Do divorced 40-somethings have to emulate 20-somethings to compete for dates?

I was talking to my 40-something friend who is getting divorced about starting to date again. She has been told by other friends that she needs to get the “full Brazilian” when she does start to date because that’s what all the 20-somethings do and that’s what the men expect.

(”The Mindy Project” talked about this very thing last night at the end of the show. I tried to pull the clip but it wasn’t posted yet. I will add if they post the scene.)

My friend thought hard about this. Besides being painful and awfully intrusive, she is worried about what type of message this would send her daughters. She thinks they would notice the change and thinks it would send them a weird message.

The other item is sexual expectations. From what I understand from some men friends who are dating younger women apparently nothing is off the table sexually for many 20-somethings. So are 40-something divorced women who were raised in an entirely different generation supposed to go along with that? Are they allowed to have different dating standards, and if not, can they compete with the 20-somethings?

So what have you experienced: Do 40-something divorcees have to emulate their 20-something competition to find a relationship? Are men willing to accept different standards from older women?

How does this shake out on the other side? What do divorced 40-something men have to do to date 20-something women?

52 comments Add your comment


January 8th, 2014
1:05 am

I’ve recently passed the “Big 4-0″ threshold and find myself in this type of situation while trying to navigate the dating scene all over again.

Ladies, is it really no longer taboo for us to play UPS and accept “backdoor deliveries” in the bedroom? Maybe every other marriage from my generation engaged in that, but we sure didn’t.

That was something I simply NEVER had any inclination to do with my ex-husband, but it seems that so many potential male suitors, especially younger men (& ladies, too!), now seem to expect that in bed or see it as a “normal” part of dating, affection and lovemaking. Apparently, Danny’s younger mistress was VERY OPEN to that type of thing. Also, so many novelty shops now stock creams & lotions for specifically that purpose right out in the open.

When, exactly, did something like that go from being absolutely DISGUSTING (not to mention painful!) to simply just another position with younger couples in Gen-X and Gen-Y? Did the infamous Clinton-Lewinsky and Obama-Sinclair scandals really skew America’s views on sexuality THAT much?


January 8th, 2014
5:51 am

Depends on what you are looking for. What you put out there will dictate what you attract. If you are looking for a more conservative relationship, then be conservative. If you are looking to be experimental, then be experimental. It’s OK to change if you want to. Be honest and be clear, especially with yourself. If he/she decides to end the new relationship because of what you do/don’t want to do then that is probably for the best. Yes, post-divorce is painful and lonely, but compromising/changing your values, in either direction, simply to “get a date” is desperate and that is never attractive or sexy. It also sets up expectations for the future that may not be able to be maintained by one or the other party and that will only lead to resentment from both parties. But, if the change is something you want, even to find out if you indeed want it, then go for it. You may find out it is just what you were looking for all along. And if not, well now you know for sure.


January 8th, 2014
7:09 am

If a 40 year old lady is competing with a 20 year old for dates she is looking in the wrong place for a date. @ Jeremey you are correct ” what you put out there will dictate what you attract.”


January 8th, 2014
7:26 am

sadly it probably is…..much better to invest BIG TIME in your current relationship. It often seems that we are willing to do things after the divorce, that we wouldn’t before – but that would’ve likely kept the first relationship intact.


January 8th, 2014
7:35 am

Ladies, if your husband has asked for “backdoor deliveries” and you have responded with a resounding NO and a wrinkled face, trust me when I tell you he’s getting them at his off-site P.O. Box.

Not necessarily...

January 8th, 2014
7:47 am

…depends on what their definition of “dating” is – and remember, they have that “cougar” thing going for them.

"What do divorced 40-something men have to do to date 20-something women?"

January 8th, 2014
7:47 am

Have at least 10 inches!


January 8th, 2014
8:09 am

Myra must not like NBA players.


January 8th, 2014
8:22 am

First of all, I don’t “emulate” with younger women. I’m in a completely different league then they are. I am much more mature, ow what I want in a mate, and life. I don’t play stupid mind games with guys.

The 20 years should be emulating ME. I have confidence, own my own home, and I don’t need a man to complete my life. I have happiness and a confidence that most 20 year olds don’t.

