40 Tips for Finding Love After 40

6 Tips to Finding Love After 40 That Actually Work

Gary and Uli Wills: It’s a Match

_MG_2249 copyFor Uli Eitel, finding people to date at the age of 44 was no problem at all. It was finding the right people—people who shared her life goals—that was the issue. “I was past 40, I had been married for a long time and I found myself back on the dating scene,” she recalls. “And it was just challenging. I wanted to find the right person—not someone just to date and have fun with on a Saturday night.”

A private and discreet person, Uli couldn’t imagine herself using today’s popular online dating sites to try and find a mate. So she began to consider professional matchmaking, which she felt would provide her with a more personal approach as she embarked on her search for love. After extensive research, she found a company that offers upscale services for single, commitment-minded adults who are seeking long-term relationships. “We started with an in-depth consultation, where I provided information about my family, my profession and my background,” she says, adding that she also was asked to identify the qualities she looked for in a potential spouse. For her, that was easy. “I wanted to meet someone commitment-minded, easygoing, fun and solid,” she notes. “And I lucked out.”

After more than a year with the service and meeting several people, Uli was matched with Gary. A delightful phone conversation led to an in-person meeting, which went extremely well. “On that first date, we had two bottles of wine and closed out the restaurant,” she muses. “There was just a sense of comfort there. We felt like we had known each other for a long time.” Within three months, the couple was engaged. And on the one-year anniversary of their first meeting, Uli and Gary married in a private, outdoor, sunset ceremony on the island of Kauai. “I had visualized a sunset ceremony in a tropical location, and the vision came to be,” Uli observes. And since they had decided to elope, they had two celebrations after their nuptials—one with Uli’s family in her native Germany and the other in the Midwest with Gary’s relatives.

Today, with three years of marriage behind her, Uli happily encourages people over the age of 40 to turn to the help of a professional in their search for love. In fact, she even founded her own Atlanta-based upscale matchmaking service, Sterling Introductions, which also has an office in New York City. “When it comes to our personal lives, we assume that things are going to happen by magic,” she observes. “But you have to be proactive, and using a professional matchmaking service greatly enhances your chances of meeting the right person. I see myself as a success story for professional matchmaking—I know firsthand that it works.”

Uli also offers some useful words of advice. “It’s easy to say that all the good ones are taken or there are no good people out there, but there really are good people out there,” she concludes. “You have to set realistic expectations—nobody’s perfect. And you just have to stay positive and keep an open mind. Know that it can happen. There are plenty of success stories—mine included.”

Perri and Gary Higbie: And We Danced

PerriWhen Gary Higbie walked into Cowboys in Kennesaw in July of 2000, the last thing on his mind was finding love. In fact, he was meeting a friend to get the name of a divorce lawyer because his 16-year marriage was ending. But not long after he arrived, as couples line danced around him, a charming woman with an Australian accent who was wearing a cowboy hat and boots approached him and struck up a conversation. “It was a tremendous boost to my somewhat wounded self-esteem to be approached by such a beautiful woman,” he recalls. “However, it was the ensuing conversation that evening that made her irresistible—I found her absolutely fascinating.”

The beautiful woman, Perri, was equally entranced by the man she saw walk in the door more than an hour before she gathered the courage to speak to him. “He had a light blue shirt on with eyes to match,” she says. “In a crowd of 3,000 people, he really stood out to me.” And while it was against the somewhat shy 40-something’s nature to go up and talk to a stranger, Perri, who had ended her own 16-year marriage five years prior to that night, was encouraged by her friend, who plotted out a strategy to help her “accidentally” start up that all-important conversation. After some casual chitchat, the two shared a couple of spins around the dance floor and ultimately decided to head out for a cup of coffee so they could continue getting to know each other. At the end of the evening, Gary wrote Perri’s number on the back of a Waffle House ticket and promised to call—even though he had not even thought about entering the dating scene again. “I honestly had not even reached that point of consideration when we met, as I was still reflecting backwards on my life,” he notes. “It was Perri who, in a matter of hours, turned me around mentally and got me looking to the future.”

While Perri was not looking for a husband that pivotal evening at Cowboys, she did feel that she would walk down the aisle again at some point in her life. “I knew that one day I would want to be married again. I was not scared of marriage,” she observes. And after three years of dating Perri exclusively, neither was Gary. During a trip to St. Martin, he got down on one knee and presented his very surprised beloved with the Waffle House ticket he had written her name and number on the night they met. “He told me I could change the last name on the ticket and keep the phone number,” she muses.

In July 2005, Gary and Perri were married in the groom’s childhood church, surrounded by 150 family members and friends. “That day, I knew that I would be at peace for the rest of my life,” Perri says. “I had found my true companion. And we get happier and happier each year that we’re together.”

Having found love after the age of 40, Gary and Perri want others to know that they can experience the same thing if they’re open to it. “It baffles me a bit [that people believe it’s difficult to find love after 40]. Men, for the first time in our lives, realize that we can’t and don’t want to live without the love and companionship of a ‘good woman.’ Our defenses melt away as we realize that life is about a lot more than sex and self-indulgence,” Gary concludes with a quip. “We are sitting ducks!” Perri adds, “You just have to give love a chance. Don’t carry the past into a new relationship because everybody is different. And there are wonderful partners out there. If you’re open, you can find someone who makes you feel good about yourself and brings out the best in you. I did. In fact, I hit the husband lottery.”

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