Dating sites report that their fastest growing segment is people over fifty. My clients, women ranging from thirty-five to sixty-five, are having great success with it. Face it: online dating is the new hot spot for people who wouldn’t dream of meeting someone in a bar.
You know I’m a huge proponent of online dating. I met my husband on Match.com when I was forty-seven and he was fifty-seven. That man is the best part of my life. I love the idea of finding companionship and I love using online dating.
I want you all online. But before you put yourself out there, here are tips from a gal who was online for years herself, and now helps other women get out there, have some fun, and find love.
1. Be the Boss
No, I don’t mean be bossy. I mean be in control of your experience. Online dating opens you up to thousands more possibilities, and it’s a completely new way of meeting people. Make some decisions and set some personal guidelines about how you want to integrate it into your life. How many hours will you spend each day? (Warning: this can get addictive!) What things can you do to ensure your physical and emotional well-being as you talk to and meet people? What can you learn or change to be a successful dater? Intuition and special situations will create forks in the road. And as time goes on, you’ll likely tweak some of these decisions. Considering some things up front, however, gives you a tentative roadmap and, more importantly, an expanded awareness. I want you to have fun, be open to new things, and enjoy the experience; just do it consciously and like the grownup woman that you are.
2. Stand Out
Plain and simple: you have competition, girlfriend. As we age, the ratio of women to men grows farther apart. Some statistics say it’s as much as eleven women to each man after fifty-five. Yikes! So when you get online, I want you to stand up and stand out. Make sure your pictures are great. Get them done professionally. (Come on … $150 is too much to spend to attract a fabulous man??) Your profile needs to be unique and speak to men. (Tip: If your best girlfriend loves it; it probably sucks.) Every communication needs to scream how special you are, show your personality, and tell him you’re interested. (“Hi” on the subject line means you wait in line or get deleted.)
3. Be Honest
You are online, but your goal is actually to meet men, yes? One of the top complaints of men is that we post pictures that are … let’s say…out of date. Just don’t do it. Post lovely, yet current, pictures. It’s disingenuous and a waste of time to do otherwise. Also, be clear about what you’re looking for. I find that at fifty, sixty, and beyond there is a wide spectrum of what type of partner men and women are looking for. Whether you want a dinner partner or a husband, put it out there. There’s no need to scream it, but weave it into your profile. If you want a life partner, you don’t want to attract that man who is out there “just having fun.” (Trust me, with Viagra and a computer, a man can have a lot of fun!)
4. Consider a Makeover
When is the last time you updated your look? Have you changed the way you apply your makeup or wear your hair? Have you bought any new-styled clothes? Doing this is as much about looking good for a man, as it is about feeling good for yourself. A confident woman who takes care of herself and looks healthy is a man magnet. Go to your local department store and have a free makeup session. (All the lines do this, did you know?) Splurge for a fancy hairstyle. Check out catalogs like Coldwater Creek, J. Jill, or Chico’s. You don’t necessarily have to buy, but check out what’s hot (and what’s not).
5. Check Your Baggage
Yes, I do mean don’t drag your nasty divorce, money troubles, or last case of gout into the conversation. (At least not anywhere near the beginning of getting to know someone.) But, just as important, don’t drag in all those beliefs and decisions you made twenty years ago. The woman you are today is nowhere near the girl who dated way back when. I’m telling you to check all your checklists. Check the one that defines “the perfect man” and what he must do or not do to get to the next date. Check the one that has all your “truths” about yourself, about dating, and about men. It’s important to take time to ground yourself in who you are and what you want in your life today. Do this by yourself, with a friend, or with a coach. But do it.
Gotta go. Be good to yourself.