And I certainly don’t need a Brazilian to keep up with a 20 year old. The men I date, do not expect that! But the a gain, I date classy men, not a bunch of stud muffins. I enjoy REAL men. The ones who know how to treat a lady with respect. The ones who don’t play games.

Once you reach that level of maturity, you don’t worry about what others are doing. Just focus on yourself.

i LOVE...

January 8th, 2014
8:33 am

Thankfully, I am not currently in the dating world (yet)…

but I can say, with certainty, that I DO NOT want the men who desire for me to look and act like a 20 year old!!! I am 32 and VERY proud of the mature, responsible, financially independent, strong, sexy woman I’ve become – few week’s hair growth and ALL!!! haha!!

I would HATE for a man to know the 20 year old me anyway! She was so naive…. 32 year old me has a very particular set of skills; skills I have acquired over a long (ish) life. Skills that make me a DREAM for men who are deserving. I don’t know my future dude, but I will look for him; I will find him; and I will make him HAPPY. ;-)


January 8th, 2014
8:42 am

Theresa, your 40-year-old friend has some really screwed up friends giving her advice. They sound like they haven’t grown up since they were 20 years old. A 40-year-old has something to offer that a 20-year-old can’t. Play to your strengths, don’t try to do what other people think you should do just because of their insecurities.


January 8th, 2014
8:56 am

Different strokes for different folks. I don’t do Nair, but I still wear short shorts. My men’s like my au natural nether regions. Don’t get me wrong, I’ll shave my pits and legs for special occasions. If it was good enough for the 70’s it’s good enough now.


January 8th, 2014
9:01 am


How do you feel about hairy-chested men in their late 30s?

You sound like a top-shelf gal to me.


January 8th, 2014
9:15 am

men who want “full Brazillian” presumably don’t have daughters… that would give me PTSD from diaper changing memories (cleaning poo from places it doesn’t belong!)!

personally I’m more of a landing strip guy – sexy but sends a clear message you’re a woman, not jailbait…


January 8th, 2014
9:26 am

I agree you need to decide what you attract and work towards that…but I found this strange:
she is worried about what type of message this would send her daughters. She thinks they would notice the change and thinks it would send them a weird message. – how and why would her children know and/or notice a change in her personal area grooming habits????


January 8th, 2014
9:42 am

I don’t believe I parading numerous “uncles” in and out of my home, in front of the kids.


January 8th, 2014
9:53 am

1. Everytime I talk to a 30-40 year old friend who is dating again, I thank God that I am not in their shoes. Honestly just doesn’t seem worth the hassle.
2. I’m sure not ALL 40-something men have the expectation that women they date will act like a 20-something but I think in their fantasy, they all get 20 somethings, or at least a younger woman who is more ‘adventurous’. I think it’s more like a mid-life crisis is playing out in different ways than we used to see when the typical guy would go out and buy a convertible or a motorcycle.
3. Dating parents SHOULD be concerned about what their kids see. Kids are forming their idea of what a husband and wife, mom and dad should look like and what they see in their own home plays a huge role in that. If it’s acceptable for mom to bring home a new guy for sleepovers every few weeks, why would the kids not think that’s an acceptable thing to do for them as they get older? If dad’s posting kissing photos of him and his new squeeze on facebook, then surely it’s ok for the kids to do the same, right?
4. Personally I don’t think divorced parents should even expose their kids to their dating partners until they’re sure the person is a keeper. Date when your kids are at the ex’s, talk on the phone when they aren’t home and don’t get consumed by a new relationship when the relationship with your kids is what needs focus (kids have gone through a divorce too). I’m not saying you have to put your life on hold but if you go through a divorce, whether it’s your fault or not, your kids should be more important than you finding a new partner.


January 8th, 2014
9:59 am

I’m 40 and single – never married – and I agree with Macy and ByteMe. I will STAY single if I have to do what 20-somethings do. I’m grown. I do what grown women do…whatever I want to. Whatever I feel comfortable doing. You have to know what you want and what you expect and what you will settle for. I am far past the point of settling for someone I don’t like for free food (free food ain’t free) or jewelry or shoes or purses like 20 somethings are wont to do. I go to work everyday so I can feed myself and buy what I need and want. That is another bonus of making it to 40. And another reason men should take a good look at us over the 20-somethings. I’d say we’re a little less high-maintenance…financially. ;-)

And Peachy – I was wondering the same thing about the children noticing her grooming. I had no idea what is going on with my mama’s personal grooming habits when I was a child. And if I did, I doubt I’d question why she changed it up. A child shouldn’t even be able to put “Brazillian” and “to impress men” together.


