Dating online at can be frustrating for a 50-something woman

betty ming liu Relationships 45 Comments

In the past decade since my divorce, I’ve used from time to time. I just spent $75.09 to join up for the next three months. And even though I know the game, I have a lot of new questions. They stem from my frustrations in being a 50-something woman.

Some background: Two nights ago, I posted my profile in hopes of meeting a guy my age. Since then, 166 people viewed my profile 250 times, 18 men emailed me and another 24 “winked” — which means they’re interested but won’t initiate more.

What I’ve seen so far has me wondering….

  • Why don’t most of the 50-something guys want women their age? Most of my male peers state that they’re seeking women who are 33 to 45.
  • Why do 50-somethings who describe themselves as “athletic and toned” post pictures of themselves shirtless? Do they really think that this is is a sign of confidence?
  • One potential suitor (real estate developer! 54! loves travel and skiing!) described himself as a “great catch.” He began his email to me with “hi vetty.” Am I really supposed to respond to that????
  • In scrolling through the hundreds of profiles, I spotted one where a 50-ish guy noted, “I like to work out at the GIM.” Did I really read that???
  • Why so many photos of older dudes on racing bikes or posing with sports cars? Eeeeewww.

<Sigh.>  So here’s the real issue. I’M TURNING 54 SOON. And I’m feeling my age.

It used to be that by now on Match, my profile would result in hundreds of views and dozens of emails. The irony is that most people think that I’m in my early 40s. I’ll bet that if I had lied about my age — instead of honestly writing that I’m 53 — my stats would be much higher.

But I have to keep reminding myself that this is not about the numbers.

All I need is one good man. He must be honest and have a sense of humor, reasonably healthy and not on any major medications. Is this asking too much?

P.S. — I might be grouchy because I’m paying for Match. If you’re interested in online dating but don’t want to bear the cost either financially or emotionally, I recommend the free site Read about my experience HERE.

Update — Oct. 14, 2013: This is probably my most popular online dating rant. But I’ve been tempted to take it down because so much has changed since I wrote it. For starters, I’m meeting many more men my age. And everyone has the good sense to keep their clothes on in their profile photos. Quite honestly, I think maybe things are different because I’ve changed. Less shrill now. More sure of what I want. Not so angry at the world. Not so lonely anymore either.  :)


Comments 45

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  2. Betty, your post brings me back to the “bad old days” of my dating in NYC. I joined one of these match up things when I was 35 and had a few interesting dates, a few duds. Nothing came of it. That said, I think it’s a good thing to do because it gets you out into the world and realizing what you want and definitely don’t want in a partner. You can choose. It’s like starting to look for a job. Even if you’re not finding anything, I always feel better–less stuck–if I’m actually looking. BTW, I’ve met you and you don’t look like you’re in your early forties. You look like you’re in your late thirties…! Good luck and take your time.

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      aw, thanks for the compliment, theresa. and you’re so right about having choices. i will not settle. if i don’t find mutual electricity, i can go solo. i really do love my life now. but my daughter wants me to date (to get me out of her hair; she says i’m around too much). my friends keep asking me about my social life. even my students are pushing me (in one recent student evaluation about my course, one student wrote something like, “betty should not be sitting home grading papers on thursday and friday nights). so we’ll see! and thanks fo much for the encouragement.

  3. you are brave! aging moobs, hmmmm. re ‘major ‘ medications — do chlesterol-lowering fall in that category? viagra?

  4. Dating men is frustrating. That’s our plight, which is sometimes I wonder …why am I doing this. Wishing you best of luck. It’s wonderful that you’re giving it another go.

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      aw jaimie, thanks! you’re gorgeous too. it’s just about getting good photos up there — get someone to take them for you. and then watch all the 60-year-old guys drool (haha). we’re a visual and superficial culture! thank you also for attaching the link to your new york times essay about online dating. it made me laugh because you hit on just how hard it is for writers to date. we’re so damn picky about how people express themselves. i totally relate. :-)

  5. Betty: I’m keeping my fingers crossed that you find a keeper, because it only gets harder as you get older. Not only do men under 65 want younger (much younger) women, they want you to look under 35. Men over 65 on the other hand, are even worse, because they look worse, are almost all retired and want to you sit in a rocking chair and hold hands when you’re not babysitting their grandchildren, often in Florida (yuck!), presumably so that you can be bored to death. This doesn’t even include the ones that can’t spell or those who hang their moobs online expecting your delectation.

