What's with boomers and online dating? The generation that toppled a president, ended a war and preached free love seems to be floundering when it comes to finding romance online. The one refrain we keep hearing from boomers is this: They don't want to fly solo into aging and yet the main avenue that other generations are taking -- finding their mates online -- seems to be filled with potholes for them. We turned to dating coach and author Ken Solin, who recently published "The Boomer Guide To Finding True Love Online," for some ideas about what we are doing wrong. Here's what he said:
1. We don't stick to people our own age.
Those who are serious about finding life mates, don't date people the age of their kids, says Solin. Why? Because partners from different generations have different tastes, values and don't share cultural reference points. In short, you really have nothing in common and are likely just caught up in the idea that someone so much younger is willing to sleep with you. If you want a lasting relationship, find someone your own age, Solin says.
Solin's words were born out by a recent Emory University study that showed the larger the age gap, the greater the chance of a marriage ending in divorce. A five-year age gap statistically means you are 18 percent more likely to divorce (versus just 3 percent with a one-year age difference). That rate rises to 39 percent for a 10-year age difference and 95 percent for a 20-year age gap, reported MoneyWatch.
Said Solin: "The biggest mistake newly single boomer men make getting back into dating is chasing younger women. Reasons abound, but here are two popular myths: Young women are easier to date because they’re not jaded and boomer women are bitter and angry. Neither is true. Besides, do you really want to have to explain that Paul McCartney wasn’t always a solo act and that the Jefferson Airplane never flew anywhere?"
Here's another reality: Young women generally want to have children, which for most boomer men means a second family, started at an age when they may not live long enough to watch them grow up.
2. We aren't emotionally honest about what we want.
Some boomers -- mostly men -- are just looking for casual sex, says Solin. That's fine, he said, but these people need to be upfront about it. In fact, we all should be upfront about whatever it is we want. Don't waste your time or someone else's by pretending to be in it for the long haul when you aren't. And don't deny that what you want is marriage or a long-term commitment. The point is: In the end, everyone's goals need to match up or someone gets hurt.
While we're talking honesty, says Solin, don't lie about your age either. "Being dishonest about anything is a red flag," he said. The truth will come out eventually. Trust is defined by integrity. He notes that if you believe you are too old to date successfully online without lying about your age, you probably are. But, he notes, it's your unwillingness to be honest that's the problem, not your age.
3. Put your libido on hold.
Boomers, and men in particular, just out of long-term relationships are sometimes eager to become sexually active again, says Solin. But the last thing a newly single boomer needs is to become embroiled in another disaster, and sexually fueled rocket rides practically guarantee failure. "We’ve all been hurt by crashed-and-burned sexual rockets, and getting older doesn’t make healing easier," he says. Besides, the best sex imaginable is in a relationship in which partners are also best friends, which, while contrary to what boomer guys whose heads are still in the 60s believe, is absolutely true.
4. Post a good current photo.
Don't post a photo that doesn't look like you. You will eventually be meeting these people in person, so what's the point? "A major gaffe that drives boomer daters crazy is a boomer who uses old photos in their online profile," says Solin. "It’s a smoke-and-mirrors approach to online dating that no one appreciates, and worse, old photos guarantee your first in-person date will fall apart quickly," he adds. We’re in an era where everyone is wary about being treated dishonestly. Using an old photo is lying, while honesty is refreshing.
And another thing: Please smile. Too many women hide behind big floppy hats and dark sunglasses in their photos and too many have gloomy looks instead of smiles. And men? Guilty of the same mistakes. Most online dating prospects want to see a full-length shot, so post it. It's fine to include photos of your children, pets, and grandkids. Just no baseball caps or frowns.
5. Don't keep celebrating Groundhog Day.
In other words: Stop dating the same person with different names. Solin says that this one took him a long time to overcome too. "I dated the same short, blonde, curvy, ski-jump-nosed woman with different names for a decade before waking up to the fact that I was intentionally eliminating the majority of prospects. I met my partner as soon as I became open to other types. And I wasn’t her physical type either, but when we met we both felt the earth move a bit. Typecasting only works in the movies, because if it actually worked for you, you’d already be in a long-term relationship with someone who’s your type," he says.
6. Stop trying to be anyone but yourself.
The notion that the only way to attract dates is to present yourself as someone other than who or what you really are is badly flawed, and reflects low self-esteem. It won’t take long before the man or woman you’re dating to figure out the truth. Besides, if you don’t feel good about yourself, no one you date is going to feel good about you either. "The old bromide, there’s someone for everyone, is more true than not, so be yourself, because the trick to successful dating is finding someone as much like you as possible. [The idea that] opposites attract is nonsense," believes Solin.
Have you had luck with online dating? Let us know in comments.