Advertisment A Golden Age for Online Dating Single, divorced and widowed older daters are turning to the Internet to meet new people, just like thier children and grandchildren do. Something was missing from Linda Evans' life. In her late 50s, Linda had two grown children and a job she liked. She was happy despite being divorced for nearly a decade.
After 21 years of marriage, Linda had discovered that dating at her age was not her forte. She had tried set-ups and church singles groups with no luck.
Linda's sister, worried that she was going to end up alone and unhappy, made her promise to try one more thing before giving up: She asked friends and relatives to recommend a site. A popular answer was eHarmony. She heard the profile questions were very thorough and the site was safe and confidential. So she signed on, giving herself three months to find someone. It only took her three weeks. Some, such as eHarmony. These sites keep growing in popularity as older people divorce and become as Internet-savvy as their children and grandchildren.
More than 10, Ohioans are registered members. Senior dating sites are marketed much differently than other dating sites, Prendergast says. But Linda, a health store supervisor, set her sights a little closer to home.
She narrowed her search to a mile radius from her home in Akron. Most of the time, it doesn't happen like that. After a year online, Roger, who was divorced after a year marriage, says he was ready to give up. He had been on several disappointing dates.
On one first date, he couldn't even recognize the woman from her online picture. The photograph was of her, only 10 years younger. Roger was immediately turned off. There was no second date. Roger and Linda both stress the basic safety tips for online dating: Don't give someone your address until you know you can trust them. Meet in a public place the first time for a safe cup of coffee.
If the date is going well, it can always be extended to a full meal. Always make sure a friend knows where you are and has your date's contact information, just in case. She says she sat in her car for 45 minutes before the date, fighting with herself over whether to go inside. But she went in. And this past September, they celebrated their first wedding anniversary. They now live in Parma Heights, Roger's hometown. Despite online dating's growing popularity, it still seems to be something that is done, but not always discussed.
But he adds he'd be more embarrassed to say he met someone at a bar. Linda sympathizes with those online daters who want to keep what they do hush-hush. Now, she's ready to let everyone know how she and Roger met.
I know how happy we are. Just to sign up and fill out personality forms could take hours. Some forms are less involved, such as those on SeniorFriendFinder. Profile questions range from number of grandchildren to marital status divorced, widowed, single to religion, profession and living situation. Some sites rate your compatibility with other members or offer you a chance to take a personality test. People can join others' networks of friends, enter chat rooms to write to each other, and even wink at each other.
You can search for potential dates or for friends: Couples can look for couples and anyone can look for companions of the same sex. Jane Sahr, 61, has tried eHarmony. Site managers with eHarmony. Sahr says both sites seem to focus more on marriage than simply dating or friendship. Sahr, a mother of three and grandmother of six, likes Internet dating because it creates a barrier between her and the men she meets, so she can maintain privacy and feel safe.
She's not at all shy about discussing her online dating experiences, even though they haven't been positive, but she can understand why others might not want to talk about it. Women outnumber men three to one on senior Web sites, because women tend to live longer, Prendergast says. Sahr, who was widowed five years ago, built up her courage to sign up online when a friend said she had luck with eHarmony. She says she'd tapped out all the organizations she belongs to, including church groups and art clubs such as the Hudson Art Society, which she helps run.
She says the men in those groups were either married or had girlfriends, or she wasn't interested. Not as a last resort, but rather a change of pace, she says, Sahr spent three months on eHarmony. She corresponded with dozens of men with whom eHarmony.
She sent some of the site's recommended multiple-choice questions to the men, then marked their names down on her calendar and patiently waited two weeks, as eHarmony. When she didn't hear a response, the men were placed in the trash. Sahr says she went through three emotional stages after three months with no luck: Sahr has been on the site for two months and has talked to nearly a dozen "fellows" so far.
She gives them five days to respond before she cuts them off "none of this two weeks business". For another month, Sahr plans to sit back and let PerfectMatch. She paid for three months up front, and when her time is up, Sahr plans on taking a little break from the Internet. She laughs and adds, "It's an experience, at least.