New ways to solve an age-old problem

Dating news review: week ended 7th sept 2012:

Well, it’s been a bit of an interesting week when it comes to dating and relationships, as two new approaches to the age-old problem of finding your soulmate have come forward.

It’s never easy finding that someone special if you’re looking; there’s a lot of fish in the sea, you have to kiss a shedload of frogs before finding your prince, and all those other rubbish sayings. Well, if you’ve lost patience with the whole online dating routine, here’s some news for you: you can pay £15,000 to a new headhunting agency to find you your soulmate, satisfaction guaranteed – just don’t forget you’ve got to pay VAT.

The weighty price tag means that most individuals using this service have some serious money to burn. It must be nice to be able to just kiss goodbye to the equivalent of a brand new Vauxhall Astra on a dating service for the super-rich; most of us have to use more plebeian sites that don’t charge the cost of a new motor in order for the chance at love and happiness.

Still, good on you if you can afford that kind of money on your love life. Lend us a tenner until the end of the week, won’t you, mate?

Back in the real world, where the real problems are, there’s some good news: older Brits are starting to turn to online dating sites in a way to combat loneliness in their golden years. It can be tough after your kids have all flown the coop and you’re left in a big empty house, so it’s only natural to consider finding a bit of companionship that doesn’t include watching television every night alone.

Some might find it a bit shocking if Mum (or even Grandmum) is out looking for love in the untamed wilds of the internet, but it’s the 21st century, so come off it already. You don’t suddenly stop wanting to spend time with someone simply because you grow older, and it’s especially hard on single parents after their children are grown and out on their own: for all the years they put up with you and your cheekiness, they deserve a break, and who are you to say what they do in their own time now that they’re not changing your nappies and making sure you’re off to school on time?

STD – not a dialling code for senior Canadian singles

Back in the old days, when broadband was a CB reference, breaker, breaker, picking up an infection from the Internet was strictly to do with a nasty little virus on your hard drive. According to one recent report, Canada is experiencing another type of infection rapidly grabbing its incredibly online-biased per-capita populace of dating site surfers.

Yes, it seems that the Canadian dating community have a nasty bout of syphilis spreading through its rank and file. Put it down to over enthusiastic youngsters who can’t wait to get into someone’s underwear for the first time? Think on…

We’re not talking your regular teenage dream, here, but rather of a generation that ought to know better, but so obviously don’t. The nasty little infection is being spread around the silver surfer set who hale from a time when Johnny was the name of Popstars and Chat Show Hosts and gay meant being happy with your lot. Perhaps it is this naivety causing the STD to spread like wildfire around the senior dating set so virulently.

the millennium bug struck, after all

Since 2000, new cases of the disease have increased ten-fold, with the middle-aged population getting to grips with dating sites and finding that there are millions of senior singles out there in dating land just as promiscuous as they were when Hendrix brought Woodstock down and free love didn’t mean a no cost trial on a dating platform.

The direct rise in dating site numbers from the same time parallels the spread of the disease in the more mature dater. According to one expert, once someone of an age starts into a relationship online, they feel like they know their partner well enough to sleep with them. In fact, this supposition is backed up by another report which suggests that sixteen percent of Canadians have been one half of an Internet couple who have ended up going further than man ever did in their quest for the moon, i.e. all the way.

It seems that the disease, or similar STIs -even HIV – have been reported in high volumes by users of Internet dating sites as far back as 2004, when it is believed that 43% of women who checked in because there was something not quite right had been with a partner from on online dating agency or another.

A combination of two other factors also contribute highly: the women are past the age of conception, so pregnancy is not an issue and the men, when faced with an erection, don’t want to have their rush of blood recede, leaving them flaccid and embarrassed.

Safe sex is for everyone and you don’t develop immunity just through a rite of passage of age. No matter who you’re sleeping with, make sure the little red rider is hooded before sending it into the bushy forest on its own.  Those teeth bite!

Alternative dating methods, allegedly

I’m not going to say that I’m a traditionalist when it comes to dating, but meeting in a bar and heading off to a reputable restaurant does me fine every time. However, it would appear that for some, that’s just not good enough for a first date.

Reading an article today made me question whether I’ve just become stuck in a rut or whether I do actually need to shake up the hat a bit when plucking out what to do the first time I meet up with a potential partner in the flesh that I’ve met on a dating site.

