Dating columnist Tom Blake hears the question from single women over the age of 50 all across America: “Where are all the men?”
I have been a newspaper columnist in Orange County for 18 years. My topic: finding love after age 50 and beyond, far beyond in some cases. The most frequently asked question I receive from women, not just in Southern California, but across the USA and in many foreign countries, is “Where are the men?”
It is important for mature single women to realize that they are victims of a social phenomenon facing our 50+ generation: there just aren’t enough single men to go around. Statistics show that by age 65, the ratio of single women to men nudges close to three-to-one.
When Internet dating arrived on the scene, there was optimism that it would bring millions of lonely seniors together. After all, they would be able to reach out from their small cities and towns across state lines to find a perfect match. In the Los Angeles area, a single woman in Pasadena could make contact with a single guy in North Hollywood, a man she never would have met without the Internet.
In Orange County, I know of a man who used the Internet to find his future wife. She lived one block away from him in San Clemente. He says they never would have met if not for the Internet.
But many senior women have given up using the Internet to find dates. They have become discouraged with all of the liars, fakes, flakes, and scam artists they encounter.
Overall, women age 50+ are frustrated in seeking a partner. They come from all over the United States.
Diane, who moved to the Big Island of Hawaii a year ago from Oahu, said, “I have been on Internet sites and to this day have not found any suitable partners on this island.”
Jackie, 56, from Florida, twice married said, “This is my experience with internet dating sites. The men my age are generally looking for someone half my age. And the few men looking for someone my age, whom I have met, are not interested or able (physically or financially) to do anything other than rent a movie and eat popcorn. And some of them can’t eat popcorn.”
Lynda, a widow from New Mexico, hopes to sell her home next spring and move back to California. She feels there might be more opportunities to meet men here.
She said, “It’s hard to decipher if someone is for real on the Internet. I like to meet someone in person and look into their eyes while they are talking.”
She explained why she feels that way: “My daughter encouraged me to try Internet dating, but that was a fiasco. The first man I went out with was very nice looking, dressed well, had nice manners and seemed to be successful, but as we talked over lunch, he told me he was going to marry me a year from the date. That got Lynda’s attention, until he said in his next breath, “but, you can never gain an ounce of weight, because I like my women thin.” Lynda said, “That was enough of him.”
Christina, soon to be 50, divorced and from Ohio, is handcuffed trying to meet men because she lives in a small city. Christina devoted her life the last several years to raising her daughters. They are off to college now and it’s time for her to live life for herself. She added: “I have tried dating sites, I don’t go to bars, I live in “family town” USA, so single men here are not in abundance and most of my friends are happily married.”
Gail, a widow of nine years, resides in Bishop, along the eastern slope of the Sierra Nevada Mountains. “I am still looking, hoping for a good man in my life,” Gail said. She realizes in a small city such as Bishop that she needs to utilize the Internet and Facebook to broaden her reach to meet potential men.
Facebook is becoming more and more of a factor in Internet dating. Older singles say they can learn a lot about potential dates by studying the material they post on their Facebook pages. And the photos there are more likely to be current than on someone’s profile.
Tricia, from the Boston area emailed, “I have been on several dates via internet dating and it’s the same old thing: several do NOT look like their pictures – one man who looked quite handsome in his picture, carried on engaging conversation, had a wonderful sounding voice — showed up for the date in soiled clothing, with a skin condition on his face and arms that had flakes of skin peeling off and falling everywhere — it was so gross. Ugh!”
Antoinette, from Texas wrote, “I have been divorced for 14 years and have gone the internet dating route and have gone out with more men than I care to say … I am tired of the search and have decided that I’m as important to love as anyone else and have decided this is something I’m going to put solely in God’s hands.
“Time is passing, but we can only do the best with what we have. If we try to make something happen before it’s supposed to, we ultimately mess things up that could be great if left to happen in their proper time.”
While women nationwide age 50+ are frustrated in meeting men, there is hope. Three years ago, I published a book titled, “How 50 Couples Found Love after 50.” Half of the couples featured in the book met online, while the remaining couples met in more traditional ways, through friends, while attending religious services and social events.
Here are a few hints to keep in mind when pondering the “Where are the men?” question.
- Never give up. And, as discouraging as Internet dating can be, it still is an important tool to have in one’s arsenal, especially when a person lives in a remote area;
- Women need to understand that not having met a man is not necessarily their fault. Statistically, there is a shortage of men;
- And women need to remember that as bad as loneliness is, they are better off being alone than being with a jerk, which some older single guys can be. (Of course, that works both ways. Some women can also be impossible);
- Should women relocate to Southern California to improve their chances of meeting men? Probably not. Where I reside in Orange County, with more than three million residents, the women say finding guys here is just as difficult than elsewhere in the USA;
- The most important thing a woman can do to improve her chances of meeting eligible men is to get out with new people as much as possible and enjoy new experiences. At the least, she will be enriching her life. If finding a man is meant to be, it will happen.
Copyright © Tom Blake/2012 Singular Communications, LLC.