Am I Too Old to Have Success in Online Dating?

Am I Too Old to Have Success in Online Dating?

Hi Evan,

I feel like I am “aging out” of online dating. I’ve noticed after my last birthday (I turned 54 in June) that the response I get on match.com has dropped to almost nothing. It’s as though moving from the early 50s to the mid 50s is some kind of death-knell for a dating life. I initiate contact with men in an age-range of about 3 years younger up to about 8 years older than myself. The potential matches that the site sends me are age appropriate for me, but when I look at the age-range that those men desire, (usually 35-50) I often move past them, knowing I can’t compete with women in their desired range, even though many of those men are as much as 5-8 years older than me! In other words, Match.com knowingly sends me matches that are probably not realistic for me to pursue. When I have emailed some of those guys, I never hear back. I’m guessing they check out my profile, see my age, and probably read no further. Even if I am within their desired range, I still don’t get much of a response. I assume the reason for this is they can get younger women to respond to them, so why would they go for me when they have a chance with the 45 year-old version of me? If their first wife was their age, like a college sweetheart or whatever, they probably feel entitled to a newer model, so to speak. Our culture encourages this. It’s frustrating, not to mention depressing and more than a little humiliating. It’s the built-in folly of online sites: you are only defined by your age, in bold type right next to your user name.

I am a youthful, fit and free-spirited woman and to be honest, I’m not ready for the retired 65-70+ year old guys. I don’t mean those men any disrespect, I just want to date a guy closer to my age so that I have a longer future with him, and I don’t feel that I should have to apologize for that. I have taken your and others’ advice about profile writing, and I have great photos, so I feel confident that the problem is not in how I present myself. I am disinclined to lie about my age. It always comes out eventually and I’d hate to have to explain myself then. I’m not ashamed of my age and hiding it seems phony. When I meet men in person in my daily life, I get a better response because they see the whole me, hear my voice, get a sense of what I’m like, all before they know how old I am, meaning I can be defined by other qualities. It’s difficult to meet large numbers of men that way, but I’m starting to feel like my chance of making a non age-biased connection with a guy is only out in the real world. And the real-world opportunities can be few and far between. Any insight?

Sara

Dear Sara,

Older men have more options than older women (online and in real life) because they can usually date somewhat younger.

I can’t disagree with anything you’ve observed about online dating and age. I can only disagree with your ultimate conclusion.

So here are the facts:

Older men have more options than older women (online and in real life) because they can usually date somewhat younger.

Older men have a huge blind spot when it comes to age. They refuse to even consider women their own age, even if she’s fit and attractive. Worse, they’re hypocritical about it, because they don’t understand why the vast majority of younger women won’t go for them.

And yet, the fastest growing segment for online dating is the 50+ market. More unhappy couples are getting divorced when the kids leave the house. More people work from home. More people spend 10 hours a day at the office. More people have computers and are aware of someone who found love online.

We also know that dating online does not mean that you’re not dating men you meet in real life. Which is why this is not an either/or choice. If you meet a guy through friends, at the market, at a concert, great. Having a profile on Match.com isn’t going to keep you from doing that.

Most people who say they’ve taken my advice have only taken a few pieces of my advice. Which is like saying you’re going on a diet by cutting out sugar, but continuing to eat large portions of fried foods.

Now that we’ve established that online dating is a smart and necessary long-term strategy for women over 50, the question becomes, “What can you do better?”

You think you’re doing everything you can possibly do. And you may be trying your best, but you’re not truly maximizing your potential.

In all likelihood, despite your efforts, I’m betting your profile can be better, your photos can be better, your responses to men could be better, your initial emails to men could be better, and your choices in men could be better.

Are you using Reverse Match? Are you using Daily Matches? Are you adding men to your favorites list? Are you putting in a half hour a day? Are you initiating contact with at least one man a day who states that he’s open to women your age?

I don’t know the answer, but most people who say they’ve taken my advice have only taken a few pieces of my advice.

Which is like saying you’re going on a diet by cutting out sugar, but continuing to eat large portions of fried foods.

My recommendation – if you haven’t done it already – is to go through every word in Finding the One Online. It’s 7 hours/180 pages of advice that takes you through the entire process of online dating chronologically. I’m betting you can find TWENTY things you can do differently to get different results.

But don’t kid yourself.

You can’t change men.
You can’t change online dating.
You don’t have to quit online dating to meet men in real life.

All you can do is change your mindset and approach to the dating process and let the chips fall where they may.

And since I’ve helped a LOT of women over 50, I have to believe that all you can do is keep on keeping on, instead of embracing the idea that NO women over the age of 50 find partners online.

It just ain’t true.

13
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Comments:

  1. 1
    Kathleen

    Great timing for this post as my 54th birthday looms up next month. I agree with everything Evan says and based on your advice Evan Ive tweaked my profile with your suggestions e.g. making it about what I offer them . Most importantly I agree your photos have to be great.

