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By Tom Blake
Newly divorced in 1994, I thought finding love after age 50 was going to be easy. I was grossly mistaken.
Dating was challenging and hard work. Rejection was common. I became so frustrated, I started writing about it.
A quarter-century later, after writing approximately 4,000 newspaper and eNewsletter articles, one thing about senior dating has remained a constant: it’s still a challenge.
One would think that with all of the modern tools available to senior singles—the Internet, a multitude of dating sites such as Match.com, eHarmony, and Senior Singles, cell phones and texting—senior dating would be less challenging now.
Nope, if anything, it’s even more challenging. Why? The dreaded single-women-to-single-men ratio keeps getting larger as we age. And that larger ratio is the biggest contributor to the senior-dating challenge. Especially for mature women. There are fewer and fewer men available.
And during these COVID-19 times, senior dating is even harder. No coffee dates at Starbucks. No first-date strolls on the beach. And for some, like my good friend Les Jones, age 94, who is living at the Atria retirement-home facility adjacent to San Juan Hills Golf Club in San Juan Capistrano, he isn’t even allowed to leave his room. How the heck can Les date?
I reached out to Christine Baumgartner, South Orange County dating and relationship coach, for her opinion on senior dating and suggestions during these virus-restricted times.
Christine said, “Many people who contact me think they ‘can’t’ date right now. And what I’m clear about, is, it’s the PERFECT time to date. People can meet virtually through FaceTime, Skype, or Zoom. It’s the ideal way to get to know each other without the pressure or concern about getting ‘physical’ too soon.
“Also, one of the biggest complaints among senior singles is when people meet in person, they don’t look like their pictures. Now, they will be able to confirm what the other person looks like before meeting face-to-face.
“There are many fun things to do together (virtually), with a new person:
- Learn a new dance step: Country Line Dancing, Salsa, Square Dancing;
- Read books to each other;
- Learn a language together;
- Learn to play the same type of musical instrument;
- Pick a recipe, cook and eat together;
- Do a craft together—each will get to see how the other one deals with learning something new, with all the possible frustrations;
- Give each other a virtual house tour (do not give out your address)—just a tour of the inside. Oh, my, what will you learn about each other’s lifestyle!
“And as you are ‘doing’ all these things together, you can ask questions about his or her life to learn about personality traits to determine if you’re a match—and if you will eventually want to meet in person.”
Christine added, “I brought these points up in a Facebook thread, and one person responded, ‘We’ll run out of things to talk about if we can’t meet in person.’
“My response was, ‘If you run out of things to talk about with someone you’ve just met, then this is confirmation that you are not a match.’ ”
For dating information from Christine, visit theperfectcatch.com.
One reader, Althea, 72, who is a live-in caregiver for an elderly couple, emailed to say: “For me, the actual finding of someone to E-Date is the difficult part.”
I responded, “Yes, Althea, that’s a challenge as well, especially for women, especially now. But as times improve, you never know who might enter your life and end your senior dating challenge. Wouldn’t that be nice!”
Tom Blake is a retired Dana Point business owner and resident who has authored books on middle-aged dating. See his website at www.findingloveafter50.com. To comment: firstname.lastname@example.org