While the happy bachelor will think nothing of getting a girlfriend later in life, someone who has been in a steady relationship for many years might find themselves at a loss. Truth be told, though, how to get a girlfriend doesn’t change much—whether you’re 20 or 65. It’s just that later in life, you might be more mature and look for slightly different things in a partner.
What’s more, a lot of older people these days are looking for a partner, as divorce for older couples is a lot more common than it used to be. And in 2017, an estimated 12.9% of the population in England and Wales aged between 50 and 64 years were single.
If you want a general guide on how to get a girlfriend, this article is a great place to start. Likewise, if you feel like you need a boost of confidence or a kick to get out of your comfort zone when looking for a new girlfriend, this article will give you some simple steps to take to help you along the way.
Your own life comes first
Before you start searching high and low on dating apps and beyond for a new girlfriend, have a look at your own life.
Are you currently leading the life you want to lead? Are you pursuing your goals and interests? Do you have an active social life? Is your work life satisfactory? Are you, overall, leading a life that makes you happy?
Don’t panic if you think you are miles away from leading a life that would make you the happiest man alive. The important thing is not that you have reached all your goals but that you’re trying! You will feel fulfilled once you start taking steps to have a great social life, work life, and life in general.
Why putting your own life first is important when dating
Why is putting your own life first and obtaining a sense of fulfilment important before you look for a girlfriend?
Firstly, when you feel good about yourself, you’re much more attractive to women.
Secondly, you won’t come across as needy or desperate (which is very unattractive) as you won’t be relying on a girlfriend for happiness. And if you are happy with your life, if you don’t get a second date, or if someone doesn’t reply to your text, you won’t sit around waiting for it like a love-sick puppy. You’re too busy having fun.
Set realistic expectations
One key to enjoying the single life is to set realistic expectations.
If you expect to meet someone you hit it off with at every social gathering you attend, or you think every woman who agrees to meet you on Tinder is going to be the perfect fit, you’re setting yourself up for disappointment.
If you are using dating apps, you will match with people who will never chat to you. Worse, you’ll match with people and chat with them only to have them disappear into thin air. You’ll also go on dates with people who will turn out to be vastly different from what you imagined during your online interactions. And sometimes you might start dating someone thinking it’s going great, only to have them ghost you.
This is all part of the dating journey. And if you’re aware of it upfront, you can laugh about it when it happens. There will always be hiccups when dating, but it’s still worth it, as it will also lead to amazing interaction. You’ll meet new people, make new friends, and sooner or later find your match.
Get clear on what you want
What is it you are looking for? Are you just wanting to meet people of the opposite sex and have some fun, or are you looking for a long-term relationship? You need to know this so you can be upfront about it and meet the right woman for you.
If you are looking for a relationship, what kind of relationship do you envision? What’s important to you? Get clear on the kind of relationship you want to create so you can find a person who shares the same vision.
Don’t confuse what you want in life with what you want in a relationship
Most of us have needs we think a relationship will fulfil but that, truly, we can fulfil outside a relationship.
For example (and perhaps this refers to younger people more so), some people look for excitement in a partner. But as you probably know, if you’ve had a longer relationship, it’s not always exciting. That doesn’t mean you can’t create excitement in a relationship, but you should also look for excitement outside of your relationship.
Others look for companionship. That’s a great thing to have. But it shouldn’t come only from your relationship. You can create companionship with friends and family, too.
Some look for intellectual stimulation, but you can take a course or find friends at a local club that brings you that.
That’s not to say your partner shouldn’t bring excitement, companionship, and intellectual stimulation, but don’t let your partner be the only person fulfilling those needs. Because if they are, you might end up disappointed. After all, your partner won’t always bring excitement, companionship, or intellectual stimulation when you want it. And then you will feel unfulfilled. However, if there are several people and things in your life that fulfil these needs, you won’t blame your partner for not fulfilling them.
