Your odds of heading back into the dating game in your late 20s and 30s are higher than ever, a study at Rutgers University in the US found. For men, marriage is taking a back seat to long hours and financial worries, and an Edinburgh University study found women are more likely to marry earlier. “Social norms are different and the women you’re after are older, with different needs and priorities,” says Siski Green, author of How to Blow Her Mind In Bed. Here’s how to raise your dating game, the second time around.
Find Someone With Common Interests
Market research firm Penn Schoen Berland found that 34 per cent of single women in their late 20s and 30s don’t actively look for a partner, as they don’t think they’ll find someone they have anything in common with. “Take up an interesting hobby,” suggests Leil Lowndes, author of How To Make Anyone Fall in Love With You. “You’ll meet women you already have something in common with, and it’ll help build confidence. Look her in the eye and say in your head ‘I like you’,” says Lowndes. “The time it takes to do this is the optimum length of lingering eye contact. Secondly, repeating it will soften your features so you look more approachable. And thirdly, it’ll stop you thinking ‘Does she like me?’ which would make you seem nervous and shy.”
Clinical sexologist and Men’s Health Advisory Board member Dr Martha Lee adds: “Before you start dating again, take the time to figure out who you are and what you are about by listing a ‘personal inventory’ of goals, lifestyle priorities, and what works about you. You want someone who is the best fit in terms of lifestyle and temperament.”
Get Your Female Friends To Play Cupid
Recent studies at Temple University in the US found that 63 per cent of long-term couples were introduced by friends, especially female friends. “Newly single men in their 30s get far more support from their female friends than women when it comes to meeting a new partner,” says Dr Judith Sills, author of Getting Naked Again. “They’re far more likely to suggest matches, arrange dates and help you adapt to single life.” It may be tempting to let them broker the whole deal for you, but it’s worth asking for the lady’s phone number and calling to arrange the date yourself.
Studies published in the journal Evolution and Human Behavior found that you can instinctively and accurately predict how physically attractive you’ll find a woman from her voice alone. This is because attractive women are more confident, so they subconsciously alter their pitch and tone to sound more feminine and seductive.
Arrange A Casual Pre-Date
Don’t commit to a hefty restaurant bill: It’s now acceptable to schedule a “pre-date” – a daytime meet or an early evening drink. “Women in their 30s are also jaded by the dating process, so they don’t want to waste their time on dates which are going nowhere,” says Green. “A pre-date takes the pressure off – if there’s no spark, you don’t have to spend the evening together. You’ll also escape the regimented awkwardness of the dinner date, so you’ll both act more naturally and you’ll get a more accurate impression of her.” Even if it’s going well, cut it short. A study in the Journal of Marriage and Family found leaving her wanting more will increase her desire.
Talk Less, Listen More
Women in their late 20s and 30s are less impressed with displays of wealth than younger women because they have more equal earning power, according to University of Michigan studies. They’re now looking for a caring partner who’ll be a source of emotional support.
You don’t need to start offering her hugs over aperitifs, just don’t pay too much lip service to the classic date mistake: A recent study published in Evolution and Human Behavior found that the only breach of dating etiquette that will turn her off straight away is you talking too much about yourself. She’ll interpret this as selfish, and stop seeing you as a potential partner. “Ask her questions about herself, and listen with genuine interest,” says Lee. “The more questions you ask, the better you can also determine if you’d like to see her again. “Focus less on whether or not romance will bloom, and pay attention to who the other person really is and what makes her tick.”
But if you’re already thinking of taking your displays of wealth to the more impressionable younger crowd, tread carefully. Oxford University studies found that men in their 30s will often overestimate their level of attractiveness because of their increased earning power, and set their sights on women who are either too young or too attractive.
Tell Her About Your Ex, Just Not On The First Date
Fact is, blemishes on your relationship CV can come back to haunt you. “When you enter a relationship a little older, your past can catch up to be a lose-lose,” says Green. “Mention your ex too soon and your new interest will think you’re not over her; keep quiet and she’ll think you have something to hide.” Deny any ex history altogether, and you’ll face even more awkward questions.
“As a general rule, don’t mention your ex until date No. 4,” says Green. “This is when the first half of her screening process is over and she will have decided she is sexually interested in you.” Then when you do mention your “previous”, use a little psychological sneakiness to turn it from a negative to a positive.
University of California studies found that women use past relationship behaviour to predict future conflicts. “She’s going to be studying you for both verbal and non-verbal clues,” says Richard La Ruina, author of The Natural Art Of Seduction. “If you use your ex’s name, for instance ‘Vicky is really jealous’, it turns her into a person, while the present tense ‘is’ implies that an emotional connection remains.”
Here’s how to keep ‘Vicky’ out of the picture: “When you speak, meet your new love interest’s eye – it indicates honesty. Put your hands palm up on the table to indicate openness, then say, ‘It was fun for a while, but we just drifted apart.’ This phrasing depersonalises everything and ‘was’ works as an emotional trigger word, firmly establishing that Vicky is in the past.” Lee sums it up: “The first person you meet will probably not be the one – give yourself the opportunity to meet new people. Know that even if the date doesn’t work out, there is still something to learn from the process.”