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Are you dating?

Photo by New York street photographer Arthur Leipzig, who was also my mom’s first cousin

It takes a lot of courage and stamina to put yourself out there, and I am frankly not always up for it. I go through periods when I don’t date at all, and periods when I do, and right now I am in an on period. Sometimes it’s impossibly fun—who doesn’t love making out with someone new?—other times, not so much. I’m curious to know how many of you who are single are dating, and how you do it. Are you fixed up by friends? Do you go online or use apps? Have you retained the services of a professional matchmaker? Do you find it a joy or do you view it as a job? I want to hear all.

Posted on May 23rd, 2017 85 Comments

85 Responses

  1. Erin says:

    I want to date, I just have a hard time finding people to date. I continue to try and rotate through using different online platforms and apps (currently trying Hinge and The League), but have only been able to find one guy to go on a couple of dates with over the past four years that way. And they weren’t great dates, sadly. I met a few men in real life, however in all of those cases they weren’t really available to date, for various reasons.

    Since I’ve moved into my early 40’s I’ve also encountered men (more than I wanted to believe are out there) who are my age or a few years older and see women who are the same age on “the older side” of what they are willing to date. I tried to hire a matchmaker, but never found one I felt comfortable enough to pay. One, after telling her that I was looking for a man within 5 years above or below my age, told me that if I wouldn’t consider dating men over 50 she couldn’t help me. Another told me that my commitment to training with a woman’s team that practices early most mornings was likely to be viewed as a turnoff to men, as it sends a signal to them that training “takes priority” over spending time with them.

    (My response at the time? “I don’t know these men. Of course my training would take priority over them.”)

    I feel like I’ve exhausted almost every option I can think of, and for all of that effort have found no one to date. I long for the days when dating was fun, but sometimes wonder if those days are gone. I realize that perhaps something will come along and surprise me someday, but it’s been so long since something like that happened I feel like hoping for it sets me up for more disappointment than it is worth. So, I feel helpless in the dating department. I wish I could figure out something to do, but in lieu of that I’ve focused on other areas in my life.

    • DeDe says:

      “I don’t know these men. Of course my training would take priority over them.” ALL THE APPLAUSE.

    • Tara says:

      Erin, I could not write a more accurate account of my experiences with dating in my 40’s. I’d only add that I’ve found more and more that I identify with the idea of feeling “invisible” in comparison to younger single women. I had heard this concept from friends a few times before reaching my 40’s, however I could not imagine that I would feel the same way so soon (I’m 43).

  2. Cara says:

    Single, not dating. However, I recently reevaluated my “target” age bracket thanks to the new First Lady of France, Brigitte Macron (she:64,he:39).

  3. Gemma says:

    Dating, but in my early 40s, dating has taken on a different meaning. I’m financially comfortable, have what I need, dear friends and family, and I’m no longer thinking about children. I’m not looking for a husband, and I feel happy and comfortable on my own.

    I would like to meet someone who fits into my life, but if I don’t, I like my life just as it is.

    I’ve been reading through the memoirs of Diana Anthill, who will turn 100 this year. She writes gorgeously of her very full and remarkable life, of lovers, but never a husband.

  4. Heather says:

    Officially single again (after ending an affair with a married man – when I guess I was ‘single-ish’) and can’t fathom dating again. It’s been almost 5 years now since my last nonclandestine relationship ended. I tried online dating but can’t fathom going back – just too little selection in my age range (40s), mostly guys who’ve been divorced all of 5 seconds. For me, online dating sped everything up so artificially, and what was even more of a turnoff than the ones just looking for hookups (at least they were honest) were the ones who talked about ‘our future’ on date 2. Responding to @Erin, a friend in her 50s wisely told me that ‘you’ll reach the age where men your own age don’t want to date you,’ and that is definitely true – though of course, I would not want to date the 45-year-olds who claim to be looking for 25-year-olds.

    I hike and do a lot of other outdoor activities, so it’s possible I’ll meet someone that way. But I’m accepting that I might not, and am trying to be OK with that. My father treated my mother badly, and I was raised to believe that I should be grateful for any male attention that I got, so I’ve been in a lot of bad relationships.

    I wouldn’t mind having a lover, someone I see occasionally for nice dinners/sex etc.

    • Erin says:

      Heather – I’m completely with you about missing having a lover. That’s the hardest part of the no-dating thing for me – no physical companionship.

  5. Tami says:

    Married, not dating. But would love to know what you are wearing on your dates!

  6. AmyM says:

    I’m 49, haven’t dated in awhile. I find dating apps terrifying/dehumanizing. Meeting men IRL happens very rarely, and admittedly, I have a high bar for what captures my interest. I’m generally OK with the way things are, but would like have someone ‘on call’ for certain social events.

