Semi-throwaway cause you'll see.
I used to know my way around dating. I felt some control over my projected image. Witty yet humble, respectful yet naughty, interesting yet safe. Just the right amount. I made no promises, but relationships were never of the table — and I had quite a few. I was frank, true and kind. Telling the truth about my intentions was both liberating and effective. Ladies liked it.
Maybe that's a consequence of age, but the shtick is not working anymore. Most women my age (and in my location) seem to expect someone more "mature", someone to marry with, or at least someone that is willing to become a father figure for their children. IDK. But I'm not that guy. Going after younger women is a double-edged sword since I'll have to deal with growing pains I have long left behind. And it's not like they're too interested in me anyway. I refuse to believe that marriage and fatherhood are necessary steps for maturity, but sometimes this seems like an inevitability. And it's not like I blame women for wanting that: it's within their right to want whatever suits them. And I want their company. I just don't want to participate in the big project.
I do not believe in marriage, the same way I do not invest in any large project with such a slim chance of success (and for me divorce is only one of many ways a marriage can fail). I absolutely do not judge anyone who chooses to become married, but it's not for me.
So hence the question: how to date when you're pushing forty?