Get clear on who you want to be
We’ve covered how you wish to show up in your own life—creating a life you love. But how do you wish to show up in a relationship with someone? You aren’t just looking for the perfect partner; you also have to consider how you are going to be the perfect partner.
If your last relationship fell apart because of your inability to communicate, imagine how you’re going to show up differently this time around. Otherwise, you’ll recreate the same situation.
If you feel that there are still elements you are unclear on when it comes to creating a great relationship with someone, start reading some self-help books. Do you know what the five love languages are? Do you know how to practice active listening? Do you understand conflict resolution?
Only when you’re willing to learn what it takes to create a great relationship will you be able to create one? Joining the dating jungle before that isn’t going to help you. Rather, it will harm you as you won’t be able to create a great relationship.
If you’re curious to learn more about creating a great relationship, you can read this article (it’s about long-distance relationships, but you can apply it to any relationship).
Consider how you wish to present yourself
You know who you want to be in a relationship, but how do you communicate who you are to your date? Whether or not you get a second, third, or fourth date has a lot to do with what you say and how you communicate it.
If you walk into a date hunched over and then sit nervously tapping the table, your body language will alert your date to the fact that you aren’t very confident. However, perhaps it’s just old habits, and you are actually feeling very comfortable. You have to make sure your body language matches the confidence you want to exude to others.
In other words, you have to become aware of your body language if you want to understand how others perceive you.
If you want to appear confident and interested in your date, here are a few body language tips:
- Walk and sit with a straight back
- Keep arms and legs uncrossed
- Face your date when speaking with them
- Avoid tapping your fingers or feet
- Keep eye contact throughout a lot of your conversation
- Lean into a conversation by leaning forward towards the person you’re speaking with
In addition, consider matching and mirroring your date's body language. What do I mean by matching and mirroring? If they scratch their right cheek, you can scratch your left. If they cross their feet, you can cross yours. You will find that when you have a rapport with someone (i.e. you feel comfortable with them and wish to connect with them and vice versa), you will do this automatically.
Does that sound weird? Next time you meet with a friend for a coffee or have a chat with a coworker or neighbour, check what's going on with your body. You will find that matching and mirroring is happening automatically.
Before rapport has been established, you can hurry it along by matching and mirroring someone's body language. Just don't copy everything they do! Of course, also remember to smile! Don't walk around smiling like a fool, but show you're feeling positive and are enjoying yourself. If you enjoy what the other person is saying, smile.
There’s a lot that has been said about body language and if you find it interesting, do some Google searches. You’ll be surprised by what you can learn and how that knowledge can change how others perceive you.
Another thing to bear in mind is someone's personal space. If you walk up to someone and sit down right next to them before they've gotten to know you, chances are they will feel uncomfortable. You're in their personal bubble before they invite you in.
So when at a date, establish rapport before you touch someone. Once you feel there's rapport, touch their upper arm to make a point. Or tap your fingers lightly against their hand when emphasising something. Depending on how you are sitting, you'll see what feels comfortable.
Why is it important to touch someone? It helps create a connection, and it can, furthermore, assist you with getting out of the friend zone (or prevent you from landing there in the first place
It’s not just body language that communicates who you are, but what you wear. While dressing up in a tux for your first date is overkill, you want to look like you put in an effort. Wearing a holey old t-shirt or a sweater that’s so worn out you can barely see the original colour won’t do you any favours.
What’s more, people tend to judge you on your overall style. Your looks and body language are the first thing people will notice and use to make a snap judgement about you. So if you’re attending a social event, going on a date, or taking photos for your dating profile, consider what you are wearing. You don’t have to follow the latest trends or pretend to be into clothing. However, it helps if you wear clothes that flatter your looks and bring out your personality. If you aren’t great with clothes, get someone to help you out.
Lastly, think about how you present yourself in the written word and when speaking.
Firstly, know that a lot of women think it a turn-off if men use too many abbreviations on their dating profiles or while texting.
