Susan Gladstone's moment came when she turned 50. Divorced, with two children, she was getting tired of asking friends to fix her up and being told they just couldn't think of anyone. And so, she turned to online dating.Two-and-a-half years and dozens of dates later, Ms. Gladstone, an event planner in Miami, Fla., hasn't found her soul mate. But she's had lots of enjoyable dinner dates, met fascinating people from around the globe, and, to her delight, made a number of lasting friendships.Ms. Gladstone is part of a growing trend: people in their 50s and beyond searching the Internet for romance, companionship, sometimes marriage. As in any age group, there are ups and downs. There's the old stale-photo trick (it's him, but 20 years and 30 pounds ago), or the date who asks right away how much money you have, or the ones who say how fabulous you are and then disappear. Still, many older online daters say that even if they haven't found true love -- yet -- it has been worthwhile."I had minor back surgery recently," Ms. Gladstone said, "and I got about a half-dozen e-mails from men I'd met online, checking up on how I was! Even if I never meet my partner, I'll be happy for the wonderful friends I've made."The main reason more mature singles are going online for love is simple: more widespread access to the Internet, hence more familiarity with online dating. And dating sites are catering to older members. Yahoo! Personals, for example, has an advice column for users older than 50, with tips on everything from etiquette to sexual health for those whose romantic radar might be a tad rusty.
Another reason: "Baby boomers are seeing their children use online dating, and watching their success at finding mates," Yahoo! Personals spokeswoman Rochelle Adams said. "They're seeing that it's not such a crazy concept."
Match.com, another large online dating site, says boomers (which it defines as ages 45-59) are its fastest growing segment -- they've increased by 350 percent since 2000, now numbering 1.7 million. Spokeswoman Kristin Kelly says older users tend to be much clearer and more realistic about what they want: "There's no substitute for the wisdom gained with age."
Claudia Polley certainly knows what she wants. The beauty of online dating, says the 56-year-old museum consultant from Washington, D.C., is that you can tell right away if someone can write well -- a key test for her. "If they can't spell, and they start out with 'Hiya!' -- well, I wish them a wonderful life, but not with me."
Her work takes her around the globe -- Africa, Europe, the Caribbean. "It would be wonderful to share that with someone," she said. Aside from intelligence and flexibility, she looks for wit and humor. Physical appearance is less important.
So far, Ms. Polley has had no major disasters. There have, though, been disappointing moments: "You want someone to be fabulous, and they're not."
And so, said Ms. Polley, who was briefly married, then widowed, "You just have to say, 'OK, well, that's all right. We'll keep looking.'"
Source: Augusta Chronicle. Powered by YellowBrix.
Source: Relationships & Love