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Single women in midlife are often interested in getting back in the dating game, but they don’t know how to go about it. After years or even decades of marriages that ended in divorce or the death of a spouse, how do women in their 40’s, 50’s, and 60’s meet men these days?
An increasingly popular—and successful—way is through Internet dating. Judsen Culbreth, author of The Boomers‚ Guide to Online Dating (Rodale, 2005), answers FAQs about finding love online:
Why is online dating a good choice for single women in midlife?
First, mature daters are the big growth industry, and men are more likely to be online than women. Men like technology, and they feel that online dating is a logical choice. It’s a great way to screen candidates. Everyone is a prequalified prospect; they’ve said, I want to date. Where else can you go to get applications for a relationship? People disclose things they would never say in a bar. It’s more of a sure shot. And it’s a less stressful way to meet people. If you don’t like someone, you don’t have to go there.
What would you say to women who are reluctant to try it?
Some are hesitant because they’re still waiting for Prince Charming to show up. They want meeting someone to be fate. That’s likely to happen when you’re young—in high school and college or just out of college—because everyone is single and you mix and mingle all the time. As you get older, most of your friends are married and it’s much harder to meet available men. That’s why more and more women 35 and older are trying online dating sites. It’s a simple and effective way to meet people.
Do you advise women to post their profile on a variety of sites or choose one and stay with it?
Just as you’d go to a department store if you needed a lot of items, and to a boutique for that one special thing, you should visit a variety of Internet dating sites. Try some of the big ones, like Match.com and Matchmaker.com. These have millions of users so you can get a lot of what you want—geography, income, personal habits. There are so many people using them that you’re more likely to find someone. And if you have something specific that’s important to you, like religion or ethnicity, go to one of those sites. Do both; it’s so cheap, a subscription is less than one night out on a date.
What are some tips for creating a good profile?
A positive attitude is very important. Midlife daters want honesty, warmth, and shared activities. We’re heading into the best years of our lives—we’re more likely to be financially secure and have free time. We want people who are fun to be with. Avoid the pitfall of asking for too much. At this stage, you’re just trying to meet someone—don’t list every quality a person must have. Talk about yourself. This can be hard for women in midlife because we have so many roles, but this is about you, not your family or your past relationships. And do post a photo. If you don’t, it’s a red flag.
How computer savvy do you have to be to use Internet dating?
If you can e-mail and get on the Internet, you can date online. If you can’t post a photo, many sites will help you. And there are helplines for any questions or problems you may have. Dating sites make it as easy as possible to use them.
Visit some Internet dating sites, and see if they might be something you’d like to try. Whether you’re looking for a committed partner, a husband, or just someone to go to the movies with, you may well find him online.