I’m on Match.com with the hot over-50 crowd, no joke

May 28, 2013 · 28 comments

in Making art, Relationships

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So, I met a guy…and now I’ve got your attention! Well, it’s actually true. Match.com, to my shock, has become quite the meeting place for 50- and 60-somethings. Could it be that older is the new younger?

This is a super-dramatic improvement from July 2010, when 54-year-old me quit online dating in disgust. The whole process felt like such a second-rate meat market. I swore to never, EVER do it again.

But since my recent return, I’ve discovered that the scene has evolved. There seems to be an explosion in online dating among gray-haired folks, with 70-ish Martha Stewart as our poster girl. On May 9, she went on the “Today Show” to meet two candidates, both in their late 60s, who contacted her via her Match.com profile. Oh, Martha, you cougar, you!

I’m certain that there’s room for both of us in the growing world of single, aging baby boomers. The gray divorce trend — the new catch-phrase to describe couples who split up once their kids are grown or in college — must be making a difference. At least, for me, it feels like there’s more dating going on in my age group. More people, more personalities, more choices.

It’s sort of fascinating to be back on Match in an era when online dating has become such a socially acceptable venue in every conceivable age group. Honestly? For me, meeting a true match will require a genuinely sustainable, electric connection, which has been tough to find over the past decade. Still, it’s been helpful to practice dating, which wasn’t something I knew how to do when I was young…

So that’s where I am — exploring ways to just relax in the moment. It’s taken me more than half a century to reach this point. Better late than never, right?

Anyways, if you know of anyone who needs to get outta the house, maybe you can share this post. It might motivate them to subscribe to a little online dating and take a chance. Risk is good.  :)

Update Oct. 14, 2013: I’m still on Match.com and it’s been pretty interesting — to the point where I’ve made a decision. This is probably my last post about online dating, at least for a very long while. Going off-line will give me a chance to figure out stuff quietly. Privately. How novel of me, an attempt at a private life, haha!   

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{ 28 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Doralee Halperin May 28, 2013 at 12:50 am

Hi Betty!

Loved this post (even more than the one you wrote a little while back about running)! Here’s why:

Almost six years ago I decided I wanted to meet someone after being single for many years. I too had tried on line dating before and HATED it. Because I wasn’t meeting anyone through my work (vet tech and pet sitter) or through friends, I decided to revisit Match.com. Made several promises to myself: 1) give it one month; 2) would not try to convince myself that someone was potentially a match despite evidence to the contrary; 3) because I look very good for my age (55 at that point), I would only choose someone who also looked very good for his age (Superficial? Perhaps but I decided to commit to what I really wanted); and, 4) would not carry on a lengthy email exchange and risk developing a false sense of intimacy.

One of the first fellows to respond to my ad was adorable and his message was straight forward, well-written and showed he had paid attention to what I had written about my interests and what I was looking for. We exchanged a couple of emails and when he asked what we should do next, I said, “Let’s meet for coffee.” He turned out to be even cuter than his photo and a real gentleman. We are still together and are planning to marry in September. As I like to say, he’s not perfect but he’s perfect for me.

I hope you find the one who’s perfect for YOU. Enjoy the adventure!

Best regards,
Doralee

2 betty ming liu May 28, 2013 at 8:32 am

Doralee, CONGRATULATIONS!! What a great story. And all your tips are excellent too. Also, really like your line: “As I like to say, he’s not perfect but he’s perfect for me.” That goes vice versa in terms of him with you. Thanks for sharing and best wishes for the September wedding. Such a romantic time of the year to get married. :)

3 chapstickmom (Carol) May 28, 2013 at 9:23 am

As I write this the clock in the dining room is playing ‘if you wish upon a star’.

I only wish I had as good a result on match.com as Doralee.

I joined in 2011. I immediately met one of the biggest men in New York-6’5 inches tall. 280. I am 5 feet tall. He decided it was time I learned to ride a motorcycle. So there I was riding around Shippan Point in Stamford on the back of his motorcycle. I had a great time and though nothing came of it ,it was a liberating experience.

After that met a man who wanted me take the train to NYC once a week to be his ‘buddy’. (I called Match over that one.)

Then there was the guy who wanted to marry me as soon as my divorce was final. (guess he was running out of clean socks.)

My personal favorite was the guy who was having infertility treatment with his wife while they were separated as he thought if she had another baby she would be happier with him.

I also tried going back on in 2013. No point. Same guys with the same photos as in 2011.

So here are a few points that you can take or leave but hopefully will make Betty’s followers smile.

A Match.com exec was recently quoted as saying they took in $137,000 in fees for every marriage that happened. So that makes your chances ……

One of my guy friends said ‘yes , do try Match. It will give you the practice and confidence to do real dating later.’