    I chose to adjust my age down a few years since I was being eliminated by what seems like half the men my age when I put my real age. Since Im in very good shape physically it doesn’t seem a problem when I disclose my real age when someone makes initial contact.  

    Match is a much more age criteria oriented site than say POF.   

    Ive asked some of the guys my age who have contacted me as an “exception” about their success with their age range search. It is often 10-20 years younger than them  and these are very “average” appearing guys .  They have told me of their frustration with lack of responses. What interesting is that younger guys ( early 40s) vs those my own age seem more interested.

    1. 1.1
      johnboy

      As a middle age guy, I really don’t buy into the dating online scene. I tried it for about 6 months once years ago and found it to be a time consuming wasted effort for the most part. I put that time into persuing what I love to do and enrich my life. I have a wonderful career and enjoy playing music part time. I am happier now then ever before, and more women come into my life because of that success.

      1. 1.1.1
        SchadenfreudianSlipper

        Johnboy, I don’t understand your rationale for posting. 
        Is it to inform us that you have broken free of the shackles created by a mindset that external forces dictate happiness?  Is it an achievement of some objective? 
        I suppose congratulations may be in order, but read as you’ve written it, I see a guy who’s engaging in a form of gloating, derisiveness, or ridiculing others for attempting to extract value from online dating resources.

  2. 2
    Andrew

    Men over 45 do have more options regarding dating. But there are ways around this. First, a woman has to specifically state what she offers a man (that he wants) in the context of dating and relationships. I’ve read thousands of female profiles (35-55 years old) and almost none of them actually state what they offer a man. Normally, it’s a list of demands and preferences. This is not good marketing. A woman must be able to answer the question “What do I offer a man that he wants?” If she doesn’t know, (or is offended by the question) she’s not ready for dating.
    Here’s something else to consider – while women are the gatekeepers to sexuality, men are the gatekeepers to commitment.

    1. 2.1
      DinaStrange

      What do men offer?

      1. 2.1.1
        Jordan S

        Men offer stability, security and love. A true man in the traditional sense will meet the needs of a woman be it sexual, emotional or financial. Its built into us to protect and to provide.

  3. 3
    Kathleen

    Andrew 

    Beside sexual favors… just kidding…..what do you specifically want to see women offer in her profile ?
    I can’t imagine a woman being offended by that question. Im in sales and you are right Its all about marketing to fill a need 

  4. 4
    Misha

    My advice besides the review and polishing Evan recommends, is to try some of the senior dating sites. I’ve seen one called ourtime, i think that is specifically for 45 and up. Match comes across as the proverbial meat market where everyone thinks they can order up their version of fillet minion and lobster and are puzzled and militant when they don’t get it.
    I’m only 4 months into 46 and have noticed that I’m past my sell by date to most men my age. they might grudgingly go to 45 or 44. And I’ve only noticed a limited number of profiles of men who will go 2-4 years older then their age.
    Try some other sites do the real life activities where you can meet new people etc. :D

  5. 5
    Julia

    I think we all feel this way. I am 31 and rarely receive a response from men under the age of 35, and most men who contact me are over 40. I wouldn’t mind dating a man in his early 30s but its obvious they aren’t interested in women 30 and over.

    1. 5.1
      Jordan S

      Julia you are correct. I am 35 and I will not date a woman who is not in her early to mid 20s. Why? Well I have chatted online with very many 30+ women and my conclusion is that the vast majority I’d say 90+% are very bitter, angry, have some preconceived notion against guys being untrustworthy and not to mention they are really bitchy. Its SOOOO hard to have a meaningful fun clean conversation with them. They’re just too much to handle. I hope this doesnt offend you. I did say that it was 90%+ so not everyone falls into this camp.

      1. 5.1.1
        SchadenfreudianSlipper

        Jordan speaks truthfully.  Not that men can’t be pains in the rear, too; this is as much as a given as his description of bitter, angry women.  I don’t play when she turns vicious–just move along.  Now I’m finding women 20-30 years younger than me doing the approaching.  How times have changed.
        Feeling as if you’re walking on eggshells around those women (and self-pitying, bitter men) is your innards telling you to sprint off like Usain Bolt.
         

      2. 5.1.2
        Bee

        I am 38 and look about 10 years younger. On online dating sites, I am usually approached by men whose age vary between mid 20s to mid 60s. In the two cases, i am always surprised. Why are these people unable to relate to women in their age range? I mean I could be the mother to one group and the daughter of the second. What do they talk about? What would they have in common?

        Jordan, speaking as a non-bitter, non-angry woman, it’s true that women become more defensive as they grow older. I really wish that wouldn’t happen. I also wish men would behave better and not give women a reason to be so defensive.  