    • Bex says:

      I’m 47 and feel the same way: I don’t need to get married now, but would like to have someone to squire me around once in a while. I’ve always had a terrible time meeting guys in real life, so I tried dating websites and apps for years and only managed to meet 4 guys in person. One of them has turned into a friend, which is the only positive thing to come out of all that effort. I took the last dating app off my phone about a year ago and, in general, I feel really good about it. Almost all of my interactions with guys on those apps were weird and negative and made me feel even worse about myself and my appearance than I normally do. I dunno. Sometimes I feel like I’m giving up on the possibility of finding love way too young, but mostly I’m relieved not to be wasting so much time and emotional energy on a largely negative and angst-filled experience.

  7. Lucy says:

    Dating. I’ve got Bumble and Tinder on my phone but go through periods of being into it and not.

    I look at the apps as a means of meeting men with whom I might never cross paths with otherwise. Generally, I swipe left more than I swipe right. Of course I hit low points about the state of my personal life but then I get over it.

    I’m just shy of 40 and know that I am very good at being independent. But now I want my own partner to share my experiences – big and fun, boring and routine – with me. Until he comes along, my heart is wide open and I’ll keep on keeping on!

  8. Sarah says:

    So, I’m dating. I’m in a professional graduate program where I thought I’d meet a lot of men my age and with my level of ambition, but not so much. I was wary of going online just because it feels like engaging in a lot of search costs (the time and emotional kind!). However, I’ve been a bit surprised by the high quality of Bumble.

    I think each app is different for different cities and age ranges, which I’ve experienced myself. As I think more about it, I think all online dating does is solve the top of the funnel issue (to some extent), but that means you might go out with more people you don’t like, even as you increase the probability that you meat a few whom you do. I find it exhausting, like pretty much everyone, and basically dip in and out as the mood strikes. Sometimes I even have good moments where I think “I do what I want.”

    Clothes: I wear a silk Equipment blouse half-tucked into acne jeans, plus the Pistol boot or the Rag and Bone Margot boot. Sometimes I’ll wear a cold shoulder thermal tee from LNA. Always jeans. I also recently found what I think I’ll wear on all summer dates, which is a black silk blouse (kind of vest-like, from the 80s, not very tight) that I got in a consignment shop on a recent trip to Japan. I don’t even know if it’s the sexiest thing in the world, but I feel like the best and most confident version of myself in it (you know those outfits where they look how you picture yourself in your head?). It also reminds me of all the shit I do that isn’t about dating, and is about ME (like travel with friends).

    Great topic!

  9. Viajera says:

    I am in the process of gathering the energy to go online manshopping again. This has been going on for several months at least. I’m not quiiiiite there yet. I think you have to at least pretend to yourself that you’re an optimist.

    I do think though there are lots of fine single men “out there.” It is just hard to find them. But it has always been difficult, iirc.

    The whole age discrimination thing that most men do *is* extremely annoying… but based on the ones I know personally, it’s not randomly distributed. And I wouldn’t have worked with them anyway.

  10. c.w. says:

    I’m single, but in a committed relationship so not dating. After spending part of the morning thinking about it––as an adult I’ve never “dated” which is weird since I’ve been married…well…more than once. Without dating how did that happen? Oy and Egad.

  11. Maureen says:

    38, never married, currently dating someone exclusively but single for the past 6 years prior to that. Have done the online and app thing many times. It all gets exhausting and I find that I have about a month of ‘actively dating’ in me before the whole thing becomes tiresome or leads to me generally feeling like crap about myself. Had been taking time off from all of it over the last year and met two different men in person, one of whom has become my boyfriend. Have learned quite a bit about myself in the last several years and that has drastically changed my dating outlook. I love my current boyfriend and generally speaking, we are happy together, but if we split up, I would go back to being happily single after the typical post-breakup adjustment period.

  12. Ann says:

    I am closer to 50 than 40 (47) and quite involved in an organized sport. I have met a few men that way. Some have been close to my age and some have not and the current one definitely falls in the not close to my age category (he is 27..yikes). I have known him for about 4 years and I honestly do not think he has any clue that I am 47. He pursued me and I resisted for quite some time. It is not serious, but fun nonetheless. I have also gone online and met some men that way. I agree that it is difficult to find someone who checks all the boxes, so for now I will have fun with the youngster.

    • When I first started getting messages from younger men I assumed they were weird gold-diggers (lol), but I have since learned there a lot of men who enjoy dating older woman. It’s a good time to be 47, I guess!

  13. Jill says:

    I’ve been single and dating, on and off, using apps, for the 3 years since my divorce. It’s mostly exhausting, and I’ve only dated 3 of dozens of men for a sustained amount of time, but I somehow still keep the hope alive. I am in my mid-30s and since most of my social circle is married, I’ve had a really hard time meeting single, straight, available men IRL. Like, a shockingly hard time, considering I am fairly social and active in my community. My therapist told me I need to consider dating men in their 50s if I want to find a partner. I responded by stopping our sessions.

