40 Red Flags For Dating Over 40

Dating over 40 can feel very different than it did when you were younger and carefree. While it was easy to connect when almost everyone you met was unmarried and looking, now you may find yourself looking for red flags to protect yourself from heartbreak. You may meet more divorcés or find yourself wondering why someone has never been married.

Dating doesn’t have to be an obstacle course where you’re constantly hurdling over or attempting to dodge emotional baggage. Showing up with a positive attitude and a curious mindset can keep dating fun and interesting. However, you can’t afford to let attraction be the deciding factor for whether you start a relationship with someone. Knowing what potential dating red flags to look out for allows you to be more discerning with your heart.

Dating over 40 doesn’t mean that your choices are limited, or that you must settle for the first decent person who has a pulse. You can find your soulmate at any age and create the lasting love you desire. Just look out for these red flags so you don’t waste your time on Mr. or Mrs. Wrong for you.

40 Red Flags For Dating Over 40

Dating Red Flags – Emotionally Immature

  1. Addicted To Drama

Some people just love drama in their life. It makes them feel alive. Whether it’s an obsession over the latest political scandal or constant issues with their friends and family, these people won’t ever let you find peace or contentment. You’ll probably become the next source of outrage in their lives.

If the small things all become big things, then do yourself a favor and move on. Dating over 40 allows you to walk away clean without adding more drama to your life.

  1. Conflict Avoidant

Conversely, if you can’t get the person you’re dating to address the natural conflicts that are a part of every relationship, then you’ll never resolve your differences or develop a deeper connection. Going along to get along may seem like the right choice at first, but the hidden resentments growing underneath will come out at some future date.

Avoiding conflict doesn’t make it go away, it only creates distance between you. Emotional intimacy requires that you have the uncomfortable conversations so you can work through your differences.

  1. Struggles Being Sincere

Funny people can be a lot of fun to be around. Laughter can be an alluring aphrodisiac. However, if your date can’t stop the stand-up routine and be sincere with you, then you’ll always feel like something is missing.

Humor and sincerity are excellent qualities for the ebb and flow of sharing your life with someone. Deflection through humor just creates disconnection. It’s a reasonable expectation when dating over 40 that your date knows when it’s appropriate to be serious and when to crack jokes.

  1. Can’t Open Up And Be Vulnerable

Also, if your date can’t share their feelings with you, then you’ll find it difficult to connect emotionally. Emotional intimacy requires authenticity. Vulnerability is a sign of emotional strength, not weakness.

When you can share your feelings, then you can create a strong emotional bond. It feels good to be seen and heard. When dating over 40 look for someone who has an open heart and is willing to share their feelings.

  1. Can’t Handle Your Emotions

How you feel is not up for debate. Expressing your emotions is normal and healthy as long as you take responsibility for them and aren’t taking them out on someone else. It’s a red flag if your date can’t handle your emotions or is constantly asking you to tone it down.

Find someone who loves and appreciates that you’re expressive. Dating over 40 means that you never have to tone it down to make someone else feel comfortable.

  1. Overly Defensive

Does your date get defensive easily or take any feedback as criticism? Then they’re probably not emotionally mature enough for a healthy relationship.

Dating a person with this red flag could leave you repeatedly second-guessing yourself, and you’ll end up biting your tongue. Look for someone who can hear you without thinking that every request is an attack on their competency.

  1. Gets Triggered Too Easily

Does your date go from 0 to 100 in the blink of an eye? Are they constantly getting triggered by your behavior? It’s a big red flag if your date hasn’t done the work to master their own emotional life.

Part of growing up is cultivating a spirit of humility and being action-oriented when things don’t go as planned rather than escalating at every turn. This means being able to ask, “What can I do to improve the situation?” Dating over 40 means that you don’t have to worry about upsetting your partner or twisting into a pretzel to keep the peace all the time.

  1. Quick To Anger

It’s a huge red flag if you’re dating a person with a short fuse. Move on quickly if you see the signs of an anger management problem. You don’t want to be walking on eggshells wondering what will set off your date, worrying that you’ll be the target of their anger the next time.

Look for a person who can manage their frustrations and who doesn’t take them out on everyone around them.

