Tom Blake is an expert on dating after 50. He has
appeared twice on the "Today Show" and has written more than
500 columns on dating and relationships. His "Single Again"
column appears in The Orange County Register in
southern California, is read worldwide and is often featured
on msn.com. He is a
professional speaker. He spoke at the national AARP
convention in San Diego in 2002, and Chicago in 2006. His
Aged and Dating Again, is a humorous account of his
first year of dating after his third divorce. His new book,
Love After 50: How to begin, where to go, what to
do, is hot off the press. To ask a question or receive
Tom's free weekly column on middle-age dating and
relationships by e-mail, click on www.findingloveafter50.com
See Archives 2007, 2006,
We begin with Dave's (widower, 5 ½ years) experience dealing with Internet honesty: "I met three (3) women in September and October.
The first woman I had been communicating through Match.com for 2 months, we agreed she would come to my state for a 7-day visit, would sleep in one of my four bedrooms, not the master bedroom though.
"Her profile stated she was 63, divorced. She had posted a supposedly current picture, revealing a beautiful women! When she arrived at the airport, it was obvious she had posted a picture that was old. At dinner that evening, she admitted she was 73.
"The morning of the 2nd day, I informed her I had changed her return to Florida, returning on the 3rd day. I paid for the new ticket. She had lied about her age and had posted a picture that was 12-years old.
"The second and third women lived in my state. Both had posted their age as 63 with supposedly current pictures.
Woman #2 admitted when we met for lunch she had posted a picture that was 12 years old and her age was actually 70. I told her I would not be able to continue a relationship and wished her success.
I met Woman #3 for dinner. When I saw her in the restaurant lobby, I thought she'd left her walker in the car. Her stated age of 63 was short 8 years. The picture was 10-years old. When I asked her about her posted picture, she said, 'You would not have wanted to meet me if I had posted my current picture.'"
I have complained to Match.com about the dishonesty in age and posted pictures. Their comment: 'We are sorry for the discrepancy in age and posted pictures. It is our goal to present only factual profile information.'"
When communicating with each of these women I reiterated my basic premise of honesty and integrity. Without these there is no foundation for developing a meaningful relationship.
Eight women comment
Gail: "I joined eharmony, but haven't met any of my matches yet (and there are plenty!) in person. I went into the whole process totally honest with my age, although I wanted to lie but I am glad I didn't! Eharmony picks the matching age range for you-you can't, I am 57 and they are matching me with men from 52-70, some even older. I am happy with that range. It sure has helped with the lonely nights. Note: Gail lives in a small city.
Shirley, "As for lying about one's age and old photos being used on the Internet, both sexes do that, so here I am telling my real age all these years, and using up-to-date photos, and the men have difficulty responding or even in person coping with a forthright, bright, friendly, ladylike and sexual woman."
Marta: I'd be very happy to write a very friendly, constructive critique of dating profiles gents put on the internet. I'd be very pleased to have gents critique mine too."
In responding to a woman who was upset because a man had lied by one year about his age, Jeanne wrote, "I can't imagine getting that upset over 'ONE YEAR!' Most 'Internet age-lies' involve even DECADES.
"Lying about your age by one year is not a serious mistake. When I was registered with Match.com, I met guys who took 10 years off their age. That was too much," said Jennifer.
Peggy, "I've been told to lie about my age. I don't look, act or dress my age-61. But it's amazing how many men, even those much older than me, don't want anything to do with a 61-year-old woman. I can run circles around guys my age and older-a few younger ones too."
Another woman defended stretching one's age: "At the urging of a younger male friend who doesn't care about my age, I published my real age on dating.com. You can't imagine how humiliating it is to get responses from much older, sedentary, uneducated men who think that being an older woman (65) means I'm on a dating website out of desperation. They wanted a woman who is 'experienced sexually.' It's disgusting."
SS, I met a man online. He called me a liar and
tried to make me feel inferior because I listed my age as 53
instead of 55. He was a 'wacko' who preys on nice women.
"Nothing to do but shoot and hang out."
Here's what seven single men have to say.
Dave, widower, Michigan, says he met three women in person he found on Match.com. "Each lied about their age by at least ten years. I complained to Match.com. They said, 'We are sorry about the dishonesty in age and posted pictures. It is our goal to present only factual profile information.' My experience has been very disconcerting indeed!"
