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I haven't dated in 30 years

Posted by Meredith Goldstein  September 9, 2009 09:40 AM

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Q: Dear Meredith:

I have read your column from afar. I moved away from New England 25 years ago and wonder what advice you can give me.

Here's my story: I married my college sweetheart 27 years ago, supported him through professional school and raised three great kids with him. He informed me a year-and-a-half ago that I was not the "soul mate" he needed in his life and filed for divorce. After the devastating news sunk in, I came up for air, checked for a pulse, and realized that life goes on. Starting over at the age of 50 is what I must now do and it is both scary and freeing. Fast forward one year later and I just finished my first year of graduate school and am healing emotionally from the experience. I can honestly say that I am hopeful and excited about my future.

So here's my question: What is your soundest advice on navigating the single world to a woman who literally has no experience in dating in over three decades? The world seems to have changed quite a bit since 1978 when I fell in love with a man I thought I would be with forever. I am not looking to get remarried but I am certainly hopeful that I will share romantic love again.


– Nancy, Manitowoc, WI

A: Nancy, first of all, my condolences. You sound like you’re in great shape emotionally -- but ending a marriage is miserable. So sorry.

I’ve done my best to come up with a list of things you should know about dating in 2009 -- how dating has changed since 1978. Here’s what I’ve come up with:

People are weirder. Really, they’re as weird as they’ve always been, but they’ll seem weirder to you. After being with the same person for 27 years, you probably have a specific definition of normal. Try to throw that out the window if you can. These new men will have different routines and philosophies. Get ready to be surprised, and try to have an open mind.

Grooming got big. I don’t know when this happened, but sometime in the 1980s (maybe the 1990s?) women decided that body hair wasn’t OK. I’m quite sure women my mom’s age didn’t wax and shave everything off in the 1960s and 1970s. You don’t have to take part in this, but I’m just warning you. It seems worth mentioning.

Age doesn’t matter. I don’t buy into the media hype that younger men are looking to date much older women, but I do think that it’s possible for women to date younger men successfully. Just something to think about. You're not limited to a specific age range anymore. I also recommend making friends of all ages. I find that hanging out with a variety of people -- some younger, some older -- makes me feel like we’re all in it together.

Age does matter -- to some. If you go online to date, you may notice that some men only want to date younger women. They won’t even consider women their own age. Ignore those men. They are crap.

The Golden Rule still applies.
Treat others the way you want to be treated. If you don’t want to communicate by text message, don’t send texts. If you want honesty, ask honest questions.

Friends are soul mates. I don’t know what soul mate means to you, but I like to think soul mates are people who understand us and make us laugh when we’re feeling lost. At the moment, you need a group of supporters -- some friends who will love you while you figure this out.

Nothing has changed. I mean, dating has changed since 1978, for sure, but people are still selfish, there are still mixed signals, first kisses still make stomach butterflies, and it still hurts like crazy when it doesn’t work out. Welcome back.

Stomach butterflies. Good name for a teen band, yes?

Readers? What have I forgotten? Tips? Thoughts? Share here. Letters to the right.

– Meredith


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166 comments so far...
  1. Well if she is new to the new to the scene after 30 years, I have one piece of advice: carry and iPhone with a permanent bookmark on [urbandictionary.com]. It will be quite a necessary translation tool, for when the guys ask you things like "do you fancy roman helmets"?

    Posted by DudeGuyKidDudeGuy666 September 9, 09 09:45 AM
  1. And by the way, the most important part of M's advice: "Grooming Got Big". Yes, yes it did, if you take any advice away from this forum, remember M's 3 words...

    Posted by DudeGuyKidDudeGuy666 September 9, 09 09:47 AM
  1. Grooming got big - so awesome.

    Posted by SoxSupporter September 9, 09 09:59 AM
  1. Wow, men who are honest about wanting to date younger women are crap? But I bet women who want to date older men are sophisticated? Or maybe just gold diggers?

    Posted by check check September 9, 09 10:00 AM
  1. Grooming got big, indeed. Everybody likes a trimmed and manicured lawn.