Likewise, poor spelling and grammar are considered a turn-off by many. If you have dyslexia, or just aren’t great with writing, get someone else to check your profile. And when texting, mention it to your date—tell them you’re an awesome conversationalist, but unfortunately, you are terrible at spelling. Then they’re more likely to overlook it when they know you aren't just being lazy.
Secondly, it’s not just how you spell something but how you talk/write about yourself and your life. Unfortunately, some people put themselves down when speaking about themselves.
Compare “I’m a failed businessman as I ran two companies into the ground” with “I tried entrepreneurship and ran two companies into the ground before getting the job I have today. What I learned running my own businesses has made me a better man.”
Or how about “I’m a financial disaster,” with “I am not great with finances, but I lead a full life filled with all the things I love, have a fulfilling career, and have more friends than I know what to do with.” Both people are financial failures, but one comes off as a winner nonetheless.
We’re all flawed. We all make mistakes. Yet some people appear confident because they acknowledge their flaws and mistakes without letting them define them. Instead, they happily share what their mistakes taught them and the many other positive aspects of their life. This kind of positive outlook will make you a lot more attractive.
In general, remember to state things in the positive. Don’t rattle on about what you don’t want in a relationship or life, but rather mention what you do want.
Create a dating profile that stands out
There are many fish in the sea, and if you want to meet quality women, you have to create a quality dating profile. That’s to say if you want to meet women online. These days people of all ages use dating apps, so it can greatly up your chances of finding love if you do. If you don’t, you can skip this part and read further down about other aspects of finding a new girlfriend.
So how do you make your dating profile stand out in a crowd? It takes both great photos and great writing.
Dating profile photos
These are some guidelines for great profile photos:
- Limit the number of selfies that you use and avoid bathroom selfies.
- Include at least one close-up of your face.
- Include at least one full-body shot.
- Use photos where you’re doing things you love.
- Include a photo where you’re together with friends.
- Avoid photos of your home/car/boat/dog if you’re not in the shot yourself.
Of course, ensure you use good-quality photos–nothing blurry or out of focus. Not everyone is an artist, so if you’re unsure of what makes for a good photo, have a friend look through your photos and help you pick.
Remember that it’s not about how good-looking you are, but how much fun you’re having and how confident you are. Speaking as one who knows, a girl likes that kind of thing.
What’s more, be sure to include as many photos as possible. Remember that people browsing profiles only have photos and a short bio to go on. If they feel there isn’t enough information, they might very well swipe left as they don’t want to waste their time.
Writing the dating profile
It’s important that you write something about yourself in the profile, as the girl of your dreams might not even stop to consider your profile unless you give her something to go on. A lot of girls will swipe left if you don’t include one.
So how do you write a great profile?
The dos of writing a great dating profile
First of all, make it interesting. Pretty much everyone enjoys being at home watching Netflix and going out socialising. If you want to include a sentence about that, then make it personal: “I love snuggling on the couch with Netflix (but only if I get to choose the movie, hehe), as much as I enjoy going to the pub with friends (but I promise I’m not the guy who tries to impress you with the world’s worst jokes after a beer...).”
Secondly, keep it lighthearted and fun, but allude to your personality. “I’m a sucker for intellectual discussions, but you wouldn’t think so when you watch me mopping the floor while shaking it out to Rihanna. No judgments, please. LOL”
Thirdly, write enough to give people a teaser of who you are. Keep it long enough to give them a taster but short enough to leave them wanting more!
The don'ts when writing a dating profile
Avoid stating things in the negative. A lot of guys actually write things along the lines of, “I’m not great at writing a dating profile.” What will that accomplish, do you think? It certainly won’t show off your personality in a great light. If anything, it will seem like you have low self-esteem, which is a turn-off.
Of course, saying that you aren’t great at writing an online dating profile doesn’t mean you have low self-esteem, but you must consider what it comes across as. If that’s all they know about you, what picture will they paint? A dashing, confident man, having lots of fun in life? No.