George, San Francisco Bay Area, a recent widower said. 'Dostoevsky said: 'Love is a true battlefield - no one comes back without wounds.'
"I've placed a couple of ads on the Internet, (one is Yahoo). The other is www.true.com and it is a huge resource for middle aged and late-middle aged people to search for potential mates.
"It has psychological tests and sexuality tests (mine came back spot on accurate!) and the women there who are within (sometimes extramarital) my age-requirement parameters, are frequently widowed, but mostly divorced. All have been very gracious in their responses or initiated messages. Some live in another state - even the East Coast. Reading their messages and ads has hugely lightened up my life."
Tony, (not his real name), an outdoor sportsman from Texas, writes, "I live in a small town and through the Internet I find lovely ladies to meet. Here are tips for meeting men in small or large towns.
"There a lot of single guys, all veterans, at the American Legion and VFW halls. In the American Legion, any woman can join the Ladies Auxiliary and serve the local community with projects.
Ladies should go to where men hang out: Gun clubs and public shooting ranges, the Izaak Walton leagues, etc have a lot of retired guys who don't work and have nothing to but shoot and hang out.
Chances are you will not be the only woman, but you will be out numbered by single men who enjoy shooting sports like trap, skeet, sporting clays, small bore shooting, target shooting etc. They tend to be stable, pretty normal guys. These men don't know how to meet women and most don't know how to use a PC or the Internet.
"After returning from a hunting trip this week, my date and I had an early dinner in a small Mexican restaurant in Bandera, TX., population 1200. There were five grey-haired men, all nice looking, well-dressed, some in work clothing, eating alone. I said to my date:
'What a bloody shame these lonely guys are eating out alone; they don't have the computer skills to meet women a mile away sitting home, looking to meet a man.'
"Many of these guys are well off, with good retirement income, and usually have their lives in order, not like many of the gonzos on the dating sites. Often the men you want are right in front of your eyes.
Doug, "Being recently divorced after a long, drawn-out separation, I quite eagerly approached a seniors dating site a couple months ago. Sadly, however, my eagerness has not been reciprocated.
"Even though I wrote only to women who reflected a healthy interest in intimacy, I've so far received responses - timid, at best - from no more than 20% of the 'chosen,' almost like the experience years ago of responding to employment ads and being seemingly ignored by most of the targets.
Maybe I'm just trying to salve my wounded ego - friends, family insist I'm a very attractive man - but it seems these otherwise forthright women become instantly evasive and coy upon being confronted with exactly what they claim to be seeking. I can only guess I'm being read as a 'player' and am not considered worthy of a response, despite my asking for no more than their company on a dinner date."
Larry, mid 60s, Southern California: "From a single man's point of view, most men have gone through at least one bad relationship and we become more retrospective.
"Two quotes from my 87-year-old Southern Belle friend: "Woman are not happy until they catch a man and then they are not happy with the man they catch" And, "Women do not tell the truth"
"Believing the above to be true, why would a man want to commit to a woman--who after a period of time--will become disenfranchised with her man? There are very few women that will accept a man as he is and not try to change him."
Dave #2, age 60, "Women want a committed relationship. That will seldom happen. Most men over 50 have hobbies, business ventures, etc. Men don't want to get tied down to one woman. What we want are friends with benefits.
"Women are just going to have to accept this, and move on to multiple relationships or never have any kind of relationship. Many women I have found over 50 do not have a sex drive anymore. They just want someone to spend time with.
"I own my own gym, workout twice a day, hold down a very challenging job, have a few hobbies, and appreciate a beautiful women of any age."
Gordon, Oregon: "You know what I think of when someone mentions Sideways: the two violent women - one picks up guys by pouring wine (don't think he was the first one she bedded) and then bashes his head in for leading her on, and the second one makes a practice of getting guys in bed with the set up to have her beefy husband come in, threaten to beat him up and steal his money.
"Interesting how a guy misleads a woman (which isn't a crime) and he's remembered as a buffoon but two women commit felonies, and nobody remembers, or at least dares mention it."