    Posted by K September 9, 09 10:00 AM
  1. Meredith, you forgot to leave you own biases at the door:

    "Age does matter -- to some. If you go online to date, you may notice that some men only want to date younger women. They won’t even consider women their own age. Ignore those men. They are crap."

    Why would you label these men as crap? They are being honest about what they want and expect -- I'd think you would find that refreshing.

    I can understand why you'd warn a 50 year-old not to contact them; but the label seems too judgmental.

    Posted by Turn Over A New Leaf September 9, 09 10:04 AM
  1. There is a lot more opportunity to meet a lot more people thanks to cheap and easy communications! It really expands your school of fish and you're no longer stuck with just trying to find people in your immediate vicinity. That's an exciting prospect but it's also a lot of work. If you decide to try the Internet route, make sure to read up on online safety and etiquette. Internet dating can bring out the weirdos that hide behind their computer screens. But there are also some diamonds in there and dating long distance can sometimes take some of the pressure off too. My husband and I didn't meet online but we dated long distance for quite a while thanks to email and cheap phone plans - something not available in 1978!

    Posted by Marina September 9, 09 10:07 AM
  1. A lot of the stigma attached to "improper behavior" is now thankfully gone.

    Posted by K September 9, 09 10:09 AM
  1. A have a few pieces of advice:

    1) online dating - expect about 10% response rate on emails you send out. Also, online dating can be fruitful, but you will find more satisfaction with it if you find additional means to meet people - i.e. don't rely soley on finding dates via online.

    2) Most people at your stage of the game have either (1) been divorced, have kids, and have been hurt in some manner - OR - (2) never had a serious relationship and you will wonder why. Give it a chance to find out the background in either case, but take your time.

    3) Really think about what you want in a relationship and work "through" your dates to find that. It takes some time - getting back into the dating mode - so treat each experience as an opportuntity to learn.

    Good luck!

    Posted by spaceman September 9, 09 10:09 AM
  1. Brave woman with great attitude!

    Posted by ellen September 9, 09 10:10 AM
  1. My advice is to let it be about the journey for a while: just get used to the whole dating scene for a while before getting worried about finding someone significant. Have fun with it!

    And don't talk about it with your kids - no matter what they say it will make them squeamish :)

    TL

    First person not third.

    Posted by TL September 9, 09 10:11 AM
  1. BTO wieghs in on this as it hits home. Seems like you have started to move on more than you are givng yourself credit. Yeah things have changed but they have stayed the same more than yoiu think. You just don't want to get hurt again. Just put yourself out there and do not be afraid to fail.
    I just got divorced and have to meet someone for a drink next week. Nervous? Oh yeah-but what else was I going to do that night. Nothing. Go for it just to spite him.

    Posted by bto September 9, 09 10:13 AM
  1. Mere, how perfect!!!! A few notes:

    1. Expect some men to be in the same boat! So, you are rusty, and? They will be, too, so have fun with it. No one is perfect when it comes to dating and a few embarassing moments will only make it funny.

    2. I am not sure what men expect in terms of grooming to be honest...I my opinion, if they don't, why should we have to? (also, once you start, it is hard to stop...fyi)

    3. Friends are absoultely soul mates. Mine are, so if you find that in a man as well, great, if not, you will always have your friends.

    Lastly, have fun with it. Don't put too much pressure on yourself or your expectations. Ultimately, you want to be with someone who makes you laugh.


    Posted by summa! baby bumma! September 9, 09 10:16 AM
  1. I don't have much advice to add. Having gone through this a few years ago (after a more modest gap of 17 years) I can empathize with how hard it is. I mostly found my way by NOT dating - but doing things that I enjoyed with friends or even by myself, to bring a good balance of other activities into my life. I honestly believe that in most cases, once you have done that, a certain amount of "like attracts like" takes over and you will start meeting people who share one or more interests. Be happy and interesting, and you will find happy and interesting people. From a behavior standpoint - the Golden Rule is still some of the best advice out there. From the male perspective, I don't know that "Grooming Got Big" is all that true, but that is only speaking for myself.

