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.

Join our conversation (224 Comments).
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Comments:

  1. 121
    Chris

    Mid-50s guy here who has spent time on Match. I’m looking for women close to my age, not close to my daughter’s age. So not 40, or even 45. I see a common denominator in the usually-nice women that I meet but don’t have success with. (Ok, the common denominator other than me.) Divorced middle-aged women wish to be dazzled. They have higher standards than my wife did at 26, eons ago. They can even argue that they deserve this or that after having lived through a marriage and a divorce. They often claim that they are quite content being single; that’s a dare to try to impress them.

    So, the status quo is attractive to middle-aged women. They ain’t hungry. A couple specific women I know used to congratulate each other on not settling; I see them as trying to fail.

  2. 122
    Donald King

    A)Online dating is a huge scam. B)Most dating services lie about the number of clients, they,just want your money. I have been on at least 15 dates in the past 9 months related to either on line dating or a dating service. At 60, I’m seeking the open minded, fun/silly who is or has been paying attention to her physical appearance. She can be 50 or 60. I’m looking for the woman that isn’t interested in going to lunch with her mom. If she has kids, that’s fine just let them live their lives. It’s time to let go and venture out, just because your “x” years old doesn’t mean you can’t get out and enjoy and experience. Live, love and laugh. Where’ this person is, I haven’t any idea.

  3. 123
    Libby

    I guess all these email’s stands to reason that there is no definition as to who likes what, we are all different with different experiences and that’s what makes us interesting and the dating game exciting.

  4. 124
    Sheila

    Sam…”Actually there is a woman…”  …a lot of life happens in 12 months. It sounds like your heart is holding onto the hope of a re-connection in 12 months…when she returns. But – you might want to keep in mind that in those 12 months she will likely grow as a person and hopefully – you will too.

    Life is short. I believe in a ‘carpe diem’ approach to life – live in the present moment –

    If you and the woman who is not available now – are meant to be together then you will.

    In the meantime – taking time to really cultivate friendships that can be mutually enriching – will be a way to not put your life on hold.

    All the best to you. May love find you when you least expect.

    Sheila

  5. 125
    TP

    After reading all this, it simply reminds me of dating many years ago. Everyone expecting something unrealistic.  Everyone wants something that simply isn’t going to happen. When everyone comes down to earth and realizes that we are not the hunk or the babe we actually might find a good friend. Great sex is a learned technique. If we spent more time trying to be better friends and worried less about the former, you might actually get the former. Biggest thing is neither sex wants someone to approach the other. Until you get past that and actually invest yourself into a friendship first, you will be spinning your wheels for years to come. Like one man…..I spend time with my hobbies and have a rewarding life without a female. Most see my hobby as a way to impress someone else. I see it as a way to enjoy what I have worked for. Shame to think we have reached this low point at the best time of our life.

  6. 126
    John

    I can relate with Sara as she almost perfectly described what men also go through when they are handsome therefore use to having attractive women swoon about them yet, when that NUMBER gets in the way, well, Cougars who are the sexiest ones, are looking for younger men.  I personally would much prefer a woman my age because of nostalgia historical interests.  Yes, I have a strong libido but it doesn’t need a much younger woman to fulfill it. Been there done that thru marrying for 14 years someone 18 years younger. So there you go.  Would not do this again.  I’d much prefer the company of a lady who can recall, well, the 1960s.

    1. 126.1
      Lily

      @john, how refreshing you are! This gives me hope. I love to connect around nostalgia too. I really do feel most attracted to healthy, vibrant men my own age. Hot younger guys… zzzzzzz

  7. 127
    Mokgaetjie

    Thanks for your advise. I always thought on line dating is for week minded people. After my two children got married i feared dating again and the sad part is my body does not match my age and attract young men than men of my age. A friend advise me to go online but my question is how true are the people,  will i ever get love at my age. Thank you for the article you opened my eyes.