And this from George #2, Hot Springs, Arkansas,
"Wouldn't it be cool if Love After 50 could have a
convention from time to time so people could share the same
issues while meeting in person. Maybe you could create
franchises in cities - Love After 50 Lonely Hearts. Internet
dating sucks outloud.
The focus of last week's column grew beyond meeting men in small towns to dealing with being single regardless of where one lives. Seven women share their philosophies.
Judy, 66, said, "I live alone, work alone and live in a small town. I guess the odds are against me.
"In almost a year online (two sites), I have met only one person. I have tried different photos and extended the acceptable areas. When those sites comes up for renewal, I am letting them lapse.
"I bowl in a league and volunteer at the local blood bank. I do not feel bad about my life, but I am realistic."
Jennifer agreed with me, "Singles in rural areas seeking love should use an Internet dating site and/or consider moving to a more populated area. A small town is usually a dead-end for singles looking to meet someone."
But, Shirley, aka the wise bird of Manhattan, took issue with moving to where there are more single men.
"Uh, hh! If you and these women assume that meeting a man will reduce loneliness, you've all got a lot to learn.
"We in the big cities face the very same challenges; more people, more trouble, more losers, and more players!"
"Either we women keep trying, and it works or it doesn't, but life goes on, whether Sir Galahad is in the picture or not! Depending on a man after losing the important one is a losing situation, and we women have to take our opportunities and lives into our own hands--and move on mentally and emotionally, and use our brains, for we have many resources, and a man is only one.
Marta, "Many folk in urban areas remain single despite large populations. I live in a big city (3.3 million people in Montreal) and have still not met the man of my dreams.
"I remind myself each day that life has so much to offer if only I will go out and experience it. I want a cultured person and I love galleries, etc., so I attend everything, and now have new friends that I spend time with. I want an active man so I go skiing, swimming - no man yet, but lots of new ski friends through whom I meet MORE new people, and so it goes.
"I pursue my personal interests and passions, and yes, sometimes my eyes have tears in them at bedtime - (some evenings are spent in the company of happily coupled people - that can be hard when alone); but for the most part - my life is enlarged, I myself am more interesting because I get out and about.
"We live in a world where we now expect to have everything we desire. But no one is guaranteed a romance, a long-term love, the joys of children. A happy and meaningful life can be lived in the full knowledge that we don't get everything we want. Some things elude us.
"Misery or happiness is a choice. I seek contentment in what I have and the love that is present in my life, and don't moan about no man in my life - no one, not even me wants to hear me be sad about that. I don't want to be an old lady and have memories of myself as a whiner."
Carlene, "I lived in South Lake Tahoe for over 8 years so I know the situation of few men to date. I suggest Judy get out and take advantage of all the Sierras have to offer." Carlene suggested volunteering, joining a hiking group and visiting nearby Gold Rush towns.
"I was staying in one town the weekend of the start of fishing season - talk about lots of gents to talk to at dinner and in the bar afterwards!"
Pat, wrote, "Finding one who wants to make a commitment is difficult in any area, and I don't mean marriage; I just mean a one-on-one commitment."
Edie, "It is important to have a 'full life,' which is not focused on 'finding/meeting' the love of your life. Life goes on regardless and we can either enjoy life or be miserable (without a partner). It is a matter of attitude and what we choose to do in our lives.
"Life can be as exciting as we want to make it so we need to get out there and play a little (nothing reckless, just enjoy the moment) because the destination is the same. It's the path we take that makes the difference.
From the mailbag
John, "I'm married and enjoy reading the newsletter each week and appreciate that I don't have to participate in the single scene anymore. Your descriptions of places you travel are helpful. I hope to visit those some day."
Judy, "I have been reading the posts from the people for sometime, and it seems that there is nothing said that is 'on topic.' I have quite a few groups that actually come up with intelligent discussion, instead of talking about surgeries, trips, etc." (She didn't subscribe).
Nelly, "I want to meet my soul mate; I would like you to show me the way." (I can only steer you in a positive direction Nelly, you'll have to do some work yourself).
Peggy, "I've gotten what I need from your wonderful newsletter. And that is the knowledge that I'm okay and will be okay even if I don't have a man in my life. Thanks for being in my life when I obviously needed your newsletter. My goodness, I can't believe this is bringing me to tears."