    I would be careful about personal information - maybe I am paranoid in that area but as you electronically put yourself out there be a little cautious. once something is on the net it lives forever somewhere.....

    And yes, first kisses still bring tremendous butterflies - but butterflies are good, n'est-ce pas ?

    Posted by Jeff September 9, 09 10:17 AM
  1. Nancy- Whatever you do don't listen the DudeGuyKid (PervertPigMoron).
    You sound like a nice person and you'll do just fine. Good luck on your adventure with dating! I met my BF on Match.com.

    Posted by Ban the Pervs September 9, 09 10:18 AM
  1. Online dating opens up a world of people in your age group. It's not a whole lot of fun, you'll meet the gamut of people from liars to undiscovered diamonds. Don't give up if you try it. Take it for what it is and try to enjoy. Keep first dates short, coffee or drinks.

    And when you find someone with whom you want to get intimate, it's expected and ok to ask about testing for STDs. It's a bit embarrassing at first, but critical. No one should be offended if asked, if they are - run.

    Posted by writergeek September 9, 09 10:22 AM
  1. Welcome to the dating world! It sucks! No, I’m just kidding. It CAN suck, but it can also be fun. I guess you’ll have to try on-line dating just to see what its about – some people have luck with it others don’t. its like playing the lottery – everyone isn’t gonna win. but maybe you’ll find a like-minded friend?? I like Mer’s suggestion about meeting friends of different ages, that’s a good idea to broaden your range of friends. Ya never know where you’ll find love, so look everywhere. And when you get tired, stop looking for a while. “Love goes where its sent…” it’s a silly little thing one of my friends always says, nobody understands it – but it kinda makes sense. Try to stay positive, try to laugh a lot, don’t take it too seriously & good luck.

    Posted by polly September 9, 09 10:22 AM
  1. Men who want date someone as young or younger than they are no more "crap" than a woman who wants to date someone the same age or older. Please choose your words more carefully.

    Posted by bostonconservative September 9, 09 10:23 AM
  1. some little advice.
    You can call him first, they don't bite, internet dating can work but its a smidge creepy, cougers are hot but make sure if you have sons they are at least 10 yrs older than them or its uncomfortable, it is still alright to let the guy pay for a few dinners, a guy opening the door is still gentlemenly but glance over to his door, if its locked IT'S A TRICK........ lean over and unlock it! i don't know why guys do that but they do! Weirdos

    Posted by Judgenot September 9, 09 10:25 AM
  1. I hope karma comes back and bites your ex-husband in the ass.

    But good for you moving on in such a healthy way as you have!! If you plan on dating guys around your age, I would guess that the majority of them have been married at one point. Personally, I would steer away from guys in their 40's/50's who have never been married...there is usually a good reason they never found anyone. As for the dating scene, just be yourself and try new things.

    Here's a story to keep your hopes up...my aunt got married to a widowed man in their 50's/60's and they live down south, golf every day and travel the world together. They found each other at a perfect time and are one of the happiest couples I know.

    Good luck!

    Posted by realllllly? September 9, 09 10:25 AM
  1. I think one thing that helps is to get yourself a good makeover. You may not really need it but it makes you feel better about yourself and then that happiness shows through.

    Never hurts to look 5 years younger than you really are.

    Posted by QueerEyeForTheDivorcee September 9, 09 10:29 AM
  1. 1 & 2 - you need to stop hanging with your dude friends so much or admit you are gay.

    LW - Everything has changed and nothing has changed. Assuming you live in suburbia you should tap into your friend network ASAP and see what comes your way. In the meantime, get into the city and be active. Other active people will see you and want to get to know you...see nothing has changed.

    Posted by Darwin September 9, 09 10:30 AM
  1. Instead of viewing your absence from dating for 30 yrs. as a negative, look at it as an advantage. Your age of 50 means you've had 50 years of learning experiences to shape you as a person and give you more information of who you are as a person....what you're good at, what makes you tick, what inspires you, the type of people you like to be around, etc...

    You also had 27 years of experience relating to another human being as a partner. Yes, that relationship ended, but that experience gave you information about you and will be valuable insight that you can bring forward into another relationship.

