Should You Give Up on Online Dating?

joan-price-150Every month in Sex at Our Ageaward-winning senior sexpert Joan Price answers your questions about everything from loss of desire to solo sex and partner issues. Nothing is out of bounds! To send your questions directly to Joan, email


As a senior woman, my online dating experience has been abysmal. I have tried it three times in all, each separated by a year or so.

The first time, I was chatting with a man online. After talking a bit about our divorces, he said, “Well, this has been nice, but can we talk dirty next time?” Um, nope. I was a bit shocked at the request. 

The second man seemed interesting, and we met for coffee, but he seemed fascinated by the whole online dating thing and viewed it as a great social experiment. He wanted to compare notes about our experiences. He didn’t seem very interested in me and the actual date, which was really disappointing. He asked me one question after another, but none of them were get-to-know-you date questions.

The third and last time I tried online dating, a guy initiated a conversation by email. It was a busy time for me, and I didn’t answer right away. Then I got a second email from him telling me I should go “whore myself out in a bar,” because that’s all I was good for. I told him that he was a pathetic excuse for a man and had no right to call me inappropriate names, and I would report him to the website’s administrator. He begged me not to, claiming this was his last chance at meeting women, and to please give him another chance. He wouldn’t leave me alone, so I pulled my profile from the site and never went back.

I’ve decided I would rather meet men through friends and acquaintances in my own town, in my own way, even if it’s much slower. I am not a gambler, and meeting men from a website is too much of a gamble for me.

Why are so few man putting themselves out there to meet women and develop relationships? —Done with Online Dating


You tried online dating three times over a period of three years. That’s not a good test! If we’re doing online dating right, we’ll contact and be contacted by dozens of people, email or message many, meet some and maybe have second dates with a handful.

From there, maybe we’ll end up in a relationship and maybe we won’t. But if we don’t try, we won’t meet anyone. If we give up after one dissatisfying date and two chats or emails with creeps, we’re not giving online dating a chance. Seriously.

I’m all in favor of meeting people through acquaintances – that’s how I met my first husband, who is still my very close friend. And meeting someone while out doing social activities that we enjoy is splendid – that’s how I met the love of my life, my second husband, who literally danced into my life by attending the line-dance class I was teaching.

But the truth is this: Online dating is where the single seniors are. It’s darned hard to meet interested singles our age any other way. Think about it: Your future partner is sitting home wondering how to meet a woman like you. What’s he going to do? Probably join a few online dating sites, post a profile and start scrolling through profiles that interest him. If you’re not there, the two of you will never connect.

Yes, there are some creeps online. I would have encouraged you to report man number three, especially when he wouldn’t leave you alone. Removing your profile and quitting the site hurt you, not him.

The creeps are a very small minority. As a widow, I’ve been online dating for a few years. I’ve met marvelous people. I’ve also met many whom I did not want to see again for one reason or another. They weren’t bad people – we simply weren’t a match. But just because we weren’t potential mates doesn’t mean the time was wasted.

I like what your second guy did. Let me guess what might have been going on for him: He made the date with you, knew quickly that it wasn’t going to work out, but he was interested in what you had to say, and he wanted to understand more about how women experience online dating. That sounds like a fine way to make the best of a date that wasn’t going to have a future.

Just because three contacts over three years didn’t work out does not mean that men don’t want relationships. They do, just as we do. Don’t give up.

I know you see online dating as a gamble, but I encourage you to view it as a game instead. You’re playing a game where you have the opportunity to view many men’s profiles as they look for love. You can contact as many or as few as you like. You can meet someone or decide not to. You make your own rules. If you eliminate the “I must meet the right man immediately or I’ve wasted my time and this whole online dating thing is bunk” notion, and instead make it an interesting social activity, you may find you’re having a good time even with the men who don’t end up being second (or third) dates. That’s what I find, and it serves me well. In fact, it’s fun. —Joan


Joan Price is the author of the new Ultimate Guide to Sex After 50: How to Maintain – or Regain! – a Spicy, Satisfying Sex Life”;  the award-winning self-help book “Naked at Our Age: Talking Out Loud about Senior Sex”; and the sexy memoir, “Better Than I Ever Expected: Straight Talk about Sex After Sixty.” Visit Joan’s  blog, “Naked at Our Age,” and her Facebook page.

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I’m 57. Female. I’ve been online dating off and on for the last 5 years. I’ve given more than once. I tried a few paid online dating sites without much luck. I don’t look my age, I look and act younger. I’m attractive, I’m in shape, I dress well. I’m decently educated. I take care of myself. It’s not just 1 or 2 creepy men with me, it’s more like a slew of them. Men wanting JUST sex. Interested in a FWB. Married men. Couples interested in a third. Young men in their 20’s and 30’s. Very rarely did I… Read more »


Reading this again a few years later, I’m sorry I was so hard on you, Joan. I was frustrated and I took it out on you. I’m sorry. However, I’ve been online dating ever since, and things really haven’t improved. I have lowered my standards, I have broadened my parameters, I have chatted with many men. But still it seems the ones that I am very interested in, that I have a lot in common with, will not respond to me or contact me… And the ones that I have zero in common with and just think I’m a pretty… Read more »

I appreciate that you wanted to check in , re-evaluate your earlier response, and update us. One inch taller is a deal-breaker? Wow, he doesn’t know what he’s missing. And you’re right that we’re all set in our ways. We want someone to fit us — we’re often not willing to compromise. The trick, I think, is to differentiate between the changes that would go against what we like about ourselves, and which ones might be growth.

