an online resource for baby boomers

Online Dating

The playwright George Bernard Shaw said, “Youth is wasted on the young.” He meant that young people have everything going for them—good health, sharp minds, unbridled energy—but they fail to recognize and utilize all of their advantages.

To these thoughts, most older singles would offer a hearty, “Amen!” After all, many people would admit that the dating process gets more complicated and challenging as you age. The older people get, the more “out of it” and left behind they feel in the pursuit of romance. “Dating is a young person’s game,” they say, “and that’s probably why I feel benched.”

If you have been thinking about dating again, take a cue from the younger crowd and consider online dating. As people age, social circles diminish or change. Online dating sites can introduce you to other singles whose paths you may never have crossed otherwise. If you are interested in a serious relationship, try a site that is focused on compatibility and can match you with those who share similar traits that are scientifically proven to lead to happy long-term relationships.

Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there. Think of the benefits that age bring:

You know yourself better now.
At the heart of wise dating is a clear understanding of who you are. You must know your needs, temperament, strengths and weaknesses before you can select a partner who will complement you.

You have clarified your dreams and goals.
As time goes by, we become more focused and clear-eyed. As you have become more selective about the ambitions to pursue, you are better able to evaluate whether your goals complement those of your potential partner.

You have more realistic expectations.
Older singles know that any kind of romantic relationship, however wonderful, will have problems to work through. With maturity comes the acknowledgment that life is not a fairy tale. A long-term relationship can be fabulous, but it will never be flawless.

You have a clearer sense of what matters.
By the time we’re well into adulthood, most of us understand that lasting love hinges on compatibility. We know that this is far more significant over the long term than external factors, such as physical attraction.

Take it from Baltimore couple Joanne and Bill, who met online. Their experience shows that it’s never too late to look for love.

The holidays were coming. My Dad was sick. There was a lot going on, so I decided to stop my eHarmony matches. I thought I had done so, but evidently had forgotten to actually make the request, because one more match showed up...Bill. His profile sounded intriguing. The fact that he, too, had lost a beloved spouse to cancer made me think he would understand me. That he was involved in many interesting activities caught my attention and I liked his writing style. There was one problem, however. Although he lived only 35 miles away as the crow flies, in actuality there were 85 road miles between us as we lived on opposite shores of the Chesapeake Bay.
I kept re-reading his profile, but thought contacting him was impractical. In fact, he had decided that the distance definitely was too great. He tells me that he read my profile one last time, however, and found himself contacting me.

We corresponded a bit and continued to be attracted to each other. He suggested that we meet for coffee. We had a pleasant meeting, but still debated the sanity of starting up a dating relationship given the distance. Later the same evening, I had an email from him suggesting that we meet in the middle a few days later for lunch and a holiday house tour.

We continued to see each other and decided we would just have to deal with the distance. We quickly became inseparable, putting many miles on our cars each week. When we weren’t together we were emailing or phoning throughout the day just to keep in touch. We met each other’s family and friends, and everyone commented on what a perfect match we were and how happy we looked together. We continued to discover how many things we have in common and were increasingly amazed at how well we got along.

Shortly after I met Bill, he bought a piece of property with the idea of building on it in the future. One afternoon, six months after we had met, he suggested that we have “happy hour” at the lot, a beautiful wooded area out in the country. “Yet more evidence of how romantic he is,” I thought. When we got to the lot, he pulled out lawn chairs and a cooler. He set up the chairs under the trees and invited me to relax. Then he got down on one knee and opened the cooler, to pull out the wine and glasses, I thought. Instead, he pulled out an engagement ring and asked me to marry him. I was so shocked, that I temporarily forgot to say, “Yes.”

Early in our dating, I had told Bill that I had always wanted to take a trip to New England in the fall. So he set about planning an elopement trip to Vermont. We stayed in a little inn in a quaint town and were married in front of the colorful, fall foliage on October 15. We had brought with us printed announcements. The next day, we attached copies of one of our wedding photos to each and sent them out to share our news with family and friends. We are now settling in as Mr. and Mrs. Ghio. I am making the transition from city life to life in a charming, historic town. He is retired, and I am self-employed and work at home, so we have plenty of flexibility to enjoy our time with each other. We are most grateful to eHarmony and in awe of how their system brought two such compatible people together.

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Boomers Resource Guide is a special supplement to the Senior Citizen's Guide