I am 62 years old. I have used online dating sites three times in my life: 2007-2008, 2015, and 2017. I am not looking for hookups, FWB’s, casual sex, ONS's, etc. I want to find a woman for a long term relationship
1. who I will eventually love,
2. who arouses my desires,
3. whom I trust, and
4. whom I respect.
It would be nice if she did not try to change my life too much. I am an old Southern boy and I am not giving up fried chicken! Or barbecue! Or good Scotch whisky!
Even with all those qualifications and restrictions, I have had good experiences with online dating. I found partners for long term relationships in 2008 and 2015. At present, I am dating someone exclusively but it is too early to tell if this will become a long term relationship. Ultimately, all of those previous relationships ended but my partners were good women and I do not regret being involved with them. I would not have met them if I had not used online dating, so I am an advocate for this aspect of the digital world.
I read questions periodically from someone asking for some suggestions to improve their success with online dating. Others think that online dating is a ridiculous joke; I suspect that they have not had much luck so maybe they, too, need some suggestions for how to improve the experience.
Maybe all of these suggestions won’t work for younger people but I know that some of these suggestions should work with all age groups.
1. Be honest with yourself about your goal. What are you all about? Are you looking for a serious, long-term relationship that might lead to marriage? Are you just looking for casual dating with no commitment? Looking for hookups? Threesomes?
Be honest with yourself. Guys, if you are 24-25 years old and you are getting tired of dating the girl du jour and you have actually started to think about one day being a father . . . it's time to admit that you want to find a wife. You don't need to say it out loud and you certainly don't want to blurt this out the next time your guy friends come over to watch a football game and drink some beer . . . but you do need to admit it to yourself.
2. Pick the right dating site. Some online sites cater to a particular crowd. Christian Mingle appeals to a certain sector. Black People Meet has an obvious target population. Other sites seem to be geared towards older people, while some are notorious for promoting hookups instead of relationships. Oh yes; there is also that Ashley Madison site; I guess you know what they are all about.
I am a 62 year old guy who looks and acts a little younger than 62 and I am looking for a long term relationship; Plenty of Fish worked well for me. I tried match.com and met a few women but I also had frequent messages from obvious scammers and I thought that many of the profiles were either bogus or were very old and did not represent current users. Tinder has a reputation as being a hookup site; maybe you can find a serious minded partner there but you will probably have better luck on other sites. On the other hand, if you are looking for a friends with benefits, Tinder may be ideal for you.
Find a website that gives you a higher likelihood of success at finding what you are truly looking for. Do some internet research, read reviews (and pay attention to who operates the web site that provides the reviews) and ask your friends for recommendations.
3. Paid vs. Free? If there is an option for free vs. paid membership, consider the paid membership. It usually offers more possibilities for communicating and the costs are not prohibitive. What you are seeking is too important to worry about saving $50-60 (unless you just don't have $50-60, in which case you need to be thinking about how you can afford to date at all.)
4. Take a sneak peek. Before you create a profile, use the option of perusing a site as an unpaid guest, especially if you can view profiles. This may sound weird, but . . . after you have looked at some profiles of the opposite gender, look at profiles of users of YOUR gender and orientation. Know what your competition is. If most of the guys on a site look like stoners or drunks just looking to get laid . . . you need to know that. If most of the ladies post pictures of themselves in lingerie . . . you ladies need to know that.
5. Don't pick a stupid username. This is not a good time to show your sense of humor. How many girls will be interested in a guy who calls himself IFartALot? I would probably not even read the profile of a lady whose username is NoLongerAWhore. Choose a username which gives a complimentary reference to your character or your interests. A username like IAmAnHonorableMan will get the interest of many women in my age group. Think about what will be appealing to the opposite gender in your age group.
6. Post pictures; lots of pictures! Profiles with no pictures get very little attention. Guys, don't post pictures of you not wearing a shirt, hanging out with some unidentified girl (unless it is obviously your mother,) drinking beer, driving a jacked up pickup truck, etc. Your pictures project an image of you. What kind of image do you want to project?
This photo was actually posted on a Plenty Of Fish profile that I reviewed- very briefly reviewed! What message do you thing this picture conveyed?
Properly written, your profile should be persuasive. Think about things from the perspective of the opposite gender. What would a girl want to read in a guy’s profile? She wants to know that he is a strong male but, if she is 25-26 years old, she also wants to think that a potential partner has grown up and left his childish ways behind him. Believe it or not, most girls who are in their mid-20’s or older are not impressed if you have achieved immortal status on the latest and greatest video game, but they will be impressed if you have established yourself on a career track.
Ladies, if you post pictures of you in a sexy teddy, guys will assume that you are interested in hooking up. Pictures of you in front of the Eiffel Tower? They'll assume you are high maintenance. Guys want to know that you can have fun and they obviously want to see that you are attractive. If you are looking for a long term relationship, a guy also wants to see that you look like you could become a good mother to his children (yes, guys actually think about those things on occasion, and especially as they get more serious about relationships.)
