Advice. Senior men: Date women near your age. Date women close to your age worked for this senior man.
By Tom P Blake - Finding Love after 50
This article was published in 2008. Updates for 2016 are noted in the text.
Many older singles have given up using the Internet as a mate-finding tool, saying it's too impersonal, too dangerous, or they just haven't had any success using it. And yet, enough mature adults have found their partners online that the use of the Internet for meeting someone should not be dismissed altogether.
Clyde (not his true name), 66, has been a customer at my Dana Point, California, deli (Tutor and Spunky's Deli) for more than 15 years. During that timeframe, he and I have had many conversations about the frustrations of being single after age 50. Clyde has been divorced for 20 years, dated often, but had not found the right woman for him.
When he and I first met, we both agreed that we'd like to settle down again if the right woman came along.
For me, that happened ten years ago, when a woman named Greta ordered a fresh carrot juice at my deli. I asked her out and we've been a couple ever since. (Update 2016: Greta and Tom are still going strong in October, 2016)
But, for Clyde, finding a compatible mate was more elusive.
A few years ago, Clyde started using Match.com on the Internet to search for a mate. In his profile, he stated he wanted a Christian woman who liked to have fun. But he was hung up on that age issue that irks the hell out of women. He was seeking someone 49-55 (from 11 to 16 years younger).
One day in the deli, I told him to be more realistic in the age range he was seeking--to consider women who were closer to his age. He adopted that strategy.
Meanwhile Bonnie (not her true name), a woman living in Newport Beach, about ten miles away, was also using the Internet to seek a mate. On her Eharmony.com profile, she listed her true age of 62, although people who knew her told her she looks much younger than her age. She wanted a fun-loving Christian man. But the only responses she got were from "old guys and pastors," according to Clyde, who shared this story with me last week.
To improve her chances of meeting more men, Bonnie decided to shave a few years off of her age on her profile, but Eharmony refused to let her lower her age on her profile. So, Bonnie switched to Match.com and listed her age as 55.
"I emailed her last August, within hours of her posting her profile," Clyde said. Wasting no time, they decided to meet in person at Proud Mary's, a restaurant in Dana Point Harbor, after exchanging only two emails. There was instant chemistry on both sides. Clyde couldn't believe his luck; he thought Bonnie was absolutely beautiful and down to earth. They laughed a lot and sparks were flying. They shared Christian beliefs.
But-and there's always a "but" in new found, mature romance-Bonnie had to fess up to Clyde about her age. It was the old "We need to talk" discussion that new couples often must have to clear the air of muddy issues and fibs.
When she told him she was actually 62, she was shocked at his reaction. "That's great," Clyde said, "I want someone closer to my age." His enlightened thinking about age had worked for him. Had Bonnie not lowered her age and switched to Match, she and Clyde may have never met.
And Bonnie had one concern about Clyde: Why hadn't he hooked up with anybody in the 20 years since his divorce? Was he not relationship material?
Clyde tackled her concern head on: "I refused to settle. I waited for the perfect woman for me and you're it." She sure liked that answer.
So what's happened since last August? Clyde and Bonnie attend the South Shores Church in Dana Point together, they have great fun, and they will marry on July 19 near the home they will share.
The Internet brought two people together who lived just 10 miles apart, but who likely would have never met. Clyde and Bonnie didn't give up on Internet dating; they are grateful they didn't.
Lesson learned: Senior men: date women near your age
2016 update: I don’t know if Bonnie and Clyde are still married. I saw him from a distance at an outdoor concert this summer and he was by himself—maybe Bonnie was off robbing banks that day or something else—so they might still be together.