Over 40 and looking for a new partner?

Change often comes as a shock to the system, especially changes that we haven’t planned for ourselves. The biggest changes can happen when a long term relationship breaks up. There’s a change in living arrangements, a change in status, financial changes, may be even a move to another home, as well as the emotional upheaval that you have to go through when a relationship ends. This applies whether you are the ‘leaver’ or the one being left.

It seems to me that the first thing many people do is race out looking for a new partner. Personally I don’t think this is the best thing to do, why? Simply put, because you are in a state of change, you’ll be stressed and under pressure, not yourself – so not in the best place to choose a new partner.

Some life planning, establishing new routines and getting your life back on track will enable you to get comfortable with your new situation. Then you can decide when and how to go about choosing a new partner. Life is not all about having a relationship, it is O.K. for people to live by themselves. It is probably a good idea to date several people before making your mind up. I think we tend to get too serious too quickly these days. Relationships that get between the sheets very quickly tend to become more intense and therefore more difficult to get out of.

If you have just come out of a long term relationship it is probably a good idea to take stock of just what you would like to do with the next few years. Give yourself a few months to see where your present friendships go, sometimes after a split some friends feel loyalty to one partner and tend to avoid the other. You may find yourself with a smaller circle of friends, or you may in fact be excluded from your current social network depending on how they see your behaviour.

When meeting new people it is always a good idea to meet their friends and families to check whether their lifestyles and values are in line with your values and expectations. Of course your new partner may not live like his family, but he will probably have very similar attitudes, values and behaviours. Given time and familiarity most people will revert to type, so take your time, get to know this person very well before you commit and make sure they match up to your list of requirements in a partner.

When you are over 40 you need to keep in mind that in some ways you have more to lose if a relationship goes wrong. You don’t have as much time to re-establish yourself before retirement. It may be more difficult to get a mortgage, and you certainly don’t want to keep dividing your assets by 2! Get legal advice about protecting what you own and your pension, prenuptial agreements are probably more important for over 40s than anyone else.

Of course you can get out there and have fun, enjoy your new life and the opportunities it brings, just ease yourself into it slowly, savour each new development and stick to your vision of how you would like your new life to be.

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