Getting Married for the First Time Over Age 40

Guest Post from Suzanne aka the Late Bloomer Bride

I was a tender 42 years old when I walked down the wedding aisle for the first time. (As the bride, that is. I was a bridesmaid eight times before I said “I do.”) I knew the wedding walk drill. But, I learned quickly that being married was a whole different story.

Marriage at any age takes commitment, dedication and attention. But, over the last four years of my marital union, I’ve come to realize that getting and being married after age 40 is different from entering marriage, say, in your 20s.

While I was a successful business woman and life adventurer for many years, I learned quickly once married that all that wisdom doesn’t necessarily translate to successful coupledom. So, I did what any grown woman would do. I sought advice. Two sets of people emerged to talk with: those who got married in their 20s and those who had never been married at all. They both looked at me like I was crazy.

I coined the term “Late Bloomer Bride” (LBB) for someone who married for the first time after age 40, when I found such little information around getting married “older.” If you are single and need dating or getting-married advice, you’ll find plenty of blogs, articles, and whole book sections. If you are divorced, widowed or embarking on a second marriage, you’ll meet the same plethora of resources. But, advice on how to navigate marriage for the first time over age 40? Well…

In fact, I found so little, direct advice, I started my own blog, www.LateBloomerBride.com, to bring focus and attention on the differences between a later-in-life, first-time marriage and others. I also was hoping to attract other LBBs and marriage experts who could weigh in from time to time. Soon, LBBs began to come out of the woodwork and underscore what I suspected all along – marriage is both easier and harder for us.

For instance, I am sure “younger marrieds” (YMs) don’t ask themselves (or others):

  • What did you find most important in your prenuptial agreement?
  • I’ve already been to Germany eight times. Do I have to go again (when Italy awaits) just because Husband has already decided he likes Germany better?
  • Do I take his name or keep mine, the latter with which I’ve built up a significant professional brand?
  • If I make more money than Husband do I get to spend whatever I want? Or, is it kind of rude to keep having the UPS man keep showing up with box after box of new shoes from Zappos?
  • Do I tell Husband how many ex-boyfriends I had (he asked), and do I really need to get rid of my favorite La Perla lingerie set because it came from one of them (he asked)?
  • I know (happily married) friend, Mary, helped him through that car accident, and my (happily married) friend Jack helped me move six times in the last eight years, but should they still be in our cell phone speed dial list?
  • His house or mine? Or, if we do really ever build our dream house (our “final resting place,” because we’re hearing “that” age), how do we reconcile competing ideas of replicating Monticello versus Falling Water?)

The list seems endless.

If you are 26 and just figuring all this out – with a mate by your side – I submit it’s a far different experience than someone who is over 40 and just now having to deal – daily – with another’s mindset. Especially since you’ve already made up your mind about most things.

While younger marrieds develop ideas and positions together, amass assets jointly, and develop a rhythm as they grow into further adulthood, someone who has reached 40 has basically been there, done that. So, changing course later in the game, can feel like you’ve landed in an obstacle course – full of stops, starts, hurdles and obstacles. Other days, it can feel like suddenly your life purpose grew grander and your life is more supported. And sometimes, compromising can feel like cheating on yourself.

An LBB, after 20 years of living one way – and now attempting to live another way – will find marriage is quite the adventure. Some days its like rafting down class five rapids without a paddle. And, other days it’s like reaching a summit that reveals the most beautiful view lit up by a sunset.

Any LBBs out there with their own adventure story they’d like to share?

**********************

P.S. Thanks so much to Suzanne for writing this guest post.  Be sure to visit her at LateBloomerBride, which is always a great read whether you’re a late bloomer or not.

Please share your thoughts and experiences in the comments section.

Comments

  1. Pat says:

    Happy New Year to you all.

    I am 40 and have never been married. I want it all to get married and have children, not sure if I am dreaming or if it will really happen. Also, I have been single for some time now I think I am a great person, not bad looking I have a job, college diploma although the career section of my life has been difficult because I never ended up where I wanted to be.

    I sometimes even think what is wrong with me, am I too old for someone to want? Most men want younger women, maybe this whole marriage / children thing has passed me by.
    I am so glad to know I am not the only one out there.

  2. Mark says:

    no many guys here for this subject!
    I am 43 and have never been married! Is there something wrong? I dont think so.
    I have been dating a married woman (she has been getting a divorce for 7 years, another story!) for the past 5 yrs now. Since where I live and that she is still married, it seems unlikely that she will ever marry me. I have asked but the problem is she has 2 kids (15) and that they are in a financial position for a great life.
    She however, needs the income from her ex for the maintainence of these kids which i have to say is very expensive. Whereas the kids love me and that we have all been away on holidays together, I am not going to be the one to take their fathers place in these financial matter. Their father and I get on just fine and that is something that I came to a discission some time ago as what is the point if i have to fight with this guy and therefore alienating the kids which in turn will take her away from me.
    She has her own home with the kids that spend most of their time with her. I too also have my own home for which I return to every night.
    We HAVE slept together in hotel rooms with the kids in the other bed with no problems from them.
    In my time this is the single longesst relationship i have been in. The first was my first true love which lasted 2 years.
    So is it wrong that I am not married?
    Is being married just a piece of paper used by some people as a way to use for financial security? Lawyers in a divorce are the only ones that win. Do i sound like I dont want to get married? Not at all. I have been asked 4 times and I have only ask 2. So it has been there for me but I guess i am the only one that decides this future for me. I also know at this point thast since i am over 40 there is little to no chance that I could move on and find someone that has no kids! Well, unless I go and get some 20 something whos real and only game in her life would be to see how many credit cards I actually have and whats the limit!
    Would love to know know if there are more men like myself out there! Comments?