        I would never berate you for your choices. We live in a free world and can do anything we want. But please consider that there are very very nice women who you are automatically eliminating with this mindset, which oddly enough is based on the same prejudice that you are disparaging. Women in their thirties are great. We love life. We live life. And we have the freedom to do so. We just don’t tolerate BS. 

          

      3. 5.1.3
        Julia

        Interesting, just reading this response now. Its funny, as I got slightly older (32) I had more men in their early 30s messaging me, might just be that I improved my profile and pictures. 35-40 were still the vast majority of messages I got. Now I am marrying a man 7 years older than me. 

  6. 6
    Laura

    I am 53 and can relate to the writer’s frustration, but also agree with all of Evan’s advise.  I met my now fiance, 2 years younger, on-line last year on OKCupid.com, a free site, after having very limited success with Match.com (paid).  Venture onto some other sites, be patient, do the work.  It only takes one “right” guy to discover your profile and deem you his perfect match.

  7. 7
    Katelyn

    I am part of the I find Match.com frustrating for someone my age, club.  I am sixty one.  I don’t look like I am in my sixties nor does my energy and mindset fit for that age group. I always have photos that are current.  I just joined match again about 2 weeks ago and within that time I have been winked at 40 times, 6 of those from real people, I think, and the 36 from men who disappear in 3 days. I have received at least 10 emails from men saying contact me at blablabla.yahoo and they also disappear. I am pretty sure they are “fishing”. 

    Like the writer, I have emailed a number of men who don’t email back.  Match has made it very easy to say “no thank you” and that doesn’t even happen.  I also find them men are looking for women 10-15 or more years younger.  I find it interesting that a lot of these men have pictures of themselves that are younger, some even post photos from High School. 

    I have tried the “what do I have to offer” approach and that didn’t stimulate interest either.  I have a lot to offer by the way in terms of what I bring to a relationship.  

    I tried an experiment once and lowered my age to see what would happen and I did have more men viewing my profile and connected with a man who joined me for lunch.  When he found out I had “lied” about my age he was furious!  He didn’t care that I didn’t look my age, but was more focused on the fact that I was “untruthful” in his eyes.

    I concur that I am at a disadvantage because of my age when it comes to online dating. It is as though once you reach 60 your in a category that no one explores unless they are well over 70 or a fake profile.

    1. 7.1
      Debby

      i agree completely! Been there, done that. Older mean just need to understand that younger women want whats in their wallet, older women want whats in their pants (so to speak) Sorry if you find that crude, but it’s true. We aren’t dried up old prunes. Many of us take very good care of the body we have. I found that almost all of the men on Match.com are “players” and serial daters. I am so over it. Sad lesson learned.

  8. 8
    Ellen

    I am the perfect person to weigh in as 1) I am 59 and 2) I just spent 3 years dating online, on all the major sites. Dated primarily younger men, and sometimes much younger men (17, 22 years!), men from all over the US, every race except Asian, nearly every social class even. Like Misha, I noticed VERY few men had broad age ranges: Most stopped at dating anyone more than 2 years older.

    And like Kathleen says (“What’s interesting is that younger guys ( early 40s) vs those my own age seem more interested.”) is true. I asked one why he was willing to pursue me and he said all the good women were married by their early 40s so his “pool” was limited. The problem with the 40+ guys is they will never commit to you, or very seldom (if you are older).

    The funny thing is both me and my current bf ONLY dated younger for the most part when online dating. He said it was vanity on his part and I told him I did it ’cause I could (get away with it). But as I’ve stated numerous times on this blog, I also was only able to date younger (my usual preference except for my current same-age bf) cause I lied about my age. Shaved off quite a few years too girls! lol I was born in 1953, but would put 1960 or 1961 on my profile. What helped is I have a killer figure (thin, but curves, 36D) and pretty face thanks to years of intermittant plastic surgery (but nothing below the waist til recently (coolsculpting which I recommend). My plastic surgeon’s nurse says I project youthfulness and look, on a good day, in my 40s still. So, I’ve had a clear advantage. I guess I’m one of the lucky ones, but I think it’s a combo of my personality, a kind of “God glow”/spirituality and looks. Men have always been attracted to me in person. Big time. Sometimes it was flattering and sometimes a problem frankly. 

    But I am NOT botoxed to death. Everything done with a very subtle hand and keep some “character” wrinkles on my forehand and lower face so as to look REAL. Just no sag, and filler only where I need it (Restylane!) girls….  I am also not obsessed with my appearance, just have the time, money and desire to tweak things when I can, but only every 3-4 years on average. Most of my health is due to the fact I’ve a good diet heavy on fruit and salds, have worn sunscreen since age 25 and been an athlete all my life. Tennis will give you a very firm bosom also I’ve found. Think of the serving action, but I digress.

