Wise and Wily Old People

I Flunked Elder Online Dating – Part 1

There are certain elder topics that are difficult for this blog because I have no personal experience. I can imagine but I don't really bring anything useful to the party.

Never having been a mother, I'm not much good at considering relationships with adult children and grandchildren. So I don't. Having been divorced since 1971, I can't contribute intelligently, for example, to a conversation about losing a spouse of many decades. So I don't do that either.

But there is one, it occurred to me about a month ago, for which I could do some personal research: online dating in old age.

Before moving forward with the idea, I spoke with a young friend who has some professional experience with dating websites. She suggested which ones would best suit an oldie like me and provide some variety for my report to you.

She warned me to create a new email address; to not use my own. And to reveal only my first name. The online dating business, she said, is fraught with lies and scammers and even with users who are sincerely looking for a match, it is not uncommon for them to post stock photos.

I laughed at that. One question I'd had was about whether it would be be ethically questionable for me to sign up since I am not interested in dating, just in seeing how it goes. I stopped worrying.

The three services we chose were match.com because it is the largest and most well-known; ourtime.com because it is especially for people 50 and older (owned by match.com); and Plenty of Fish (pof.com) because it is (mostly) free.

I created my new address at a free web-based email site with a name that bears no resemblance to my own. Then I started signing up – POF and OurTime first.

It was a lengthy process. Besides the usual sign-up information we are asked for anywhere on the internet, there was personal information to add, preferences to choose from and lengthy “personality tests.” It took me way too long to figure out the last category was not required.

Of course, too, I had to write a profile of myself and a paragraph about the kind of person I was looking for. Now there's a dilemma.

I wasn't really looking for anyone and I have no idea how to describe myself that would provoke responses. Obviously, the only way to play it was to pretend that I really wanted a date but that didn't help with the profile.

Whatever the reputation of the online dating business, I decided to be completely honest except that there would be no mention of this blog. If, by chance, I met someone in person who was genuine, I would explain that part of my life when the time came. For better or worse, here is the profile I went with:

”Former television producer, journalist, internet developer now retired. Interested in good books, good food and wine, the arts, politics, good conversation who is endlessly curious about growing old. Former New Yorker who passionately wishes she were still there. Oh well – stuff happens.

"You're smart, well read, curious about life in general and whatever it is that fascinates you. You're somewhere near my age (73), not afraid of growing old and comfortable in your own skin.”

2015-02-25Hat150Fairly bland but after two hours of thinking and research (yes, you can find advice online about how to write a successful dating profile), I was too tired to give it more effort. I used this photo that some of you may have seen when I decided to use it on Facebook too.

By the time I finished all the setup at OurTime and POF, the afternoon was shot, my butt was tired from sitting in the desk chair so long and there is only so much, dear readers, I am willing to sacrifice for you. So I ditched the third website, match.com.

FYI, here is how pricing of the three shakes out.

POF is mostly free. There is no monthly subscription cost although you pay for such services as receiving alerts when someone reads your profile.

OurTime costs US$19.99 per month and you will be autobilled each successive month unless you remember to turn it off.

Match.com is the most expensive. It is $41.99 per month if you purchase each month singly. It becomes less expensive if you commit for three months, six month, etc. down to $20.99 per month for one year.

It didn't take long after my profiles at the two sites went live to receive my first response: “Great profile,” it read. “I'd love to hear from you.”

I was flattered until a short time later, three or four other messages arrived with exactly the same wording.

Part 2 is here.

At The Elder Storytelling Place today, William Weatherstone: Alzheimer's Finale


My 46 year old son said OKCupid.com is a good online dating site and free. So I signed up for fun. Not too many men in my age range with the same interests...but really fun as an experiment in human nature!

Finding someone online is totally mainstream and respectable now. I know several people who have found their partner that way. As long as you are reasonably careful, it can save you a lot of time and trouble.

Re your mention of having difficulty with some topics (like widowhood), why not pick one day a month to invite a different "Guest Editor" to post a front page column.

I knew my partner ten years ago utilizing a dating site (match.com). Initially, my profile gave me around twenty prospects. I date with some of them, but none seems to match. Then she appeared... She lived crossing the Andes ridge, in Argentina (I am from Chile). A summer day of 2004 I crossed the Andes and meet her. We meet here and there and finally, in the autumn of 2007, she came to live with me. I am 66 years old now, and I began to utilize computers since 1984 as a hobby. I earned my life, and I knew the love of my life thanks to computers and Internet.