    I’ve recently started writing a TinyLetter based on all my thoughts around dating because it’s a fascinating topic–you can check it out via the link above if you’re interested! It’s both heartening and discouraging to read all your comments here and know so many of us are going through similar situations!

    • Bex says:

      Yeah, it’s good to know that you’re not the only one having trouble meeting someone (which is how it feels when all your friends are married or in serious relationships).

    • DeDe says:

      Your therapist actaully said that to you? Dude. Finding a good shrink is probably the only thing as difficult as finding a good partner (says the old married lady).

      • Jill says:

        Seriously! I haven’t been able to bring myself to find a new one yet. Still recovering from the trauma. 🙂

        • Erin says:

          I had a close family member, an outspoken feminist in her early 70s now, send me a link to a Huffington Post blog piece titled “10 Reasons Why Women Should Date Men In Their 50s.” I was 39 at the time. She was shocked when I responded negatively. When I asked her to consider this question: “Who is this article written for? Women in their 50’s?” she was able to see my point, but it took some conversation to get there.

          Not knowing the age of your therapist, I can imagine a similar response of surprise to your choice to end things. These cultural issues run deep.

    • Beth C. says:

      I’m glad you dropped that therapist. I mean, a general “don’t count anyone out just because of age” is good advice to anyone, but this whole “You’re 40, so you need to start assuming no one under 50 will be interested” crap is not worth your time.

      I have found that age issue mainly hurts me only online. I think it’s because all of us, but especially men of a certain age have an idea of what they really want, which is someone young, so when this cool woman that they would totally as out in person has her age stamped right next to her it puts all the stereotypes and pre-conceptions are right there, front and center. I know I’ve caught myself doing that about random stats.

      • Beth C. says:

        ugh, I need to proofread before I hit submit. I meant ‘ all of us, especially men of a certain age, have an idea of what they want, which is significantly younger, because it’s what they are supposed to want, but deep down they want someone active and fun or whatever. It’s just we’re told those qualities fall under “young”, plus the status thing of someone way younger than you finding you attractive.

        • Jill says:

          Exactly! I need to be better about keeping this in mind because I tend to discount younger men immediately, solely based on my own age insecurities.

  14. NWDCDiva says:

    I am 55. I dated like crazy when I was younger, than at 22 met a man to whom I was married for 26 years (no children). The marriage stopped working, I left him 7 years ago intending on jumping right into a relationship with someone who was also jumping out of a long-term relationship (with kids). After 3 years, it was clear it would not work out (he was too passive, no job, no money — all of which I knew — but when his kids were clear about their hatred of me, I was gone). Dated on match, eharmoney — my bullshit meter had somehow clicked off and I wound up in relationships with guys who basically lied about a lot of important things. I paid $2500 for It’s Just Lunch and was set up on dates even worse than the ones on the internet sites. I took about 1 1/2 years off dating, tried getting back with a college boyfriend but his lifestyle was horrible and then he died (!). Too soon after that I was aggressively courted by a guy on a work team and that didn’t work in disastrous ways.

    Part of the disaster was the end of the relationship (which was ugly), impossible situation with my career, horrible relationships with family members, and basically no hope for the future so about a year ago I seriously attempted suicide. Fortunately it did not work, and I moved back to the area where I grew up, reconnected with family and healed those relationships (to the extent possible), re-friended old friends, and was able to jump-started my career now that I am in a big city.

    After being here about 6 months, I dipped my toe into dating (match and bumble), had a few bad dates, then met a man who was perfect — other than that he dumped me after I sort of wigged out on him over his continued worship of his wife who had died 10 years ago. He insisted he was ready to have a relationship, that his two adult children were fine with it, and we are doing well now after about 2-3 months of dating.

    My take-away from where I am now: if you want to be in a relationship, you have to put yourself out there, try, get hurt, get up and do it again. For me, a relationship is important — I really like to be partnered. Many of my single friends are fine without a relationship and have encouraged me to come to peace with that option, but that’s not me. I assume if this relationship crashes and burns (still haven’t met the kids, and I am the first woman he has dated since his wife died), I’ll cry for a while, join the Saturday AM fast road-bike crowd and try that out as a man-option, and also rejoin the shopping-for-men sites.

    BTW, this guy is 11 years older than I so there is also that piece to consider. I did ask him on our second date if he was capable of having sex — I encourage anyone dating older men to get that issue on the table soon if you do want a healthy sex life. One of the many issues with men dated before was their inability to get/maintain erections even with drugs. By the time I felt comfortable having sex with them, I had already gotten to know them, so when they revealed (usually in bed, usually in tears) that they could not have intercourse, I found myself stuck in that awful position of comforting them and then holding off dumping them so not to hurt their feelings. I am DONE with that, so did ask this guy who was taken somewhat aback, but answered truthfully (yes). It also got the whole issue of sex on the table early on before the relationship had progressed too far.