    The only additional things I can think of that may different dating nowadays vs. 30 years ago would be:

    1) technology - there was no online dating 30 yrs ago, texting, facebook, etc. So, go ahead and try online dating and set up a facebook account if you don't have one set up already. Facebook isn't so much to find people to date, but to connect with everyone you've had connections with (past and presetn), so it's a good way to merge all your social circles and keep them current. On facebook, it's very easy to find people you went to highschool, college, grad school, worked with at various jobs, neighbors, etc.. You'll find out about social events this way and this will open up your social circle, which could lead to meeting people you want to date. Just don't have expectations of meeting the love of your life, but expanding your circle to meet interesting people along the way. Good for your professional endeavors as well.

    2) women can make the 1st move - In the 70's, women were just starting to break barriers of expectations of being docile and waiting until a man makes the first move. So, if you meet someone really nice and would like to get to know him better, don't wait for him to approach you, it's perfectly ok to make the first move. It's your life and you're allowed to set the course for your life. Kudos to you for moving forward educationally with obtaining a grad degree - keep the momentum going in your social explorations (both platonic friends and romantic interests). I sense great adventures ahead for you.

    Posted by bklynmom September 9, 09 10:30 AM
  1. Always have a Plan B just incase your date takes a turn for the worse. Make sure you have an exit strategy!

    Posted by Cynical2447 September 9, 09 10:30 AM
  1. what is a roman helmet??

    Posted by mfxcog September 9, 09 10:30 AM
  1. That really stinks, I'm sad for you - good luck, I wish I could come up with a man for you.

    Posted by josh September 9, 09 10:31 AM
  1. Nancy, please ignore people like DudeGuy. Neanderthal freaks who are so unsure of their masculinity they feel the need to act as if they are the sexiest, coolest kid on the block. Ick. Loser.

    Anyway - I'm a 49 year old divorced woman, and I think Meredith's advice is excellent. Most importantly - spend time with really good friends (male and female), and have fun. I'm not much into 'dating' - I'm not interested in a long term relationship, and I don't enjoy having to make small talk with someone I barely know. I do know several 'middle aged' single men and women, though, and can offer the following advice based on their experiences: don't go out looking for a 'soul mate', or even a long term relationship. Be open minded, enjoy spending time with people, and don't continually ask (to yourself or to a 'date') 'where is this going'?

    People at our age have been through a lot, and have a lot of 'quirks'. We like things the way we like them, and it's hard to find the 'one' who fits into our world. So work hard to be flexible, and to enjoy relationships for what they are - you'll meet people whom you love to travel with, those you love to have deep, intimate discussions with, those you like to share physical intimacy with. If you're lucky, you might find someone who meets your needs (and you his) in enough ways to make you decide to 'get serious' in a relationship. That's great - but don't rush into anything. There's no need. Enjoy where you are, and see what happens.

    Oh - and the differences in dating? They're pretty superficial - after all, it's the same people from back in the 70's. They're just older.

    Posted by Cathy September 9, 09 10:34 AM
  1. More advice: Don't worry about the numbers game. While it is great to go out and meet a lot of people, remember that you aren't trying to find a hundred men, you are trying to meet one really nice guy.
    Don't get discouraged by people saying "All the good ones are taken" or "There are fewer fish in the sea." That is bull. For every lady like you who's husband decided he was leaving, there is a nice guy who's wife decided to leave. Maybe two.
    Don't jump into dating until or unless you can carry on a conversation that isn't about your divorce. You might already be there, or you might not be there yet. If you aren't there yet, keep working on yourself and practice conversations that aren't about your divorce.

    Posted by merilisa September 9, 09 10:36 AM
  1. Great letter--having been out of the scene for 14 years, this was appreciated.