January 8th, 2014
10:36 am

So, for all of you ladies who are 30+ or 40+ and act 30+ or 40+, how do you like your men? Used to be a time when men were hairy, now a days these 20 somethings are hairless. So, do you like your men hairy, or boyish?


January 8th, 2014
10:37 am

If she is 40 and tries to emulate the 20 somethings, she is just going to come off desperate and clueless. If a man wants a 20 something, THAT is what he is going to pursue. A 40 yo pretending to be 20 something looks just like that….A 40 year old trying to be 20-25. She will not be taken seriously and any decent man will just think she has some issues and not want to be involved.

As for her children, I get what she meant. She wasn’t referring to the Brazilian so much as changing her behavior to try to act younger. Kid almost always notice and resent this because who wants a mom who doesn’t accept herself and pretends to be someone else. It’s pathetic and embarrassing. Just look at the women on these reality shows they think they are fabulous but in reality just look scary and foolish.

Real Life

January 8th, 2014
10:54 am

I am with Peachy and wondering how her daughters will notice her personal grooming habits. The scenarios I am coming up with are mind boggling and a bit entertaining. And I cannot get past that all this woman seems concerned about is the sexual side of any new relationship. I would be more concerned about my daughters seeing my emphasis on the sexual part of any relationship rather than my intimate grooming details.

Every time Macy posts something...

January 8th, 2014
10:54 am

…we find out more and more why she is still single – she is bitter, and it shows – BIG TIME…


January 8th, 2014
11:04 am

Why in the world would I want to act 20 again?! No thank you! Whatever a 23 year old is doing, she won’t be doing when she’s 30 or 40. With age comes wisdom. I have been with my husband my entire adult life, so I have no clue about dating, other than what my single friends tell me. I will say that a Brazilian Wax will NEVER, EVER happen for me. Why should I go through that much pain. Young guys are also shaving down there! Huh?! I’m a grown woman. I would only date a grown man that can accept that I have no desire to compete with a 21 year old. None. Your friend is getting bad advice. She should be herself and attract the kind of guy who likes her for who she is. It’s really that simple.


January 8th, 2014
11:23 am

Jeremey should have written the column.

+1, Dude.


January 8th, 2014
11:27 am


I’m 40. I’m married and keep myself in good shape but if I were single I would not capitulate to grooming habits or sexual practices for anyone else but myself.

And, a grown man should have some hair, damn it. On his chest, on his legs, in his pits.

Even if he’s got to 40 and now has hair on the back of his neck and on his back that wasn’t there when he was 25 is BETTER than a hairless grown main. Sure, it’s good to trim some of it. If he wants. Just like it’s good for a grown woman to trim it. If she wants. But grown people have hair.

This being said, if a grown man is naturally hairless or hairless due to some medical condition then that’s cool.


I think, for me, it’s the excessive vanity implied by the removal of hair that’s a huge, huge turn off.


January 8th, 2014
11:29 am

What does a 40+ year old man or woman have in common with a 20+ year old man or woman? Nothing.

This pass holiday season my 40+ yr old cousin brought a 20+ yr old woman home to meet his family. I pulled him to the side and told him how inappropriate it was for him to bring a woman home that was younger than his own daughter. I asked him how would he feel if a older man was dating his young daughter? He was shocked that I confronted him and told him exactly what he needed to hear. He apologized for his lack of judgement and left before his own daughter arrived. He felt ashamed and real stupid.

Please do not be afraid to tell someone


January 8th, 2014
11:37 am

I’m early 40s, look early 30s, and I seem to attract twenty-somethings. My ideal is early 30s but they’re only interested in dating people their own age.

What confuses me is how this woman’s daughters would know that she had a Brazilian. Under what circumstances do they see that?


January 8th, 2014
11:48 am

One thing to think about is whether or not you want any more kids.

Most people I know who’ve divorced start dating pretty quickly. There’s kind of slutty dog phase right after. My personal theory backed up by zero science is that they need some validation. They just got out of a relationship that sapped up their entire youth and now they just need some reassurance that they still got it. And, of course, they do.

