[Paleopsych] NYT: True Love: Finding a Second Act on the Internet

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Business > Retirement > True Love: Finding a Second Act on the Internet
April 12, 2005


    LIFE, it seems, has come full circle for Hani Lipp, 63, of Boynton
    Beach, Fla. Divorced with grown children, she joined [2]JDate.com, a
    dating site for Jewish singles, where she met "some nice people, but
    no one who clicked for me," said Ms. Lipp, a retired social worker who
    grew up in Brooklyn. Last June, she saw a familiar face: David
    Schoenfeld, a fellow graduate of the class of 1959 from Lafayette High
    School. She sent him an e-mail message: "David, is that you?"

    Indeed, it was. They began a correspondence. In July, Mr. Schoenfeld,
    also 63, a widower and retired teacher who lives in New York, went to
    Florida to see Ms. Lipp, and they have been flying back and forth ever

    Finding romance on the Internet is hardly new - younger singles have
    been doing it for more than 10 years - but it is on the upswing among
    people 55 and over. According to Nielsen/Net Ratings, the number of
    online dating site users 55 or older rose 19.4 percent in the last

    "As older folks and baby boomers become increasingly Internet-savvy, a
    lot of them are turning to online dating to find both romance and
    companionship," said Kristin Kelly, senior director of public
    relations at Match.com, whose 50-plus membership has tripled since

    "It's one of our fastest-growing segments," said Andrew B. Conru,
    chief executive of [3]FriendFinder.com, which operates
    [4]SeniorFriendFinder.com, a site for older singles that began in 1999
    with "a trickle," he said, and now has 400,000 members.

    For older people, who may be widowed or divorced and long out of the
    dating scene, these sites offer a pressure-free way to ease back in.
    "Sociologically, online dating is kind of strange for someone over a
    certain age, but it's also perfect because of the etiquette," said
    Alison Leslie Gold, the author of "Love in the Second Act," to be
    published next year. "Whether it's e-mailing or calling, if you've had
    enough, you just stop. Everyone can go at their own pace."

    Jim Sheard, 62, a retired executive in Owatonna, Minn., was divorced
    three years ago after 35 years of marriage. He joined Match.com,
    [5]eHarmony.com and [6]SingleChristianNetwork.com. So far, he has
    dated about four women and is currently seeing someone he met online.
    He said dating sites expose you to like-minded people. "You don't have
    to ask 'Are you single?' 'Do you date'? People are ready to meet for
    coffee or lunch; they know the process."

    The Internet can be especially helpful to older women, who as they age
    may not have the same dating opportunities as men, said Alice Solomon,
    the author of "Find the Love of Your Life After 50!" and founder of
    [7]Gorgeousgrandmas.com, a support site for women. "Some of these
    guys, their wife dies or they're divorced, and 10 minutes later they
    have the names and phone numbers of 20 women in their pockets, because
    friends fix them up," she said. "But does anyone rush out to fix up
    single women? Forget it."

    Nobody was fixing up Maggie Simons, 60, after her divorce two years
    ago. She joined SeniorFriendFinder.com. "I lived in rural Alaska and
    there wasn't a lot of opportunity to meet people," said Ms. Simons, a
    retiree who ran a home care agency. At the time, she was considering a
    move to Florida. One day she heard from a man who lived 200 miles away
    in Seward, Alaska. They chatted; last February they met. "He touched
    my hand and that was it," she said. In July, she moved in with him and
    his children.

    Online dating does have its drawbacks. The most common complaint: what
    you see online may not be what you get offline. Photos may be old. Men
    say some women lie about age and weight; women say some men lie about
    height and marital status.

    And safety is a consideration. The beauty of online dating is that you
    can screen other members. But older singles should take precautions:
    don't reveal personal information until you know a person, and never
    post it in a profile; and if you decide to date someone, always meet
    in a public place.

    Still, online dating can be rewarding, Mr. Sheard said. "I am in the
    process of making friendships, and out of those friendships might come
    a person who is a soul mate."


    1. http://query.nytimes.com/search/query?ppds=bylL&v1=DONNA%20WILKINSON&fdq=19960101&td=sysdate&sort=newest&ac=DONNA%20WILKINSON&inline=nyt-per
    2. http://JDate.com/
    3. http://FriendFinder.com/
    4. http://SeniorFriendFinder.com/
    5. http://eHarmony.com/
    6. http://SingleChristianNetwork.com/
    7. http://Gorgeousgrandmas.com/

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