  3. Kate says:

    I got married for the first time at 43 in May of 2009 after dating my now spouse for two years. So far so good! We are very compatible. I took his name, but I didn’t have a business reason to keep it, and I want to be a family with the same name. Also, everyone always mispronounced my maiden name and his is so much easier. I moved with him right after we married and now I have to get a job in city where I don’t know anyone. That has been the only hard part. The child issue is also hard since we are really too old now (he has none either), and it is expensive and difficult to adopt. I guess if I had really wanted a child I would have had one by now. I haven’t had any “set in my ways” issues. I guess we just have similar tastes and personalities, so I am lucky.

  4. grace says:

    thanks for all the input. Much appreciated. The child factor after 40 is the most challenging. Any women here with advice on having a first child after 40 please comment!
    Grace

  5. Queenie says:

    This is going to be me and no, I do not feel like an old maid. lol I always said that when I get married it would be the one and only time so I figure the later I get married, the less time I have to spend with the geezer! lol

  6. Suzanne says:

    What great comments, everyone.

    @Grace, I feel your angst. I would start, first, by asking yourself what you want the relationship for. Why are you with this person? If you are stressed out due to the relationship, it’s time for some deep talks with him. I find that using the Imago relationship dialogue (you can google that easily) helps create constructive conversation where a “third way” can emerge.

    Also, all the advice I’ve ever read (and lived) says your core values must be compatible. As for children, that is definitely something to get clear on before committing. children are for forever and will tie you to this person forever.

    @Kelly As for spending, Husband and I have 3 sets of accounts — there is our joint account for joint expenses (mortgages, dining out together, etc.), which we split 50-50. Then, there ae His accounts and My accounts. It has worked beautifully. We only consult each other on purchases when it’s a joint spend. Hope that helps!
    Suzanne´s last blog ..Optimistic or Unrealistic?My ComLuv Profile

  7. grace says:

    I just turned 40 and have never been married. I..I met someone special after several years of being single and we are talking marriage and having a child. On the one hand i’m very happy i met someone i can see a future with, on the other i have no idea how to proceed. I own a condo and he rents. He lives about 45 minutes away and needs to be near his business for various reasons. Financially he is not in the place i wish a man over 40 should be and so buying a house together and having a child seems impossible. I’m torn whether to live together first (which i’ve never done) or get engaged and married. He wants a guarantee that if we cant have a child naturally, I am open to adoption, as he himself is adopted. I get so stressed out i almost think i should just stay as i am, but i dont want to lose a good thing and be alone the rest of my life. I need some serious advice!

    • Editor@Luvem says:

      It’s true that if his finances are in a mess at age 40 they’re not likely to change.

      As far a a child, it’s a lot for him to expect a guarantee of a natural child or an adoption because in life there are no guarantees. A couple should be happy with each other even if their are no children. Children are certainly a blessing, but they should not be essential for happiness in a marriage.
      Editor@Luvem´s last blog ..Perfect Partner, But Bad in BedMy ComLuv Profile

  8. I got married the second time after 40, 44 to be exact, and it couldnt have come at a better time. I think the whole idea of getting married is being able to give and receive, but the secret is to give more than you expect to receive. If you manage that, it is just so much easier. And if your love is true, that is not difficult. So, bottom line is, if your love is not unconditional, do not get married at all, no matter what your age.
    I made that mistake when I got married the first time, and I was in my early 30′s already, suppose to be mature and wise. Yet I was not as I got married for the wrong reasons.

    Great article, thanks for sharing Tina, and thanks for leaving a comment on my last post, hope your week is going great.

    Colin.
    sexy legs and body´s last blog ..FASHION – WELL DRESSED LADIES. My ComLuv Profile

  9. I got married in my thirties, so I’m somewhere in the middle.

    People who are older are more set in their ways, but like you said, they’ve also experience most of their firsts, besides marriage of course.

    My big thing is that I’m an “older” dad and that has its set of challenges too. I was 40 when I had my youngest. Oh well, I just try to soak them up as much as possible.

    Enjoyed your post.

  10. troi says:

    I really hope to be a LBB one day. While I’ve been blessed with a fulfilling life, and am very happy, I would really like to have the experience of marriage. I’ve never had a true partnership. Well, actually I had a beautiful, healthy partnership for nearly four years in college, but at the young age of 21 I neither understood nor appreciated it.

  11. Kelly Seal says:

    Wow, what a great post! I too am a late bloomer—not quite 40 yet, but just engaged for the first time. It’s true—we are a little more set in our ways, so it’s harder to compromise. Thanks for this resource…I want to get advice on spending. I’m used to having my own money and not consulting anyone else!

  12. Jenna says:

    I’m glad to read Suzanne’s story. I’m 39 & engaged & I’ve been met with mixed enthusiam by friends and family.
    Some are happy it is finally hapened, but some have questioned why I’m even bothering at my age. Which is their way of saying that if you’re not in those prime child bearing years then what’s the point. Glad I’m not the only one who thinks marriage is great at any age

  13. Suzanne says:

    Thanks for commenting! Marriage was definitely was an adjustment. In the end, I realize that my perspective colored everything. It’s still hard, but it’s worth working for. I usually tell all my single friends, however, to be happy where they are. Marriage and single life bring equal — but different — benefits. (At least that is how it worked for me.) Best to you!
    Suzanne´s last blog ..Quote of the Week: Kissing My ComLuv Profile

  14. Anne says:

    I would think that it would be difficult to adjust to having another person living in your house after 40. For me, that type of adjustment after 40 would be very difficult. I have become much more set in my ways since I have turned 40.

  15. Sasha says:

    I’m glad to read this, it gives me hope. I’m 35 and sometimes feel like the whole marriage thing has passed me by. Glad to know I’m not the only one out there getting a late start.

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