Dating over 40 can be daunting, but it can be plenty liberating, too. That’s because even if life’s challenges can sometimes muddy your clarity, you already have all the tools you need for a successful and satisfying dating life. In fact, the best-kept secret about dating over 40 is that everyone doing it has a dating superpower. It doesn’t require a fancy career, a baller bank account, or cosmetic surgery. It’s free, and you already own it.

So, what is it? “Storytelling is a dating superpower,” says Connell Barrett, a dating coach and the founder of Dating Transformation. “By age 40, you’ve lived a life and have stories to tell, so tell some on your next date.”

A good story, he explains, achieves three things at once: It captivates your date by giving them a window into your past, it makes you more charismatic, and it creates a deeper connection. As a bonus, it encourages your date to share stories about their life, too.

Everyone’s stories are different, but by 40 you probably have a whole host of epic tales to tell. “A travel adventure works well—say, the time you got stuck on a ski lift in the Rockies, or danced on a table in a Barcelona bar,” Barrett suggests. “Another option is to be emotionally vulnerable. You might reveal how scared you felt after your marriage ended. (Just don’t overshare!) Or keep it fun and light, talking about the crazy Uber driver who just dropped you off.”

You (yes, you) have this superpower ready to deploy any time you need it. “By your 40s, you’ve collected a book’s worth of powerful personal stories,” Barrett says. “Share a couple with your next date, and chances are they’ll want to keep turning the page.”

Of course, that’s not the only piece of intel you need to know about. Read on for four more expert-backed secrets about dating over 40. And for intel about dating at any age, discover 20 Dating Secrets Men Will Never Openly Acknowledge.

1

Your confidence is the sexiest thing you can bring on a date.

middle aged man carrying flowers and wine
middle aged man carrying flowers and wine

No matter what you wear or what kind of car you pull up in, the hottest look for a date is the confidence you’re showing when you get there.

“By your 40s, you’ve tried on a closetful of selves and are more comfortable and confident in your own skin. You know who you are. You’ve grown more self-accepting and self-aware,” Barrett says. “That kind of authenticity and self-possession is very attractive, making you quite the catch.”

And that’s not just lip service. “I know this from personal experience as a dater and a dating coach,” Barrett says. “I’m in my 40s, and I’m much more authentic and attractive than I was in my 20s and 30s. My knee joints are a little weaker, but my confidence is much stronger!” And for some real talk about the hurdles ahead, here are 17 Reasons Dating in Your 40s Is So Challenging, According to Experts.

2

You need to stop dating like it’s 1999.

older gay white man having coffee across from other man
older gay white man having coffee across from other man

Some people dating in their 40s still approach it the same way they did when they were in their 20s, and their goals were entirely different.

“[Maybe] you have a family now, or are a caregiver to someone, have kids or stepchildren, know you’re vegan and have to exercise seven days a week, you’re considering a career transition, or want to go back to school to try something new,” says professional and personal development coach Rebecca Kiki Weingarten. “And yet when you date and meet new people, you emotionally and in other ways revert back 20-something years.”

Resist the tendency; it won’t get you what you want. And for some seemingly outdated tips that might actually help, try these 13 Pieces of Old-Fashioned Dating Advice That Still Apply Today.

3

You are empowered to make choices.

Senior couple crossing the road on a city street. They are walking with shopping bags while Christmas shopping.
Senior couple crossing the road on a city street. They are walking with shopping bags while Christmas shopping.

If dating when you’re younger meant being more indiscriminate in the name of having a good time, dating over 40 can be a great time to make swifter, more decisive choices about a potential match—and that is extremely freeing.

“It saves you time, agita, heartache, and stress,” Weingarten says. “You can make choices about who you date in a way that’s best for you.” And for more secrets revealed, here are 20 Dating Secrets Women Will Never Openly Acknowledge.

4

You already know what you want.

middle aged asian couple holding each other outside
middle aged asian couple holding each other outside

Now that you’re over 40, you already know who you really are and what you really want—even if sometimes those truths can be obscured by life’s twists and turns. And that essential knowledge and clarity will help guide you through the dating process if you let it.

“If you’re over 40, you have a sense of yourself, you’ve lived and experienced emotionally, financially, physically, relationships, family, travel, responsibilities, and on and on,” Weingarten says.

You are the only North Star you need as you seek a partner with similar values and desires. You got this! And for more useful information delivered straight to your inbox, sign up for our daily newsletter.