Every month in Sex at Our Age, award-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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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
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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.