    Like Andrew proposes I also had a profile that clearly showcased my caring, intuitive, sweet side. My good nature, etc. I only threw in a few caveats about players and Bible thumpers (no to both). Otherwise it was almost sugary, my profile. But I also wasn’t shy about broadcasting the fact I was very educated and sophisticated and loved men who were similar. Didn’t make it a requirement though- just said “it would be nice if you were into ideas like me” Or words to that effect. 

    No, you just have to LIE, pure and simple. ‘Cause men are clueless, hypocritical girls…..They live in some fantasy world of their own making which advertising/Hollywood only exacerbates. Look at all the sitcoms which feature the smart, attractive wife but clueless, average-looking hubby. Uh, they married why?

    But to return to this thread….On the third date I would usually disclose my age, but there were at least 2-3 men who only knew at the three-month mark or never really were told my true age ’cause I found them too status conscious.   

    I’ve decided if my bf and I break up (God FORBID as I am very in love with him) I won’t return to online dating but will give celibacy a shot. Dating after, say, 58 or 59 is NOT worth the effort imo. Maybe ’cause finally you are stuck with all these bitter, old, paranoid, hypocritical boomer men. I don’t know…. Am ok with my solitude now. Crave it actually (bf and I have a long distance relationship but only 72 miles). We are only apart about 4 nights before reunited though. And plan to live together at some point in the future. So my dating experience can be best summed up by the old standard “Just in Time”. Listen to the Streisand version circa 1965.

  9. 9
    SJZ

    Why does everybody say they look “younger” and have a “younger” mindset than their age? Maybe we should all be proud of being who we are at whatever age we are. Saying you are so much better than your stated age just shows the prejudice we all carry when it comes to age. I wonder if we will ever accept age as an asset instead of a liability. It would be so nice  if we could write a profile saying we look our age. What is wrong with that?

    1. 9.1
      Jordan S

      There are many things wrong with that. First off, things get worse with age not better. You get sicker. You get grouchy/bitchy. You are let interested in doing things out doors. You become less fun. You become depressed. You become set in your ways. You look less attractive as you get older. Fall of man.. sin nature etc.. we degrade. Why would you not want to look younger. That’s an asset. 

  10. 10
    Kathleen

    Love the post by Ellen !!!!!

    You can see her positive personality and confidence shine through. With that encouragement I shall continue to alter my age and for as long as Im on match shall be eternally 48 !!!   

     

  11. 11
    Suzanne

    Your letter rang all my bells! 
    Yes, the prospects are fewer when you get to your mid-fifties and sixties and it can seem impossible looking at so many prospects in your age range who by an overwhelming majority say they are seeking someone 15-20 plus years younger.
    And you know what?  I wasn’t ready for the 15-20 years older than me man when I was 35 and certainly not at 57.  And although there are more younger women who seem to think that’s what they want, it rarely evolves into a life commitment.  And often when it does, it either isn’t what they hoped for and doesn’t bear the fruits of happiness.
    I knew what I wanted in companionship and sexuality and simply communicated that as honestly as I could.  My fiance and I are the same age and share a similar life path of former long term unhappy marriage, children and grandchildren, values and experience of growing up and traveling through the same decades.
    We are both in great shape for our age.  He can’t believe he “ended up” with a woman my age…his age.  He shopped for younger women because his perception of women his age from his former married circle, was that women in their 50’s were not interested in sex, didn’t maintain themselves, weren’t any fun, weren’t adventurous, etc.  I.E. – would be like his former wife.
    I can’t really blame him.  That did describe an overwhelming majority of the middle aged, suburban women I had hung out with for the twenty plus years  I was in the PTA and raising kids.  But when my husband left me high and dry I had to recreate myself and make an effort to be fitter, and actually assume an active view of myself as a woman that wants to be attractive for myself and others.
    Unfortunately, this really is an exception.  I don’t know how to be more honest.  Too many women in long term marriages or relationships for that matter, get too comfortable and stop looking at themselves or even they spouse as a person they need to make an effort to maintain.  So many men that actually divorce in “middle age” are looking for a younger version – I can’t really blame them.
    I divorced a man that over years stopped making an effort in our relationship and pretty much parked me with the kids, chores, duties, etc. even though I worked full time and maintained varied interests and hobbies.  We forgot that it all started with “coupledom.” And paid the consequences.
    Its been a bit of a bumpy ride in feeling that I had to compete with women younger who may place less demands on the man in their life because regardless of fitness, I can’t achieve the body and skin I had twenty years ago.  I could o0nly be the best me I could be.  But I have learned that being the best me not only worked with my fiance, but also on younger or older men.
    I am happy knowing how hard I worked on the inner and outer me.  And that is what ultimately attracts people to you.  My fiance is always saying how he is fascinated how much women adore me and his male friends lust for me.    Its a very gracious compliment, but I think it means that I learned to love myself, accept my shortcomings and graces, and appreciate every one for who they are without pretext.
    You sound like a terrific woman, just keep on doing what you are doing.  Your positive attributes will attract someone that will celebrate who you are and feel like the luckiest man on earth!
     