But after that they get tired of dealing with people they can’t actual spend time with and start looking for companionship to go along with the sex.

And there you are, a 40+ year old man/woman who already has one/two/three kids, one in high school and the other at the end of elementary school or in middle school, etc. Or maybe they’re a little younger or older than that.

And you meet a really nice young lady/man in her/his late twenties to mid-thirties and you’re able to actually have a real relationship with them.

But, they haven’t had kids yet and they want to have kids.

And you are DONE having kids.

I have a few friends, both men and one woman, who got caught in this conundrum. It was heartbreaking for them because the people they were dating were really great people. But neither was understandably willing to budge on this issue.

And all are now strict on dating people their own age, preferably people who also have kids. One tried dating women who didn’t want kids but it didn’t work out because women who don’t want kids don’t want your already born kids, either.


January 8th, 2014
11:51 am

Frankly, I wouldn’t WANT an older man who is looking at 20-somethings in the first place. It’s creepy — the 20-somethings that hook up with much older guys have some sort of weird Daddy complex, and the men are trying to kid themselves that they’ve still “got it” when it comes to sex appeal (when, in many cases, the only thing they “have” is a fairly hefty bank account or a steady job.)

Your friend is getting some really skewed advice. And I have to wonder, WHAT is it that her daughter’s will “notice” if she gets a Brazilian? I mean, does she normally walk around nude exhibiting her crotch to her daughters? THAT’S weird, IMHO. Plus, if I were her, I think I’d be very cautious about dipping a toe in the dating pool before she’s had time to mentally process her divorce and get comfortable with herself as a single person again. Until she’s comfortable with herself, she’s going to have a hard time defining what it is she wants/needs from any other relationship.

@Myra, if you don’t want “backdoor deliveries”, just say no. Good grief. No one should feel compelled to engage in any sexual act that isn’t comfortable for them and doesn’t give them pleasure. Just tell him he’s too big. :-) Or, tell him, “You first.” I wonder if he would be equally amenable to having an, ahem, “appliance” applied to the same area with as much gusto? I mean, hey, all’s it is is a little lube, right? *snort* Guys watch on-line porn and they get it confused with real life, and 20-somethings are too stupid to tell them to no because they’re “afraid” they might not like them anymore.

Sex, to me, should be one of the LAST steps to intimacy, not one of the FIRST. For me, it would take a lot of time and trust before a guy got that far with me, and if a guy is so sex-focused that he’ll wander off looking for a piece just to satisfy an itch, then that tells me volumes about what kind of guy he is, and what it is that he values in life. If he really values getting off more than developing a meaningful, lasting relationship — well, that tells you something right there and you can decide if you’re ok with that or not. Own your own sexuality, but don’t kid yourself into thinking that sex is a snare to a relationship.


January 8th, 2014
11:57 am

@DJ_Superstar: I like my guys will some body hair, personally, To me, it’s manly.


January 8th, 2014
11:58 am

I actually like older chicks. I’m 53 so the perferred age range for my women is from 45 and up to sagging. With the older chicks, I find that the conversations are better, they are appreciative and give it up quick. Don’t be fooled, old chicks get the chipmonk shaved AND there is no better coitus for me than middle aged women. they are WILD in the sack. PLUS, older chicks enjoy cooking for their man; as do I for my squeeze at the time.

Older women who hook up with younger men are nothing more than sugar mommas. If you like getting your bell rung in exchange for supplying xbox games and juice boxes then have at it. Just go into the relationship with your eyes wide open and realize that when it all boils down to gravy, the young dude will take a young, bangin-hot chick over you any day.

What do divorced 40-something men have to do to date 20-something women?
M-O-N-E-Y It’ll get you anything you want to buy.
I love being a dude. we could be fat, hairy, crude, and smelly. BUT if we got some skrilla, we can get the babes.


January 8th, 2014
12:04 pm

Robert – I pulled my daddy’s card for dating a girl 7 years older than me (I was 21). He was all “wait until you meet her”. My response: “you bring her to ATL to meet me that will be the worst drive back to Louisiana you will ever have in your life.” That ended soon thereafter. Don’t come at me with that BS.