Even worse, some men write things like, “I don’t want a cheating girlfriend.” Women will run if they read that, wondering what kind of experiences have made you so negative. If you want someone who doesn’t cheat, write something like, “I value honesty and faithfulness in relationships and am drawn to women who do the same.”
If it’s your first time using a dating app, have a friend look at your profile when you’re done, or read a couple of articles on how to create great dating profiles.
When you match with someone, you want to send them an interesting message. Believe it or not, “You’re hot” isn’t a great opening line. Nor is “How are you?”
When you send someone a message for the first time, ask a question. Perhaps they’ve mentioned they love cooking. “I see in your profile you love cooking. Me too. What’s your best recipe? :)”
If they don’t have a bio, look at their photos. “I see you’re skiing in one of your photos. I always wanted to try skiing, but for some reason haven’t gotten around to it yet!! Where did you go to ski?”
Asking people about their passions, their interests, what makes them smile, and so forth will further help the conversation along once you get chatting.
You can also try games, such as Two Truths and A Lie.
Some people, unfortunately, get stuck on two questions when texting with people: “How are you?” and “How was your day?” These kinds of questions don’t tend to lead a conversation along.
Online and offline compatibility
An online match does not guarantee real-life compatibility. That’s why, to avoid disappointment, you should try to meet up with someone as soon as possible.
You should also keep first dates short if possible. Investing hours getting ready for a date that might pan out to be less interesting than a night on the couch watching Netflix is a waste of time.
What’s more, by keeping first dates short, it removes some of the pressure. You don’t have to entertain someone for hours.
If you’ve already met your date in real life, you can consider my suggestions for the second date instead. However, you might still want to read the tips below about first dates in general.
If you’re a natural-born conversationalist, first dates are probably easy for you. If you aren’t, you might get nervous. That’s why, as mentioned, it’s great to keep them short and sweet. Meeting someone at a coffee shop and making it clear that you need to be somewhere afterwards is one idea.
If you get nervous sitting still and tend to clam up, consider going on a date where you move about. Meet for a takeaway coffee at the local farmers market (or flea market, or Christmas market). Grab an ice cream and go for a stroll on the beach. Go bowling.
When you do things together with someone, it also tends to naturally give you topics to talk about, such as the stands at the market.
What’s also great is thinking in advance about things you want to ask your date. Think about questions with open-ended answers (as opposed to yes or no). Some examples include:
- Do you have any favourite restaurants? (Follow-up questions: Why do you like them? Is it the food or the atmosphere? What kind of foods do you like? Do you cook yourself, too?)
- What would you say are your passions in life and why?
- If you were a genie, what wish would you like to grant to the world?
- What have been the favourite places you’ve travelled to? (Follow-up question: Why do you enjoy them/why are they special to you?)
- If you could go anywhere right now, where would you go?
- You seem great at finding things to do locally. Is there something you’d recommend I try?
- If you could go back to college, would you do it and if so, what would you study?
Remember to engage in active listening—you want to listen to find out what the other person has to say. If you’re preparing your reply, thinking about how it relates to your own life, or judging what they are saying, you aren’t truly hearing them out. In fact, one of the first things a dating coach will tell you is that if you want to be successful when you approach girls, you need to learn to listen.
When asking a girl out on a second date, you can do something that takes more time. Instead of always opting for dinner (or dinner and a movie), consider what they’ve told you they enjoy. Do they like hiking? Are they a fan of wine tasting? Would they like watching a soccer game?
Engaging in activities together can lead to creating fun memories. A dinner, on the other hand, is only about the conversation. When you get to the third date and want to do something more romantic and get to know the person through conversation, dinner is more suitable.
Looking for more ideas for first, second and third dates? You’ll find some great ones here.
When to initiate physical contact
To get out of the friend zone, it’s important to have some sort of physical contact with your date. However, you need to watch their body language to see when they are ready.
If someone closes their arms and legs or turns away from you, chances are they aren’t that open to physical contact. It’s only when you’ve created rapport that you can touch them on the arm or shoulder to emphasise a point. And believe it or not, just touching them like that can help increase sexual tension.