  1. Addiction Issues

Does your date consume alcohol every time you see them in order to have fun? Addiction of any kind is a red flag that must not be ignored. All addicts are emotionally unavailable (unless they’re in recovery), it’s part of the addiction paradigm.

You are not responsible for guiding this person out of their addiction or helping them manage their lives. Steer clear of the person who needs a substance to loosen up and save yourself a lot of misery and heartache.

  1. Won’t Take Responsibility Or Apologize

Everyone makes mistakes or behaves in a way that they’re not proud of at times. If you’re dating a person who can’t take responsibility for their misbehavior and work with you to reconnect and clean it up, then you’re probably better off moving on.

Look for a partner who not only takes responsibility but is willing to do what it takes to make it up to you when they mess things up. This makes making up a lot of fun.

Dating Red Flags – Relationship Strategies

  1. Blaming Their Ex

It takes two people to make a relationship work, and it takes two people to end it. Watch out for someone who doesn’t see their part in their relationship ending and blames their ex for everything that went wrong.

When you’re dating over 40 you’ll meet a lot of divorcés. Steer clear of those who are still blaming their ex and unable to take responsibility for their part.

  1. Murky Relationship Status

Does your date like to keep things in the grey? Do they get uncomfortable with the idea of labeling the relationship, or even labeling seeing you as a date? It’s a big red flag when you can’t agree on whether you’re dating or the status of your relationship.

If you desire lasting love with your soulmate then date someone who wants the same things as you do. Steer clear of people who want to keep things casual and just “see what happens.”

  1. Jump In Too Quickly

It can feel romantic when your date comes on strong right away and wants to go exclusive after the first date, but this person is not someone who is actually falling in love with you. They’re falling in love with a fantasy, and when that fantasy meets reality, the relationship will come crashing down.

Dating over 40 means that you can take your time getting to know each other before going exclusive to see if you share the same values before making a stronger commitment.

  1. Only Reaches Out At The Last Minute

It’s one thing to be spontaneous. It’s another to never plan a date and just text last minute to hook up. Only reaching out at the last minute is a red flag that this person isn’t serious and doesn’t see a future with you.

Don’t be someone’s backup plan when other options fall through. Show some self-respect and only make yourself available for someone willing to ask you out in advance the majority of the time.

  1. Doesn’t Initiate

Is the ball always in your court to get together? Are you pursuing the guy you think is hot hoping that he’ll step it up? A man who wants a relationship with you will move things forward. If he’s waiting for you to do all the work, he’s only interested in a convenient relationship – and those never last.

When you’re dating over 40, look for a man who’ll pursue you for a relationship, not one who wants you to do all the work.

  1. Has No Boundaries

Healthy boundaries are the key to a happy relationship. If your date blames you when they feel bad or feels too much responsibility to keep you happy, that’s a big red flag they don’t have boundaries. A person who lacks boundaries is constantly blurring the lines between what’s theirs and what’s yours.

Love doesn’t mean that the two of you merge into one. True love requires respect, and respect always includes boundaries. You’re two separate people and always will be.

  1. Mixed Signals

Are you dating Dr. Jeckyll and Mr. Hyde? Really into you one minute and disappearing the next? When you’re getting mixed signals from your date it means they have an inner conflict about what they really want, or they’re unclear how they feel about you. You can’t help them solve this problem.

Dating over 40 means that you don’t have to wait for your date to figure out what they want. Give your time and energy to someone who’s consistent in wanting to spend time with you and seems interested in a future with you.

  1. Keeping Tabs On You

Does it feel like your date is constantly checking in with you to see what you’re up to, or asking who you’re texting with? Someone who feels the need to constantly keep tabs on you has trust issues and it’ll probably get worse over time.

If you’re over 40 and dating you don’t need your date acting like a parent and constantly checking up on you. This red flag will ultimately leave you feeling controlled and managed.

  1. Won’t Introduce You To Friends Or Family

It’s a natural progression of the dating process to meet one another’s friends and family. It’s a huge red flag if your date doesn’t ever introduce you to their inner circle.

Find someone who wants to make you a part of their life, not keep you separate from it.

  1. Their Exes Are All “Crazy”

Does your date stamp all their exes as crazy? This is a red flag that your date is the real problem. Let’s face it, dating over 40 means you’ll be dating people with a past filled with multiple partners. If your date sees all their exes as crazy, that means you’re next in line to end up on their “Crazy List.”

