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The One Thing Every Woman Needs After 40

A 5-step plan for finding love.

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illustration of woman entering grass maze with heart in the middle
Allegra Lockstadt
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Backyard barbecues have replaced singles bars, your evenings out are more PTA than PDA, and “meet cute” has turned into meetings with your boss. So, what’s a 40-something looking for love to do? Go proactive. While you may have less time to look, you probably have a whole lot better idea of what you’re looking for. All you need is a plan.

1. Broadcast the News
Tell your friends, casual acquaintances and even people you chat with at social events that you are in the market. There’s nothing embarrassing about admitting you want to meet someone, though you might want to avoid words like “desperate.” To optimize your odds online, join one of the bigger sites (Match and OKCupid have plenty of 40-plus men), but then drill down and play to your passions. There are dating sites for everything from clown lovers (we’re not here to judge) to, and, proving there really is someone for everyone.

2. Call in the Swipe Squad
After the initial thrill of having a smorgasbord of available men suddenly appear on your screen, online dating can become overwhelming, if not, let’s admit it, downright depressing at times. Bad day at work? Fight with your ex? One too many cocktails? Step away from the screen. Either no one will look good to you or everyone will look good — each is equally dangerous. A better bet: Have a swipe party with your single girlfriends where you can vet, veto or give the thumbs up to each other’s matches. They might see potential you’ve overlooked, and it will definitely put the fun back in the fishing.

3. Enter the School Zone
Chances are good there are divorced dads at your kids’ school. A ripe opportunity? Yes. A potential minefield? Definitely. Don’t even think about dating another parent in your kid’s class. (If your singing embarrasses them, that would send them through the stratosphere.) School fairs, fundraisers and holiday events are fair game. Go with an open mind and leave the mom jeans at home.

4. Trade Your Spanx for Spandex
If you spend more than five minutes on a dating site you will notice an inordinate amount of men posing in bike gear. (Note to guys: Spandex is not actually the best look for everyone.) Bike clubs are having a moment, particularly with divorced men with weekend hours to fill. You don’t have to go all Tour de France, but find a local bike club and join a group outing. If nothing else, it will give you and excuse buy a cute new workout wear — and who knows where that might lead?

5. Reunited and It Feels So Good
High school and college reunions are all about showing off how fabulously your life (and recent crash diet) have turned out, right? After all, no one posts “Got divorced; currently spending lonely nights with Chubby Hubby” in their alumni updates. But trust us, you will not be the only person flying solo, and that guy you couldn’t get up the nerve to talk to sophomore year may be suddenly single, too. The good news: You will have a lot of common ground, which is not a bad starting place for any relationship. The not-so-good news: Any hopes of fudging your age are pretty much gone.