Join for only one month and then go back and do it again 6 months later. Yes it is more expensive but you won’t look like a ‘left on the shelf’ as the British call it.

Try all the sites so you can follow the same guys. Everyone starts with Match.com for 6 months ;then goes to Plenty of Fish as it is free. Then they try the smaller ones – OKCupid (free. owned by Match.), Our Time (Match again.) Chemistry (Match again) and then you can try eHarmony (actually owned by someone different.)

Hopefully by that time you will have met someone at work.

And my final thought is a statement from my Doctor ‘Carol why would you possibly want to date again? Every guy out there some other woman threw out .’

Well optimism is all that gets any of us through life. So try Match.com -try them all . It beats being home alone; gets you out in the community and gives you something to laugh about the next day.

4 betty ming liu May 28, 2013 at 9:24 am

Carol, Carol, thank you for posting this! You speak the truth, girl! There is totally a timing cycle involved. And thanks for posting info on all the other sites. I have a recently-divorced friend who says she believes there’s someone out there for each of us. Of course, her math makes no sense at all but it’s important to be open to love in any form, even if it arrives on my doorstep as a dog from the animal shelter. This is about vulnerability! On the flip side, there is my chiropractor, who has watched me struggle through the last years of my marriage and then the decade of dating. The thing she keeps telling me is, you just have to kiss a lot of frogs. I’m still reflecting on that one!

5 Jenna Dailey May 28, 2013 at 9:25 am

Good for you Betty! I know I’m only 25, but I went to visit my best friend this past weekend. Her boyfriend was also visiting for the weekend and turns out they met online. She’s one awesome gal and has struggled to find an equally awesome guy who wasn’t afraid of a successful woman. He was great. And their story was really inspiring for me, because as I’ve started to watch my friends marry and have babies, I’ll be honest, I’ve started to wonder if I’ve missed my boat or something. But maybe there are great guys still out there. I hope you find someone who is as creative and talented as you are and who makes you feel at home! Keep us updated :)

6 betty ming liu May 28, 2013 at 9:44 am

Jenna, thank you and thanks for sharing your friends’ experience. I’ve heard stories like that from young folks I know. At first it surprised me that 20-somethings need to meet each other online; then again, you all live your lives on the Internet so, why not? Hang in there….I remember feeling just like you at 25. That’s probably why I got married at 26! There were great things about our marriage, wonderful growth moments — and of course, we have a daughter who made everything worthwhile. But if I had to be in my early 20s again, I wish someone had told me to go pursue my passions in other ways besides hoping to meet the “right” man. Jenna, there’s so much about yourself that is waiting to be explored! Giving that attention to yourself will make you glow and before you know it, something sparky will happen in your life, I’m sure of it. :)

7 Christina May 28, 2013 at 10:17 am

Hurray for opening yourself up to bringing someone new into your life!

8 betty ming liu May 28, 2013 at 10:21 am

Yeah, I’m doing my best not to over-think any of this. Just wanted to pull the curtain open to give a brief progress report because that’s the mission of my blog. Now I’m gonna close the curtain, live a little in a so-called private life, and see what happens, if anything. :)

9 Toby May 28, 2013 at 11:58 am

Well Betty, all I can say was that if I was straight and single, I’d be sending you flowers via that Match account! Being neither, all I can do is wish you good luck. Also, I take issue with Carol’s doctor as quoted above. Yes, some men in our age group were “thrown out.” Others are having mid-life crises. But there are those whose wife may have passed away or left the relationship for reasons of her own that have nothing to do with the husband’s qualities as a person.I assume these would be in a minority but they do exist.
I have no info on how on-line dating works for people in our age bracket but I do know it works really well for the 20-somethings. That’s how Billy met the wonderful Eric. And just last night Matty brought home a very nice indeed young man – very polite, intelligent and drop-dead cute – whom he had first met on-line. Hope springs eternal!

10 betty ming liu May 28, 2013 at 12:46 pm

Aw, Toby, thanks. You know, my problem when I’m with straight men is that I am capable of being a perfectly fine friend. But the minute you mention the word “relationship,” I get really weird. I will admit that about myself. There is baggage here. :)

As for Carol’s doctor’s comment, I sort of glanced over it and was relating more to all the other stuff she was talking about. Of course, not every man was thrown out. And maybe he was saying that to make her feel better. Whatever, I think the point for me is that the best thing that could happen is that we all learn something from our earlier relationships to free ourselves from serial relationships.

And thanks for sharing about your sons. Another example of young folks finding love online. More inspiration for the rest of us. And thanks for your good wishes, Toby. :)

11 Mimi May 28, 2013 at 12:47 pm

Entertaining post Betty! I actually have several friends who met online, dated and married! so you never know…good luck, you hottie you!