When you notice they are comfortable being close to you and show interest in seeing you again, you can initiate a kiss. If you met online, this shouldn’t be until the second date. Unless, of course, the first date turned into a marathon where you went from the coffee shop to a restaurant and then to the movies or something like that.
People are often worried about safety when using online dating sites. Consider the following (as the last thing you want when looking for a girlfriend is getting scammed):
- Never hand out your credit card or banking details.
- Never send someone money.
- Never hand out your address.
- Always meet in public for a first date.
- If you share your social media handles before you meet someone, make sure they don’t show your work/home address.
How to meet women in real life
Not a fan of the online world? Don’t worry; there are plenty of ways to meet women in the real world! Here are a few:
- Join local sports clubs (tennis, football, gym etc.).
- Join classes (such as classes in yoga, dancing, improv, drawing, pottery, etc.).
- Join a local community club (such as a book club, history club, cooking club, and so forth) and attend local events.
- Join Meetup or InterNations—sites that offer groups and meetups for a variety of different things (from beer tasting to knitting)
- Become a regular at a coffee shop and get to know other regulars.
- Encourage friends to go with you to pubs and bars.
If you’re looking for more ideas on how to make new friends and meet more people, read this article.
Remember that even if you do like online dating, it’s nice to expand your social circle. Try to attend events where you can get to know some new people. And, it’s different meeting people in real life from meeting them online. In real life, you instantly know if there’s chemistry. In some ways, that makes it a lot easier.
Don’t get carried away too soon
You meet someone. Things are going great on the first couple of dates. You’re overwhelmed by butterflies and feel-good chemicals. You feel propelled to give up on gym on Thursday and cancel your night out with the guys on Saturday just so you can see your date more often. What’s more, if you get a text from them at work, you drop everything and reply.
Don’t do this.
If you want to be respected by a woman, show her that your life comes first until such a time she’s earned a place in your life. If you are willing to sacrifice friends you’ve known for years, give up on your gym goals, and end up behind in work just because of her, what message are you sending across?
Being available 24/7 doesn’t make you come across as more attractive, but rather, less attractive. On the flip side, don’t play games. Don’t purposefully wait two hours to reply to a text or try to be hard to get when scheduling dates. Just bear in mind to put what matters to you first and take your time to let someone prove that they are worthy of being prioritised in your life.
This will further prevent heartbreak if things don’t work out.
Don’t confuse attraction with love
You’ve met someone who makes you feel great. You think it will work out because, well, things feel amazing. But why is that?
Sometimes, we’re super attracted to someone physically, but that doesn’t necessarily make them a great partner in a long-term relationship.
Consider if you are compatible:
- Physically (you like their looks/body),
- Sexually (you enjoy the same things in the bedroom),
Then, consider if you have the same long-term goals. What does your ideal day/year/future look like? Does your potential girlfriend have similar ideas as to what makes for a good future? If they love early nights and trips overseas, and you love late nights and local hiking, where does that leave you? If they see themselves living in England when they retire, and they want to move to France, where do you compromise?
Lastly, consider what they will be like in a relationship. Are they willing to talk when there are disagreements? Do they truly hear you out when you speak about things that matter? Are they emotionally available? Are they willing to put in the work it takes to create a great relationship?
How to easily get a girlfriend later in life
You won't have a problem getting a girlfriend later in life if you are open to it and follow the guidelines in this article. Focus on moving towards creating a life you love, first of all. Then consider what you want out of a relationship and how you're going to show up in the relationship.
Put yourself out there on dating sites and by attending events. Polish your social skills and go on dates where you make it a priority to listen and engage in interesting conversation. Realise that not all dates will lead to something and some will probably be boring. Keep first meetings short and on the second date (or first "real" date if you met online), partake in some activity that helps you create fun memories together with your date.
Take it slow while getting to know someone–put your own life first until the woman you're dating has proven she's worth being prioritised. Brush up on your relationship skills by reading books and go on to create the relationship of your dreams.