These were five ideas conceived to achieve just that effect – would love to know whether any of them are your cup of tea, or whether I should concede that it’s time for me to join a senior dating site and just enjoy, well, my cup of tea.

The Picnic. Would I look like a wuss if I turned up with a wicker basket filled with ham sandwiches, tomatoes and sausage rolls? Living in the heart of Urban Central in the West Midlands may also be a drawback to finding a park that wasn’t littered with broken glass and walls sprayed with six-foot-high obscenities and tags. But, according to the article, girls like a simple and special treat, so, am I a sandwich short for not getting this one?

The Beach The second suggestion for taking your dating site partner out for the first time is a drive along the coast to watch the undulating waves flop against golden, sandy beaches. Again, the West Mids being smack-bang in the middle of England, we’re a bit short of Atlantic panoramas. The choice is either a stroll along the cut (that’s a canal, for anyone outside the Black Country) or a trip up the M6 to the turgid waters of The Irish Sea bombarding Blackpool’s Golden Mile.  Not too keen on that, either, I’m afraid.

Biking Okay, we go from the sublime to the bonkers, with a suggestion of picking up a bike trail into the mountains. Mmm, bit short of hillocks until you get to the Welsh border, really, or up to The Pennines. But the thought of dating someone with mud-spattered calves, no matter how shapely, with sweat stains seeping from armpits tightly clad beneath a cycling jersey just doesn’t do it for me, there, either.

Camping The suggestion here goes along the line of, take your woman off into the woods and hitch up a tent to spend the night together. Does this go against every rule of dating site safety you’ve ever read, or what? Couple that with the fact that, on your first date, you want as much access to electricity and clean running water as possible if it is imperative that your date means staying overnight somewhere. Leave camping to the Scouts, methinks.

Skydiving/Paragliding Air sports can be good for an adrenalin rush on your first date, apparently. It can also be good for showing what an absolute coward you are, breaking a leg or your dating partner falling for the more rugged instructor. No, I think I’ll stick to doing a runner from the Indian to get my blood sugar crashing, if that’s what the date called for. Definitely not flinging myself out of a plane from 15,000 feet, thank you. Firmly a terra firma type of guy.

And then the article concludes with a simple statement that suggests many men have no comprehension of what it takes to get women…
…I can only assume that the author was talking from personal experience. Waiter? Cheque, please!

3 winks per minute in mad 2 days for lady in red swimsuit

We have spoken at great length, over the last six months, about the importance of deliberating over your dating site profile, getting it just so and tweaking it specifically for whichever dating site you choose as your preferred platform. Shows what we know, dunnit!?

Louise Leech, a widow from Glasgow, had been signed up to three dating sites for two years and received little traffic based upon her eloquently-crafted profile and conservative profile photograph, which was perhaps what she felt appropriate, given her time of life. But this story goes to prove that age is neither a barrier to being attractive to the opposite sex nor pulling off a sleek all-in-one swimsuit if you’ve still got the figure to do so, which Louise did with astonishing success.

Louise is a writer of romantic fiction from Dennistoun in Scotland’s second city, so what better background for attracting a man could there be? One of her characters couldn’t have pulled off as dramatic a stunt to woo an, as yet unknown, potential suitor. But, in real life, she was getting nowhere fast; that was until she decided to take a leaf out of Dame Helen Mirren’s book and invest in a passionate red shapewear swimsuit from Marks and Sparks, as has been seen modelled by the gorgeous Lisa Snowdon.

It’s fair to say that Louise had experienced, up to the point of taking the plunge and posting the photograph of herself in the red swimsuit on senior dating site seniorfishdating.com, a bit of a rollercoaster experience from online dating.

Following the death of her husband, Louise spent the first year letting the natural grieving process take its course. But as she came out the other side, she was only fifty five and, looking nowhere near that age, she decided to give online dating a punt.

That initial rush of excitement of taking a definitive step to actively change the single aspect of her life was soon quashed; her original dating profile photo drew little response from possible suitors and, by her own admission, like the hermit crab she shrunk back into her shell. The red swimsuit was, in effect, going to be her last hurrah, having decided that she was perhaps destined to be alone, given that she was now 57.

With the Lady in Red photo uploaded, she went about her daily routine and logged back into the dating site some two days later.