Make sure that your pictures are current. You are hopefully going to meet the guy and, if your pictures don’t accurately portray you as you now look, his first question will be, “How old are your profile pictures?” Good relationships do not begin with deception.
Don't use glamour photos. Everyone can spot those immediately. We all know that glamour photos rarely look like the actual person, and the guy will wonder why you needed to resort to pictures that don’t look like you.
Review and revise your pictures occasionally. Regular users of dating sites periodically search profiles and a new picture may get someone’s attention even if they have previously seen your profile.
7. Write a profile that is different than others. Several women who contacted me were impressed because my profile had no misspelled words, no typos, no stupid slang, and it conveyed an impression of intelligence. I was trying to attract an intelligent woman and being careful with my profile made an impression on the women I wanted to attract. If you are trying to attract a partner who doesn’t care about intelligence . . . enclud sum dum goofee stuph like this.
A profile should briefly explain what someone would learn about you if they spent several hours talking to your friends. What is your educational level? Occupation? Smoker or non-smoker? Religious? Strong political beliefs? Ever been married? Interests and hobbies? It should also briefly describe what is truly important to you? Are you devoted to stray dog rescue? Save the whale? Passionate college football fan?
Guys, women will read your profile before they respond to your messages. Don't say the stupid cliches that everybody else says, like "I like to take walks on the beach." If everyone who claims to like walks on the beach actually did that on a regular basis, there would be daily match.com parades, access to the beach would be rationed, and the beach would be closed once a month for repairs! "I like to take walks on the beach" is interpreted as “I don’t really know what to say so I’ll say something safe and hopefully it will make me sound cool.”
If you are looking for a serious relationship, say things about yourself that would make you sound like a good catch. ("I like to spend time with my nieces and nephews . . . I've worked at the same job for three years . . . I'll be starting college in January," etc.) Talk some about long-term goals, so you don't sound like one of those guys whose major concern in life is having beer and cigarette money for the weekend.
Ladies, guys will look at your pictures and MAY read your profile before contacting you. Just in case they actually read it, tell them what you are looking for. "I want a man who will take me for rides on his Harley on Sunday morning." That's very clear. If that's what you really want, why waste time with guys who don't ride? I don’t own a Harley, I don’t ride, and you will never hear from me.
"I want a guy who will treat me like a lady and who opens doors for a lady." The guys who can’t even spell chivalry will think you are retarded and skip over your profile. Who cares what they think? You never want to meet them.
8. Get a second opinion. Ask a very trusted friend of the opposite gender to read your profile and give you some feedback on the impression it makes. I have done this before and you may get some significant insights if you do this. At one time, I had a few comments in my profile that I thought were humorous but the lady told me that they sounded angry. I immediately deleted the questionable remarks.
9. Keep revising your profile. As you spend some time communicating with other users, you will get some comments about your profile. You will decide that certain words or phrases in your profile are conveying a bad impression of you. Change it! There is always room for improvement, so don't be complacent.
10. Don't focus on one user as the object of your desires. You may see a profile of someone who seems to be perfect for you. There are a few obstacles standing between you and walking Miss Perfect down the aisle.
She may not exist. Yes, it may be a fake profile.
She may not be an active user. Maybe she created a profile because that was required before she could browse the site, she did that once, and she has never returned.
She may have already found someone and be dating them exclusively.
She may not think you are a perfect match.
"She" might be some bald-headed, middle aged guy sitting in a lousy apartment somewhere in Russia, trying to scam desperate guys out of their cash. I had several users who responded to emails with stories about being overseas, they had a medical emergency and ran out of money, they need cash to get home, and would love to have a passionate meeting with me as soon as they return home.
She may not be exactly what her profile represents. When you meet her, she may be a huge disappointment.
11. Guys, contact many women. Most women on dating sites create a profile and then wait for guys to contact them. Some women will be assertive and initiate contact, even at my age, but the contact is usually a rather trite “Hi there!” When I was active on POF, I probably received two or three such messages per week. When grown women do that, it's not cute like if your puppy did that!
The more women you contact, the greater are the odds that you will receive an interested response. When I was active on POF, the response rate for emails I sent was not higher than 10%. You won’t necessarily recognize them, but there are many profiles that are either fake or were created by women who wanted to browse but they never subscribed and they never became active on the web site. So, send out many messages so you know that at least some of them are reaching “live” users.
12. Don’t assume that a user is active simply because the web site says the user was last online 2 hours ago. If the web site shows when the user was last active, don’t rely on that bit of information to have any validity. If you leave your laptop, tablet, etc. turned on and you don’t actually log out of the site, it will show you currently online even if you haven’t actually browsed the site in the past week.
