Relationships 2.0: Dating, love and romance in the 21st century

j0422409 From juggling the ticking of biological clocks while waiting for “the one,” ala Jennifer Lopez’ The Back-up Plan, to dating and marriage in the age of social media, to shunning or embracing cougar status, for women at 40 the relationship world looks a lot different now than it did in our 20’s and 30’s.

Let’s see, there’s Twitter and Facebook,  E-harmony, Match.com and yes folks even… onlinebootycall.com. There’s freezing eggs, frozen sperm and surrogate mothers. In the media there’s Demi Moore and Ashton Kutcher and on TV there’s Cougar Town and Accidentally on Purpose. And in the news, there’s a constant stream of stories about infidelity. Many of us were heartbroken when we learned that Jesse James was unfaithful to Sandra Bullock, who just weeks prior had beemed publicly that her husband “had her back.” We even took it a little personally since Sandra waited until she was 40 to get married.

It seems everywhere we turn we’re inundated with images, stories and advice about marriage, single men and women and dating – some good, some bad, and some, just plain old ugly.  So what’s a woman at forty to do? This week we’re exploring relationships 2.0 – relationships in the age of social media, cougar culture and changing mores. And we’re asking some serious – and not so serious – questions, like:

  • Do you have a “back-up plan?” What do you think of the whole idea? If you’ve got one, what is it and did you ever think you’d need one?
  • What makes a relationship work at 40 and is it different than when you were in your 20’s or 30’s?
  • Are “good men” as hard to find as the media portrays, or are we just being too picky?
  • Should we be offended by the word “cougar” or should we embrace it?
  • Have you ever asked a guy out? Why or why not?

I’ve assembled a virtual panel – panel 2.0  I call it, of 40 year old friends and acquaintances and asked them these questions and more. Some of the answers might surprise you. We’re even talking to an “official un-cougar” this week – a woman who’s married to a younger man, but who refuses to be defined by the age of the man in her life. So, is all the media talk about dating, infidelity, cougars and relationships just hype or is it reality? This week, with your help, we’ll try to find out.

Share your answers to our relationship 2.0 questions in the comment section, on our Facebook fan page or email them to contribute@womenatforty.com. We’ll keep your responses anonymous, so don’t be afraid to tell us what you’re really thinking.

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  • genesis0218

    The biggest challenge that I face as I approach 40 is “relationship.” I've always been attracted to men who were older than me, but now the pool is too out of shape. In my 20's I dated guys in their 30s. In my 30s, I caught the eyes of guys in their 40s. Now at 40, I'm finding few 50 year olds that are still young in spirit without being young in behavior. Guys my age have “always” commented that I'm too serious or too focused on career or personal growth – blah, blah. I always thought that I would be happily married by 40, so now I'm seriously doubting that I will function in that lifestyle. Giving up @ 40…

  • womenatforty

    Genesis – Don't give up! Maybe take a step back and some time to re-think or re-learn, but if a relationship is what you want, don't give up on trying to find it. Maybe a younger man or guy your age would be at your level in life if you open yourself to seeing them in that way. Give it a try and let us know how it's working for you…

  • Jo

    I agree with Womenatforty – I think a younger man is just the ticket. They are not hung up on our career expectations as they have their own and none of the 'traditional' expectations of what a woman should or shouldn't be. There are many younger men who are mature for their age and together, you could be a perfect pairing.

    I was facing similar issues in my mid-thirties when I met my husband in my mid-thirties. Even more inspiring, in my late twenties, I worked for a female CEO who was mid-forties who found love with a man 17 years her junior – they are still together 10 years on. Don't give up – date younger – you may just find what you're looking for