    Don;t get me wrong. I like men. Besides sex with men, I like the way men think; I like talking with men; I like the way men smell (well-bathed men, of course, fresh sweat only). But it gets me that men are always so damn pleased with their looks, while it’s a rare woman who thinks that. Men can get old and wrinkled and even have wens on their face like Robert Redford and everybody agrees they’re to die over. Basically, men can own their faces. We have to “make up” ours, and there’s the rub with the dating game after 40.
    good luck! ingrid

  6. Betty,

    Regardless of what you’re looking for, I know two lovely people who met through and were just recently married. They are both normal, charmingly attractive, and are all around wonderful people! Dating in this city is tough. My goodness, I’ve realized that and I’m only 21.

    Maybe is kind of like a cover letter. Why spend your time honing in on someone who can’t spell and didn’t take the time to type your name correctly? It’s just an on screen way of weeding out those who you probably would have weeded out anyways if you had met them in person.

    Best of luck,

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    ladies, you’re the best. kristin, i love the idea of match functioning as a cover letter! makes the process seem less dreadful. ingrid, i had to laugh while i read your comment because i had no sense of the specific crap that over-60 women deal with. madeleine, welcome to my blog and thanks for the support!

  8. Hi Betty,

    Well….I just separated from my husband of nearly 19 years, and I am not exactly out there looking for a new thing, I do understand that when you get to be a “mature” woman the stakes are higher. In other words, we know what we want, what we don’t, and it doesn’t take long for those prospects to shoot themselves in the foot.
    I also know that when you reach higher levels of vibration in your own life, you will attract the people or special person that will support and increase that level. Be well, Betty. And good luck with your search.


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    wow, kellie, it’s brave of you to talk about your situation. it would also be kinda nuts if you were ready to meet someone so soon. i got divorced after nearly 18 years. for the longest time, i was just too raw to even hear the word m-e-n. i don’t know if the stakes are higher now; they’re just different at every stage of life.

    love your idea about life’s vibrations. and mary jo, i missed your comment earlier. i don’t know if cholesterol-lowering drugs counts as a major med; depends what else the guy is taking! but i definitely don’t want to be dealing with viagra. :-0

  10. Dating can be fun! You just need to meet the right one for you. Stop the negativity about men wanting younger women. You can’t change your age but you can change your attitude and even your looks. Have you seen Burn After Reading? The lady in the movie wanted plastic surgery so she could date better men, and in the end, she got her surgery for free because of her determination. Men want upbeat sexy women, regardless of your age! You can date younger men if you want! You can be a cougar! Grrrrr. Who needs grumpy old men anyway. Give me a 29 year old who can do it all night! Without viagra!

  11. The most important thing to ask yourself when doing the online dating thing — and be honest with yourself — is what do you expect to get out of it? From there you can determine who you want to write back to, who you want to wink at and so on. If you’re expecting to find THE ONE on match, then only make contact with guys who seem like him. If, however, you’re looking for something a little less serious, well, you get the idea. It’s a little like choosing who to pitch to or applying for a job. What do you want out of this job or that job.

    Also, in my limited experience with the online dating scene, I say if you like a guy’s profile and he hasn’t checked you out yet or initiated anything, just wink.

  12. Betty:

    I had a talk with my friend who is going to be 65 but looks about 45 (thanks to those Asian genes!). She just got separated from her husband. We discussed dating online and I mentioned your blog and your frustrations of being a 50 something woman. She made a good point: perhaps guys want younger women because they think the sex drives of older women are not compatible with theirs. There is often a biological truth to this, said my friend. After a certain age, women sometimes have lower sex drives. Guys want sex and they want it fast. My friend said these guys have no patience for the kind of relationship she wants, which is a platonic companionship. So I said, why not post in the Strictly Platonic section of Craigslist, if all you want is to go to the theater and dinner with a guy? CL is free!

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    okay, okay! ladies, i hear you! laura, that’s good advice on winking. i always thought it was a lame thing to do. after your comment, i took a closer look at the winkers’ profiles and they were right not to invest time in writing to me. icky!

    and jade, it’s hard not to be annoyed with guys and their younger women fixation. i don’t know how old you are but i am pretty sure you’re a lot younger than me! wait until you hit your 50s — or older! but you’re right too. i should just think about having fun. thank you for keeping me positive.

    as for your friend, jade — i’m glad you referred her to my blog so maybe this is rude of me…but i’m kind of aghast at the idea of dating with no prospect for intimacy. your friend is only 65 young — how can she give up on passion so soon? although, who am i to judge. again, i just need to mind my own business and concentrate on WHAT I WANT: a nice man my own age, who is full of life in every possible way. ;-)

    i’ve never heard of craigslist’s strictly platonic section. that’s sort of fascinating. something for everyone out there.

  14. Betty:

    I’m glad you are implying that you want intimacy because I’m in my thirties but my older female friends say that menopause can diminish a woman’s sex drive. So I’m kind of afraid of that. But then again, some older ladies never lose their sex drive. I’ve started a blog at to express some of my feelings about dating and moving on from a failing marriage.

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