Midlife? Want to Know the Number One Draw to Your Personal Ad?


Dating over 50 requires perseverance, patience and a little knowledge

Dating in mid life can be a drag.

Many middle-aged men and women who come to see me once they are on the other side of the divorce eventually begin to feel pangs of loneliness. When the topic of dating comes up they invariably say, "I can't do that. I'm too old to date" or "I don't know how to date online. Do I have to?" These people also fear that "the chances" of meeting someone are not in their favor. I believe that those with strong intention can make anything happen so I always encourage people to believe in themselves. After all, it only takes finding one right person!

If you fall into this 50-65, date-a-phobic category, I want to give you some perspective and pointers on dating that I believe can help you to have a better experience.

The best news is that 50 is the new 30 and there more for 50 somethings whole are divorcing than any other age demographic (www.latimes.com/opinion/op-Ed/la-one-rivers-Barnett-gray-divorce-20160928-snap-story.html)

That means that there are more eligible potentials out there. The pool is bigger. Really. It is..

While it is true that those in midlife probably have more complicated lives- an ex (or two or three), children and relationship wounds- many of the folks will be wiser, more mature and will have a healthier perspective on what really matters in life than their younger counterpart.

Other good news is that the Internet makes it is easier than ever to find single people. No longer do you have to sit for hours at a local bookstore or coffee shop hoping the next man or woman of your dreams will walk in.

Obviously, some dating sites are better than others so you may have to join a few to get a sense of where your people are, but there are loads to choose from. It does take some patience and perseverance so just know that going in.

Another positive aspect of meeting someone on the Internet is you get right to what matters quickly so you are less likely to waste precious time: you see their interests, how active or physically fit they are, their marital status and what they are looking for in a relationship (long term relationship, casual dating, etc.).

The bad news is that sometimes people lie or misrepresent themselves. (This is particularly true, I'm told, when it comes to a person's age and, unfortunately, sometimes the marital status as well. You have to be careful and screen well.)

I wanted to get a better sense of dos and don'ts in the online dating world so I spoke with a dating coach friend of mine, Catherine Schoen, about how to write an attractive profile. Here's what she had to say:

Your photo is everything. The number one draw to your profile. 90% of responses online are a result of your photo. Put your best self out there.

Of course, that makes sense, but you have to know how to define a good photo. One of my clients had a dating profile up for a couple of months with a lovely though faraway shot of her and her kids. Although she is an attractive woman, she got almost no winks or visits to her page. She took her profile down and changed her photo to a closer shot of her on a ski slope with a big smile on her face. Needless to say, it was like night and day. She got lots and lots of attention and eventually got into a long-term relationship.

Cathy advises either asking a friend who has a really good eye to take you out for a photo shoot or invest in a professional photographer. And take photos outside in nature or with you doing one of your favorite activities. She says to avoid the studio because it looks too contrived and, if I can add my own two cents, avoid shots of you where an ex had been in the shot with you but you cut them out. You know, the one where his or her arm or hand is unmistakable wrapped around you? That's a dead giveaway that it either hasn't been very long since you ended that relationship, or you're not over your ex yet. Either way, trust me on this one, don't do it thinking no one can tell. They can.

Although Cathy suggests leaving photos with the Fido out, it can certainly be another quick way to rule someone in or out. If you're an animal lover, you might want your potential mate to be one too. If you're not, seeing a pic of a prospect with a long-haired cat or four dogs might be enough to check him or her off the list immediately.

Two additional tips that Cathy added to her list were 1. To have at least one full body shot and, 2. No pics more than a year old (or 50 pounds ago). Otherwise, you might be accused of false advertising.

As far as what to write, Cathy suggests that you write something simple but unique. "Three paragraphs is plenty. White space is your friend," she says.

This is easier said than done, I know, but expect that it will take at least 2 rounds of tweaking to get it right. It's always helpful to ask a friend – maybe even the same friend who helped you get your photo done — to read your profile and help you whittle it down.

A common mistake people make is they try to list the full spectrum of their interests and of who they are. People also use this precious, limited space to list what they don't want. Cathy says that's a big no-no (pun intended). Keep a positive tone and focus on what you are looking for. She adds that the best profiles are easy to read and give the flavor of the personality through photos or humor and levity.

Cathy's last bit of advice is to include a brief statement about what you ultimately desire. Her feeling is that it's best to skip statements like, "we'll hold hands on the beach," or, "we'll sip wine watching the sunset," because, while lovely to envision, those are shallow promises and part of the natural evolution of any budding romantic relationship.

If you'd like more tips from Cathy, visit her website: CatherineSchoen.com