     

  12. 12
    Misha

    To Ellen in #8… wow.
    Most of us don’t have the means to do plastic surgery. I have an even harder time coming up w/ cashola to kill some spider veins. The fact that you are and were probably more attractive than the “regular butterflies” and managed to keep your figure etc doesn’t bode well for anyone who has actually aged, has some mileage, and can’t afford a new paint job.
    It’s rather tragic that a large portion of society paints “older” women into this corner. I don’t know, eating healthy being a healthy weight (ie, not fat, not obese, not morbidly obese) project vim/vigor ie youth are something most of us can do but it’s a LOT of work.
    It does make me wonder if the premise of The Beauty Myth is true, as women gain societal power there is more/extreme pressure to be flawless, beautiful eye candy and that is a women’s only worth to a large segment of clueless, not bringing it themselves to the table men. hmmmm.
    Then again… maybe since you are vested in your appearance… you may attracting what you are projecting. Seems you’ve had a great ride so I’m not criticizing.
    PS i will totally get a neck lift one day and hopefully it will take my boobs with it. ;)

    1. 12.1
      johnboy

      Nothing I hate worse is a fake plastic women, they make me sick to my stomach.

  13. 13
    Fiona

    I don’t think anyone is too old for online dating as such. In my late thirties I am having many of the issues that people in their 50s are complaining about when it comes to men my age. However, the younger women I have been speaking to don’t seem to be finding it too easy to find a partner that way either. The conclusion I have come to is that finding a partner is hard work, whatever age you are, and you have to be prepared for a lot of disappointment along the way.

  14. 14
    Daphne

    Not a good idea to lie about your age in your profile. I never answer an email or write to / favorite anyone if they say in their profile that they’ve changed their age to get more attention.

  15. 15
    Katelyn

    I think the comment I made above is the first time I have commented on Evan’s blog.  My son is a regular participant in this blog and suggested I come on and comment on this post because he and I often have conversations about online dating and dating in general, and he thought I might be able to add to the conversation. 

    I believe in being authentic and that is the kind of man I am looking for, so I am honest in my profile. I am not going to say I look my age when I don’t nor do I want to have to lie about my age to have someone connect to me. If I can’t attract men on line by being myself, I don’t think online dating is for me.

    I wonder what Evan thinks about people shaving a number of years off their age?

  16. 16
    JB

    Well being that this discussion is close to my age range. I will admit that at 51 even I still put my age as 3 yrs younger on Match(as I have for years) So I’m “48” and look it…what ever THAT means. It means when you get to be OUR age what your drivers license says is meaningless. You look as old as people “think” you look. Meaning you could be 53 and look 45 and vice versa. Yes, women in their mid 40’s don’t like men over 50 either…lol go figure. Never the less………my age range for women in my profile says 43-54 and for the most part those ARE the women I email and meet. I think I get rejected equally by both older and younger women. I did meet a 53 yr.old woman last week that looked quite a bit older and more “gaunt” than her 7 current profile pics and that was that. I met a 40 yr old woman who wasn’t as attractive as some 48 yr olds I’ve met etc….. Like I told a date last night. Men in our age range don’t care so much how old you actually ARE as much as how old you actually LOOK. So if you actually do look younger than you are (and I know some that DO!) than shaving 2-4 yrs off isn’t a big deal but trying 7-10 is ridiculous…..lol

  17. 17
    Peter

    Internet profiles are incomplete skeletons of a person that emphasize quantification over qualification.  And such an illusion of infinite choice.  Yet once over the age of 25 all these people (us) are the detritus who could not form relationships or failed to make them work.  Beware, the more attractive the profile, the greater the derangement for even the best have been cast away.

  18. 18
    Paula

    When I was about 28 – 35 I wouldn’t have looked at a guy over 45 – it would have been like going out with my father … And over 60, I wouldn’t even consider them … grandad material and they are really creepy! Ewwww!
    Let these deluded guys keep trying to date young girls, mostly it won’t work unless a girl is looking for a daddy substitute, gold digging or whatever other reason she has. It’s their problem not yours.

    I see so many men’s profiles on online dating sites who state ‘I look much younger than my age’ only to finally meet them and guess what … no they don’t.  

    It’s not easy to find a great partner at any age and you do have to keep trying, dont give up althought it can be very tiring and at times demoralising.

    I have recently joined a social group and I’m going to sign up for some courses at college that interest me. The social group is great and I get to go out and do things with like minded people who just want to live their lives and get out and do some fun things.
    Instead of trying to chase eternal youth and unavailable men/women online, it’s much more satisfying and empowering to be yourself and engage in doing things that really interest you and give you satisfaction. 
    Make online dating a part of your life and be more selective about who you contact or who contacts you. That ordinary looking man/woman online may just be a great person when you meet them. I tend to avoid the profile pictures of the show ponies these days, after meeting some of them for a coffee, I have walked away trying not to laugh on my way out. Talk about overestimating their so called attractiveness! 

