteeing you a perfect match.  But like Evan has said so many times, finding love is work, and I think the most common mistake new-to-dating-women make about on-line dating is that they think if they finally get up the nerve to participate, it should only take them a month to find the perfect guy.  Sadly, that's nowhere near the truth.  It takes lots of time, effort, flexibility, and a sense of humor, regardless of your age, natural endowments, or financial bracket.  But I think it makes you stronger and more in touch with the outside world…and more empathetic with other singles. 

  4. 34

    Honestly, you have to be willing to just step out of your comfort zone and live life. Seriously, you never know what's going to happen!
    I am young (late 20s), I don't drink, I don't go to bars, I don't go to clubs, and can be painfully shy. I don't consider myself an avid dater. My point is, I didn't make a lot of opportunities to meet men. I pretty much wasn't going to meet any if I didn't step out of my comfort zone. And I'm still young and (at least decently) attractive here!
    I ended up getting convinced, rather reluctantly at first, into trying online dating with eHarmony just to see "what was out there." And I did it for 3 months. And my honest opinion, is that I could care less about that site. I didn't really think I was going to get anything out of it and I really didn't like it. That is my personal opinion, many people like it. But one day I got an email from a guy, went on some dates with him, and am still seeing him till this day. We haven't been seeing each other that long, but you know what? You just never know what's going to happen. I'm not saying that you'll meet someone within a couple of months of online dating, but you could. I did. It's possible. You might not meet someone online, but you'll get a social life out of it. And really, is that so bad? I'm glad I gave it a shot. Despite me not liking the site, I did end up getting a relationship out of it 😉 Could have easily gone the other way and I didn't meet anyone I liked out of it. But even so, it did give me a new appreciation for dating online. Had I not met my bf, I would have tried another site.
    The point of this long winded story is that I might not be in my 40's, but I have trouble dating/meeting men too. For different reasons sure, but we ended up putting up the same kind of barrier (for lack of a better word). If you want to improve any aspect of your life, you have to be willing to take a "why not" attitude. I'm glad I stepped outside of my comfort zone. I wasn't sure about meeting someone online and going on a "blind" date, but I did it. Just be smart about it. Stay out in public places and don't invite him in your place until you've established respect and trust between each other.
    All the options posters have given you are great! You need to decide how much you want change. Only you can bring it. Be open to possibilities. Stepping out of your comfort zone doesn't mean being reckless. Do it wisely.

  5. 35

    It's not that there are no older women who are attractive to men their age or younger. But men who pursue too vigorously probably prefer younger women, all things being equal. Perhaps it's due to inferred personality traits such as innocence and vulnerability or the mental age of pursuers.

  6. 36

    [email protected]: I live in NYC, too, and I've been mugged at knifepoint at noon on Wall St., near my office, broad day, lots of people around. Harrassment on the train is also quite common. Last time it happened to me, where the guy just would not leave me alone, was two weeks ago. Doesn't happen all the time, but it happens. Has happened often enough that I would counsel any woman to be wary, at any age. I'm 49.
    [email protected]: Sexual aggression/assault/harrassment is not about lust. You need better sources of information. While sexual assaults happen more often among young people, that is not because the woman are better looking, as you suggest. It's because younger women are more naive, more vulnerable,  and less likely to resist. In FBI interviews with rapists, the predators reveal that they are not looking for a sexual thrill. They are looking to dominate and force another person to their will. They look for very specific things in a target: opportunity (alone in a secluded location) and easy prey (the weak and unprotected).

  7. 37

    That's not accurate, as physical attractiveness is a factor in men targeting women for sexual assault. (More so in sexual harassment.) However, while that's a risk in online dating (when meeting offline), probably as big a risk is a warped, possibly love-lorn pursuer. That was what was meant by stalking, and that likely is highly linked to beauty. The notion of an ugly person becoming someone's romantic obsession sounds far-fetched, doesn't it?

  8. 38

    [email protected]: You are scarily mistaken. I’ve done the research. And my cousin is an FBI agent who specializes in this. Just because you would only assault or stalk an attractive woman does not mean that you can speak for all predators.

    I strongly urge you to do the research and then get some help for yourself.

