A survey has offered an insight into what women in their 40s encounter on the singles scene - and the stark contrast between their dating habits and those of their younger counterparts.

Only 28 per cent of women over 40 believe men should foot the bill for a date - while for women under 40 that figure more than doubles.

The research, carried out by dating app Happn, also indicates that older singletons move faster - with younger daters typically taking up to three weeks to arrange a date online, while those in their 40s and older are happy to meet in person after just 14 days of chatting, reports Daily Mail.

And while older women are open to paying the bill at the end of a night, it seems they're less open minded when it comes to their potential love interest's clothing.

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Women over 40 were found to be more likely to judge their date based on their manners and how they are dressed, with 50 per cent of women polled who admitted to the same confessing to having made excuses to leave a date early as a result.

Happn's research also showed that men and women over 40 date less frequently than younger people, and when they do arrange to meet at match they like it to be on a Saturday - and preferably over dinner.

Dating expert Hayley Quinn's tips for over 40s

1. DATE OUT OF YOUR USUAL TYPE

Would you like to go on a date again with your first boyfriend? I didn't think so! Our preferences understandably change as we grow older, so avoid the mistake of looking out for a blueprint of your ex. Dating out of type and saying yes to people who you wouldn't traditionally have gone on a date with is a good way to re-examine whether your 'type' is as rigid as you thought.

2. MEET PEOPLE RELATIVELY QUICKLY

When you crush with someone you like online, it can be really easy to develop an idea of them in your head before you have actually built a real life connection. Stay safe and meet in a public space, but prioritise doing this early on in the dating process. This helps you to see whether that connection works just as well offline as it does online.

3. DON'T GET STUCK IN THE PAST

'Avoid the mistake of looking out for a blueprint of your ex', dating expert Hayley Quinn says. Photo / 123RF
'Avoid the mistake of looking out for a blueprint of your ex', dating expert Hayley Quinn says. Photo / 123RF

It is far too easy in a social media world to look up former partners on Facebook, and wonder what might have been. Again though, by checking up (the younger generation would call this 'creeping') on your ex's profile it keeps you stuck in the past, and can prevent you from being open minded to new opportunities.

4. GET OUT OF THE HOUSE

Offline dating is back, but that doesn't have to mean meeting in a bar. If you long for an era before instant messaging don't forget that people still like to meet in real life. It can be about making simple swaps like taking your book to a coffee shop to read, or your laptop to a nice cafe to get out of the house and into contact with more people you could connect with. Smile, make eye contact, and remember not to put your bag down on the seat next to you.

5. HOBBIES

If you find that you always manage to choose the 'wrong type' of person for you then you may need to spend longer getting to know someone before jumping into a relationship. Taking up a hobby whether that's a language, art or dance class can be a great way to build new social circles and get to know someone slowly.

6. CHANGE YOUR ROUTINE

If you find your social life has fallen by the wayside since your friends have coupled up then now is also a good time to not just refocus on dating but also to rebuild your social circles. If you turn up to an event (or that dance class) and realise that there's no 'potentials' there, instead of feeling flat use this as an opportunity to build new social links and contacts. This will refresh your social circles with new supportive relationships of people who are on the same path as you.

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'If you're always the Tuesday evening date, and the person is mysteriously never free at the weekends, watch out!' Hayley says. Photo / 123RF
'If you're always the Tuesday evening date, and the person is mysteriously never free at the weekends, watch out!' Hayley says. Photo / 123RF

7. THINK CAREFULLY ABOUT WHAT QUALITIES TO LOOK OUT FOR

If you're using an online dating app it can be tempting just to think 'yes' to the person who has the job and look that you like. Take time to look out for other indicators of compatibility. These could be how often someone messages you, and how easy you find it to chat to them: people's communication style is a good indicator if they're a match for you.

8. MAKE SURE SOMEONE IS PRIORITISING YOU

Whilst it would be strange to jump straight to poll position in someone's life, if you're always the Tuesday evening date, and the person is mysteriously never free at the weekends, watch out! Unfortunately you may encounter more people who have pre-existing relationships in your forties than you did in your twenties.

9. KEEP IT LOW KEY

A dinner date with someone you don't know can end up feeling more high pressure than romantic. Stick to lunch, a quick after work drink or a coffee in the afternoon. This also means that you won't feel too nervous, or that you wasted time if you don't click.

10. AS HAPPN'S SURVEY SAYS: IT'S GOOD TO SPLIT THE BILL

Sometimes it's nice if someone buys you a coffee, but don't enter dating with an expectation to always be treated. Even if someone is happy to do that, entitlement is never an attractive mindset. Think about how you can co-operate, add value and build a fair partnership instead with someone.