    Ah, isn’t life interesting?

    • Jana says:

      NWDCDiva,
      I’m so glad it didn’t work. You are a tough, smart chick–a survivor. Keep going. xoxoxo

    • Kristen says:

      Yes, extremely grateful suicide did not work. You matter. As much pain as there is in this world it is not better without you.

    • KimFrance says:

      Yes, extremely grateful you are still among us, with lessons to share!

    • DeDe says:

      You are seriously tough as shit. I hope you aren’t weirded out by hugs from internet strangers, because I am hugging you so hard right now.

    • c.w. says:

      Very glad you are still with us. What an amazing survivor you are and what an inspiration!

  15. lornagnyc says:

    I became single in my early 40s for the first time in almost 20 years. It was hard and scary. All the ways I met folks in my 20s didn’t work, i volunteered, I went to parties and I asked friends to set me up and NOTHING! Not. one. date. Reluctantly, I went online and I started to attend mixers (Out Professionals in NYC). Im a lesbian, and i don’t think i had to deal with ageism – women my age are interested in dating me and my peers. Anyway, I dated, had fun, and met a woman I’m now seriously involved with. (The end of one set of troubles and the beginning of another.)

  16. Julie says:

    I’m 54, partnered for life with a man I met on OKC, after a few years of mostly tedious first dates. It was a job, not a joy: I emailed minimally and then met for a drink/coffee, and I thought of the date as a work meeting. I did this to manage my expectations and to reduce the risk of projecting my fantasies on a good writer with a sense of humor (who IRL turns out to be 10 years older than stated and married). But I found a gem, so have my friends – perseverance and a sense of humor are key.

    • I’ve heard more than one woman say they found success online dating this way – treat it like a job you devote a certain number of hours a week to (say, four) and spend that time on coffee/drink dates with no expectations. Basically, it’s a numbers game! 😉

  17. Lisa says:

    So refreshing to hear that many of you think that online dating is exhausting (I thought it was just me!) I haven’t been on a date in years, and haven’t tried any dating app in over a year, in part because every man- regardless of their age- only wants to meet a 26 year old (I am 43). Or they are newly divorced and oh so bitter about it. Or they are total flakes (so a meeting IRL never materializes). I understand it’s a numbers game, and you have to kiss a lot of frogs before you find a prince, but the ROI on online dating- for me, at least- is almost zero.

    • Ellie says:

      Just thinking about online dating is exhausting. And the ROI issue is even bigger if you don’t live in a big city. There’s the age issue (I’m also early 40s). But once you start to add in criteria about education, religion, or politics, there are huge swathes of this country where there are literally no frogs of any sort. Much less one that might turn out to be a prince. You have to be willing to drive for hours or even fly. I gave up before even posting a profile. Of course, everyone else in these same places is married and all sociability revolves around children and church, so there’s not really any alternative to online. The general situation is pretty grim.

  18. Sadie says:

    I am 44. After at least of decade of very short term relationships and chronic dating, I met the love of my life two years ago. He is 12 years younger and he is madly in love with me, wrinkles and all. Before him, I was truly an expert dater, meeting men through the internet and only occasionally through friends. I tended to date men, usually a little older, who really impressed me with their successful (more creative than financial) careers and accomplishments, at the expense of love, attention and tenderness for me. I finally started to become picky about the right things (connection, kindness, fun and mutual respect) and turned away guys when their narcissism was making me invisible. I am now with a fun, intelligent, adoring, hot man who never lets me forget how much he loves me. It was a long road to get here. Dating after 35 I felt like men in their late 30’s and 40’s would prefer someone significantly younger than I. I felt their ambivalence in various ways, and got so exhausted. Stepping back from the process was wonderful and I focused more energy on what I love to do. I became open to a wider idea of what relationships could be/mean and how love can come from all sorts of sources. I met my love while doing something I love, and he fell in love with me for everything that I am. I hope all in search of this find the same.

  19. Heidi says:

    I turned 50 recently and am not currently dating. I have been “threatening” to my friends for the past six months that I’m going to get back to online dating (it’s been five years since I last did), but just can’t seem to get over the hump to put up a profile. It would be nice to meet and kiss some guys and have some companionship, but the half of me that is introverted has been enjoying the freedom and independence, and is perfectly content being single.

    When I dated five years ago, I used OK Cupid with mixed success. Had some fun, but after a while it became so much work and so exhausting going on first dates. And nothing lasted longer than a few weeks.

    I think I need to get back out there and try some of the apps that your readers recommend!

    • “… but the half of me that is introverted has been enjoying the freedom and independence, and is perfectly content being single.”

