The Senior Dating Rulebook as Told by a Boomer Dating Expert

Ken Solin
The Senior Dating Rulebook as Told by a Boomer Dating Expert
Finding life partners is problematic for too many seniors, but it doesn’t have to be. Here are some tips to help seniors find dates with life partner potential.

Online Dating Works for Seniors

I dated online and I’ve been a date coach for several years. My experience and my clients’ experiences demonstrate that online dating works, but it can feel stressful and fatiguing. There’s a simple remedy for the fatigue factor, and it isn’t to quit online dating. It’s too successful for too many people to ignore. Instead, take a break for a while until you’re feeling enthusiastic about finding a life partner. And choose one of the online dating sites that caters to over-50 singles. While the stress factor is more complicated, here are 4 tips that can reduce the stress, ease the selection process, and smooth out some online dating wrinkles.

1. Pick Smart

Take your time. Be circumspect rather than relying solely on a member’s profile photo. Read each person’s entire profile before sending any emails. I know, it sounds simple, but too many boomers still throw darts at online profiles hoping for the best. But you’ll miss potential partners choosing solely by photos.

Unless you take sufficient time to determine whether or not the men and women you reach out to have potential beyond their physical appearance, you’ll become involved in brief entanglements. Aim high. Making the right choices reflects good self-esteem. On that basis no one is beyond your realm of possibilities.

Exclusively senior dating sites like OurTime, SeniorPeopleMeet and zoosk seniors place a strong emphasis on profile creation, offering a wide range of writing prompts and questions to help create a well-rounded, complete profile.

Disadvantage, Women

Online dating presents boomer women a numerical challenge, and some give up in discouragement. A number of boomer women insist that all the good men are taken, but that simply isn’t true. Boomer women’s date choices may not equal boomer men’s in terms of numbers, but good men are plentiful. Some daters worry about being too picky when selecting members to contact, but being choosy is the only way to meet someone special.

2. Don’t Let Your “Type” Get in the Way

Another way to reduce stress is to stop typecasting your dates, which is a failed technique many boomers still employ. Typecasting means dating the same person with different names over and over and expecting different results. I finally became aware of this after dating the same short, blonde haired, plump, ski-jump nose woman for as long as I could remember. In truth, meeting my partner was partially luck, because she’s tall, dark haired, thin, and has a prominent nose. But after enough failed dates I decided to change my pattern. I read women’s profiles carefully and when I saw my partner’s profile  I felt a resonance. My heart soared when we met, and we talked like old friends. She wasn’t my previous physical type, and she had a totally different personality too, but she was perfect in every way. Stopping typecasting was a lesson I learned later rather than sooner but I met my partner shortly after I gave up that ghost.

Four Times Wasn’t A Charm

I know a fellow who married the same woman with different names 4 times before he finally got the lesson. Too many boomers still wear blinders while choosing dates. If typecasting worked everyone would be in terrific relationships with their types, but it rarely succeeds, so boomers might consider casting a wider net to include men and women they’ve routinely scrolled past simply because they didn’t fit a fantasy.

When I’ve noticed clients skip past men and women I felt had potential I’ve suggested they take another look. More than a few have enjoyed dates with men and women they’d originally passed after they let go of their fantasies. In order to immerse yourself in a person’s profile and really get to know them, it might be worth your while to save photos for the end.

3. See the Person for Who They Are

Like every age group, boomers are prone to projecting on the dates sitting across from them in a café. Rather than seeing the actual man or woman they’re talking with, they’re already playing a fantasy audition in their heads to determine if their date gets the romantic lead. They’re seeing their date as the person they’d like him or her to be rather than who they actually are. While this may feel good in the moment, it’s likely to fail, because ignoring the real person is ignoring reality. It’s natural to want something to develop with someone you’re feeling attracted to, but boomers are seeking life partners, and projection is self-defeating. Listen carefully and ask pertinent questions and you’ll see the real person.

4. Resist Irrational Highs

No matter how physically and/or emotionally excited you may feel about a first date, resist the temptation to strap on a rocket unless you’re prepared to crash and burn. Love at first sight is the dating philosophy of the desperate and foolish. It creates an irrational, artificial high that authentic love never does. Love and lust can be in the same room at the same time, but lust alone isn’t love. We’re boomers, and we’ve suffered the painful effects of enough crashed rockets. So the next time a date suggests a rocket ride, say thanks but no thanks. Walk away knowing you spared yourself a painful experience.

Be Your Own Best Friend

I urge boomer daters to be honest about their feelings. Resist the fantasy that is getting swept off your feet or being the sweeper because you’ll likely end up hurt, dazed, and confused. Love may not always be rational, but it isn’t instant oatmeal. A loving relationship takes time, emotional awareness, and considerable dialogue to become fully baked. 

Ken Solin
Author and columnist Ken Solin is a boomer Dating Expert for The Huffington Post, AARP, and Solin also writes about boomer sex and relationships. Ken’s new book, The Boomer Guide To Finding True Love Online offers real-life boomer dating solutions based on Ken’s online dating experiences.