    Just be yourself, crinkles, wrinkles, crows feet and all. Good looks may catch the eye but if that’s all you’ve got, you don’t have much.   

                 

  19. 19
    CEG

    Don’t give up and I would personally not lie about my age.  I met my partner on match.com and am very happy.  I just turned 57 and he will turn 55 soon.  It is true that there are men I corresponded with who looked like Santa Claus to me but wanted to continue to date much younger women.  However, I found a number of quality men who wanted to date women their age.  One of the problems I saw is that the men are overwhelmed by their number of daily matches (18 per day) vs my typical number (6).  If I found someone of interest, I read their profile carefully and e-mailed them a short complimentary note and asked them a question or two.  In this way, I was able to catch their attention.  Many ignored me but quite a few responded and after a few e-mails we would often meet for coffee or drinks.  Another problem is that many men don’t know how to present themselves well.  Two of the most generous / interesting men I dated posted only one photo – and not a good one at that!  I am sure many women overlooked them for that reason but they wrote well and I decided to e-mail them anyway.  I love match.com because I never would have crossed paths with any of these men.  I wish everyone well in their search.

  20. 20
    nathan

    Katelyn, the commenter above, is my mother. She has been doing online dating for at least as long as I have, probably longer. Which means a good decade now. I’ve seen her try everything under the sun with paid sites, and a few free sites I introduced her to with no success. Furthermore, she’s spent much of her adult life doing the kind of self growth work that tends to attract a healthy partner. And I know she’s not alone. I have met many Boomer women like her, with similar mixed or very poor experiences with online dating.
     
    I tend to think that Boomer women are at a greater disadvantage than the rest of us for this reason: the majority of Boomer men are still living in the past. By that, I mean that while Boomer women spurred on the social changes of the 1960s and 70s, and have generally tried to live more well rounded lives since, Boomer men are often content to finish out their work lives and then sit in front of a TV, mow the lawn, or hang with their golf buddies on the course until their days are up. I can’t tell you how many hundreds or even thousands of Boomer men profiles I’ve looked at with my mother and two other Boomer friends of mine over the years read like this. Beyond those men, there are another set who are more active and interesting, but who treat dating and relationships today the same way they did 30 or 40 years ago. And I’m not talking about being “traditional” in the way some women on this blog like; I’m talking about being emotionally clueless, patronizing to their dates solely because they are women, and thinking things like giving a swat on the ass on a first date are still acceptable and even welcomed.
     
    I don’t think online dating is a hopeless affair for anyone, but I do think that we need to be more honest about real barriers that different groups face. If Evan’s business targeted older, successful men (read Boomers and early Gen X guys), I doubt he’d be in business at all. Not because they don’t need help – many of them desperately could use some pointers. They just aren’t interested. They’re generally operating under the notion that they know what to do, and failures are pinned on women who “want too much” or “don’t get them.” PUA and Game, which seems to be the most popular form of dating advice for men, tends to attract a Gen X and under crowd. Somehow, I doubt you’d find a ton of 50 and 60 something men sitting behind a Neil Strauss book, or trolling a PUA discussion board. I have plenty of reservations about PUA and Game, but the fact that younger men are seeking advice shows that they realize they need to take a good look at themselves, and do something different. Boomer men aren’t as likely to display this kind of self reflection because they grew up in a world that didn’t expect it, and in fact often discouraged it and so those Boomer men who do have it either went against the grain, or suffered for decades before finally waking up at 55 or 60 – usually following some major health episode. 
     
    So, I think the options for many Boomer women are just fewer. The suggestion by a commenter above to try Senior dating sites might be useful, but in general, I think the age and photo driven nature of online dating makes it harder for Boomer women to shine – regardless of what they do. Whatever Sara chooses to do, my only advice is to not take the online world’s response personally. None of us should, but I think it’s especially true for Boomer women, given the hurdles they face.

  21. 21
    Jeanne

    Although I don’t believe in fibbing, I found Ellen’s post so refreshing!

    Andrew (Post #2) or any guy, what types of things do you look for in a woman’s profile that show she is offering something instead of making a list of demands?             

  22. 22
    Christine

    I empathize with the frustration women have experienced with online dating.  I’m 33 and feel like I’m too old for it and have aged out of the system too, after seeing almost all of the men I want overlook me for women in their 20s on these sites (and no, I don’t just hold out for 10s–even the 7s and 8s will go for the 20-somethings as well).  I have occasionally considered giving up online dating when I turn 34, since I’ve heard what a nightmare it is for women in the mid-30s (and have seen for myself how the interest is declining with each passing year).  However, I might keep at it–but just not take it so personally.  Sara has the right idea to “diversify the portfolio” so to speak, with real life encounters.  I’ve had relatively more success in real life (and sometimes gotten attention from very good-looking men who I assumed were out of my league and would probably have ignored me on dating sites.  But in real life social events, they have approached me because they said how they liked that I was dancing and having fun–which is difficult to capture in a still photo and a few paragraphs).  