      Yes. So glad I am not the only one. I feel like I want to date someone about 5-10% of the time. The other 90-95% I am perfectly happy and excited about my life as is. Sometimes I wonder if it’s worth the effort to make myself happy for such a small return, especially if I then end up spending 90-95% of my time wishing I was still alone. 😂

  20. Mimi says:

    As NWDCDiva says, there’s a LOT of bad sex out there. If men over 50 are capable at all, you’re likely to get what their last girlfriend liked, but toe sucking might not be your thing. I dated for 6 years between husbands, beginning at 47. I met men IRL and through friends and had several long relationships. As a journalist, I did a story on mid-life dating once and interviewed a matchmaker. She said men in their 60s would tell her, “I want to date a woman who’s 35.” She would reply, “I’m sure you do.” But not all men are like that. The men I interviewed about their online dating experiences were very clear about what they were looking for, but beyond that they couldn’t carry on a conversation. I was amazed how many guys, even ones who were good on paper, had no game, no social skills. I didn’t find dating exhausting so much as disheartening. Call me judgmental, but so many guys were just disappointing. I was quite strategic about what I wore on dates. If I showed off my waist on a first date I’d be sure to reveal my legs or toned arms the next time. No shapeless dresses or baggy anything. A male friend whose actress wife was neurotic about her weight problem throughout their 25 year marriage told me he was scared of women who hid their bodies on dates. Your shape doesn’t have to be perfect, just show what you’ve got with confidence. Some people get lucky and meet someone terrific quickly. For the rest of us who prefer to go through life with a partner, it takes hard work and perseverance. There can be high highs and low lows along the way, the stuff of an interesting life.

  21. Beth C. says:

    This thread is so encouraging in that I know I’m not alone. It does kind of bum me out that so many of us have the same issues, though. I’m single and sorta dating? I’m not actively hunting, but open to meeting someone.

    I have had horrible luck with online dating. I think I just don’t really communicate well using that medium for whatever reason. Most of the guys I’ve dated I’ve met in person on my own or through friends.

    Most of the relationships I’ve been in started as friendships but that’s a tricky thing to rely on, especially as I get older and I make friends with fewer and fewer single people.

  22. Ella says:

    I agree with so much of this! I’m 54, got divorced at 47 after 20 years of marrige and dated, mostly via online sites, for 3 years before met my new partner on OKC just after my 50th birthday. (For the record, he’s 2 years younger than I am, which for some reason surprises a lot of people. Can I just say that the ageism of online dating is extremely annoying?). The 3 years of dating had a lot of ups and downs including an extended stint with a toxic narcissist type and a zillion first meetings that went nowhere, a couple of gross/scary experiences, some interesting interludes, and a reasonable amount of decent sex. However, I will second the comment about older men – suddenly after about age 55, erectile issues are surprisingly common. Who knew?

    This was pre-Tinder – I was on the old Yahoo Personals, Match, OKC, JDate even. I wasn’t particularly picky about who I would meet ONCE but I was definitely particular about second dates and beyond. Often, I would get intrigued by something about someone and just go hang out with them for an evening, because you never know. All that dating helped me figure out what I was really looking for (and NOT looking for -see toxic narcissism/erectile dysfunction above).

    There are definitely assclowns, flakes, liars and losers out there, but if you want a relationship, there’s no better way to find one, IMO.

    • Ella says:

      More to say on this – I don’t know how I would do now with the “swiping” style of online dating. I’m better at the written word than at looking “hot” in photos and I liked being able to get a sense of a person’s personality (or lack of…) through their profile. Like many of you, I’ve been thinking that if anything happened to my current partner, I might not do it again — or if I did, I would be much more slow-moving and selective from the get-go. Let’s be honest – what characterized a lot of my dating experiences — because I was in such a pent-up state after ending my loooong marriage – was reckless abandon! Which was fun, mostly, but that’s so not where my head is anymore.

  23. Mae says:

    I haven’t dated in nearly 40 years, but the above discussion gives me the same clench in my gut that interviewing for a job does: The older I get, the more quickly I get insulted.

  24. Maggie says:

    I’m not single but most of my female friends are (the married ones never leave the house, it seems), and their dating horror stories have convinced me that if anything should happen to my marriage, I’m just going out and getting myself twenty cats.

  25. Adrien says:

    I’ve been divorced for four years and have dated off and on, mostly through online dating sites. For me it’s been a pretty grueling process because I’m picky and I’m also not, apparently, what a lot of men are looking for. (I’m independent, quirky, opinionated and have a fairly serious sport/hobby that takes a fair amount of my time.)

    But, for the last three months I’ve been exclusively dating one guy and that seems to be going well. I’m still protective of my free time and not ever looking to give up my independence, but I’m enjoying the lack of online dating site horror.

  26. Raina says:

    I’ve been married over a decade to a man who took me 20 years to find. Should he go first, I would be content with photos of Tom Hardy and a package of rechargeable batteries.

