LATE

Love is in the air and the com­puter for baby boomers who are seek­ing a soul mate. Here’s what you need to know to find hap­pi­ness. By Carmel Sparke

Sunday Mail - Body and Soul - - FRONT PAGE -

Dip­ping your toes into the dat­ing wa­ters can be a scary thought for most sin­gles, es­pe­cially if the last time you were out there, it was Du­ran Du­ran or Bana­narama play­ing “your” song.

But grey­ing hair and a few ex­tra wrinkles aren’t stop­ping more ma­ture daters look­ing for love, noughties-style, which means it’s more likely to start on a lap­top than with a glance across a crowded bar.

“There’s been a huge change, par­tic­u­larly for older women who once would have re­lied on friends to match­make for them,” Bettina Arndt, a so­cial com­men­ta­tor and on­line dat­ing coach, says.

“Or they would have faced the hu­mil­i­a­tion of go­ing to so­cial events des­per­ately hop­ing to find the only man in the room who was sin­gle and avail­able and in­ter­ested in them – a long shot at best.

“But now, with most sin­gles us­ing on­line dat­ing, you get a chance to meet up with heaps of avail­able men.”

So what’s the plan if you find your­self look­ing for love later in life, whether you’re di­vorced, sep­a­rated, emerg­ing from a long-term re­la­tion­ship, or sim­ply have never met the right per­son? Here’s how to nav­i­gate the brave new world of mod­ern dat­ing. Love it or hate it, go­ing on­line to find a part­ner is fast be­com­ing the only game in town. “I work with women who say it’s a choice be­tween on­line dat­ing and no dat­ing,” Arndt says. She puts the chances of meet­ing some­one through work or friends at vir­tu­ally nil for most peo­ple.

Most sin­gles have tried on­line dat­ing, but many give up too soon, of­ten be­cause they have gone about it the wrong way, she adds.

Her tips in­clude hav­ing flat­ter­ing but nat­u­ral pho­tos, an in­ter­est­ing, warm and lively pro­file and a will­ing­ness to keep at it.

“It’s a marathon not a sprint. Find­ing that rare mu­tual at­trac­tion re­quires pa­tience and per­se­ver­ance,” Arndt says.

It also helps to have re­al­is­tic ex­pec­ta­tions and see on­line dat­ing as a great way to meet new peo­ple rather than an or­deal.

“You need to lighten up and un­ex­pected peo­ple are win­ners in the on­line dat­ing game.

“I have an older client, and it never would have oc­curred to me she was in­ter­ested in hav­ing mul­ti­ple part­ners,” Arndt says. “But now here she is, a widow for many years, jug­gling three men, and hav­ing a lovely time, lov­ing all the sex.” The num­ber of grey­ing daters is huge and grow­ing. RSVP, the big­gest dat­ing site in Aus­tralia, has 1200 new mem­bers sign­ing up ev­ery day. It has more than 160,000 daily lo­gins from a mem­ber­ship base of whom 51 per cent are aged be­tween 36 and 55. It’s free to join, to search and to be con­tacted via a “kiss”.

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