12 betty ming liu May 28, 2013 at 12:49 pm

Haha, Mimi! Loving all these success stories! Thanks. xo

13 Cassandra Aoki May 29, 2013 at 11:34 pm

See, I told you after your job quitting announcement that someone special was going to come into your life and not to worry because you won’t be spending the rest of your life alone. He was just there in the shadows waiting for you to make a change in your life and be open to a relationship…Good luck and God bless.

14 betty ming liu May 30, 2013 at 6:29 pm

Cassandra, yes you did indeed say that — you are such a romantic. Bless you for your encouragement and thanks for the good wishes. As I told my daughter this morning, you can never tell how things will turn out. But I am sure that this one, for however long it lasts, will be worth exploring. And can’t ask for much more than that right now!

15 A June 1, 2013 at 5:11 pm

This is off topic, but wondering if you’ve seen the documentary (available on Netflix streaming) called The Grace Lee Project. I just happened upon it and found it interesting – the filmmaker named Grace Lee searches for other Grace Lees around the world in an exploration of Asian women’s identity and stereotypes.

16 betty ming liu June 1, 2013 at 6:34 pm

A, perfectly fine to be off-topic. Randomness is trait worth developing because takes us to interesting places. Yes, I’ve heard of this doc but have never seen it. Because of the way this blog works, I’m sure “The Grace Lee Project” is suddenly on my radar for a reason. So thanks for being the messenger! For everyone else, here is a link to a NYTimes review about the movie. http://movies.nytimes.com/2005/12/14/movies/14proj.html?_r=0 Thanks for stopping by!

17 Rachel June 28, 2013 at 3:19 pm

A single mom friend just passed your blog URL along to me. And I’m so glad she did! I love your voice and attitude!

I dated online for years (off and on again) and what it did for me was this: really show me what I wanted and how to set boundaries, which I had a hard time with. I’m cheering you on!

18 betty ming liu June 28, 2013 at 4:01 pm

Rachel, you and me both! Just like you, I’ve found dating online to be a chance to practice all sorts of personal development issues. I’m cheering you on too. And please thank your friend for sharing this URL. Really appreciate that you stopped by and took the time to drop me a note. All the best to you and really enjoyed reading your blog post about two single parent relationship bloggers who fell in love and are getting married! http://singlemomseeking.com/blog/2013/05/from-facebook-friends-to-fiances-blended-family-wedding/

19 MikeB August 5, 2013 at 11:17 am

Ok, Betty, here’s are some things I’ve learned about online dating, Match.com in particular:

- Almost all women I have encountered make their essential yes/no decision based on a stupid picture. Match itself warns about the pitfalls of searching for physical “types”- if you make your decision based on certain physical criteria before you ever even meet the person, you never have the chance to see whether there is chemistry. My lifetime experience is that I am more physically attracted to women that I have chemistry with (not only chemistry, but it’s a big part of it), and that I become more physically attracted as chemistry develops. That’s what everyone wants, right? Using a picture, which is one of the most dishonest devices available on Match in the first place because of the way photos can be manipulated or just outright falsified, as a first-cut selection device is just plain dumb, but that’s how it works, and women are quite guilty of this, too.

- Among middle-aged women, at least, the percentage of them looking for guys younger than them is almost 100%. Nothing wrong with that. Women looking for guys younger in preference to older is more than 50%. Nothing wrong with that, either. Women lying about their age and looking for much younger guys is certainly happening also. Obviously, that’s considered despicable when men do it; what is it when women do it? I heard the excuse twice, when I caught women lying to me, “they’re just compensating for the Match matching algorithm.” What utter BS. What kind of relationship is that person going to wind up with? And I don’t want to hear about this thing of guys chasing after younger women. It’s happening both ways, maybe men to a greater degree, but it’s both sexes.

- I think that middle-aged people who are suddenly back in the dating game after years out of it in general have some difficulty adjusting to the physical reality of their age. As I have joked in my divorce support group, “every woman I ever dated was twenty-something” (no longer true) because I quit dating when I married my twenty-something wife. Now I have discovered there are some hot women who are forty or fifty-something. Who’da thought?

- Match.com is a really unfriendly environment to people who don’t want to publically post their photos. There is no way using the Match email system to attach a photo to an email, which means that first contacts cannot contain photos- they have to be attached from another email program, even if they are sent to a Match email address. And then Match garbles the email, removing the inline attachments and simply listing them as attachments. There are other ways to do this; I’ll just say that it probably saves Match petabytes of storage to suppress pictures in individual emails, and a lot of programming complexity to not allow private photos.

Overall, not happy with the Match experience; I literally do better in bars, although it’s not so good for my liver.