What happened next, however, absolutely overwhelmed her.

Over the two days, 900 prospective partners had responded to the new profile photo – that’s almost three a minute constantly for two days solid. Her inbox was crammed with hopeful silver singles, quite a difference for the woman who admits that getting back into the dating scene had proved more difficult than she’d thought, especially given that she’d been with her husband for thirty years before his untimely passing at the age of sixty-three.

So, what next for Ms Leech? Well, after she’s sorted the wheat from the chaff in her inbox, what’s the betting the next romance novel is about a woman who steps beyond the norm to rediscover herself via an online dating platform? Or maybe that’s just another example of truth being a wee bit stranger than fiction.

Dating sites – a bit of something for just about everyone

Being single is great for a while and only the absolute confirmed bachelor or ice-maiden can truly say that it’s what they want forever. For the rest of us, there comes a time when longing to spend time with a soul-mate or kindred spirit overwhelms the desire to go out and get ratted every night with a random bod you’ve met on your dating site or courtesy of your dating app, end up getting laid and then wake up next to said bod the following morning with absolutely no feelings for them, other than wondering whether they’ll go up in your esteem if, next to the kettle, is a 300gm jar of Douwe Egberts.

No? Never just hooked up with someone from one of the 1,000s of online dating sites festooning the Internet? Mmm, perhaps it’s just me then. But I know it’s not. Online dating is one of the hottest trends availing itself to singles all over the globe.

I’m sorry? You think you’re too old? Okay, if you’re of a certain maturity, traipsing half way across the county at the drop of a hat to meet someone you’ve just met on a dating site, parking up in a suitable location, downing several alcoholic beverages and then hopping straight into bed with them on the first night may not be your cup of tea, but if you’re 55 plus, then you, dear sir or madam, are in the fastest growing age range to discover the world of online dating. Oh, yes, it’s true – senior dating is top of the cyber-love pops!

And what was that, madam? You only go for older men who can lavish you with gifts in return for small favours and accommodating them on an ad hoc basis as and when the mood takes you? No problem there, either. There are many distinguished dating sites for the Sugar Daddy and Sugar Baby alike.

And you, sir? You go for the older woman with perhaps a swimming pool in her yard and a penthouse villa in The Canaries, à la Mrs Robinson? In the words of Harry Enfield – Young Man! Don’t fear – cougars are on the prowl online as well as their older male peers looking for younger female company.

And you there, looking for a same sex relationship – you won’t be disappointed either. By jove, many of the mainstream dating sites are even enlightened enough to acknowledge the vast sector of the UK population who would much prefer to spend the evening – and night – with someone of the same gender and have their own private areas to service them. Ooh, err!

Online dating has come a long way from the dial-up days of seedy little websites, which were more likely to infect your hard drive than lead to a relationship capable of allowing you to pick up something else equally undesirable and contagious. As a starting point, if this is all new ground for you, check out our dating site – you may be surprised at how many people you have lots in common with, no matter what your dating preference.

(Oh, and if this is your virgin online dating experience, be sure to check out the next article about online dating security!)

Senior dating – it’s all about knowing what button to press

Another aspect to take into consideration, and this is a point in history that will never recur, is that those now entering middle age, they are entering retirement with a full understanding of the Internet. Finding dating sites via a PC is perhaps easier than opening a jar of pickles. Whereas recent generations of seniors have shied away from that there new-fangled technology, online dating holds no such fear for the senior citizen looking to share their later years with someone new.

And for many more mature singles, as they reach that reflective time in their lives, using dating sites is not only a way of finding out about others, but also a time of self-discovery. After a lifetime of working to pay the bills and dedicating most waking hours making sure everyone else’s needs were catered for, the reward in retirement is often that mortgages are paid, the keys to the company car have been handed back for the last time – no new model this year! – and for the first time since early adulthood, seniors can really look back on their life and forward to the future with perhaps their own offsprings’ families, share their grandchildren with a new partner in a way that time has never afforded before.  What better way to do this than by selecting just the right person to share that future with, using the dating site as a keen tool, perhaps to even better effect than their younger online dating peers.

Whether that feat’s achieved through a stand alone, specifically tailored dating site for seniors or a mainstream one with a bespoke, integrated facility whereby the single can filter the ages brought up in search results, there is absolutely no reason why senior citizens shouldn’t be taking to the Internet to find the next love of their lives, just like them pesky kids do.