    I concur with Nathan that, unfortunately, online dating prospects are not all equal and older women will have fewer options.  But so what?  You can’t base your whole sense of self-esteem and self-worth on what some strangers think of your photo.  I am realistic enough to know that for the vast majority of men in the online dating world, a 33 year old Asian woman is at the bottom of the desirability scale and in their eyes, I have less cache than a pretty 20-something.  However, those overall statistics and group patterns don’t bother me as much as it used to.  I don’t want or need to date all of society, but only want and need ONE person to spend my life with.  So I motivate myself by saying that like a job, it only takes one.  I’d say, just keep at it and don’t close off any medium, but just don’t take it personally at all. 

  23. 23
    Ruby

    Nathan #20
     
    Wow, I’m impressed, you’ve nailed it. I’d like to add that many of these older men that my friends and I have encountered have psychological issues that make dating them difficult. Not being over their exes – which many of them are not – is often the least of their troubles. My friends and I have encountered alcoholics, anxiety disorders, depressives, intense commitmentphobia, bipolars, anger issues etc. I’m not saying that women don’t suffer from these problems, but we are much more likely to admit it when we do need help, and to confide in our friends and seek therapy.

  24. 24
    Katelyn

    You are right Ruby, Nathan did nail it!

    Many women in their 50’s and 60’s have spent years on personal development, following the advice that if you become what it is you want to attract in a partner you will  find that. Women needed to do this work as part of the evolutionary process.  Unfortunately men weren’t doing the same thing.  I have spent almost 30 years evolving and becoming conscious, much of that alone, which I felt was necessary for me.  Now when I am looking for a partner I want someone who has done the same.  Someone who I can talk to that speaks my language, someone one who can connect on a spiritual, emotional and intellectual level.  I don’t need a partner that connects with me out of some unfulfilled need/wound.

    From my personal experience and 26 years of experience as a psychologist I don’t find that many men in their 60’s have done any self exploration, unless like Nathan said it comes as the result of a health crisis.

    I am not content to watch the grass grow, watch TV, or be a couch potato nor am I impressed by 60 year old men holding up fish in their dating profile photos, sorry! If you are trying to attract women, fish isn’t going to do it, men.
    I am looking for depth in my relationships.

    Because of this I find that I am attracted to younger (10 years or so) men because they are more likely to have been doing the personal development and studying consciousness, metaphysics, quantum physics and such, which are some of the things I am interested in. 

    With on line dating being one of the most popular forms of meeting people because of it’s accessibility many of us opt in.  Unfortunately if you think about it, it is very superficial.  People decide who someone is based on a few photos and paragraphs often based on looks and age.  It doesn’t get more superficial.  We are removed from each other just by the nature of the internet and there is no way to pick up the energy/chemistry you find in meeting in person.  How can anyone make an informed decision about who they are looking at, and how often might we overlook a special person because we make a decision based on a photo.

  25. 25
    Clare

    I am not anywhere close to 54, but I do know that how other people feel about us and perceive us has a lot, if not everything, to do with how we perceive and feel about ourselves, which I know must be so hard when you are not getting enough positive feedback.

    And yet, having faith and believing in your own wonderfulness, *despite* what is going on around you, is the only way to success. As I read in another blog, yes men can be shallow and fickle, and discriminate unfairly on age – these are NOT the right guys for you.  Don’t waste your precious energy worrying about them, even if they are in the majority.

    I have been recently amazed at how the beliefs I had about myself and how my life was inevitably going to be were holding me back. I have recently committed to having a “the sky’s the limit” approach to all my thinking, and I’ve already seen wonderful improvements, and I just FEEL so much better.

    Oh, and Evan… fantastic newsletter today! Just what I needed to read to give me that extra boost. And congratulations on the birth of your little boy :)

  26. 26
    Andrew

    @Jeanne:
    An online friend put this in her profile:
    Top 10 reason’s I’ll be your best girlfriend ever:
    10 – You can have poker night without complaint (I might want to play sometimes)
    9 – You can count on me to trust you without that you wouldn’t be calling me your awesome girlfriend in the first place
    8 – You will feel like a knight in shining armor from time to time
    7 – You won’t ever wonder if I am judging you
    6 – You’ll come to learn I know the difference between sexy, sassy, classy, cute, and hot – not to mention when to be which one
    5 – You experience random acts of kindness towards others including you
    4 – You’ll be surprised that I can make you think and about more than whether or not my shoes look good with my outfit, or if my butt looks fat.
    3 – You’ll hear me celebrating more than complaining, see me smiling more than frowning, and dancing/singing more than sitting silently.
    2 – You can expect if I ask you to shop with me it’s only because I’m buying something you know better than me or would want to see
    1 – You bet I know how to cure a headache
    It’s brilliant. As men are rational and logical creatures regarding dating, a woman should specifically state what she offers in terms of what a man actually wants. A list is not the stuff of romance unicorns and rainbows. But a woman must consider her audience. Logic and reason are masculine qualities and a woman must communicate to such an audience with her profile.
    Bottom line: The feminine attracts the masculine.