    Posted by Mario September 9, 09 10:38 AM
  1. As a result of Match.com, I have been on countless dates so I think I can speak with at least some authority. First,bravo for having the courage to get out there. Good for you. Recommendations: In addition to online dating, I would say try a variety of outlets. Note that most classes/volunteering/groups etc. are comprised of women but even if men arent there, at least it wont be a waste of time and you could meet some really great women. Always say "yes" to new opportunities - especially those that shake up your routine. Talk with guys you wouldnt ordinarily unless they appear to be creepy. It is perfectly ok to keep yourself safe at ALL times even if you have to be rude to do so. Meet in public places/ dont share personal info so that someone can locate you too easily. Really. If someone pushes you on this front, RUN. Dont let someone push you to be other than who you are. Be yourself. I have learned that all those minimal courtesies (dont call late, show up on time, be nice to me, etc) were legitimate (at least for me). Look nice but dont go out buying new stuff if your old stuff is fine. They wont know what is new and what isnt. Dating is a rollercoaster so enjoy the ride. Dont get too hung up on the lows. If I didnt hear back from a guy, I presume he is died in an unfortunate manner. On a down note, I have found that most guys out there arent worthy to lick your boots. And I dont have ridiculous standards. But there are a few diamonds out there. By that I mean decent, fun, smart, interesting and handsome guys. I think it is a matter of proximity, openness, a good match and just luck. After much searching, I found a great guy. It can be done. Good luck.

    Posted by enjoytheride September 9, 09 10:39 AM
  1. Um, one of the first things I learned in high school was that girls like to date older guys-- so men who state that they like to date younger women aren't crap, Meredith, they're normal and they're honest. I wasn't aware honesty had become a flaw men should avoid.

    But thanks for reminding me that single professional women in the 28-40 age range have terrible double-standards about men. It makes me feel better when I decide the more fun activity is to stay home watching cable.

    Posted by Joey September 9, 09 10:41 AM
  1. I'd say you should put out quickly and frequently. Really, if you're not looking to ever get married again, just go out and have fun. You may be pleasantly surprised and find somebody great, but if not, at least you'll be having a lot of sex.

    Posted by Honest Abe September 9, 09 10:44 AM
  1. Make sure you work on a new move, where the check comes and you pretend to reach for a wallet, ever so slowly, until your date tells you "I've got it." and pays the bill. It's a new-ish classic unspoken awkward moment. This is about as far as our society has advanced in the struggle of financial equality vs. chivalry.

    Posted by Brian September 9, 09 10:45 AM
  1. Good for you.
    You are only 50? No worries. There are lots of guys in all age groups who would love to date a hot milf. On-line services can be very useful.
    One little suggestion though. If you can get your hands on some Viagra or Cialis, any guys in or above your age group will very greatful.
    And always use protection.
    oops...I'm assuming too much maybe? If you aren't ready for the physical side of things yet, try a bowling league or some activity where groups of people get together.

    Good luck,
    DrK

    Posted by DrK September 9, 09 10:45 AM
  1. Yeah, I have to agree with some of the commenters here. There are many reasons some men want to date women a few years younger than themselves.

    There are shallow reasons, like being able to more easily manipulate younger women. Men who want to do that *are* crap. And yes, some men are more physically attracted to younger women. That's neither right nor wrong. But one of the valid reasons for choosing a younger age range is an admission that they relate better to women a few years younger than themselves due to maturity or phase of life issues. Or maybe they still hope to have children. It's unfair to paint all such men with the same broad brush.

    Posted by Mike September 9, 09 10:46 AM
  1. #22, "Darwin": you need to STFU and mind your own business. I am 40+, married nearly 20, and have a house full of super talented high achieving kids. Don't you know that world needs a balance of both "Good Cops" & "Bad Cops"? I am still speaking the truth, there are two sides to every story, you just can't handle it. Whatever, at least you should appreciate the fact that the dark-siders like me make it so easy for a lazy doosh like you to seem "nice". Go get tea-bagged...

    Posted by DudeGuyKidDudeGuy666 September 9, 09 10:46 AM
  1. Meredith’s advice is right on. One more thing, condoms are in, you should feel comfortable asking a sexual partner to use them and buying them. Just saying.