13. Don't send a "canned" message.
Your pre-prepared message may be cute and clever but most women will recognize that it is canned. Their reaction? “He isn’t interested enough in me to take the time to read my profile and write something that’s actually intended for me? I’m supposed to respond even though I know I’m probably only 43rd on the list of women who received this same message today? I’ll show him!” Fail! Epic fail! And she may have been an ideal match for you.
Read the woman's profile and say something in your message that indicates you read it. Women want to know that you care about more than just how big their boobs are. "Hey, that's really cool that you're such a big college football fan," or "I have a friend who recently moved to your hometown," or “I’m a classic rock fan, too. The last concert I went to was Journey.”
14. Guys, keep your initial email relatively short. Five or six sentences should be quite sufficient. Anything longer may make the recipient think that you are too eager, too anxious to establish contact, and probably a loser. That is not necessarily a valid conclusion but you won’t get a second chance to correct a bad first impression. So, avoid anything that sounds too serious. “Hey, that’s cool that you’re looking for a serious relationship. I’m ready to get married now, too.” Send that and you’ll never hear from her again.
15. Ladies . . . PLEASE respond. Girls, many of you will receive a message, and you then will read the sender's profile and decide that you are not interested without even reading the message, so you will delete it unread. As soon as that occurs, if the sender is a paid subscription user, they will receive a notification that the message has been deleted without being read. Imagine how very cold that feels for us!
You can help to make this a kinder and gentler world. Yes, some of those messages were canned messages but some were written especially for you. Read every message and send us a reply, "I appreciate the expression of your interest. After reading your profile, I believe that we would not be a good match. Good luck in your search." Do you think of yourself as a kind person? Prove it!
16. Guys, online dating is very scary for women. Understand that online dating is scary for women. They could be corresponding with Jack the Ripper without realizing it.
Do everything that you can to allay their fears or concerns. Tell them that you don't want to be pen pals forever but you don't want to rush them into meeting you before they are ready. After exchanging a few messages, give her your cell phone number. Let her call you. She feels safer when she is in control of this. Talk on the telephone a few times before suggesting a meeting.
17. Your first meeting. WHEN SHE IS READY, agree to meet her at a public place that will be safe for her. A coffee shop on Saturday afternoon is a good safe meeting place and time. A bar at 10 PM is not. You may know that you are safe and harmless but she doesn’t know that; from her perspective, your apartment is not a safe meeting place, not for your initial meeting. Some ladies may be interested in meeting you for dinner, but some will not, so give them a choice. "Would you like to meet at the Caffeine Fiend on Saturday afternoon or meet for dinner Saturday night? Someplace like the Olive Garden or Outback?"
When that first meeting has come to an end, don't suggest that she get in your car to go somewhere else. Again, from her perspective, that is not a safe thing to do. Don’t try to rush things. Just let the date come to an end.
18. Escort her back to her car. At the end of the meeting, ask her if you can walk her back to her car. If she does not want to see you again, she will probably decline the offer. If that is what happens, thank her for the opportunity to meet her but ask if you can call her again. Don't assume anything and it is a perfectly good question to ask. If you don’t think you want to see her again, tell her that you appreciated the chance to meet her but you think the two of you are not a good match. Most women will appreciate your candor. You don’t need to say, “and I hope I never see you again!” That goes beyond candor and she may pull out a gun and shoot you. I'm just sayin' . . .
19. To kiss or not to kiss? Some women consider the first meeting to not be a date while others do. Even if she considers it a "date," she may not be expecting a good night kiss at the end of the first date. Trying to get that good night kiss when she is unprepared may ruin an otherwise successful meeting.
If you feel a definite attraction and you sense that she also feels an attraction . . . no one ever lost points by asking, “May I give you a good night kiss?” If she says, “Yes,” that is not an invitation to exchange slobber and remove her tonsils by suction. Give her a simple kiss on the lips – no tongue – but you can make the kiss last for a few seconds. If she wants anything more passionate than that, she will let you know.
20. Have realistic expectations. Most first dates, whether facilitated through online dating or the more traditional methods, do not result in long term relationships. You may have 5-8 first meetings before you meet someone who is worthy of the investment of your time and attention. As is true of all dating, you will have many one-time-only meetings, fewer two-or-three-dates-but-ultimately-unsuccessful relationships, very few long term relationships, and – hopefully - only one who you decide is The One.
21. Don't let the process bring you down. You will encounter some jerks and rude people but don't let them make you disrespectful of others. Have standards for how you treat others and base those standards on how YOU want to be treated by them. That is the Golden Rule.
Treating others with courtesy and respect does not always get you treated with courtesy and respect in return, but if you use other people’s behavior as a justification for being rude or disrespectful, you will have allowed those people to bring you down to their level. Maintain your own standards and always follow them and others will respect you!
I hope this helps. Good luck in your search for The One!