I have a 45 year old friend that used to try to date girls in their 20s. I told him that, usually, girls in their 20s that date men in their 40s want free stuff. He thought I was BSing him. I told him to ask GROWN women. Same answers. I told them to ask same women what THEY would have been after if they would have dated old (to them at the time) men at that age. Free stuff. And men are not looking for love from a 20-something either. If they think so they are BSing themselves.

Of course there are exceptions but in general, no indeed.

Hidden Agenda

January 8th, 2014
12:39 pm

If you aren’t honest about who you are and what you want, you will just end up in another crappy relationship like the one you just left. Period. Have some principles and some courage.


January 8th, 2014
3:04 pm

Women/mothers/daughters see each other’s naked bodies all the time. It is not a weird thing for us. I’m not saying that I cook dinner naked, but if I’m showering/getting dressed and my daughters are in the room, I certainly don’t kick them out or hide. That would actually send a worse message then displaying a change to my pubic hair.


January 8th, 2014
3:37 pm

Caroline – we had so little privacy at my grandmother’s house that if you were in the bathroom and someone knocked, you asked “boy or girl?” and if it was a girl, they could come in. If it was a boy they had to go to another bathroom. I’m not very modest now because of it. I just never thought to look or take notice of something like that. With my girlfriends, sure. We laugh about it.

" If you like getting your bell rung in exchange for supplying xbox games and juice boxes"...

January 8th, 2014
4:12 pm

LOL – that may be the all time classic line on this site…


January 8th, 2014
4:25 pm

I agree with Caroline, kicking girls out while changing would give them body issues that pubic hair grooming, if noticed at all wouldn’t. It’s okay if asked to just say, sometimes I like it this way, it’s more comfortable in my swim suit or whatever…. but most likely the question never comes up.

I agree the reason I mostly date men my own age (in the 30’s) is that I want children, and most men in their 40’s do not. It’s not something you can not compromise on, but rather than just assuming they don’t. I let them tell me they don’t. Dating sites make that process easy, and if I meet them out and about and they are worth three or four dates, at some point I say, hey, I have a question, and it’s one that I feel I should ask early because I don’t want to get attached if we’re not headed down the same path and just ask. You know, like an adult. And if they get scared off by me realizing that it’s important to me, that some point down the road I want kids, and don’t feel like wasting anyone’s time by dating someone who that’s not in the cards for, then they aren’t grown up enough anyway.

I’ve done brazilians, and I’ve not shaved anything (legs, underarms, etc) for days/weeks based on my mood, or what I was doing (camping with no water/power)and never mbeen with a man who complained about either….because if they were seeing it, they were getting some and were happy about it…

And I forget who said it, but the back door thing is up to you. Just like your grooming habits. Be who you are, do what you’re comfortable with, they are either the right person and accept it, or move the hell on..

As far as if you’re saying no, and he’s going to the PO Box statement, I think that depends on exactly what that specific act means for him…. if he just wants to try it, probably not. If he had it early and it’s the one act that gets him off like no other, probably is. I’d rather a guy just move on if I’m not able/willing to do that one act, whatever the one act is. It varies from person to person, but every person has one.


January 8th, 2014
4:50 pm

@Every time – this was my first time posting in this blog…..what makes you think I’m bitter?


January 8th, 2014
5:07 pm

I would like to meet BigBlack.


January 8th, 2014
5:29 pm

If she wants a boy instead of a man, then I would say “Go for it.”

Theresa Walsh Giarrusso

January 8th, 2014
6:05 pm

I do think daughters walk in on moms when they are dressing or in the bathroom (and sometimes sons accidentally) — I think if you went to absolutely nothing there, they would notice.


January 8th, 2014
9:18 pm

MY kids wouldn’t notice anything about my nether regions. We have things called doors and respecting each other’s privacy.


January 8th, 2014
10:24 pm

Then why did our youngest just walk up and ask “why is Mom upstairs in the bathroom holding Chewbacca in a leg lock?”


January 9th, 2014
2:05 am

LOL@dad2! Seriously, if you ladies (or men) aren’t evolving and changing it up from time to time in the bedroom, then boredom sets in. If your significant other has expressed interest in changing things up from time to time and your reply has been “Things are just fine and if you don’t like it, you can lump it”, then you will be the next contestant on the “But I didn’t want to be divorced at 40″ show.
Get with it, people! We all eventually get tired of the same ole, same ole; if he or she asks for something out of your comfort area, you may want to try before you shoot it down outright. You may find out you like it, and your relationship will grow because of it. Even if you don’t like it, your significant other will at least know you gave it a chance, and that counts for way more than a lot of you will ever know.