  8. 128
    Sassy

    Even Evan didn’t meet his “older wife,” (when he said he didn’t want to date older than him on his Match.com profile) on a dating site. Sara mentioned that she found it easier, or the “playing field was leveled” when she met men in person because they didn’t see her age – first. Evan didn’t want an older woman, but that didn’t matter when he met someone he really was into IN PERSON, first. That’s why, as an older woman myself – it’s time for me to get back into off-line dating. I look about 10 years younger, so when I tested lowering my age (to baby making ages) online (after I wasn’t receiving a lot of responses) I was contacted more often and treated with more respect. That’s because the man wants to keep his future baby making options open, even if he ends up not wanting to have kids, and he really hopes you’ll pick him. However, when you meet someone off-line, they’re meeting YOU – not your future baby making possibilities, not your age, not any of the things they can see on your on-line profile to turn them off. They see how you move, your voice, and all your physical attributes right away. There’s no turn-off, once they’ve been turned on. If it is very important to the man you meet outside of an online dating site that you can pro-create, he would say it up front. So men judging women, by their age, online is ridiculous because who is to say the 20 or 30 year old can even conceive? These men are just rejecting, too quickly, on faulty logic. And they’re staying single, because of it — even when they say they want relationships. It’s very unfortunate because I’ve seen the same men over and over again — having very short (if any) relationships. A commenter, Sam, said he was raked over by his ex-wife and so he’s not really interested in a relationship — even though his profile probably suggests he’s looking for one. And that’s ANOTHER reason why older men are not available to older women — they’re NOT interested in having ANY serious relationship. And if they do, they want it with someone who is younger and whom they believe they can control, train, lead, etc. An older woman can equal a stronger woman who didn’t fall off the turnip truck yesterday, and since a lot of these men already found that strength and street intelligence — in the woman they got divorced from… they do not want a repeat. And since these men don’t need your money, but just sex / companionship and can date younger (or at least think they can) — they keep trying to get free sex off these dating sites, but with no commitment. Ladies, my advice to you is: Get off the online sites, and back into the real world. Force yourself to engage in a weekly activity, where there is a healthy number of men in the group, and where you get to know these men over a period of time so they will skip over your age, and any other questionable physical attributes and focus more on how they feel when they’re around you, your shared interests, etc. etc. It also doesn’t hurt if they wear glasses. Just kidding. Maybe not. LOL

  9. 129
    Sassy

    @122 Donald King — Yikes. This person probably doesn’t exist, and if she does she is likely to be one lonely woman. And I hope you are her light. But let me get this straight: You want a woman who doesn’t have a support system? Doesn’t connect with her family? Doesn’t have responsibilities, but she’s is 50-60 with children who are likely to be on the cusp of starting their own families, and still want Mom to be in the picture? Okay. Maybe I’m taking that too far. But it seems like you want her to be about: Fun, Fun, Fun when at that age — there are considerations to be had. How about a compromise? She cares about her kids, spends time with her family and aging Mother (God bless this 50-60 year old woman, who cares), and she ALSO enjoys a life with and without you. You know… accept that she is responsible, but still is ready to have some fun. Suggestion: Don’t look at her like she should be 20 or something, when she’s in her later years. Adjust your expectations. And Good luck.

  10. 130
    kieranj61

    I agree like you, I want to leave my past in the past.  But, no matter how much use men make the effort to avoid talking about that past, woman will always drag the past up (about use men) when things go wrong, without analyzing the full scenario

  11. 131
    NewlyMarriedWoman

    Just want to say to the 50+ ladies reading this column that I went on an online coffee first date when I was 51. I am now Mrs. Him. He is 2 years younger than I am, so 49 on that first date.  The best men do not want to date their daughter’s generation. If you are getting fewer hits, try to think of it as the rats filtering themselves out. The good guys will be happy to find a peer.

  12. 132
    Earl Larrabee

    Dear person who posted this. I am so glad to hear that a woman is having trouble being considered attractive by guys her age. it looks like the “playing” field is finally LEVELLED. Men live through this their entire lives…up until I guess…about 50! Funny that you mention you don’t want to date older men…because….hmmmm you are not attracted to them? Well shucks…men your age are no longer attracted to you!  looks like you are going to have to do what all those “loser” men did that you blew off in your 20’s 30’s and 40s. Try buying them flowers….maybe read books or get advice from dating coach. Hit the GYM? haha…completely change yourself so that you can be your BEST self. Buy men gifts…Be successful in every aspect of your life…and dont forget to be confident at ALL TIMES. your clock is ticking…perhaps pick up a new hobby so that men can be drawn to you for it! You dont NEED a man…you can be PERFECTLY happy alone and independent…isn’t that what men have been told their entire lives.