Yes, online dating is frustrating, but how else do we meet other single seniors? Good for you sticking with it!

– Joan


I am in a different part of the country but many of your comments rang true with me in this area also! I am in a college town, a fair amount of cultural events, 100K population, and not many responses! Maybe I need to expand my acceptance level? How far do you compromise? It is much harder at my age! I guess I may be naieve as to the amount of fake profiles? I have heard that if you don’t hear a response, that may be the case. I take care of my appearance, am educated, self examined, and yet… Read more »

Rose, I wonder if maybe your profile doesn’t present you effectively. I’ve created a 90-minutes webinar based on my popular workshop, “How the Heck Do I Date at This Age?” You might want to purchase a ticket to view the video — it will help you evaluate and improve your online dating profile and give you additional strategies. Learn more here:


It’s a ‘game’ that is no fun at all. I hate online dating. I’d rather get waterboarded than do this junk! Whatever happened to real dating in real time?

Preet Kaur

First of all thanks Joan

It can be a minefield. As I swipe left and right it can get me, one, realising you haven’t had a match in quite a while! But, yes as you say, if you are happy with yourself, and love yourself, you can start to appreciate that people ‘rejecting’ you, they are actually just rejecting a short snippet of an online existence.



Thanks for the article, I found it to be very informative.


I am 60. I’ve dated online for seven years after my divorce to an alcoholic. It was so much fun at first to realize there were many decent, attractive, successful men out there who were actually nice to me after such a bad marriage (28 yrs). I made mistakes, fell in love too quickly and learned the ropes along the way. I’ve been in a a few great relationships at least a year, two, long, but they weren’t right for different reasons. I’m now 60 and ready to give up. The last man I dated, started out really nice, then… Read more »


I concur with all of the comments here. Online dating is very frustrating and, increasingly expensive, since more sites are charging a fee to even send or reply to a message. I have tried a number of sites, Christian and non-Christian, over probably the past decade. I would sign up for a month to three/six months max and then take a break for a year or try another for a short time. I don’t know how many men I’ve actually met over that time period, but none have led to a long-term relationship. I know that sometimes I would meet… Read more »


I too have been “doing” the online dating thing. It’s not for the thin-skinned. My personal experience has been that men tend to fib about their height and their fitness, which seems silly. But what I’ve most frustrating is the men who are my age (60)having an age range for potential women 20 years younger and then complaining about all the women see him as is a meal ticket…DUH!!! Or the men who actually put the requirements for what a women’s waist size could be…really?? Wow, why would any women want to be with a man that shallow? And the… Read more »


I’ve had a guy reject me for being divorced and a grandparent. Says he wants to me at woman who is young enough to still have kids. I’m like…sure while you’re 60 years old, broke as glass, and don’t even have a house to call your own? Good luck with that!


Well I’m the lady in the story. Much has been assumed in the advice I have been given here. I gave three examples of my experience online. They were not by any means the only experiences I had. I met and chatted with many men, during each time I gave online dating a try. Each of those times I was online for about 6 months or more at a time. And each time, the guys who reached out to me either just winked, which I consider a cop out, and if they did comment, they were just not my type… Read more »

Joan Price

LadyLovinHerLife, first, I apologize for misinterpreting what you meant when you wrote that you had tried online dating “three times in all, each separated by a year or so.” Because you gave me examples of the three disappointing men, I did not realize that you had many additional experiences. I apologize for getting that wrong. You’re right that it’s sometimes astonishing how someone could read our profile and what we’re looking for and think they’re right for us when they’re clearly not. I think that some just send out formula messages hoping that if they send enough out there, some… Read more »


Great advice as always. Like you referred to Dan Savage’s philosophy in the past: “Every relationship fails – until one doesn’t.”


I’ve done this online dating thing long enough where I would consider myself a self proclaimed expert in the field. First, you need to understand the dynamics. The men are the hunters and the women are the hunted. You don’t need to slam that comment as it’s simple evolution. What this creates is a swarm around the women. After probably well over 130 dates I would think what I have found is that for every 100 messages a woman gets a man might get 1-3. Now, look at those odds. Mr. “Whore” probably has no self esteem, or has been… Read more »

Joan Price

Thank you for your willingness to share your experiences — that’s so important in helping us all understand each other.

Just one thing I’d like to make sure isn’t misunderstood: I didn’t mean “game” as in “using” someone or seeing dating as adversarial. I meant that we should lighten up and enjoy it.

Of course finding love is a serious endeavor, but people (any gender) tend to come across as desperate if they invest every contact with “this is it or else I’m gone.”


” After probably well over 130 dates I would think what I have found is that for every 100 messages a woman gets a man might get 1-3.” That’s not true for many women over 50. And I am 64. Men assume that women are swamped with messages, maybe because men SEND millions of messages because they are used to playing the field. On one of the sites I did get a lot of message from…men 20 or even 30 years younger! They just wanted to get some sex. No, it’s not flattering to an older woman who feels objectified.… Read more »

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