Dating After 40 - Answers to Your Top Questions

"Being in a relationship for 20 years means you have no idea what the dating scene is like today," says Dr. Bronwen Lichtenstein, a University of Alabama researcher, who studies women recently divorced or widowed.

"There is a lot of uncertainty and anxiety in returning to the dating scene...nobody knows what the rules are because everything's changed."

Do you have questions about dating the second time around? We've got the answers.

How will I know I'm ready to start dating again?

Dating can be especially intimidating when you're recovering from divorce or the death of a spouse. Don't let your friends or family rush you back into the singles scene. You should feel like you want to meet someone new, not like you should.

Where can I meet people?

"Young people have places to go to meet one another, and that doesn't exist for a lot of older people," says Lichtenstein. She found the most successful singles were exploring hobbies and building a satisfying life on their own. "A good example of this is a 62-year-old woman who joined a motorcycle club and began a wonderful social life." Try things that interest you, but don't overlook opportunities in your day-to-day activities. "[Singles] told me they often meet people in grocery stores. There's a whole dating scene for this age group going on in Wal-Mart and Publix," she says.

What do I wear without seeming like I'm trying too hard?

Many singles of a certain age feel like they're stuck between dressing too young - or too old - for their age. You don't want to dress like your teenage kids, but you're not exactly ready for elastic waistbands. Look for something that makes you feel good, and adapt current styles to suit your taste.

Should I mention my ex/late partner?

At this point in your life, you're definitely carrying a little emotional baggage. It's tempting to unload it on a new date, but resist the urge. Keep your date conversation positive. You can always shed light on your dark past once things start getting serious.

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