[Paleopsych] NYT: True Love: Finding a Second Act on the Internet
checker at panix.com
Tue Apr 12 16:31:19 UTC 2005
Business > Retirement > True Love: Finding a Second Act on the Internet
April 12, 2005
By DONNA WILKINSON
LIFE, it seems, has come full circle for Hani Lipp, 63, of Boynton
Beach, Fla. Divorced with grown children, she joined 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 FriendFinder.com, which operates
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,
eHarmony.com and 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
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
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."
More information about the paleopsych