On Life and Love after 50 eNewsletter March 31, 2023
Senior Dating Columnist Tom Blake
I was amazed at how many Champs responded to last week’s “Mom’s Books” eNewsletter, in which Victoria, a former neighbor, helped me downsize by finding homes for my mom’s books. Like Victoria, many of you are book lovers. And a few of you mentioned how the article inspired you to put other downsizing projects near the top of your to-do lists.
Today’s topic: Senior Dating Follies
Today we focus on the realities of senior dating. It’s one of those “spraying to all fields,” articles, as the incomparable San Francisco Chronicle columnist Herb Caen used to describe articles that covered a plethora of different topics all in the same column. Caen, of course, was referring to a baseball batter who could spray hits to right field, center field, or left field–scattered all over the place.
Champ Dyana emailed, “I was happy to find your Findingloveafter50.com website because dating at my age can be daunting. I have a profile on Match.com and am starting to meet a few people.
“The struggle within myself now is wondering how much, and how important is physical attraction (senior chemistry). Can it grow if it’s not there at the start? I hear tales of that happening. Of course, aside from that, attraction for a person’s character, mind, and values are imperative.”
Tom’s response: “I suggest, Dyana, that you make your own priority list of characteristics wanted in a mate. If physical attraction is a lower priority for you, move it down your list. Perhaps “availability” and “geographic location” are more important. From your photo, I see you have a wonderful smile. That’s an important asset in the senior dating world. For me, physical attraction tops my list. Sort of frightening, at my 80+ age, but that’s how I’m built.
Francine emailed, “Senior dating online is not for the faint-hearted. I’ve been doing it on and off for 10 years. My favorite husband (#3) passed away 11 years ago and then eight months later I met Bob on Match.com. We dated for five years until his untimely death. Both men were in their late 60s.
Tom’s comment: Francine’s losses made me think about a grief-sharing workshop I attended last Monday night. At the suggestion of a woman Champ, I attended a session of senior grief counseling at a local church. I had no idea what to expect. I went there to try to help ease the pain of losing Greta. There were eight women and two men “grievers” there, plus two very savvy, caring, and empathetic women counselors.
I was astounded at what the other grievers are going through. Losing children, spouses, lovers, and often more than one loss at about the same time. Their stories helped me understand what I am dealing with. I learned how grieving can affect one’s life such as trying to accomplish too many projects at once, not sleeping enough, and not eating right.
Back to Francine’s comments: She added, “Senior dating is not easy, but I’ve been lucky. I’m 76, look 60, and have the energy of a 40-year-old. How come? I work at it. I refuse to get ‘old.’ I still work out and live my life. We live every day. We only ‘die’ once.
“No one should ever judge what’s right or wrong with a griever’s behavior who is trying to move forward in life. That applies to judging Tom as well. If volunteering is your thing, do it. If dating is your thing, do it. Being oneself is the only way to go. I’ve met men online, in supermarket lines, banks, trains, planes, buses, etc. There are many ways to meet people. Perhaps take a course at a local school—a great way to meet people for both men and women.
“How soon after a loss to put oneself out there? Everybody’s different. As was mentioned last week, don’t be critical of someone’s actions if you haven’t walked in that person’s shoes.”
This week, I interviewed Kathryn Coduto, a Boston University assistant professor who has done recent research focused on dating apps technology. She said, “Only 28% of people ages 55 or older feel they can find a soulmate using dating apps.
“Americans doubt dating apps are the best way to find a successful relationship and certainly don’t trust them—but they’re apparently unwilling to give up on apps like Match, Tinder, and Hinge in the search for their true soulmates.”
I’m certain Ms. Coduto will share more sage thoughts for us going forward. Oh my, there is so much to learn in senior and online dating.
Champ Cheryl said, “It takes courage and perseverance to find a loving partner online, but certainly the chances of success are much greater than waiting for the goose ‘to lay the golden egg in our yard!” Cheryl is saying put yourself out there. Don’t sit around at home.
And finally, from Mary Lou, “Men sign up for sites like Our Time and Zoosk but never respond to my profile/photo beyond the initial ‘like.’ They often take selfies in their bathroom, are heavily bearded, and want to play golf as an introductory activity. Why does a man even put himself out there as it is a waste of my time to even respond? What am I not getting?”
Tom’s response: “Isn’t senior online dating a hoot? If a guy’s photo shows him in a bathrobe or bathroom and with a heavy beard, he’s a quick delete. And play golf as a first date? What a joke. It’s bad enough to have a coffee date that is a bust for maybe 30 minutes. But playing golf, even nine holes could take an hour and a half. That could be brutal if you can’t stand each other. What if he tries to kiss you in the golf cart? You might fall out trying to escape! Write those dudes off.
I am new to this senior online dating world. I am shocked by the bogus photo trick. Guys tell me they see some women’s pictures and then meet them and think they are with the mothers of the pictured women. My pics aren’t a day at the beach, but all are current except one. The two below don’t count.
Try finding a mate when you’re in your 80s. How does one make chicken salad out of chicken manure? Just chalk it up to this senior dating game.
Send me a short bio and a photo. Who knows? We might meet for golf on a first date, as long as it’s at a miniature golf course and there’s a cocktail lounge near the first tee.
I mentioned that today’s article might be “spraying to all fields.” It did, but it was fun, and written with a smile. And thank you, Herb Caen.