Let’s face it: Dating is daunting. And when you’re a Boomer, it may seem next to impossible. You might be coming out of a long-term marriage, or emerging from a period of time where you were consumed with raising children or caring for elderly parents — or, perhaps you still are responsible for children and/parents. Have your “dating muscles” atrophied? You might feel like you don’t have the slightest idea how to go about flirting, meeting the opposite sex, much less handling issues of sexually transmitted diseases. You might feel like your body is old or unattractive. Disrobing in front of a romantic partner? Definitely not.
Plus, today’s dating world doesn’t remotely resemble the one you knew. How proactive are women supposed to be? Is the third-date rule (for having sex) still in effect? Just how do you handle an HIV discussion? Is online dating reliable, safe, or even effective? And all these questions and difficulties are magnified for female Boomers, who outnumber their male counterparts and also have to compete with younger women.
Yet many Boomers, including women, have gone out there and had the fun and excitement of their teenage years all over again (and with the wisdom of the years, it’s even better!). A 54 year-old artist recently e-mailed me about her new Boomer boyfriend:
Joe adores me. He tells me I am a treasure, a rare beauty. I make him feel alive after so many years of being dead. Joe loves my voice, my thoughts, my work. He bought riding boots and we went riding together. His 95-year-old mom in Miami wants to see my photo.
Many Boomers have created love in their lives — the kind of deeply fulfilling love that offers true friendship along with the chemistry of lovers. Love, of course, is good for us. Research shows that married people are healthier both emotionally and physically. And having sex is good for us, too. Research shows that an active sex life may lead to a longer life, a better immune system, greater heart health, improved mood, even the ability to prevent certain cancers and ward off pain. Intercourse typically burns around 200 calories, which is equivalent to running on the treadmill for 30 minutes! And both activities release endorphins, which elevate mood and lower pain levels.
Once you take the dating plunge, you may be very pleasantly surprised at the possibilities, especially in online dating. This goes for female Boomers too. They often report that once they start, they feel more confident, more clear about what they want and therefore, more attractive! Female Boomers are more empowered and more affluent than ever before. The good news is that often, younger women cannot compete with them for a male Boomer’s attention. The thirty-somethings are too active and demanding in terms of nightlife and other activities, whereas a Boomer man may prefer the seasoned wise companionship of a woman who has been there and done that. In other words, both male and female Boomers are in a position to pick and choose who they want to date.
And there is plenty to pick and choose from. A recent survey showed that 70 percent of single baby Boomers actively date. And 45 percent of men and 38 percent of women between the ages of 40 and 59 have sex once a week. Boomers have taken to online dating in increasing numbers. Two of the most popular online dating sites known for their younger clientele, reported a 39 percent increase in Boomer use from 2003-2006.
Here’s what Shirley, a 50-year-old divorcee is experiencing: I just met another amazing guy. This one actually was suggested by my site. I winked. He e-mailed. I e-mailed back. He called me and we had a fabulous conversation. He was so easy to talk to. He seemed honest and sincere. I asked some pretty blunt questions that he happily answered in good detail. And he’s tall! He created a business and sold it in 2006 because he had plenty of money and wanted to do something else. On the other hand, Bill, the writer, is coming out this afternoon. We are going to the beach. Bill says that he has written a poem for me…
So, what are you waiting for? Join the party!
The formula for successful Boomer dating
Tip 1: Bring out your charisma. Find activities that you truly adore and that create happiness and joy in your life. Ideally, pick activities that will transform both the inner and outer you. Take a personal growth course; learn to meditate; or start a spiritual practice.
Tip 2: Take care of you. For the outer (and inner) you, start a regular exercise program. It is definitely the fountain of youth. Give yourself a makeover so that you look great in your own eyes. Get that trendy haircut, go shopping and try out those clothes that your friend wears that give him/her a sexy, attractive or powerful look.
Tip 3: Don’t be shy to advertise. Then put out the word in your network that you are ready to date. Seventy-two percent of relationships come from a person’s network of friends, co-workers, and family. At first, don’t be picky — simply tell folks you are looking for a wonderful person.
Tip 4: Go where the singles go. Go where the opposite sex (or same sex, if you prefer) is. If you like what you see, smile, make eye contact, give a sincere compliment or ask for some help. Sign up for on-going classes/activities that interest you and that have potential dates in them. For example, courses on finance, investing, sports and leadership; snowboarding/skiing; hiking; and cigar tasting usually have a lot of men in them. If you’re a Boomer male, women are attracted to growth, craft, cooking, or spiritual courses. If you’re not sure, ask the enroller about the ratio of men to women. There are many other fun activities, classes, and clubs so Google any class/topic plus “your city” and “classes.”
Tip 5: Definitely do not miss out on online dating. Using the Internet is essential because it gives you a sense of the wide variety of singles that are out there right now. Sixteen million singles are dating online in the U.S. according to the latest independent research. You can partake of this smorgasbord of possibilities right there at your computer. Spend the time and work two sites. Boomers can also use more specialized sites like ones for Christians, Jews, or those looking for same-sex romance.
Tip 6: Put some time into it. Most people spend more time planning a vacation than they do planning their dating lives. And they get great vacations and little-to-no love life! So if you want to date, get out your calendar and set aside 8 to 10 hours per week to spend on going to courses. Then work your online dating program so that you are actually going out on dates.