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Dr. Wendy Walsh
Grandma’s got a profile! And she’s no longer sitting home with a crochet project. Today, when seniors become widowed or divorced, they are more likely to be online looking for love.
Online dating has long ago lost its stigma among young people as a creepy place for anti-social people to meet. Today the vast majority of young, single people have visited an online dating site.
But the news this year is that singles over the age of 60 are the fastest growing demographic in the online dating world. A little slower to gravitate to this high-tech social world, aging Americans are making up for lost time.
A massive study was just completed by two researchers who specialize in gerontology at Bowling Green State University in Bowling Green, Ohio: Wendy Watson, Ph.D. and Charlie Stelle, Ph.D.
Analyzing senior online profiles of Americans from a number of dating sites, they noticed their habits and style was very different than the profiles of young singles.
They found that older online daters are looking for different things in a relationship and their profiles reflect that.
Unlike young singles, there is less emphasis on money and beauty and more emphasis on health and potential for a long life.
If the online dating code word for a woman with body fat is “curvy,” the code words for mature daters who have good health are “active” and “young at heart.”
“Perhaps the young can take
a lesson from wise seniors.”
And singles over 60 seem to be looking for authentic companionship more than a trophy date.
They are more honest in their profiles and less likely to get into lengthy game playing. Their goal it seems is to focus on compatibility and companionship rather than nightlife, sexual prowess and social status.
The researchers suggested in their paper that online dating sites expand their profile selectors to include categories like independence, intelligence, affection style and life goals.
While they referred to sites that market to seniors, like OurTime.com, the researchers’ recommendations might be well suited to all dating sites.
Knowing someone’s lifestyle and looks is only the beginning of looking at one’s compatibility.
Relationships are about a mutual exchange of care and everyone has their own attachment style — the way they like to give and receive that care.
Some people are touchy-feely. Others need their space and shrivel at public displays of affection. Some are comfortable (and even crave) emotional intimacy, while others like to avoid topics that feel too close to the bone.
Perhaps the young can take a lesson from wise seniors who finally have figured out what’s important in a relationship.