Can't wait until the next installment of this topic. I went looking around at Our Time and Senior People Meet---both free sites. Like you, I wasn't really interested in online dating but I was curious and I got three great blogs from the experience. What shocked me was how many guys in my age bracket were in my zip code---about 100. But most proclaimed to be into long walks on the beach and holding hands. Really guys? And way too many claimed to love water sports which leaves me out. The cellulite on my legs is allergic to bathing suits. If a person was into fixer uppers, it would be fun to help some of the guys to write credible profiles. Why, for example, did so many of them use profile photos of themselves standing in front of large yachts? Too many of them also felt the need to include the fact that all their equipment worked. Oh my!

Should have added that I actually know two couples who met online and later married, so it does work.

both of my daughters found their mates on dating websites (match.com & okcupid). One is celebrating her 9th year marriage anniversary this year. The other who is divorced with a child) is engaged to a wonderful man.
Seems a sensible way to proceed taking advantage of technology. There are match services for those who want companionship only--or just someone to go out to dinner, movies with occasionally. That sounds like a good option for you.

I met my Mr. Bruce via an online site in January 1998. Been together ever since. We found out we knew many of the same people. Small world, well smaller city thing.

PS: Ronni I admire how you throughly research a subject.

I haven't tried online dating, but did go to a Speed Dating Night advertised for mature women and men. What a hoot! 27 women of a certain age and only 9 men at least 20 years younger, all friends of the organizer (in her early 30s) I didn't know whether to be embarrassed or to laugh like crazy.

I did "Our Time"; decided to give it six months.
None of the sites allows any creativity; they create the responses and expect you to choose, even to describe your weight! "few extra pounds" chosen by a female apparently means "grossly overweight" according to the men I have spoken with!

I met three men in person after exchanging the anonymous emails. They were all personable and intelligent and interested in the same things as I. You already know most single men over 50 are looking for someone to move in and do their laundry and cooking! Anyway, one had gum disease therefore terrible breath. The second turned out to be uncircumcised (I asked up front when we seemed to be moving toward establishing a relationship). The third man's adult son lives with him. No one is perfect but there are places where you must draw the line. I lied about my age after all, shaving off ten years, but that didn't seem to matter to any of them.

Lucky for me to connect with a lovable, easygoing man whose life story is fascinating and who is interested in me! We are so happy together; both of us still feel lucky after more than two years!

My husband -- my 2nd and the love of my life -- died a few years ago of Alzheimer's. After almost 10 years as a caregiver I have no interest in finding another partner, but tried Ourtime and one other one (I forgot which) when I was 72 just for curiosity's sake.

The positive responses I got were from men who, as the saying goes, were looking for a nurse or a hears. Anyone my age was looking for a woman 10 years younger. Two actually said I was too old. One made a date for lunch and stood me up. One fairly repulsive fellow wanted to go to bed post haste.

As a friend said, "It's humiliating to be turned down by people you'd have dismissed in high school as impossible."

Amen. Good thing I'm happy and fulfilled alone.

Sorry. Typing fingers too fast. I meant men at least 10 years older than I who were looking for "a nurse or a hearse."

When I was newly widowed I answered a few personal ads that ran in a local newspaper for elders.

One man sent a picture of himself that had to have been taken 30 years previously. The photo was of a handsome man in shorts holding a tennis racket. We agreed to meet and I wouldn't have recognized him. He was about 20 years older than I was at the time and no longer handsome.

The second man was looking for a rich widow to fund his foreign travel excursions.

The third man must have weighed 300 pounds and I would have feared for my furniture.

I gave up and stopped replying to ads. Then I joined a singles group, but that's another story.

Ronnie, I thought I recognized your photo, overthehillgal@justlooking.com. But seriously, online dating can be fun if you go in not expecting too much. Treat each new encounter like a job interview. What are my hours and is there a chance for overtime?

As a divorcee ('83-'99) I tried church groups, singles ads in alternative newspapers, video dating, and chat rooms. Nothing. Ultimately married a man I'd met in a chat room and that only lasted 3 years. I've decided you can't really "know" someone until you've lived with them.

Online dating seems only slightly better than its lower tech predecessors. Recently I signed up for two online services (OKcupid and OurTime) out of curiosity. In short order I decided I had absolutely no interest in getting back into the dating scene that had failed me so badly before. (Maybe I'm just a terrible judge of people.) Anyway, until there's a nice single guy next door who's as introverted as I am, I'm not dating again.