Focus on dating people who can see the role they played in their past breakups and have done the work to become a better person through their past relationships.

Dating Red Flags – Emotionally Unavailable

  1. Overly Critical And Judgmental

Dating someone who’s constantly criticizing you or the world around them is exhausting. If you feel like you can do no right with your date, then it’s time to move on.

Constant criticism and judgment are a sign of someone who is unhappy and nothing you do will ever be good enough to make them feel good about themselves.

  1. Cynical About Love And Dating

Most adults over 40 have experienced trying times in their personal life. The cynic however has taken their disappointment however has taken their disappointment and turned it into a belief system about the world. It may feel cathartic in the moment to vent about your dating disasters and bond over misery, but it’s much more useful and fun to bond over dreams and goals.

When you’re dating over 40, look for someone resilient and able to overcome their disappointments in life. Cynics are just looking for a reason for things to go awry.

  1. Doesn’t Ever Take The Next Step

Is the person you’re dating happy with keeping you in their dating rotation and doesn’t have any interest in moving things forward with you? Don’t ignore this red flag if you want to share your life with your soulmate.

Find someone to date who wants your relationship to grow, not keep things at the status quo.

  1. Jaded About The Opposite Sex

All men don’t cheat. All women aren’t gold diggers. The problem is not the opposite sex, and if your date is wrapped up in casting the opposite sex as bad – you’re in trouble. There are good people of each gender looking for lasting love.

Evaluate your dates so you find someone who doesn’t have a cross to bear with the opposite sex. If you’re heterosexual, you’re included in the group that is taking the brunt of this person’s negative energy. You’ll be much better off in a relationship with someone who adores and respects the opposite sex allowing romance to thrive.

  1. Not Emotionally Demonstrative

It’s not that difficult for a person to share how they feel. It may feel scary at times, but no one is going to die from speaking up. It’s a red flag if your date can’t express how they feel about you.

It feels good to hear from someone how much they like you. More importantly, the only way to create emotional intimacy is for both people to speak up. You deserve to be with someone who can be emotionally demonstrative.

  1. Has Unrealistic Expectations

It feels great to fall in love, but it’s not going to fix all your problems in life. Does your date expect your relationship to be the greatest love story ever? Or that the two of you are of one mind? Don’t fall for this dating red flag and see it for what it is.

Dating over 40 means that you have realistic expectations of your partner and of an intimate relationship. Lasting love will enhance your happiness and joy, but it won’t mean you never have challenges or conflicts.

  1. Stuck In The Past

Is your date stuck in their glory days? Do they only talk about how great life was in some romanticized past like high school or college? You’re looking to create a future together, not relive the past.

Dating over 40 doesn’t mean that your life is over. You’re just beginning a new chapter. Find someone who wants to live their best times with you.

  1. Doesn’t Share About Their Life

Do you know what your date does for a living, or what they like to do for fun when you’re not around? If you’re in the dark about the time they’re not with you it’s a definite red flag.

The dating process must include revealing more and more about each other. When dating over 40 don’t rush into exclusivity so you can see what your date is and isn’t capable of. They ought to be able to share about their life with you so can evaluate if you see a future together or not.

  1. Overly Insecure And/Or Needy

It’s not your responsibility to constantly reassure your date and make them feel good about themselves. That is work they should do on their own.

Dating over 40 means you can move quickly past anyone who expects you to be their cheerleader, therapist, or life coach. It’s a red flag if your date relies on you to constantly ease their insecurities.

  1. Doesn’t Know What They Want From Life

It is a red flag if your date is looking for you to give them meaning or purpose in life. You’ll ultimately end up resenting the burden of their lack of purpose or desire.

If you want to create a life together where love continues to grow, combine your desires into a bigger vision for the two of you. If only one person has input on the vision, it’s likely the relationship will not have what it takes to make love last.

Dating Red Flags – Control And Manipulation

  1. Needs You To Change

If the person you’re dating needs you to change to earn or hold onto their “love” – run! You’ll never be able to satisfy someone who needs you to be a different person.

Dating over 40 means you already know who you are, and you must find someone who loves and accepts you “As Is,” warts and all.