    Please, please, please do not make your children your confidants in your dating adventures. It’s weird and they will not appreciate it. Unless they ask specifically don’t overshare, it’s very strange to sit and have a conversation with mom or dad and hear a parent say “wow that was a great date, he/she is fabulous in bed.” My parents did that when they go divorced and I truly thought it was sick. Come on people you are my parent, I’m not your buddy. Get some friends to share this stuff with; your kids don’t want to hear it. What your kids want to hear is that you are enjoying yourself, taking care of yourself, and being safe. No TMI (too much information).
    P

    Posted by PoliteG September 9, 09 10:47 AM
  1. LW-- I'm sorry but I don't have any advice for you seeing as how I don't seem to have much luck in the dating world. I wouldn't want to steer you wrong. I wish you the best of luck! You seem like you have a good attitude, which is important.

    Meredith-- Bravo on the organization of your response. I like it. A lot.

    Posted by Kristen September 9, 09 10:50 AM
  1. #27, "Cathy": Oh really, I am nearly as old as you (a few years younger). And all the newly free "Cougars" like you hit on me every time I go shopping in town. Talk about desperate, the ones who come on the strongest are them mom's of my kids school-mates; how shameless is that, the way they hit on the "neanderthal", if I told my every time it happened there would be some crazy catfights.

    Posted by DudeGuyKidDudeGuy666 September 9, 09 10:51 AM
  1. Nancy...first of all...ignore almost any advice you get from the commenters here. They are a poor example of society today. Next, Mer offers some good tidbits.
    Third, DON'T i repeat DO NOT dive into the world of on line dating. Its mostly people imitating something they are not. especially avoid craigslist if anyone suggests it. Also avoid eharmony and all their veiled psueodo pro right wing christian stuff...unless that appeals to you.

    I would suggest the following....you've done great with grad school. extend that idea to networking events for business if you work, adult ed classes, cooking etc. stuff where you can meet REAL people and get to know them IN PERSON in a safe setting ( e.g. not a bar)

    good luck!

    I'm not byubba but i wish he was here. BAN RICO!

    Posted by notbyubba September 9, 09 10:52 AM
  1. A pearl necklace doesn't mean what it used to...neither does a facial. Good luck.

    Posted by Chloe-OBrien September 9, 09 10:54 AM
  1. Mer, everyone has preferences in dating. Men are not crap for stating that preference. Some men date younger women because they want a family and some woman is not young enough to give him a good chance at having that with her. Personally, if I were looking to have a child with someone, I wouldn't choose to date anyone over 35. Some men date younger women because they are more energetic and are less likely to be sour or bitter. Some men date younger women because they like a youthful appearance. Some men date younger women because they believe they may have a stronger libido. Some men date younger women just because they can.

    Virtually every woman has their own preferences regarding height and hair.. Are they crap because they have an even MORE superficial desire (strictly APPEARANCE!).

    The most important thing about dating is honesty and saying what you are looking for is a very hoest thing to do.

    I'm guessing that Mer got dumped for a younger woman.


    Posted by sanity123 September 9, 09 10:55 AM
  1. Wow, I'm amazed at these sympathetic tones towards your "ancient" age! I've been blasted here before for letting it be known I was close to that number - I think someone here even called it "elderly." Brave of you to submit your letter to these lions and tigresses. I hope the solid advice keeps coming. I haven't been in your situation so I don't have any great ideas for you - but kudos to you for your great attitude, sister. That will take you a long way. I hope happiness finds you soon.

    Posted by HWMD September 9, 09 10:56 AM
  1. LW, there was a discussion yesterday about snooping and I initiated a dialog about how hacking email passwords in that situation is a federal misdemeanor. One of my comments was edited out - with no foul language or content, other than Mer or the Boston Globe disagreeing with me or condoning federal offenses. Yet today, response #1 somehow got through.
    Take this forum as a microcosm on our society...nothing makes sense. Never has, never will. There's no one size fits all formula.

    Posted by Brian September 9, 09 10:57 AM
  1. I detest internet date sites. There are too many women, and the men surf through it and only look at the photos before responding or contacting you. Try hard to stay away from that venue. Take part in things you enjoy, like walking, cycling, museums, conerts, bridge, dancing, etc. and you will meet people with similar interests, both men and women. Be open to well-meaning people wanting to introduce you to someone, meet as many people as you can and then you can choose for yourself. Women are in more control than 30 years ago, and it's fun meeting new people. Also, single women friends are very important to have and I encourage you to go out with women (yes, even on a Saturday night!!) and let people see you out and enjoying yourself. You will. You will do just fine.

