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Online dating and the 55+ male
Go to any dating site and you will see a lot of profiles posted by daters in the 55+ age group. Due primarily to divorce and death of a spouse--the number of available older men are now on the rise, and this is great news for all the older women out there looking for love, or is it? I interviewed twelve 55+ women who have profiles on three of the biggest dating sites, including one that is exclusively for older singles, and the feedback on their experiences and what other women should expect was enlightening.
The following were the most cited difficulties they encountered:
* A fairly high percentage of the men were looking for women at least 5 or 6 years younger then them.
* Many guys would start off with a strong interest, then pull back and/or disappear after one or two contacts by phone or email.
* Arranging a first date was often lengthy and difficult. They would discuss it, then he would email that he was tied up or had to reschedule without explanation. Other times, they discussed it, but he avoided making any definite plans.
* Many first dates did not lead to second ones, even when they seemed to have a good connection.
* When they did meet face to face the first time it was often over drinks or coffee in a bar or restaurant. However, he usually suggested someplace quiet or private like his place for the second meeting, if he suggested one.
* Every woman said that sex became an issue on or around the second date. They either talked about it due to his suggestive comments/actions, he suggested it outright, or he asked when she would be ready. The bottom line was that sex was the 90 pound gorilla on every second date.
* Many of the men lost interest after they became involved sexually or expressed an interest in dating other women as well.
A number of the women also said that their dates commented on a lack of sex in their past marriage(s), or expressed upset that their ex-wives had let themselves go, had no real interests, or had other issues that led to an unhappy marriage/family life. Even when their date was positive about his past relationship, there was often the feeling that they were acting out that infamous scene from Annie Hall, where the two people are having a light, getting to know you conversation--but their thoughts are all about when and how he would make his move to kiss her and get it over with.
Kind of takes you back to your youthful dating experiences, doesn't it? But is this really just about sex or is it more complicated than that? One way to answer this is to look at the Meta message that these behaviors (when taken together) send. These men were reluctant to move quickly, sometimes changed their minds once they had more then virtual contact with the woman, commented on the problem issues they had left relationships for (no sex, boredom), and sometimes started out strong, but pulled back after an initial meeting or a short period of getting to know one another. These messages point to a concern about rushing into a relationship and ending up in an unhappy, sexless one. They also say that these guys are enjoying their bachelorhood and all the attention they are getting from women--and that they don't want to give this up too quickly for a relationship that may not be what they are looking for. It's very possible many of them married young the first time, had a lot of responsibility over the years, and never had a time when they were single and able to meet and date a lot of women. Yes, they may be trying to have those youthful experiences now, or recapture what was lost when they became widowers.
My advice to the women who are meeting and trying to connect with these guys is to give them space, be your best TRUE self right from the start--and try a few on for size instead of focusing on just one who seems like Mr. Just Right for you. If you hold on too tight or try too hard they will back away- wouldn't you? Don't go along with anything you don't feel comfortable with, set boundaries whenever and wherever necessary, and let them know you are actively looking for the right relationship as well. There's nothing more attractive than an independent, confident woman who respectfully speaks her mind and knows how to be a great friend, stimulating sparring partner, and all around fun date. And, if Mr. Wonderful disappears, he wasn't the right guy for you because he just wasn't that into you. And from your end, you will not be wasting time with a Mr. Wrong.
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Toni Coleman, LCSW
© Copyright 2008 Antoinette Coleman. All rights reserved.
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