40 Bright Red Flags To Look For When You're Dating In Your 40s

If you're looking for love and you're over the age of 40, look out for these signs that you're probably wasting your time with the wrong person.

man in his 40s standing in front of red background Krakenimages.com / Shutterstock

Dating when you're over 40 can feel very different than it did when you were younger and carefree. While it was easy to connect when most everyone you met was unmarried and looking, now you may find yourself looking for red flags to protect yourself from heartbreak.

Being over the age of 40 doesn’t mean that your dating pool is limited or that you have to 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.

Here are 40 red flags to look for if you're dating over 40.

1. They're addicted to drama.

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. If the small things become big things, then do yourself a favor and move on.

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2. They're conflict-avoidant.

Going along to get along may seem like the right choice at first, but the hidden resentments growing underneath will have to come out at some future date. Avoiding conflict doesn’t make it go away, it only creates distance between the two of you.

3. They struggle with being sincere.

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

4. They can’t open up and be vulnerable.

Emotional intimacy requires authenticity. Vulnerability is a sign of emotional strength, not weakness. When the two of you can share your feelings, then you can create a strong emotional bond. It feels good to be seen and heard.

5. They can’t handle emotions.

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 emotional expression or is constantly asking you to tone it down.


6. They are overly defensive.

Does your date get defensive easily or take any feedback as criticism? Then they are probably not emotionally mature enough for a healthy relationship. Look for someone who can hear you without thinking that every request is an attack on their competency.

7. They get triggered too easily.

Part of growing up is cultivating a spirit of humility and to be 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?"

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8. They are quick to anger.

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.


9. They have addiction issues.

Addiction of any kind is a red flag that shouldn't be ignored. All addicts are emotionally unavailable unless they're in recovery). You're not responsible for guiding this person out of their addiction or helping them manage their lives.

10. They won’t take responsibility or apologize.

If you’re dating a person who can’t take responsibility for their misbehavior and work with you to reconnect and to clean it up, then you're probably better off moving on.

11. They blaming their ex for everything.

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.

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12. They have a 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? Steer clear of people who want to keep things casual and just "see what happens."

13. They 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 are falling in love with a fantasy and when that fantasy meets reality, the relationship will come crashing down.



14. They only reach 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. Don’t be someone’s backup plan when other options fall through.


15. They don'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? If he’s waiting for you to do all the work, he’s only interested in a convenient relationship — and those never last.

16. They don't have boundaries.

Healthy boundaries are the key to a happy relationship. If your date blames you when they feel bad or feel too much responsibility to keep you happy, they don’t have boundaries. Love does not mean that the two of you merge into one. True love requires respect and respect always includes boundaries.

17. They send mixed signals.

Are you dating Dr. Jeckyll and Mr. Hyde? Really into you one minute and disappear 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 are unclear how they feel about you. You cannot help them solve this problem.

18. They keep tabs.

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


19. They 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 introduce you to their inner circle.

20. Their exes are all "crazy."

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 better people through their past relationships.

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21. They're overly critical and judgmental.

Dating someone who is 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 that this person is unhappy and nothing you do will ever be good enough to make them feel good about themselves.


22. They're cynical about love and dating.

The cynic takes their disappointment and turns it into a belief system about the world. It may feel cathartic to vent about your dating disasters and bond over misery, but it's much more useful and fun to bond over dreams and goals.

23. They don’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? Find someone to date who wants your relationship to grow, not keep things at the status quo.

24. They're jaded about the opposite sex.

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 does not have a cross to bear with the opposite sex.

25. They're 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 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.


26. They have unrealistic expectations.

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 it. Lasting love will enhance your happiness and joy, but it won’t mean you never have challenges or conflict.

27. They're 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.

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28. They don’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?


29. They are overly insecure and/or needy.

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

30. They don't know what they want from life.

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.

31. They need you to change.

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

32. They expect you to be a mind reader.

You can never make love last with a person who expects you to do all the heavy lifting and not share in this work. Instead, date someone who knows what they want and is willing to ask for it.


33. They 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.

34. They want 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.

35. They isolate 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.


36. They don'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? When you love someone, you also respect them and want to hear what they have to say.

37. Your friends or family dislike them.

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.

38. They aren't able to compromise.

There's no relationship where you’ll be in agreement all the time. If you're the one who is 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.

39. They hold 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? Look for someone who lives in integrity by having the same set of rules and standards they have for you.


40. They guilt trip you.

Does your date 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).

Dating over 40 doesn’t mean you have to put up with bad behavior or settle for less than a true soul partnership.

The dating process allows you to cultivate discernment so you can evaluate who is a match for you and who is not. 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 has learned from their past mistakes in a relationship.


Remember, anyone can display some of these behaviors occasionally, but if they are repetitive, it’s more likely that there’s a problem.

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Orna and Matthew Walters are Soulmate Coaches who have been featured guest experts on Bravo’s "The Millionaire Matchmaker."