    I am totally going to keep in contact with women throughout my life so that I can enjoy this pristine age…amd hear all about what thy are going to have to say!

    HAHHAHAHAHAHAHA

    1. 132.1
      Nancy Riley

      Who would want to date this guy if he was the last man on earth???? Most of the men I know aren’t having any luck online either and have been on there for years…pretending that men are having a great time dating in there fifties is hard for them as well because the women they think they want DONT WANT THEM. The George Clooneys of the world are the only  men that get to pick and choose…Honey…you aren’t one of them!!!! I get asked out primarily by younger men in their thirties so maybe its time to just go for it!!!

  13. 133
    Sabrina

    Lying about one’s age or anything else is not a good idea. Would you want someone to lie to you? Not a fan of the online dating/industrial complex because it puts too much pressure on people, and there’s too much sizing up and judging going on and if one objects to being dehumanized then they’re told they have a “bad attitude.” Once bitten, twice shy, I suppose. I suspect the success in online dating comes from persistence, not taking things personally and eventually settling lol

  14. 134
    Nancy Riley

    When I got divorced at 45 I had tons of men online asking me out….now at 56 the emails are few . I have great photos, I am attractive and young looking, I am in decent shape and do work out daily. The men I have met don’t even pick up the bill and expect to split it!!! That never happened in my forties…..the pool is very small and the men are really unattractive. I think I have had enough !!! I don’t need to go sit with some super unattractive , fat man with no class ever again.

    1. 134.1
      Whatevershesaid

      I understand how you feel, and I am sorry that you’ve had to deal with this. I am about to turn 50 in a few months, and I too have had enough. You are not alone, and you don’t need losers like this!

  15. 135
    Johnny boy

    Match.com is age bias. They only want younger people on their site to give them an upbeat LOOK~!

  16. 136
    Whatevershesaid

    I am turning 50 in about 6 months, and I haven’t had a real relationship since I was in my 30s. I really had hoped to meet someone and get married, have children, etc.. Well, it never happened, and here I am almost 50.

    While I am told that I am still an attractive woman for my age, men haven’t acknowledged me since I was in my mid 40s. As a result, my friends encouraged me to try online dating. I thought it would be a great way to meet new people, but online dating was the most depressing experience I’ve ever had. It literally broke my heart.

    First, there were the men that would just send endless emails back and forth for weeks on end, and they’d never ask to meet. I didn’t understand. Why did these men just want to talk to me but not meet me? I was spending a lot of time responding to these messages, and I realized this was a waste of time – so I stopped responding. I decided to note on my profile – no pen pals!

    Then there were the guys that would seem very, very interested, wanted to talk to you right away, but then I never heard from them again after many messages or phone calls. Of course, I sat and wondered, “What did I do or say?” The fact is, they were probably talking to TONS of other women, and I didn;t make the cut. Why?

    Then there were the select few that asked to meet me in person. None of them worked out. Only two ever asked to see me again, but they weren’t right for me. Then there were the men that just wanted to sleep with me and nothing more even though I made it clear in my profile that I was looking for a long term, serious, monogamous relationship. They were obvious. They went on about how I looked, complimented my figure, and one even asked me to “stand up and turn around for me…” Somehow I was attractive enough to sleep with, but I wasn’t relationship material for some reason.

    The worst experience came when a couple of the dates made comments like, “You know I don’t usually date older women” (they were both about 5 – 10  years older than I was). There was one date in particular who actually looked crest fallen when he saw me. I guess I didn’t look good enough in person. I don’ t know. I could tell that he was just trying to get through the date and be polite. I felt so ashamed and so embarrassed.  I wanted to crawl under the table or click my heels together and be magically transported somewhere – anywhere – else. With that, I’d had enough. I had spent over a year trying to meet someone via online dating, and it just wasn’t working.