January 9th, 2014
8:16 am

My boyfriend mentioned to me that he wanted ‘back door’ action. I replied to him that I will do it, providing he allow me to put one of my ‘toys’ in his butt hole and just pound it for 45 days and then if he don’t lose elasticity in it then I might consider it. That is how people get A.I.D.S. If the 20 something want to do that, then more power to them.


January 9th, 2014
8:16 am

One more thing..he suddenly stopped mentioning it. Hmmm I wonder why… :)


January 9th, 2014
8:40 am

I think Theresa’s friend should consider that she’s not ready for dating. If she can’t hold her own in a conversation about such things, then she’s “acting” 20 even if she’s not. She’s too unsure of what she wants and it will show (and be unattractive to) any new man – regardless of age.

Have I been gone too long or are there new posters here from the Dating blog from Wise Diva? This seems to be a topic for that blog, but I applaud that everyone is at a different place in their life at different times.

I wouldn’t worry about what the mom’s body looks like as much as who she’s showing it to!


January 9th, 2014
10:57 am

Victoria…people get HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, during regular old heterosexual sex. All you need is one partner with HIV, one without, and no condom.

You’re a fool if you think you can’t get it because you don’t do anal.


January 9th, 2014
2:26 pm

Here’s the thing: don’t compare yourself to a 20-year old. You will always lose, There are few things as desperate looking as a woman in her 40s trying to dress/act like someone half their age. Ladies, just because you CAN wear it, doesn’t mean you should. Junior clothes are for juniors. A great example was that crazy mom at the football game. I figured she went nuts because her junior-sized and styled jeans kept her from breathing.

That said, a 40-year old can look very elegant and also sexy. I am 51 and I think my husband still thinks I am sexy. I don’t look like I did 20 years ago when we got married, but neither does he. I do keep up with exercise, eat well, and would rather die than be caught in mom jeans, crocks, white sneakers (unless exercising) cropped pants, elastic waist pants, or any other staple of the average middle-aged woman. You can still be a little trendy like in shoes, purses or jewelry, but it has to be good quality, not crap from Forever 21. And it can’t be head to toe, like leopard everything.

An example of a woman I think can’t let go of her 20s is Jennifer Anniston (though her body is great and shows that she works hard), while a woman whom I feel has aged beautifully would be Halle Berry. Speaking of Ms. Berry, she said it very well a year or so ago when she said she realizes that she is not 20 any more, and is OK that the newer hot actresses are now getting the attention she used to get. She said it was their turn. This is ironic as you can’t get much prettier than Halle Berry at ANY age. Nicole Kidman is a terrible example of growing old gracefully. She looks like she can’t move her face at all, and of course Meg Ryan and Melanie Griffith have morphed into strange-looking creatures too, as has Vivica. Fox.

As far as hair removal and/or back-door deliveries, do what makes you comfortable. At your age, you should know your limits, and again, trying so do an unfamiliar sex act JUST because 20 year-olds is doing it is a terrible idea. Not only will you look foolish, but this will make you feel so cheap afterwards. Try it because you want to try it, and never because some guy won’t like you. Now that’s something your daughter will notice and emulate. I am really shocked a grown woman would even think to do something like this only to get a guy, it is pathetic.


January 9th, 2014
9:35 pm

Confidence and being comfortable with who you are is the key.

I personally do not have dating experience in my 40s, buy my sister is recently divorced and dating in her 40s. She is significantly overweight (but dresses well and for her age and size and has very stylish hairstyle) and has 3 kids under the age of 8… but has had ZERO trouble finding QUALITY men. She posted a real picture on with a short introduction and said… ” This is me… if you like what you hear and see, contact me”. She had more interest than she could reasonably handle. She lives in a small town (about 5-thousand people) in Ohio but less than an hour from a medium sized city. She has been on dates with CEO’s, College Professors, Businessmen and a couple of doctors. She has been successfully dating a company CEO for several months now and is happy. I was shocked… she made it look easy. I think the key is being comfortable with who you are…. not trying to emulate something you are not.