  9. 39

    mic #37
    ""That's not accurate, as physical attractiveness is a factor in men targeting women for sexual assault.""
    Sorry, that's not accurate. The motive for rape is  aggression and power, not sex. From the Council on Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence website: "Victims range in age from a few months to 90 years of age and come in all shapes, sizes, and colors. Victims tend to be chosen for their vulnerability and availability, without regard for their physicalappearance. The attribution of sexual assault to the victim’s attractiveness is perpetuated by the myth that rape is a sexual act, and again, blame and responsibility are placed on the victim."

  10. 40

    Why should mic get some help?

  11. 41

    Those are some predictable, cliched responses.
    Of course availability is a major factor (in stranger rape at least), and of course no reasonable person would say a human being deserves to be raped for being physically attractive. The source for the claim about appearance is a book called A Natural History of Rape. (Discussion at 😉 Probably nobody can say how much of a factor appearance is and maybe strictly speaking (in stranger rape) facial attractiveness is a very minor factor. If attractiveness weren't a factor at all, it would be at odds with (a specialty of this business) scores of other findings about how humans react to appearance. If people choose to believe other sources that likely are more concerned with political correctness, that is their choice. It won't change women's risk factors.

  12. 42

    Joe @40: Read Ruby’s very informed post. Then imagine what kind of mind thinks that women get assaulted because they’re pretty and goes around spreading this lie, claiming it’s substantiated by scientific research or some such. Clearly he has nothing to back up the claim except the workings of his mind.

    People who blame the victim are often victimizers themselves. At the least they passively condone abuse and assault. That mic is clearly lying about the “expertise” behind his POV indicates to me that his “misunderstanding” of assault and abuse is a bigger problem. Just the tip of the iceberg.

  13. 43
    Karl R

    Jody said: (#41)
    "imagine what kind of mind thinks that women get assaulted because they’re pretty and goes around spreading this lie,"
    Someone who gets their information from mass media. Young and pretty victims get media coverage.
    "claiming it’s substantiated by scientific research or some such."
    He cited his source and provided a link. That's hardly evidence of deviance, even if you disagree with the source. He never implied that his other claims were backed up by research.
    "People who blame the victim are often victimizers themselves."
    Calling them "young" and "attractive" is considered blame?
    I agree that mic is wrong. Sexual predators target people who are vulnerable and accessible. (Serial killers seem to follow a different method of selecting victims, but I don't understand it well enough to provide accurate information.) But I hardly think his ignorance warrants a suggestion that he is a victimizer  who needs to "get some help".
    Ruby, (#39)
    Good summary.
    Back to the topic:
    Regardless what Loriann is scared of (physical harm, awkward dates, embarrassing questions from her family) she is going to have to move outside her comfort zone in order to date.

  14. 44
    Stephen Hedger

    It looks like there is a fear with online dating.

    I am interested to learn more about this fear and how this fear is somehow different to meeting people in bars, clubs, supermarkets or any where else etc. And how do you help them overcome it?

  15. 45

    @JuJu #20
    Yes!  Most men do understand that a woman needs to be careful.  I don't ask that info right off the bat.  But if we are going to meet up, (and that is decided after a few emails and phone calls) yes, I need to know more info on them because I give his name/number to a friend and let them know who I'm meeting and where.  I have no problems with online dating.  I have been lucky and found good men.  I'm currently dating someone that I met off of match for over a year now.  I just enjoy reading Evan's blogs and that is why I am still out here reading his advice!  He has continued to help me with my relationship!

  16. 46

    going back to the original point of the thread…it's funny- I'm 31, and I have the same problem all these middle-aged women do. Whether I go out to events or go online it just seems that there just aren't guys anywhere- number wise. Of course, they exist- but it seems to be a 3:1 women to men ratio, possibly more, from what I'm seeing.
    When I go online, women just sheer outnumber men- and in professional groups, etc., even happy hours, seem to be almost always all-women. I think the American population just doesn't have that many single men from 30-45.

  17. 47

    Wow, I am in the same age group, and it has always been my impression that at least online (by that I mean on the dating sites) men outnumber women at least 2:1. Maybe it's my ethnic group or something.   😐

  18. 48
    Karl R

    sayanta said: (#45)
    “it seems to be a 3:1 women to men ratio, possibly more, from what I’m seeing.”
    JuJu said: (#46)
    “it has always been my impression that at least online (by that I mean on the dating sites) men outnumber women at least 2:1.”

    I just went on Match.com and checked the number of 31 year olds in my area:
    117 men seeking women 58.5%
    83 women seeking men 41.5%
    That’s approximately a 3:2 ratio.

    Would you two mind checking to see what the ratio is in your area?

