Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Over 50 Online Dating

In my last post, I shared some style tips for dating after 50 gathered from single, 50+ women. In the process of getting those tips, my dating friends offered some advice on using online dating sites. Here are those tips as well as a few more fashions for the over 50 woman getting together with someone she's met online for the first time. Whether you choose something more dressy, like the clothing in my previous post, or a casual top like the ones shown below will, of course, depend on your personal style.

When it comes to dating over 50, the important thing is to keep a positive attitude. According to US Census Bureau, almost 40% of Americans who are 45 or older are single. No doubt, the group consists of more women than men. Still, it’s encouraging. You are not alone out there!Organic Cotton Shirt

Organic Cotton Shirt

How exactly are you supposed to find all these 45 and older men? Unless you’re in a retirement community already or one of those restricted "55 or older" condomium community, you’re unlikely to find a large pool of people the same age. I’ve known women who’ve held out for that miracle meet at work or through a social connection, night class, volunteer work or, perhaps, at the gym. By and large, they haven’t found anyone. If you’re a 50+ woman who’s left the workplace to raise kids, you might not even have a job. Volunteer work might put 60+ woman in touch with civic-minded, retired 70 year olds, but most of my 50ish friends want someone a little younger—if possible. And do over 50 women feel flirty in their sweaty exercise togs at the gym? I can't imagine it.

That leaves online dating. At last count, I saw about 20 online dating websites. Interestingly, half of the sites were directed towards dating for men and women over 50. Everyone I talked to has a different opinion on which is the best. Fortunately, online dating services tend to offer free trials, so you can see which one suits your needs.

I’ve interspersed a few tops for the first "face-to-face" meeting with an online guy among the online dating tips below. My previous posting (“Dating Over 50: What to Wear?”) talks a little more about date styling. It's pretty basic stuff. The over 50 woman going on a first date should wear something flattering and comfortable. Personally, I love the classic collared shirt (above) in white or a pastel color. It looks great, especially on women with nice legs. Pair it with a nice pair of jeans and you're good to go. Something feminine is also good. But too much cleavage may seem a little desperate. (I’m not sure too much cleavage after 50 is a good idea—ever.) Perhaps, something like this feminine ruffled blouse.
Dot Print Ruffle Blouse

Dot Print Ruffle Blouse

ONLINE DATING Do’s and Don’t’s
Don’t get discouraged by how many men our age don’t want to date women over 35. I say, “Thanks for letting me know up front that you’re one of those men.” Note: In researching this post, I came across a dating site called http://www.50plussinglesdating.com/ 50 Plus Singles Dating and was astonished to see four couples, three with women well under 50, pictured on the home page.

Do convey your personality in as few words as possible when completing your profile. I’m a writer and I know: words are easily misinterpreted. Avoid misunderstandings by writing simply and concisely. And make sure your tone is upbeat. Online dating may seem a little depressing and unromantic, but try to convey a positive outlook.

Do enlist the help of a trusted friend when filling out your profile. It’s sometimes hard to describe yourself in depth (some profiles are quite lengthy!). A good friend can help you list all your wonderful attributes, in the event you draw a blank or are hesitant to writing about yourself.

Don’t fall into the ‘passing emails’ trap. I had a friend who exchanged emails with a guy for a month before she meet him. Apparently, he was very witty in his emails and she had high hopes. They met at a bar for a glass of wine. It turned out he wasn’t her type physically and he wasn’t funny in person. She’d wasted a month on a dead end. If you see/read about someone that interests you, arrange to meet in person as soon as possible. You need to find out if there’s chemistry and that only happens in person.

Do plan to meet somewhere away from where you live. That way, you’re less likely to run into him again, if the first date is unsuccessful.

Do tell someone (a friend or sibling) where/when you’re meeting the guy and that you will call afterwards. It’s always good to err on the side of safety.

Don’t make a big deal out of the date. Your biological time clock has expired. You don’t have to worry about meeting Mr. Right—the man who will give you children and be a devoted husband and father. Enjoy the adventure; enjoy meeting new people. Here's an outfit (below) you might want to consider: A simple shell with a floral wrap. Color is always a good idea. A colorful scarf or wrap is upbeat without being too much.
Garden Floral Wrap, Ships 5/6

Garden Floral Wrap, Ships 5/6

Do plan, if possible, to go on several ‘first dates’ with different men at the same time. It’s best not to expect perfection the first time out. If one ‘first date’ is a dead end, you’ll appreciate having other ‘first dates’ to look forward to.

Do plan an activity for the second date. Simply going out to dinner on a second date puts a lot of pressure on the two of you to make conversation. Instead, go to a play, concert or art exhibit—something that can fuel the conversation. Afterwards, go for a bite to eat or a drink—you’ll have a lot more to talk about.

Good luck!