Jeanne, "Still haven't met anyone and am currently not even dating anyone. Sniff-what's a gal like me to do? Still, I enjoy reading your newsletter, that's why I subscribe.
From Tom: I used to hate it when subscribers wouldn't
renew. But now I realize the newsletter affects people in
different ways, depending on where they are in their lives.
It can't be all things to all people. Some readers come,
some go, most stay and most enjoy. Some who go do so because
they met a mate, often crediting the newsletter for
influencing them in how they led their lives. If there are
topics you'd like presented, let me know. There are
discussions planned that are a result of your
Mid-life singles often complain about how hard it is to meet potential partners, even though they live in major cities and heavily populated areas. But, when compared to singles living in towns and remote areas, big-city singles are sitting on a gold mine of dating opportunity, even though they may not realize it.
Judy, 57, widowed for four years after a 30-year marriage, isn't as fortunate as women living in a city like Los Angeles, for example. She resides in a small city on the Eastern slope of the Sierras, where single men are fewer than the population of California brown bears.
She wrote, "I need help with a man I have been seeing. After sometime in our relationship, I felt the need to tell him I loved him.
"Why did you feel the need to tell him that?" I asked
Judy said: "I want to be married again, I hate being alone. I am so confused!" She asked for advice.
How did he react to her love proclamation?
"He told me, by email, that he will never fall in love with a woman, a house, or a car, because all will take your money."
I'm sure the man's response wasn't the one Judy was hoping to hear. She said he still has wounds from a divorce of several years ago.
Judy explained her feelings for him: "He is very well off, a marvelous dancer and we have a good time together. He is 62 and has no children. He has a couple of houses where I live in Northern CA and numerous houses in So. Cal, so he spends most of his time down there."
After she told him she loved him, they didn't see each other for a month. "But now we have started getting together again when he is in town," Judy added.
It seems Judy's only opportunity for romance is when he rides into town. And this is where singles living in more populated areas have an advantage over her. If they are willing to get out and get involved in activities they enjoy, every time they do they have a chance to meet a potential mate.
But in Judy's case, with the man shortage, she's kind of stuck in the wilderness so to speak. And as long as she continues to live in the mountains, her loneliness likely won't go away and her wish to remarry won't be fulfilled.
I told her: "This guy isn't your answer. When he tells you he will never fall in love, he means it. When you told him you loved him, look what happened--he withdrew for a month.
"He sees you 'when he's in town,' and why not? You're a warm body to snuggle with. For him, that beats dining or drinking alone in Duffy's Tavern, with the stuffed moose head mounted on the wall staring down on him."
Should Judy dump the guy and move on? Probably not.
I said, "Since you have fun together, continue seeing him but with no expectations of a commitment."
I also suggested she try using the Internet to meet someone. There could be a nice gentleman in her area who would love to meet her, or a fly fisherman from Los Angeles or San Diego who would like an excuse to relocate.
I added: "If you're loneliness overwhelms you, consider moving to a city with a larger population, where there are more single men."
Easier said than done, I realize. But for people who live in remote areas, moving may be their only cure for finding a mate.
When it comes to meeting potential partners, big-city singles have it made-well, at least, when compared to Judy.
From the mailbag
Anonymous: "I am almost 62 and have been single for 5 years.I have tried everything, but without success. I live in San Luis Obispo which is quite limited in population and the entire county has less than 300,000 people. I attribute my lack of connection primarily to that.
"I have been on match.com off and on for several years, but I am not attracting the type of person I want. 25% of the responses are from bikers so I must have something in my profile that attracts them."
Tom's response: Your situation is somewhat similar to Gail's. But, you are better off because you live in a more populated area and your winters are mild. You are likely attracting bikers because they like to drive there and would enjoy having somebody to party with while "in town." For some reason, I picture those two buffoons in the movie "Sideways," which was filmed near there.
Two ideas for you. First, take a class at Cal State San Luis Obisbo--you'll meet a whole new group of people. Second, take a part-time job in the tasting room at one of the wineries in your outstanding wine-growing region. You'll meet new people each day. And, people working in the winery business are a tight-knit group who socialize vigorously.
Continue with the Internet. But don't make it your only source of meeting people. And remember, George Clooney drives a bike.
© 2007, Tom Blake