And here’s a scary statistic to finish this two-part article with, that proves that there’s life in these old dogs yet. According to a recent study undertaken on behalf of match.com, 91% of singles in the senior bracket reckon they achieve the mighty O every time they have sex. I don’t know about dating sites for the elderly, but it’s no wonder the cougar and sugar daddy sites are so popular if they have that level of success every time they hit the hay. Perhaps there’s another reason why 500 NYU female students have signed up to be sugar babies on seekingarrangement.com and it’s not just to pay their way through college, after all.

Why all the fuss about seniors using dating sites?

There has been quite a bit of fuss recently about the two sectors of dating land that head up the fastest growing bands in the industry. Namely, the senior dating set, those over 55 looking for love online, who are swiftly followed in the second highest-expanding market by the 45-55′s.  Needless to say, the explosion in populous of our senior citizens has caused much consternation with the younger generation – who wants to see their grandfather appear in a compatibility search on your matchmaking site?

But what is all the commotion about? There are some very human emotions involved as to why the baby boomers are making such a huge imprint on the world of online dating. Over the last twenty years, the divorce rate has rocketed, with one in three marriages now ending in a separation. There is the creation of one aspect of the market of senior dating that doesn’t take too much working out.

Furthermore, due to a better understanding of health, fitness, diet and the need to work past the recognised ‘retirement’ age, seniors are staying active for a lot longer. Therefore, should they be scorned or ashamed of taking to the Internet to find love online when they still have so much to contribute? Of course not.

No one genuinely wants to grow old alone, not when they perhaps have so much left to give or have a lifetime of happy memories to share with an appreciative kindred soul. Generations share similarities about the pattern their life has taken and how their world was shaped by events that, when shared with someone who experienced them similarly, take on a whole new dimension than with someone who only knows of those happenings because they’ve been told or read about them.

By taking the time on a dating site to get to know a potential partner, especially at an age when you can use a matchmaking facility to really drill down into the other singles profiles to find what you want and know there is less time to mess around and play the field as one may have done in the past can make dating algorithms into exceptionally useful tools. Profile photos are a bonus but for the baby boomers looking for love online, it’s all about sharing a knowledge of the past that will make the future rosier.

Not only are today’s senior citizens relationship savvy but they are for the first time, tach savvy, too. More about that, in the next article [read more]

3 in 10 Internet users have tried online dating

Study notes released from Oxford University indicate that almost one third of Internet users have, at one time or another, visited dating sites, as reported in the Science Daily the day after Valentine’s Day.

Not that the study of dating site usage was coincided with that date. The study took in the patterns and usages of 24,000 adults from around the globe who are active Internet users over a twelve year period.

Eighteen countries in all took part in the online questionnaire which asked both halves of 12,000 couples between 1997 and 2009 a qualifying section to determine their Internet accessibility and then if they had used the web to look for partners, whether by online dating or other means.

A resounding thirty percent of those questioned responded in the affirmative, and a massive half of those stating that the partner they were with at the time of the response being recorded they met whilst looking for love online.

One of the most unexpected results was the breakdown in age bands who claimed to have began a relationship through an online dating platform. Of those in the 18-40 age bracket – the age of respondents you may expect to figure most prominently as recording high relationships found on dating sites – registered less than a quarter, with only 23% saying that they had had success using the medium.

Those in the next age bracket recorded the highest successful ratio of meeting a partner online as more than a third, 36% in total, of 40-69 year olds stated that they had began seeing someone directly as a result of their time dating online.

And, if you read between the lines, there is a time when singles just stop dating. Of all 24,000 participants, only two people who expressed a preference said that they’d started to go around the block again after they hit 70 and their relationships were not courtesy of dating sites.

The chat room facility and continued popularity of social media have had a lot to do with sharp rises in figures for those who took part in the survey post-2000. Prior to the new millennium not even ten percent of those questioned had met whilst online dating, but five years in and that had more than doubled to 21%. In contrast, the use of chat rooms over that same period dwindled in a like for like swap at the outset, but popularity and branding compounded that growth in later years.

In the next article, scientists have their say on how they interpreted the findings and what that means for the future of online dating.