    • Betsy says:

      Me too. I got married at 38 and we’ve been married for almost a decade. He’s great, but he’s it. I could have a companion, but no more husbands.

    • DeDe says:

      For serious!!! With you 100000% on that. Some people are irreplaceable.

  27. Holly says:

    I am finally ready to date after a relationship that I thought was for life ended a few years ago. Took me a while to get over that….the thought of going online (which I dabbled in a bit about 12 years ago) does NOT excite me. For the very reasons someone said above — disheartening rather than depressing. But when you look at the NYT wedding announcements, a growing number met online. I realize these are mostly young(er) people, but nonetheless, online is where lots of people are meeting. So I just HAVE TO DO IT. I also like what Mimi (above) said: “For the rest of us who prefer to go through life with a partner, it takes hard work and perseverance. There can be high highs and low lows along the way, the stuff of an interesting life.”

    And GTK on the erectile dysfunction issues.

    I am curious though — Kim, where/how do you meet men?

    • KimFrance says:

      I meet men on various dating sites and apps, and—most recently—by employing a professional matchmaker. It was a step I was very reluctant to take, but so far it’s proven to be a good one. The quality of men I’ve been meeting is higher than those I’ve seen online.

      • Erin says:

        Can you share some advice on how to find a good matchmaker? So far my attempts have not yielded good results.

        • KimFrance says:

          Erin, I actually picked a service sort of randomly and so far it’s worked out. It’s still early though, so I’m reluctant to endorse them here.

    • Heather says:

      Holly, if it’s any consolation, I do think online dating is a useful experience. I learned a lot about myself, what I do and don’t want in a partner, etc. And looking back, the majority of the guys I met were genuinely decent guys with whom I just had nothing in common. I suspect that’s the case for most of us — it’s just the weird ones that stick in our memory.

      Amusingly, a lot of my single male friends are dating online, and I hear their stories from the other side! They’re pretty similar to what I hear from the women here.

      My best advice: walk into it with your eyes open, trust your instincts, and don’t have huge expectations.

  28. hk says:

    Not dating–I have a demanding full-time job and am also working toward a master’s degree. I just don’t have the physical, mental, or emotional energy for dating right now. And 99 percent of the time I’m just fine with that.

  29. DeDe says:

    Wait, Arthur Leipzig was your mom’s cousin??? Shit, girl – your fam is drowning in talent!

  30. Dawn says:

    I’m 55 and tried Bumble a year ago after sending my only off to college. Separated then divorced for 8 years and had a couple of dates during that time. Swiped first day and had crazy chemistry but as was mentioned above, there were impotency issues (among others). Had a couple of dates with younger men that didn’t move forward–once I chickened out! and the next he just texted me to death. But I’m finally comfortable and excited about dating younger men for the first time in my life! (My ex was 8 years older than me.) I’ve had great experiences–nice men even if not for me and they’ve been kind and respectful, funny and fun. I’m cautiously optimistic! Lol!

  31. Mimi says:

    If I were single, I’d ask the financial advisor who my family has worked with for 40+ years if he could think of any nice widowers who might appreciate meeting me. Seriously! He offered to introduce my niece to a guy when she was in her 20s and unattached.Think about friendly professionals in your life – doctors, accountants, hairdressers, contractors and real estate and insurance agents. These are folks who know a lot of people in circles you might not move in. The worst that can happen if you ask for an introduction is they might say no, they don’t know anyone. You can survive that.

  32. Kelly James says:

    My (married) girlfriend sent me this post this morning. I only got halfway through the responses before I called her. “You knew I was going to have to discuss this at length!” After reading all the responses, I had to weigh in.

    I’m 51 and got divorced after 19 years of marriage last summer. My former husband basically emotionally left the marriage about five or six years before that…and I finally gave up on trying to “make it work,” Tim Gunn or no. 🙂

    Wasn’t ready to even think about dating, then geared up in January. Tried Match, POF, and even Tinder. Went on six or seven dates over the next couple of months. Talked/emailed/texted to another 20 or so guys in the meantime. Met a couple of nice guys but no one I felt that “spark” with. And after a long marriage with someone who wasn’t interested in sex, I realize I need that going forward…(now worrying about men 55+ not being able to get it up…) and that chemistry cannot be assessed online.

    My kids are 12 and 7, and are my first priority. I’m self-employed, so keeping my biz going and paying the mortgage, etc comes next. Then my friends and family. Then “me.” (Yes, I know that order needs adjusting.) I’m realizing that while I really miss having a partner, I really miss having sex, and I really miss having a MAN to talk and laugh with (I do have awesome female friends), I do not miss the drain of online dating. I found it exhausting (I had to give myself a pep talk to even check my matches), disheartening, and disillusioning. And my in-person dates weren’t even that bad!