20 betty ming liu August 5, 2013 at 12:25 pm

Mike, thanks for the honest picture of Match.com from your vantage point. I totally agree with you that the photo can be a deal-breaker — and deal-maker. But in my humble opinion, there’s nothing really wrong with that. I once had a very wise shrink who said that dating is like shopping. Here’s my post about it: http://bettymingliu.com/2012/10/finding-true-love-s-like-shopping/ If you ahem, buy into that approach, then the shopper needs to see decent picture of what’s one the market!

I understand this is disheartening and very meat-market-y. But that’s the way it goes, esp in Internet dating. It’s the reason that I get fed up with online dating too! And yes, you’re right — to not post a photo is to invite weirdos to your profile. Makes it very hard for you, no question.

And yes, yes, as a survivor of middle-aged dating, the aging process is brutal on everyone’s self image. But I’m glad you’re finding hot babes in their 40s and 50s…atta boy!

There’s no excuse for anyone to lie about their ages. I’ve never done it and have paid the price. Oh well. Online dating is imperfect, no doubt about it. Still, wouldn’t things be worse if we didn’t have it as an option? A lot of us would have absolutely no where else to hang out. As you say, bars are not always an option.

Thanks again for taking the time to write such a thoughtful reflection!

21 MikeB August 5, 2013 at 2:39 pm

Betty, I fundamentally reject the notion that not having a photo caused problems with weirdos- without exception, these experiences are all based from women with whom I made the first contact. I actually don’t have a problem with the way it worked at all- if I have managed to connect with someone by email alone, I think I am far ahead of where I would be if I connected first based on my picture. My emails are an attempt to connect, to find some initial chemistry, in an environment where it is really difficult. (You said hot “babes”, I said hot “women” : )

22 carol August 5, 2013 at 5:23 pm

Mike,

From a woman’s prospective, a profile without a photo is a big red flag that the guy is married and ‘shopping’.

Sometimes it is due to the person being a public figure – doctor or detective or soldier or similar.

But usually it means the person who isn’t willing to show their face probably should not be there.

On the flipside, people are far less likely to respond to profiles without photos so if you respond to one the chance they respond back is higher and vice-versa.

Just my observations.

23 MikeB August 5, 2013 at 8:41 pm

Right- like I said, lying is so commonplace that innocence is the same as lying. What if I’m just shy? You assume that no picture means I’m a creep; I say in my profile that it’s about privacy; doesn’t matter, I’m lying. What incentive is there to tell the truth when lying has more reward? I’m a very ethical person, so I’m stuck with the truth. I don’t think it’s the best way for a man to succeed on Match, though, and there are a lot of women who have come to the same conclusion.

24 MikeB August 5, 2013 at 8:44 pm

One other thing: I haven’t had a single response from a pic-less woman. Seems simple, right? “Want to trade pics?” Nada.

25 carol August 6, 2013 at 1:52 am

MikeB

There is a flip side to this. The scammers who steal Facebook profiles of ‘beautiful people’ and set up fake profiles on Match and other dating sites. They then befriend people and eventually ask them for money.
Most of these come from overseas. They will say they are stuck in customs in Nigeria etc. Their correspondence often contains ‘broken English. One sure way to catch out a scammer ? Ask their favorite candy bar. They won’t know the names of American Candy Bars.
Also waiting 24 hours before answering someone for the first time will give Match time to catch and eliminate scammers before they latch on to you. See the safety tips on Match for more info.

26 carol August 6, 2013 at 1:59 am

MikeB – a laugh for you. When I put my real age down and recent photos , I was accused of using old photos. Guys thought my photos were of a woman 10 years younger !! HA HA !

Why? because women my age were saying they were 10 years younger.

Happy hunting !

27 betty ming liu August 7, 2013 at 9:42 am

MikeB and carol, thanks for getting into the nitty-gritty of the online dating scene. As you both point out, the system is soooo imperfect. There’s no getting around that.

But Match.com, in particular, has always been a useful outlet for me because everybody knows about it and it’s possible to cast a pretty wide net. I think those of us who go back to it simply make our peace with the flaws and do our best to stay positive. In all honesty, there have been past rounds of dating online that were just awful for me

Still, things might be getting better in the years to come, esp for aging baby boomers. Have you heard of the “gray divorce?” It refers to couples with grown children who suddenly discover that, with the kids gone, there’s not much holding them together anymore. We’re seeing more of that these days.

Also, MikeB, there are lots of people who feel like you do. What I’ve noticed is that every few years when I get back on Match.com, the site shows significant improvements. Who knows, there might come a time when a solution is possible. Good luck!

28 MikeB August 7, 2013 at 10:19 am

One thing about Match or any other online dating experience: most of it can be miserable, but it only takes one good match to make all the rest of it worthwhile.

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