    Posted by legalgal September 9, 09 10:57 AM
  1. I was eight years old in in 1978 and the only thing I remember about dating back then was checking the "Do You Like Me? Yes. No. Maybe" box. I always checked Maybe. And I still don't like to commit.

    Enough about me. Meredith's pity response was lovely, and I agree, especially about the grooming. Also, you should know, men groom too. I've heard it referred to as "manscaping."

    I would say, Nancy, you have one major freaking obstacle, and that's that you live in the middle of nowhere, though I'm sure the view of Lake Michigan is stunning. I would get your travel bug on and see the world. I don't know...maybe I'm Wisconsin-prejudice because the last time I was there, someone tried to sell me cheese and a can of Schlitz for $15.

    Posted by Sally September 9, 09 11:05 AM
  1. I think you should be very proud of yourself. Most people could take your situation and go down hill, but you have kept your head up and are hoping for hte best. and it's people like you who will get what they deserve :) and you deserve the best! Welcome back to the dating world, it can suck but it's also a very good time! :)

    Posted by Michelle September 9, 09 11:08 AM
  1. LW, I'm so sorry. I've had friends who got divorced, and they got through it okay. Some of the marriages were hellish, and others just didn't work out but there was no "bad guy." I hope you and your ex are cordial and that your situation was the latter, not the former.

    Meredith is right about men who will not consider women their own age. They are not worth your time--I notice it and don't bother with the much older men who contact me but refuse to consider someone their age.

    Thankfully, there are A LOT of normal, realisitic, interesting men with their heads together who do date women their age. If you do the online dating thing, you'll quickly find that there are a lot of personable, fun men out there. You may not feel a connection with most of them (nor will they--that's just the law of averages), but you will still have a good time and meet some cool people.

    Meet for coffee (maybe a drink) for an initial date. I hate meeting for dinner on a first date. You get to meet and greet over coffee, get to know each other, and see if you like each other. You also have an out--and you have anticipation if you both hit it off. It's low pressure.

    You'll get rejected, and you'll reject men. Learn to be sanguine about both (and stay far away from those who can't be). Take it slowly, and have fun.

    And--do things that you think are fun. Learn new things, do things that will make you happy. Have fun on your own! Do stuff that your husband never liked but you did. Cook and eat things he never liked but you do. It's a mild, harmless form of revenge (doesn't hurt him, and it's fun for you). Kind of a way to get the silver lining from this.

    And when you do date, and the guy asks you about your marriage, don't trash your husband. It's a turn off. And if a man does nothing but trash his ex, run. FAR AWAY. You don't need that kind of drama.

    Good luck!

    Posted by PM September 9, 09 11:10 AM
  1. My advice - don't sweat the first dates too much or put too much pressure on yourself. The first dates should ideally be coffee/drinks and conversation. Schedule a place to go after each date - for me it was the gym - so if it doesn't work out you won't go home and pout. Then move on to lunch/brunch, and finally dinner. If they don't work out, move on. Your letter suggests that you have the right attitude for that. You've already got a lot of admirers on this site and I am confident you will find the one! Good luck!

    Posted by Cheering For You September 9, 09 11:11 AM
  1. 4 years ago, going on 5 actually, my wife of 19 years announced that she wanted a divorce. It wasn't a toal surprise but it was nonetheless devastaing. I was 46 and had a 9 year old to share custody. My advice would be to take your time. There is no designated time period in which to date again and I waited almost 1.5 years and then started dating casually through an online dating service. It allowed me to meet for coffee or lunch and start to learn to date again without too much of a commitment and most of the people who I chose to meet were decent, good people. That's not to say that I didn't have my dating nightmares but it was all a learning experience. I enjoyed my single status and learned to become more independent and recently, 4 years later I've met a wonderful woman and am in a very serious relationship. It wasn't my goal it just happened and I was ready. My advice is enjoy and learn to be happy with your independence, build frienships and take the time to learn more about yourself. It sounds like you are doing great, but easing you way into a relationship and meeting new people is most important now.