    I’m now actively “looking” (I can spot a naked ring finger at 20 paces!), but not actively online dating. I’d love to meet someone I click and connect with, and am not giving up. I have a couple of guys in my environment (a neighbor, a guy at the Y), that I am powering up to introduce myself to. And one of my friends has a guy in mind, too. I feel like that those kinds of meetings are more likely to pay off than online ones. Thanks for the post and for all the great replies. I’m glad to learn of other women’s experiences. 🙂

  33. Meg says:

    I’m turning 50 this year, divorced, live in Europe, and am thoroughly enjoying dating again. I’ve used Tinder for the past year and have found it liberating and empowering, as long as I don’t take the ups and downs too seriously (when in doubt, swipe left). I’ve found that over here, men don’t seem to care as much about age and supermodel looks, and the approach to dating is much more fluid and flirtatious than it felt when I was last single and living in the competitive shark pit that was NY. Or maybe it’s me that’s changed — since I’m not going to have kids, have already been married, I’m free to just have fun. I have had some crushes and am sure at some point all of this will lead to a steady relationship, but no rush. Come to Europe! I think it may be better over here 🙂

    • Femme50 says:

      It so totally is better there, without the youth fixation of the U.S. BUT, there are a surprising number of younger guys interested in o,Der women here, I’m finding.

      • Kirstjen says:

        I would agree with that. There is an abundance of young guys interested in older women. It shocked me to realize that I wasn’t really past my sell-by date, which I just assumed I was.

  34. Kirstjen says:

    I’m 51 & was partnered up for 31 years until he left me for his boss who is about 20 years younger than him (and fatter than me, but whatever…) I rebounded with a guy who is a year older than me for about 6 months. And after that, I hit Tinder & went on about 100 dates in 90 days. Lots of guys in their 20’s – and some in their 30’s & a few in their 40’s. None in their 50’s. Not sure why.

    What I can say is that I’ve had a ton of fun with 20’s… They make you laugh. They made me feel really alive & I loved almost every minute. Including telling the guy who told me that he wanted to face-f*** me. I told him that he really needed to work on his marketing plan.

    Anyway, after a bit of that, I settled on 2 guys, one who is 30 & who I really enjoy talking to & making out with & one who is 47 who I like a lot in bed. Neither of these guys are perfect, but they are perfectly good for right now.

    • Kirstjen says:

      The comment about her being fatter than me? I’m not skinny… and my ex complained about my weight enough that it made me quite self-conscious. I don’t really mean to be catty about another woman.

      • Westcoaster says:

        I think you’re totally allowed to make catty comments about the much younger woman your husband decided to relive his youth with, personally. Your dating hot young things is totally inspirational.

  35. Kathy says:

    I’m married (29 years!), but I spent most of the 80s dating almost anyone who’d ask me out. Many lasted exactly one date before I moved on. I spent a lot of time in nightclubs–I worked in one!–and enjoyed chatting with people I met. I knew bartenders all over town. They looked out for me and were great company while they worked and I hung out. Looks were somewhat important, but in my experience a good personality makes a guy cute! As it turns out, I married a guy I went to high school with. We had mutual friends in school, but really only spoke minimally. I re-met him 6 months after graduating, we dated for a few months, broke up, got back together for a while a year later, and broke up again. After dating everyone(!) once, I met a drummer and thought he was The One. Nope. Caught him cheating 2 1/2 years in. Got back together with HS guy again and it finally stuck!

    Guys now don’t know how to flirt and make conversation. I think texting killed it. I definitely met the most men going to see live music. I highly recommend it. Live music gives you something to talk about. It’s less of a meat-market environment. If you don’t meet someone, you still have fun. Go with a wing woman, or by yourself if you’re brave (or know the bartender!). Make friends!

  36. Femme50 says:

    Divorced, over 50, and dating, mainly thru Tinder (props to Viajera for “online manshopping), which I used half-assedly for a year (wait for it) then decided to try a bit more seriously in the last few months.
    Tinder was a bit of an accident during a period I was living abroad where I was looking for language buddies and socializing and didn’t realize it was a gps-based hook up app, at least by intention.
    After some screenplay worthy “texts” in a foreign language and evading some dick pics, the first man I actually met turned out to be my soulmate, I kid you not. But, different continents prevailed, and while we remain in 4,300 miles touch, I’ve met some other friends and currently have a lover 8 years younger than myself (*thrill*) after spending nearly 30 years of my adult life playing younger woman to various men. I won’t date anyone more than 3 years older than me. I can at least give myself that treat.
    So my hot soulmate was, at first glance, someone’s dad. But he grew on me after we started no pressure, no story hanging out. Major zoomies.
    The lesson I took away is this: I don’t left-swipe on anyone who hasn’t written a semi-intelligent and self-aware profile, no matter how attractive they are. I’d rather spend my time getting to know someone semi-balding with a dad bod and a personality than try to mold myself into be desired by someone posting bathroom mirror selfies. At my age, personality is a big part of sexual attraction. Kudos to anyone who can do the random thing, and I know they’re out there–I’m just too savvy or too paranoid to do it myself but, damn, did I enjoy doing so when I was young and stupid!