Twenty-three years ago, I placed an ad in the classifieds "dating" section of our local newspaper (little computer dating then). I placed the ad sincerely hoping to find others--single, divorced, etc., of either sex who would like to form a support/friendship group of people in their 40s and 50s who did not have children. There were groups for parents without partners, groups for those widowed, but nothing for people like me who were divorced but with no children.

The experiment did not work out the way I had planned, but the outcome was that I did meet my husband via that ad, and we celebrated our 21st wedding anniversary in January. We had both been married twice before, so the third time worked for us!

I'm not sure I would have liked going through the process in its current form of online dating services. No pictures were exchanged in my process, and we communicated via anonymous mail box services and then by phone before we finally met in person. I was forty-two and he was fifty-nine.

We've been very happy, but the age difference makes the future from 2015 on less bright.

Having met my husband on-the-air via amateur radio, I consider online dating to be equivalent. I know at least three couples who met through an online dating service, and they seem quite happy!

Twenty years ago I answered an ad in the local classifieds newspaper "singles" section as well and I met my darling husband, 9 months younger than I, and we have been married 18 1/2 years. We had both been married 2 times before but divorced for many years and both wanted a partner to grow old with. I am now 75 and it has been a challenge at times but so rewarding as well. It was difficult to find the right person, even 20 years ago, but it was not impossible, and, like everything else in life, it takes some work and some luck.

I'm thinking I might be willing to try this. I have several friends who do online dating but I could never see myself doing it after hearing their experiences. Now I'm hearing here that there actually are some decent people to be found online. Of course my requirements might be way hard. Like Ronni, I'm pretty content on my own and not looking because be careful what you wish for. In one evening, over wine, I could lose a lot of things but mainly my independence, which I am SO happy to have. On second thought...I don't think I'll try after all. If only there were gentlemen who would just like to meet up for dinner and conversation with a fairly intelligent and fairly decent looking mature woman. That would be the ideal but unfortunately most men (not to offend the ones here on the site) are looking for a warm hard younger body or an old one who can give them lots of financial security. Ugh!

My marriage is another example of an on-line dating site that worked out. My husband and I met in 1997, married in 1998 and have been together since. It's important, I think, to meet the person as soon as possible before creating fantasies which may be impossible to live up to. I think it's as good a way as any to meet someone.

Can't wait to read Part 2 of this saga!

Ronni, as to you thinking you're not qualified to discuss certain subjects (such as adult children or long-term spouses), I wonder if it even matters whether you're "qualified"? For one thing, it appears that we, your readers, are only too happy to leap in with our own experiences and fill in any blanks that you may have left :-) But also, it strikes me that one of your many crucial strengths in running this blog, is that you have the courage to tackle subjects that many of us wouldn't touch if you hadn't encouraged us by stepping up to the plate first. Once you broach a subject, that gives us the okay to join in too and thus learn that we're not the only ones having the experience.

So I say go for it. We don't care if you're an expert on whatever it is, we just love the discussion and the knowledge that we gain from that, which we would never find anywhere else....speaking for myself anyway.

Well-phrased, Katie and I agree.

Thanks for doing the legwork Ronni. After reading Part 1 I know for sure I'm not about to try online dating.

My thoughts are the same as Judy's. I was in a quasi-relationship for awhile, but he really wanted a wife without benefit of marriage. The no-marriage was okay by me but darned if I was going to be the wife-who-does-it-all...I 'd already gone that route. I'm happy for those who had a positive outcome thru the various dating ads, it's just not for me.

Also, I agree with Katie's comment-I appreciate all your efforts...c'n hardly wait for Part 2 of your saga!

You really are amazing!
Our son and soon to be daughter-in-law met on OKCupid.
The comments? Just as amazing!

Looking forward to part 2. I have a number of friends who've had success with online dating, but it's uneven. Like one friend said, she had to weed out a lot of knuckleheads before she found a very nice man. Her success came in a couple weeks. Another woman I know was looking the old fashion way for two years before a friend set her up with a very nice guy. I wonder if computer dating is a more efficient process?

Shortly after my husband died I started checking an online dating site. Halfway through the 'about myself' section I realized that I wouldn't go out with anyone that would respond. Not even wanting to date myself, I gave up.

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