Dating in your 40s can be a real adventure. Here's our take on what makes this decade so special.
Movies would have you believe that happily ever after starts in your 20s. Boy meets girl, boy falls in love with girl, boy marries girl, and boy has children with girl—all before they turn 30. Romantic comedies suggest that anything else is a failure, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. People are getting hitched much later. So if you’re wondering about getting married in your 40s, you’re not alone…
In order to be successful in love, there’s no such thing as the optimal time to meet your romantic partner, and you’re not a failure if you don’t check off all of the boxes (or any of the boxes) by a certain age.
If your friends are all married and having kids, and you still haven’t found the one, you might worry about the stigma of getting married later in life. But there’s no right or wrong time to get married.
The Reality of Getting Married in your 40s
When you find your soulmate, the person you want to spend the rest of your life with, that’s the perfect time to tie the knot. You can meet that person at any age. Some people marry their high school sweetheart, while others meet their partner later in life. Let’s talk about the pros and cons of getting married in your 40s.
Pro: You know who you are and what you want
There’s a wisdom that comes with being over 40. You’ve figured out who you are, and you’re confident in being you. Gone are the days of pretending to be somebody you’re not to impress people. You also have high standards and know what you want (and what you don’t want) in life and in a partner, and you’re not willing to settle for less.
When you’re getting married in your 40s, you’ve already grown into your own person. You don’t have to worry as much about drifting from your partner, because you’ve already done your growing and changing.
Con: You have roots
When you’re in your 20s, the world is your oyster. You can move anywhere, take any job, and easily adapt to your surroundings. But when you’re in your 40s, you’ve put down roots. You might have kids, own a home, have a career, and have reasons to stay put.
When you have set routines and responsibilities, it’s not as easy to go with the flow and make big changes. You can still make space in your life for someone new! But you can’t necessarily follow your heart wherever it takes you. There’s more to consider before you take big leaps.
Pro: You have life experience
By your 40s, you’ve experienced the highs and lows that life has to offer. You’ve seen the joy of marriage and children. You’ve felt the pain of sickness and loss. Having life experience helps you understand who’s the right match.
When people get married young, they don’t necessarily think about the implications of “for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health,” because they haven’t yet experienced such extremes. But when you’re getting married in your 40s, you have the experience to choose someone who will be a true partner through all of it.
Con: It’s harder to conceive
These days, when it comes to having kids, couples have options. But it doesn’t change the fact that if you want to conceive a child naturally, it’s harder to get pregnant later in life. It’s still possible! It’s just harder. And we’d be remiss not to bring it up as a potential con of getting married in your 40s.
We don’t recommend rushing to get married to make the most of your fertile years, but if you want to have kids, it’s worth taking your biological clock into account and coming up with a plan that works for you.
Pro: It’s becoming the norm
Even though it might feel like everyone around you is married, that’s not necessarily the case overall. Unlike our parents and grandparents, Americans are getting married later in life—and the numbers to back that up are pretty significant.
As Business Insider reports, data from the United States Census Bureau’s Current Population Survey shows that in 1962, 50% of 21-year-olds and 90% of 30-year-olds had been married at least once. But in 2019, those figures dropped to 8% and 51.2% respectively. Who knows where those percentages will be in another 60 years?
As you can see, getting married in your 40s isn’t anything to be ashamed of. In fact, it’s something to be celebrated! You got to experience the freedom and independence of being single in your 20s and 30s, sowed your wild oats, and learned how to take care of yourself.
You may have even been married before and learned a lot about true love and real partnership. If you’re getting married in your 40s, or still single in your 40s and worried you won’t meet the one, remember; stay true to yourself and you can find love at any age!