After my divorce, I ventured gamely into the arena of online matchmaking, but I struck out time and again. One of my would-be Romeos turned out to be a gumshoe who had investigated several high-profile cases. Next up was a guy who whipped out a card printed with lists of his neuroses and medications. There were more "matches," all of them equally undesirable. Still, I wondered what the experiences of other Boomers have been. Here are the stories of several veterans of the Internet meet-up sites:
"My husband and I met through Match.com. He's my second and I'm his third. He fell in love fast, but I took longer. He has two children and I had none. We've been married 5 years this June and it has been a lovely, challenging, fun, frustrating, sometimes seems a little longer, sometimes seems a little shorter, definitely worth it, journey." Christine Baumgartner, 61, Laguna Niguel, California.
"We met on eHarmony. It took me three months to get her to go out with me. Before our first date, I had a feeling she was going to cancel so I sent her a note. I wrote: "Don't lose your nerve, girl. No matter what the future holds for us, something together or going our own separate ways, Thursday night will be a very fun evening, distracting us from the prying problems and challenges of life! Looking forward to escaping from the world with you... David" Carrie's thoughts: How could I resist? On May 24, 2009, with our boys by our side, we were married on McKenna beach in Maui. Carrie and I are both cancer survivors and we share a unique perspective on what really matters in life." David Koop, 53, Salem, Oregon
"My husband and I met on match.com in Oct 2005. The ad was placed by my daughter. I was a smoker at the time, and because she wanted me to quit, she listed me as a non-smoker. My future husband had his filter set to non-smoker, so if my daughter had not misrepresented me, we would have never met. Fortunately, he tolerated my smoking until I quit in January 2007. We were married in August 2008 and are happily married today. I am still happily smoke free." Luisa Otero, 50, Kew Gardens Hills, New York.
"After 10 years of being on and off Match.com, I signed on to eHarmony and married the one and only person I met there. Our first date was at Red Lobster, and we wound up in the back seat of her car (remember, we're in our fifties) after the restaurant closed. First time I ever did that on a first date! Exactly one year later, we were back at the same Red Lobster and I proposed. She was so flustered she made me repeat everything and then had to be prompted by the people at the next booth to say yes!" Jim McComb, 58, Irvine, California
"I did a lot of online dating and I had way too many experiences of good email, good phone, willing to give the benefit of the doubt, and then ready to leave within the first five minutes of the actual date! By the time I responded to my husband's profile online, I was ready to throw in the towel. But he just looked and sounded like such a genuinely nice guy that I sent him a quick note. He wrote right back, we corresponded for a month, met and became exclusive after our third date. This was in June of 2001. We bought a house and I moved to his area in 2003 and we finally made it legal in 2009. We still really like each other, even though he almost always beats me at Scrabble ;-). Sharon Rosen, 54, Highland, New York
"Because I had been single for so long, I had been on and off the dating sites for years. By the time I met Ross, I was a bit skeptical. Our phone conversation was wonderful, but would this man be my keeper? At the moment of first sight at the restaurant, my spirit rose -- no typical sinking feeling this time. And when he moved over to my side of the booth to let me decide on a movie to see together, I couldn't ignore the warmth radiating from him. Enjoying his love is worth all the years of hunting. I would never have met this man without Internet dating. Thank you, oh Gods of technology!!" Jan Whalen, 62, Phoenix, Arizona
"When suddenly single at 50, I dipped my toes in online dating. I came across an extremely handsome man, far too good-looking to be interested in me, so I clicked off his profile. Being an amateur, I didn't realize that people know who views them. Mr. Gorgeous emailed me and we began talking daily. He said his birthday was the following weekend and I had good vibes, so I offered to buy him dinner. When we finally met, I realized that his photos had been taken at least 15 years earlier. He ordered champagne because it was my 'treat.' I escaped to the ladies' room and tried calling everybody I knew to get someone to call me back with an 'emergency' call but no one answered. When I returned to the table, my date had already ordered. I counted 6 entrees. When we finished, my date asked the waiter to wrap up the leftovers to go. He even took mine. The worst part of this whole episode is that I suspect it wasn't really even his birthday." Judith Pugh, 54, Long Beach, California
"My late wife discovered me on-line. We e-mailed, we talked on the phone, and then we met. It was love at first sight. Ten months later, we were married. Then she got cancer. I took care of her at home for years until she died. Now widowed and grieving, I've finally returned to on-line dating hoping to be half as lucky the second time around." Woodrow Wilson, 67, Del Mar, California