    1. 26.1
      shirly chwalowski

      This is a great list and I will be using it as well. I am 60 but look and feel younger. I have three kids still in which live with me. We adopted them at birth. So it will be a little harder to get a man who loves kids, but not impossible. The kids are gone doing things with their friends 90 per cent of the time. I have a lot of free time to find someone special so I don’t have to sit home alone. But this is a brillant list. Thanks so much for your help. Shirly

  27. 27
    Katelyn

    I totally agree with you Clare, there is someone out there for everyone and we can’t base our value on the feedback or lack of feedback we get, especially on line. It has nothing to do with us or our worth if someone doesn’t respond to our attempts to connect.

    I know there is a fabulous partner for me, just like there is for everyone else, and I am not willing to settle.  The more we embrace our fabulousness the more likely we are to attract a fabulous partner.  It doesn’t matter how old you are, just be real and authentic and that is what you will find coming into your life.

    I personally think it is less likely on line than it is through personal encounters.

     

  28. 28
    JB

    @Katelyn “People decide who someone is based on a few photos and paragraphs often based on looks and age”

    You forgot the real things men get disqualified for. Height, education, income, and of course job title which women rarely if ever get disqualified by men for….lol  Just sayin..

    I find it hilarious that the 30 somethings above me think that they’re too old for online dating just because the “best” guys their own age ignore them…..lol what they don’t tell you is about the guys that DO email them that THEY ignore for any one of the reasons I’ve outlined above. I hear this from women all the time “you should see the guys that email me” and they roll their eyes. What they don’t understand is I’m THAT guy to the 90% of women that ignore ME!!

    All I can say to the women above is try being an average guy online for a few weeks and see how much fun that ISN’T.

  29. 29
    Joe

    As far as shaving a few years off your age, think: how would you be disposed towards a man after meeting him and discovering he’d added a few inches to his height online but hadn’t mentioned this in his profile text?

    @ nathan #20: If PUA/Game theory didn’t work on women better than the “traditional” ways of wooing them, would guys use Game?  Would you say the typical guy using those methods is really looking for commitment, or just some action?  I guess what I’m trying to ask is this: younger men may feel the need to get advice, but…women say they don’t want guys who are PUAs, yet the PUA advice does seem to work on them.  Is it therefore beneficial to women for these guys to be getting PUA advice?

  30. 30
    Michelle

    I think Nathan is right on, thanks for your comments and pointing out the ‘problem’ isn’t on line dating, it’s men in this age range in general.  I’ve stopped on line dating, and I just got done dating a man who I met in real life and turned 60 (I’m 48).  I asked him two different times what he thought his role was in the demise of his marriage–he couldn’t answer either time, he turned it around to his wife and her issues.  Perfect example, no self reflection over the past 10+ years of being divorced.  (BTW, emotionally clueless as well). 

    I’m confident there are men out there that have done some reflection at the very least, and are ‘normal’ enough to sustain a satisfying relationship.  

    1. 30.1
      Sparkling Emerald

      If a guy I was dating asked me such questions about my divorce I would next him. I want to leave my past in the past, and create a wonderful today and a future. I can’t very well do that if the guy I date wants to drag me back to the past.

      Believe me, I have done a lot of reflecting on my marriage and my whole love life/dating life, but that is nothing I particularly want to share with whomever I’m dating, and I wouldn’t ask such questions of them.

      Every pairing is unique and different. What went wrong between them and a past signifigant other has NOTHING to do with whatever potentional pairing could be happening now. One coach at a match making service told us don’t EVER tell a man your sad divorce story, no matter how much he prys. They WILL judge you for it. At my age (58) there is NO relationship history that can’t be looked at with a cynical jaded view. Never married ? Couldn’t make the commitment. Divorced ? Couldn’t keep the commitment. Divorced due to the spouse having an affair ? You must have neglected your spouse, or drove them to an affair. Divorced due to YOU having an affair ? You bitch. Widowed ? She will idealize her deceased spouse, and I will be forever competing with a ghost.

      This is why I have a don’t ask, don’t tell policy about relationship history. Whatever comes up organically, fine. I expect to know about any children from prior unions. There will be instances where the existence of an ex spouse will have to come up in the conversation.

      But if a date grilled me about my divorce and wanted to know what I did wrong, I would next them.

      Your question comes off as taking their painful experience and pointing the finger of blame at them.

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