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
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”.