    This was all last year. I have since taken down my profile, and I have accepted that this part of my life is over now. I will grow old alone, and I am coming to terms with that. I can no longer subject myself to the humiliation. My heart has been broken, and it’s just too painful to keep subjecting myself to this. I just don’t have it in me anymore. I know it wasn’t my profile, and I know it wasn’t anything that I did.

     

     

     

  17. 137
    Philip Harding

    Online dating sucks. I don’t what young people are doing with it, but it mostly seems a game to me, not a way to meet a serious partner. Young people (under 40) seem incredibly superficial and vain to me. They talk about their bodies with no shame or sense of mortality. For men, life is either animal and physical or digital and desensitized. Not for all young people or even most- but certainly true for people who center their dating and sexual activities via online encounters. It’s quite vulgar, come on!

    For older people (I’m a 53 year old divorced male, skilled and well-educated but not a whole lot of money, which I don’t value) online dating is simply cruel and will slam you into a depression in a matter of minutes when you realize that you have lost that person you’ve pinned so much hopes on. It is true men tend to go for women younger than them. I’d say ten years is not odd. I think, in the absence of a real body and a real voice and face, it’s biological, not egoistic. I’d be more than happy than to date (to marry) a woman my age. But I have to see her in real life.

    Many women on line will message me and start up a chat relationship. They say they want to get married- usually they’re divorced too and between 35  and 45 (they are writing me) but they don’t. It’s all cold feet or just playing games. It’s disgusting and very cruel. I’ve had it. I’m becoming misogynous.

    I’m done with online dating. The trouble is, I cannot find women offline either. I’m shy and 53. Not so bad looking, but 53. I dread getting old alone and dying alone, but maybe that’s God’s plan for me. I sure have tried to find a loving partner I can cherish. It seems that no one wants to be cherished. Everyone is unhappy and malcontent.

  18. 138
    Jessica

    This is totally true. Im 36 and the issue persists. I’m a very attractive successful woman. The guys who would be an equal partner to me in every category don’t respond when I message them, probably because they’d rather message the 22 yr old. However, I do get a lot of messages from people who are outside my search criteria in too many categories. These are the ones that message every profile they see even if it’s not the right fit.

    I’m looking for a guy in my own age group (30 to 40), so it’s not like im looking for a 21 yr old.

    Location I’m in is pretty rural and my career keeps me pretty busy which is why I’m trying online.

  19. 139
    potsy

    wrong, older men have far less opportunities than women do once they reach late 40s. we start becoming completely irrelevant to women as a whole it seems even if we’re decent looking. women want slightly older men but not men 50 and up

  20. 140
    Martin

    Perhaps I shouldn’t say much, but as a 72 year old guy, I’d say that many middle aged and older guys seem ‘fixated’ on younger women. They don’t know what they are missing:

    Older women are more mature and more likely to have similar ‘take’ on life.

    Older women generally aren’t busting to have children. Something most older guys have done, got the T-shirt, and don’t want to do it all over again.

    Older women are more likely to have learned about relationships and dare I say know how to be more into saying what they want. And they are often very good in bed. Experience counts!

    I’ve probably said to much already….

     

     

    A huge age gap doesn’t often work.

     

  21. 141
    James

    And for many of us men that are really up there in age which it just keeps getting worse as we keep getting older since many of us men that are still single are really not single by choice either.

  22. 143
    James

    Well looking for love today really sucks altogether,  especially when you’re so much older.  And being married at one time myself which unfortunately my ex wife turned out to be a real low life pathetic loser since she cheated on me which really was very devastating for me.  Looking for love again isn’t that easy at all like it use to be years ago,  when love came very easy in the old days with no problem at all.  Today you really have to be very blessed to find love since we live in a very completely different time since most of the women nowadays just don’t want a relationship anymore like they once did which really explains why so many of us older men are still single today.  There are many of us men that would really love to have a relationship all over again if we were really given that chance again.

     

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