LIFESTYLE

EXCLUSIVE: Clementine Ford on dating over 40

"It's time to rethink dating over 40"
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Dating can be difficult at any stage of life and unfortunately it rarely gets easier with time.

For women especially, it doesn’t help that we’ve been raised in a society full of sexist single-lady stereotypes.  

Watch: Clementine Ford on gender slurs and pack mentality

Author, feminist and host of the Dear Clementine podcast, Clementine Fordsays that while it’s true women face specific dating challenges as they reach their 40s, there are also advantages that often get overlooked. 

“There’s a smaller pool of people, and people interpret that as their options becoming limited,” she says.

“My suggestion is that women should see it as an opportunity for their options to become more specific. We have an idea of what we need and what we want. And we have a much clearer idea of our own standards.” 

Clementine-Ford
Clementine Ford says there are advantages to dating in your 40s

While society often conditions women to fear getting older, Clementine says it doesn’t have to be that way.

“Instead of absorbing this cultural message that women lose their potency as they age, we should start thinking, ‘Isn’t this great that I’m at a point in my life where I’m way less tolerant of those that do not serve me?’” she explains. 

“Sure, that might mean that you date a little less, but the quality that you’re inviting into your life is so much higher than you were willing to put up with when you were younger and you thought that a relationship was the goal.” 

Clementine-Ford
For safety reasons, Clementine advises against mentioning any kids on your profile

THE STRENGTH OF BEING SINGLE

Whether you’re taking your time to find the right partner, are dating for fun or are perfectly happy with going solo, Clementine says it’s time to view being single as something that can be embraced.  

“I think that it’s really important to mainstream society, and to the system, that women feel like we are nothing unless we’re in a relationship,” she explains. “And what that means is that we’re nothing unless a man has picked us. It’s really important for us to be in service to that idea, because that’s what keeps us in relationships where we take care of them.”  

Instead, Clementine says it’s time to start viewing being single as a sign of strength. “Somehow you’re this really sad figure, instead of someone who’s actually really powerful. And I think the reason that persists is because society in general doesn’t want women to be powerful,” she explains.

“If women figure out that being by themselves and setting their own standards is a part of where their power can come from, that’s very dangerous for society.” 

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ONLINE DATING

Re-entering the dating world can be a culture shock, especially if you recently ended a long-term relationship that predated apps like Tinder and Bumble.  

“When I separated from my son’s dad, we had been together for seven years and I’d never been on Tinder or anything like that because it wasn’t around when we started dating,” Clementine says.

“I was excited as I jumped back in and I was dating all the time. Then slowly I became more and more demoralised and bored, I suppose just by the sameness of it all.” 

These days she still goes on dates, but they are fewer and further between.

 “It needs to be better than my life already for me to care,” she explains. Her advice for anyone getting started on apps is to go in with your eyes open.

“Allow yourself to be excited by it, and if you go crazy on the apps, cool, enjoy it while it’s enjoyable. And the moment that it becomes a chore, you should take a step back and just take a break.” 

She’s also a big believer in meeting people the old-fashioned way through friends.

“I think the best way to meet people is still the old way to meet people, which is through friends and social engagements,” Clementine says. 

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SINGLE PARENTS

For safety reasons, Clementine advises against mentioning any kids on your profile. “I think it’s information you can choose to share later on,” she explains. 

“If you’re looking to date someone, it’s a conversational point that can come up.” 

If you’re dating a single dad, she recommends paying attention to the way that he talks about the mother of his kids.

“The way that the man chooses to speak about the mother of his children, even if they don’t get along well, to me is a really clear indicator of the respect that he shows her in front of the kids,” she explains.  

“Another really good thing is to try and create a relationship with that woman, and to show her that if you’re going to be in the kid’s life, that you respect her as their mother,” she adds.

“And that you’re there to be an ally to her, not some kind of toxic competition or thorn in her side. I think that’s really important.” opportunity

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