Demographs, dentures and dating sites

At the risk of sounding ageist (or ancient), dating sites are not purely the retreat of the young and inexperienced; far from it.

If the recent reports are accurate, seniors (those aged fifty-five plus, for those of us in the UK dating world) is the largest expanding group in the world of online dating. The baby boomers have, of course, been there, done it and got the ‘World’s best grandad’ t-shirt to prove it. Now that they’ve done the whole family-rearing thing and, for one reason or another, find themselves with time on their hands after (gratefully) handing back the grandkids, and are turning their hands to the Internet to find the opening pages of the next chapter of their lives.

There are specialised dating sites that target seniors looking for love online but, as individual dating sites populations grow, many of the mainstream sites now have multiple platforms for users of all ages; even differing sexual orientations can now meet under the same roof, in some instances.

The very real theme aimed for by popular sites is that of a dating community, which works on two different levels other than a singles hook-up joint.

Losing a loved one can be devastating for the one left behind. Not only at the time of loss and then bereavement, but in the period afterwards, too. After twenty or thirty years of marriage, couples develop a similar, shared social network. When one of the members of that couple moves on, either to the afterlife or pastures new in the corporeal world, it can be difficult for the one left behind to remain in the same social circles.

What has stopped ‘seniors’ from being part of the online dating community in the past is that t’Internet has literally been ‘new-fangled’. For the baby boomers who are just achieving that milestone, being a senior – or reaching middle age, as we’d say this side of the pond – they have used computers and the Internet as part of their day-to-day working life for the past fifteen years and it is no longer a foreign concept to the more experiences members of society at all.

So, is it any surprise that those who face retirement want to sail off into the sunset with an exciting, new partner they find on a dating site? Oh, I do hope not…

Tech-savvy seniors get the best from online dating

The young generation could learn a thing or two from the ‘baby-boomers’ about online dating. If internet-dating sites want to work their way to the top through recommendation of success, then targeting the senior market would seem the most likely route to accomplish it.

Senior dating is the growth area when it comes to the industry sector as a whole; as it’s all pretty much on the up-and-up, that’s some achievement. To qualify for this category, you have to be aged 55+. Once upon a time, the cheeky young upstarts would class anyone above the age of forty as technophobic.

But, as the internet has become such a major player in our lives over the last 15 years, those forty-somethings who were there at the dawn of the first internet giants, such as Google, friends reunited and MySpace have the internet in their blood as they look towards making the most of retirement.

Given the meteoric rise of dating sites in the last three years as their popularity has grown alongside twitter, facebook and yahoo personals, it is perhaps no wonder that seniors should turn to dating sites to fill their time as they find more of it on their hands.

Where the seniors, and the next biggest growth group, 45-54 year olds, have the advantage is that they have probably already been in one or two long-term relationships before they hit the cyber dating world. When they have to choose the ‘what you would like to see in your search results‘ categories, they can be oh-so specific. They have compromised, they do know what they like and what they are prepared to surrender to make a relationship work – when they find it anew, they pounce.

no hanging about for one senior couple, stateside

There is no greater example of this than a recently documented case from across The Pond, of Andy and Linda, both seniors who met online. Tentatively, it has to be said, at first, but then didn’t hold back after they left online behind and hooked up in real life in a particularly moving tale.

Andy’s wife of 40 years had died of cancer and, following a suitable period of grieving, took to the net to socialise as much as anything else. Given the length of time he’d been married, the awkwardness of dating again meant he “didn’t want to meet somebody in a bar”.

Linda, who expressed that it was “…a hard time for a woman to find somebody,” started e-mailing Andy after she joined the same dating site, not long afterwards. They soon met up in person, that was July 2010. Instinctively knowing it was right, Andy proposed a month and a day after that initial meeting.

It then got hard for Linda, knowing that Andy had lost his first wife to cancer, as she was diagnosed with breast cancer just days after Andy’s beautiful proposal. Linda couldn’t face putting Andy through that turmoil again, but the resilient senior would hear nothing of taking an easy way out and her husband-to-be walked with her every step of the way through surgery and treatment; come September 2010, they were Mr and Mrs Andy Davik and are as happy today as when they first got together.

So, if you think dating sites are only for the young, think again; they come highly recommended from a couple who know best and wasted little time in proving their viability for members of all ages; good luck to the pair of you, we say.