So you’re looking for love after 50? Experts say to sign up for dating sites, get on social media and start being proactive about your own love life.
Love after 50 isn’t what it used to be.
Julie Spira says newly single baby boomers and who haven’t been on the dating scene for a long time shouldn’t be sitting at home and waiting for their friends to fix them up. They should instead take part in the growing trend for those over 50 by joining online dating sites or using mobile dating aps to find love or a causal relationship if that’s what’s they want, says Spira, the author of The Perils Of Cyber-Dating: Confessions Of A Hopeful Romantic Looking For Love Online.
“I don’t know the percentage but the baby boomer market is the largest growing market to dating sites and social networking sites,” Spira says. “They were a little later to get to the digital party than others, but it’s one the fastest growing segments. It’s a couple’s world for the rest of their friends and they feel a little lost so they join a dating site.”
Friends may try to fix them up, ultimately they run out of friends, Spira says. They don’t feel like they know someone that they like for you or if they know someone people, that dating pool dries up quickly, she says.
“The days of sitting home and waiting for someone to contact you, you are not going to fill up that date card if you take that old strategy,” says Spira who puts out a regular newsletter through her site cyberdatingexpert.com. “You need to toss out those rules and everyone needs to jump into the party and start communicating online.”
They’re encouraged to try it because they see their kids and neighbors using online dating sites. It’s popular for newly single people 50 and older who find themselves single want to immediately find themselves a relationship, she says.
“It’s the quickest and most reliable way, and it’s available 24 hours a day for someone to find a new companion,” Spira says.
What people find is suddenly they have the opportunity to talk a large amount of people and meet a cross section of people and figure out what they’re interested in, Spira says. They have to learn how to date again. It’s a simple and easy way to learn how to date.
So what are baby boomers doing to meet people online?
“They’re meeting through social networking sites such as Facebook and through networking groups,” Spira says. “There are offline events where they might see an invitation on Facebook for a networking group meet-up, and they might meet them that way.”
Spira, who has a site called facebooklovestories.com, says a lot of couples have gotten married by meeting on Facebook.
“It’s really very common to reflect back and do a search on Google or Facebook of a college sweetheart, a high school sweetheart or maybe an old neighbor and reconnect through Facebook. That’s a very popular way for people to meet and a little less threatening to go on Facebook that maybe you haven’t seen in ten years.”
Dating sites like e-Harmony and match.com are sites with large critical mass, and Spira says that’s the beauty of those sites because they have a lot members and a lot of people for you to gain a match. Match.com sends you daily suggestions of people based on your parameters of what you’re looking for what they think you would be interested in, but it’s up to you to follow up, she says. You can also do your own searches based on your dating parameters.
E-harmony, which is responsible for a lot of marriages, have algorithms in which they send you suggested matches, and then you review the matches and decide whether you want to communicate or not, Spira says.
Dating sites run from free to $60 to 70 a month depending upon how long you sign up, Spira says. If you sign up for six months to a year, you get the best value. If you sign up for 30 days, it’s more costly, she says.
Some of the other sites include Our Time for those 50 and older, Spira says. AARP has a dating site now for 50 and old as well. Other options include Plenty of Fish, OK Cupid, and Zoosk. Those who prefer to look for someone they know should try Facebook first, she says.
“I think it is much easier to do,” Spira says. “You’re going back to your comfort zone. You already know that you have a common bond. If you went to college or high with them or if they lived in your neighborhood or if they went to your church or temple, that’s an easy way to connect through Facebook. Send a private message and send a friend request on Facebook. In your message, you can say, “Hi. How have you been? It’s nice to reconnect.’ People really do enjoy reconnecting on Facebook.”
While that’s easier, if you are interested in connecting with someone who you don’t know already, setting up a profile on an online dating site is the best option, she says.
“I look at profiles every day of a variety of different dating sites, and I think one of the most important things necessary is you need to look and be a little bit unique,” Spira says. “But you need to be authentic and genuine. You should be honest about who you are and what you’re looking for. If you’re interested in dating casually, don’t say you’re interested in marriage or a long-term relationship.”
Spira urges you put in your correct age and recent photos. She suggests getting a photographer or a friend with a digital camera and take “a bunch of different photos in different outfits and settings to show you have an interesting life.” She says posting three to five photos is enough and suggests you use a catchy screen name. Using current photos is what’s important, she says.
“They’re going to hop over to Facebook or Instagram and see what you look like today,” Spira says. “If it doesn’t mirror what you look like in your dating profile, they’re going to move on to the next one.”
As for the differences been men and women over 50 when it comes to online dating, it’s typically men that initiate contact with women, Spira says. She says she tells women over 50 that they need to be proactive with their search if they want to make the most out of their membership. They need to see who is viewing them, and they need to write to people and take a more active role.
“The more engaged you are in the process, the better you’re results are going to be,” Spira says. “And take your relationship online to offline so you just don’t end up with additional pen pals.”
Spira says it’s important to cast a wide net and go out with someone that’s outside of “your normal comfort zone.” You may not find a love connection but you might meet a new friend or get a new business contact, she says.
“Cast a wide net and understand that you’re doing business networking but it’s really for your love life,” Spira says.
One trend is how a lot of people are getting involved in relationships with people from out of town, Spira says. In that situation, everybody puts on their best digital footprint, and they advertise a perfect world with you in it and then they don’t meet you, she says.
“Anytime you get involved with somebody who doesn’t live near you, you need to ask them to immediately do a video chat with you,” Spira says. “You can FaceTime and Skype and start chatting with somebody and see if they really look like who they are to make sure they’re genuine.”
If you live in the same city after exchanging a few emails, Spira recommends having a phone date which should never last more than 20 minutes. During the phone date if you feel comfortable, put a real date on the calendar and meet them within a week. On the phone date if “you feel like you’re sitting in the dentist’s chair, and it doesn’t feel right,” thank them for time and tell you don’t have enough in common to move the relationship forward, Spira says.
Spira is a big booster of online dating as you can tell and says people can be successful at it.
“Millions of people are finding love online. There are more than 40 million people that are looking for love online. It just takes one in 40 million to find your soulmate,” Spira says.