  1. Expects You To Be A Mind Reader

No level of attraction or deep love will come with mind-reading powers. A person over 40 who expects you to know what they want and need without communicating it is someone who skipped out on learning an essential life skill.

You can never make love last with a person who expects you to do all the heavy lifting and not share in the work. This red flag means you must pass because you can’t be the teacher in life school for your mate. Instead, date someone who knows what they want and is willing to ask for it.

  1. Won’t Take “NO” For An Answer

No always means no. If the person you’re dating always has to have things go their way, you’re in the danger zone.

Coming together in an intimate relationship means that you must feel valued. Dating over 40 must include respecting one another’s word. Don’t ignore this red flag.

  1. Tries To Control You

Controlling behavior is manipulative. If your date is constantly trying to control what you do, who you communicate with, or how you feel, then move on as quickly as possible.

Dating over 40 means that you are your own authority. No one gets to control your life but you.

  1. Isolates You From Your Friends And Family

Cutting you off from important people in your life is often the behavior of an abuser. No matter what this person promises you, they can never deliver it because love is greatest when it’s shared.

If you’re dating someone who’s constantly bad-mouthing your inner circle, beware! This could be the first step in isolating you. A healthy relationship is one where you share your friends and create a larger community together.

  1. Doesn’t Respect Your Thoughts Or Opinions

Does it feel like your opinions are ignored or belittled? Does your date act like you don’t know any better and you should just listen to them? This dating red flag is all about a lack of respect.

When you love someone, you also respect them and want to hear what they have to say. When dating over 40 it’s required that your thoughts and opinions are valued.

  1. Your Friends Or Family Dislike Them

If the majority of those you love and respect don’t like the person you’re dating, perhaps there’s a red flag that you can’t see. Get curious and ask them what they see.

The people who are invested in your happiness will see your date through a different lens. If they aren’t on board it’s time to re-examine what has you attracted to this person in the first place.

  1. Unable To Compromise

There’s no relationship where you’ll agree 100% of the time. If you’re the one who’s always acquiescing when there’s a disagreement, look out! This is a recipe for disaster because you can’t suck it up for a lifetime.

In a healthy relationship, there’s a give and take from each person and sometimes you’ll meet in the middle. Look for a partner who’s willing to move past the power struggle so you can enjoy life together.

  1. Holds You To A Double Standard

Does your partner criticize you for behavior that they expect to get a pass on? Do you feel like there are different rules for each of you? This relationship red flag will leave you feeling like you can’t ever win or do anything right.

Look for someone who lives in integrity by having the same set of rules and standards they have for you. Dating over 40 means you have less time to mess around with someone who thinks they can do no wrong.

  1. Guilt Trip You

Does your date constantly leave you feeling like you did something wrong? Do they guilt trip and manipulate you into doing what they want? Guilt is not a strategy for lasting love.

You should feel good when you part from your date at the end of the night (or the next morning). Focus on finding a person who lifts you up, not someone who brings you down.

You’ll never find a perfect person who doesn’t have any flaws but ignoring these red flags will bring you frustration and heartache. Dating over 40 doesn’t mean you have to put up with bad behavior or settle for less than a true soul partnership. (We were both over 40 when we met and started dating.)

The dating process allows you to cultivate discernment so you can evaluate who’s a match for you and who isn’t. Look for someone who values the same things as you. A person who wants the same things out of life, who has grown over the years, and who has learned from their past relationship mistakes. Remember, anyone can display some of these behaviors occasionally, but if they’re repetitive, it’s more likely that there’s a problem.

If you would like to take a new approach to finding love that will last as well as avoid all of these red flags, join us for a Soulmate Strategy Session. We’ll give you custom tips and tools for creating the long-lasting love you desire.

About the authors

Love Coaches Orna and Matthew Walters

Orna and Matthew Walters are soulmate coaches and prolific writers about love. Finding love, keeping love, healing from heartbreak, bringing in your beloved and more. They have been published on MSN, Yahoo!, YourTango, Redbook, and have been featured guest experts on BRAVO’s THE MILLIONAIRE MATCHMAKER with Patti Stanger, and as guests with Esther Perel speaking about love and intimacy.

Suggested Reading