• "I'm in my 40s and ready to start dating again but find it all so daunting. Please help!"


    I’m suddenly single again and in my forties, which I find quite daunting. I also have kids and don’t really have a clue how to juggle new dates and children or when I’m supposed to do it! It feels like the whole dating scene has all changed!


    First up, you feel like the rules of changed but they actually haven’t. It’s mostly surface stuff. Like you’ll may end up dating via the net, rather than trawling the bars for Mr Delicious, but that will work in your favour if you have kids. You can go ‘man-shopping’ in your PJ’s while the kids are tucked up in bed. (There is a plethora of information about how to get the best out of internet dating, so have a quick browse before joining a dating site).

    Once you’ve found someone you like and want to take things further, you’ll probably battle the whole ‘Ohmigod I have to strip naked in front of a stranger’ dilemma. The thing to remember here is this: by the time you’ll be taking your clothes off, the man won’t be a stranger. Forget any preconceived notions you have about having to climb into bed on date three (some things haven’t changed, eh?). That urban myth was rubbish the last time you were single and it’s rubbish now.

    Have sex when you feel ready - when you know, trust and feel comfortable enough to sleep with the man. That might be three nights or three months. As for when to bring up the subject of kids… The answer to this one is simple: if you fancy the guy but suspect it’s just going to be a few fling-each-other-around-the-bedroom dates (and it’s totally acceptable, by the way, to have a SAFE no-strings sex flingette), there’s no real point in mentioning you have children.

    But if you think the relationship has legs, I’d casually drop in a mention of your kids into the conversation (“When I dropped my daughter off to school this morning, I was just thinking…”) quite early on. Sure, some men will run for the hills but better to find out earlier than later that they’re child-phobic.

    The other option is to lock them in the attic if whenever your boyfriend comes to visit and I’m afraid there are laws against that. Most of all, have fun. No need to go rushing into another serious relationship. Embrace the ‘changes’, turn any dating disasters into funny stories for your friends and you will be fine!

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