    • Femme50 says:

      That should read “I don’t right-swipe” on anyone who hasn’t written a profile, no matter how attractive.” So not worth it.

  37. Westcoaster says:

    I’m a single 42-year old mom with a 2 year old toddler and it was just a few years ago when dating still seemed fun in my mid-late 30’s. Now, I can’t even imagine getting out there and the Tinderization of dating seems really daunting. Are you supposed to get like professional casual seeming photos for your profile or spend 3 hours taking selfies that look not premeditated? I don’t even know what it’d be like to get out there.

    One thing that is nice is that with having a kid out of the way, my priorities have shifted, and so were I to get out there again, I’d just want someone fun and interesting who could maybe put up a shelf around the house as opposed to a life partner necessarily. But this ‘are you able to perform?’ issue is totally scary/depressing.

    I’d love to hear more details from the successfully dating women on the comments if anyone is still taking a look.

    • Femme50 says:

      I’d give Tinder a try. It’s overwhelming but at least you can get an idea what things look like out there. There are a LOT of guys, with kids, not averse to kids, looking for ltr. There are a lot looking for hookups. But an awful lot seem nice, though I myself will only swipe right on men w grown children.
      As for pics: seems scary, but Tinder makes you login through FB in order to establish that you are a real person. No info is revealed on FB about your use of Tinder. But it will draw on pics post in FB unless you load your own. You’ll see lots of not so flattering pics of guys who don’t realize that they can change what Tinder uploads from FB, but you can also get a slice of real life pics of guys w their kids or friends. You can change images in your Tinder profile settings. It’s a low- risk way to get started, and you can hide your profile at any point you want to take a break (I do it frequently). There are always more matches for women than men, or so it seems from guy’s I’ve met or chatted with. You don’t have to respond to anyone who you match with if you don’t want. And you can unmatch easily (even accidentally) if you feel uncomfortable.

      • Westcoaster says:

        Thanks so much for the encouragement. I may dip a toe in the Tinder pool after I sort out some flattering recent pics.

  38. Hick from Styx says:

    Not dating. Married for 22 years to a man who sees the wisdom in buying a new fridge because I can no longer use the un-ergonomic old one thanks to bad hips. I am aging in place with him. Grow old along with me, we promised when we married in our back yard all those years ago. This is the man that watched the trauma of childbirth, and took me to skin cancer treatment and surgery, when I looked liked a monster. He loves me to the soul, and I him.

    Maybe a fridge does not seem romantic, but it’s the Browning-ness behind it that makes it so. I can’t bear to think of life without him.

  39. laura says:

    I ended a 23 year marriage recently, and after about 6 months in which I couldn’t even imagine online anything, went on Tinder and Match. I was quickly overwhelmed, but had a good exchange with someone on Tinder. We went out, and while I initially thought he was a little stiff, I decided to give it a second chance. We’re now in a protracted exchange–probably too protracted–planning on a next date and texting. God knows if there will be a second date, but I’m glad I gave it a go, and it was confidence boosting. On another note, I found Match way too sprawling and quit it quickly.
    I’m interested in how many of you ended up (at least for a bit) with younger men. That’s been true of a number of my friends. I don’t know quite what to make of it. Anyway, it’s early yet, but it’s been better than I’d expected.

  40. Dana says:

    I’m wanting to date but not sure how to take the plunge. (My last relationship was with a 12 years older than me married man that left me heartbroken and I hadn’t dated much in the last decade prior to that.) I’ve been thinking about online “man-shopping” as it was called upthread but it seems so cold but I don’t want to be the middle-aged babe on the happy hour scene either. I wish there was more human contact in day to day life. Now that I’m more sure of myself, there are less men to flirt with looking up from their phones.

  41. Amy says:

    I turn 40 on Saturday and a few weeks ago I deleted my online dating accounts–actual deletion, not just removal of the apps. There is enough self-reflection going on right now without the added burden of thinking about what my new age box means on Tinder. 🙂 When I turned 35 I noticed a marked difference in the messages I received, so I can only assume there would be another shift for this birthday.

    I’ve been on and off various sites and apps over the last 10 years, with minimal nightmares, some funny stories, and even a few genuinely enjoyable men. But nothing serious or long-term ever came of it. Right now I’m in the midst of interviewing for a new job and plotting a move back to a city I love, so dating is decidedly on a back burner.

    The older I get, the only thing I know for sure is that time moves impossibly fast. I don’t want to completely ignore dating, as I would like to find a partner at some point… So I’m keeping my eye on it for now. 🙂