  19. 49


    Really? hmm- I don’t know, when I was looking on POF a couple of years ago, there were def more women than men- regardless of race- maybe that’s been changing though.

  20. 50

    Karl, I am 32 now, turning 33 later this year. (When I said earlier I’ve been doing online dating on and off for almost a decade now, I meant since age 24. The “off” periods, though, were a lot longer than the “on” ones.)

    The site I am using says how many men’s and women’s active profiles it has, and the total ratio is 2:1. By far most men on the site, though, are under 40, so as far as I am concerned, the male predominance is at least that high.

  21. 51

    As for concrete numbers, that site doesn’t have a search for each particular age, so I searched for a number of 30-year-olds (311 women vs. 534 men) and 35-year-olds (216 women vs. 437 men).

  22. 52

    Oh, just thought to look for the numbers of 30-35 year olds: 1230 women and 2305 men.

  23. 53

    Gee….has anyone ever heard of a SPORTS BAR ? I’m not positive but I think men tend to go there. In my area we have about 100 of them and the ratio in most of them is about 95% men.

    As men we have no equivalent to the sports bar. Not even the mall has the same ratio……… just a thought

    Yahoo Personals was bought by Match and yesterday they started migrating everyone over. So now they’ll even be MORE men on there!!

  24. 54

    I am going to have to agree with Evan. I have a lot of friends from their mid thirties to mid fifties that have had great success with online dating. I am close to 40 and date a women that is 45 and we met through mutual friends, but I can see where that can be difficult. If you live in a smaller community it could be very difficult. Good luck and I hope you find someone special.

  25. 55

    JB #52

    But what if you’re not into sports? It’s hard enough to carry on a conversation with a guy who’s glued to his game, harder still if you have no interest whatsoever in said game.

  26. 56
    Hadley Paige

    Women in their 30s & 40s looking for eligible men in an attractive demographic? My suggestion is go sailing.

    I crew on a boat out of the Stamford Yacht Club. The demographic there is 95+ % men white, educated, relatively successful, age mostly 40- 65, about 40% of which are single.

    The environment for meeting them is low stress ( in a pickup sense) and relaxed and fun>> after race drinks, food & mingling. You don’t even really have to know how to sail. The larger boats will happily train you (crew of 5+). Just be realistic about whether you would actually appeal to this demographic.

    For NYC women, the train drops you right in Stamford as well as many other of the boating communities along the L.I. Sound. There are worse ways to spend an afternoon.

  27. 57

    JB: so there will be more Russian scam artists on Match now? Yahoo was lousy with them.

  28. 58

    @Selena #54: YOU don’t have to be into sports but a LARGE percentage of heterosexual men are at least casual fans of local teams and would chat with you during a game assuming you are vaguely interested. The Blackhawks are in the finals here in Chicago and for the next 10 days the bars will be packed with…….you guessed it MEN ! Even guys that could really care less will be there,they’re just out to mingle in the atmosphere and celebrate.

    @Joe #56. I’ll agree with you Yahoo was terrible at keeping those types of scammers off.You know why?? Because they PAID. They we’re always easy to spot(they must think we’re idiots…lol)and I would have a ball screwing them around especially when they hit on my recon profiles….lol Match is a little tougher for them to pay,put up a profile,find a chump and then delete their profile and redo it like they used to on Yahoo.

  29. 59

    JB #57

    Actually I like sports bars – beer and good sandwiches. It’s from going to them with a boyfriend I’ve found often they guys are more attentive to the screen than to me. I’m sure you’re right though, there probably are guys that aren’t “that into” what’s playing out on the screen – guys who just want to get out their house for a couple hours. Makes sense.

  30. 60
    Katarina Phang

    Believe it or not, when I was single I had more luck finding interesting gorgeous guys on adult dating site like adultfriendfinder (at that time I was using some other site)!!!  (I could see the horror in your eyes, folks…LOL).  Some of them became my best friends, and even I was kinda hit it off with one to the point that we were talking long-term.
    This is why my view of sex and dating is somewhat “radical” to the most politically correct people out there.  It works for me.
    The key is to be open-minded, really.  Use different ways of connecting with people and see what works for you.  That’s what I’ve been advising my clients.  Granted, not all of them feel comfortable putting up a profile on an adult dating site.
    But I told them you are in charge, you can set up expectations from the get-go and only pick the nice gentlemen to see (and there are actually a lot of normal, decent guys out there haha…).

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