    Posted by steve September 9, 09 11:12 AM
  1. Nancy, about the grooming... each man is different. I would ask first before going under the wax... Seriously. At the risk of grossing some peeps on here out, ask him if he prefers Natural, Trimmed, Shaved/Bald. And of course if you are your own woman and you don't give a damn, tell him that...

    I am sorry for the end of your marriage. AWESOME that you are in grad school! You are being pro-active in your life and you should be applauded. Brava! I hope you find someone as lovely as you are.

    Best of luck!


    Posted by Amazed September 9, 09 11:12 AM
  1. There are a LOT of unattached people in their 40s and 50s. Here's my impression of them (us, as I'm one of them):

    - While some want to marry, I sense that most don't. They're either happy being eternally single, or they're divorced and don't want to marry again. But nearly all would like a romantic relationship! So your goals are right on target.

    - They're busy. They don't have much/any time to spend looking for people. They've got careers, houses, and interests they really care about.

    Dating mechanics haven't changed much. Meeting through mutual interest activities is a good bet. Check out meetup.com for ideas. Online dating is the same as the old video dating services. It's time consuming, and you can't tell whether you'd be physically attracted to the person or not. On the plus side, it lets you screen a large number of people.

    For a woman, sex is better after 45 or 50. You know what you like in bed, you feel confident about explaining that to the guy, and you're not worried about getting pregnant. So enjoy yourself.

    Definitely include younger men in your search. They'll appreciate your experience and the fact that you're not bent on finding a husband and having kids. Plus you'll avoid the men who need Viagra but won't admit it.

    Join a gym, if you haven't already. Make sure you feel good about yourself.

    Have fun and enjoy your new freedom!

    Posted by TallGirl September 9, 09 11:12 AM
  1. "And yes, some men are more physically attracted to younger women."

    Problem is, Mike, those younger women are more physically attracted to younger men, or men their own age. I've seen commeters here complain that women should go for the homlier men, but refuse to entertain the same standards for men. And the men who insist on going for ONLY younger women remain single, while yelping about how women don't appreciate nice guys, or women's standards are too high (while theirs are perfectly reasonable), or women are only interested in money.

    Posted by PM September 9, 09 11:14 AM
  1. I am the male version of your story. I had not dated since 1974. There was no adultery, relations with our children was strong (and they were off to college anyway) so I started from a pretty good place. To keep it short, first take care of yourself and be happy living alone. When you feel up to it, don’t use a formula and don’t get bogged down in all the don’ts you may read (except mine…). When to e-mail after a date, when to bring up certain topics, have sex, move in etc. is very individual. Be a grown–up and use your judgment. It is all about respect, honesty, some electricity and above all trust your gut. If it does not feel right, say so. If it doesn’t work out with someone, soak in the experience; better to feel pain than to be numb. And do your homework if you date on line. Recognize that everyone says they have lots of friends etc etc . I learned to carefully look at how people said it and not what they said. I started dating a wonderful woman 7 months after moving out (match.com) , proposed a year later and married her a year after that (this past summer). It really hasn’t changed that much. Trust yourself and enjoy being human, I met the love of my life at age 53.

    Posted by fatherof2 September 9, 09 11:17 AM
  1. First of all, this letter has what the last several (dozen) have severely lacked: a real issue! And the LW is over 22!!!!!

    Nancy - congratulations for your moving onward and upward and for having such a positive outlook on your situation, and mostly for not being bitter. Not sure if you like or have time for physical activities, but you could join a bowling league, a dart club, a bike club, a bird watching club - basically throw your hat over the wall doing activities you like (or think you would like) to do. It's always easier when you can mingle with like-minded people. I wouldn't rule out internet dating, but if you're not really looking for anything, why bother with one on one introductions when the best matches are typically made through groups/activities? Basic math, I guess, but the more you put yourself out there, the more you get back. One on one dating doesn't really seem like your goal, so perhaps that may be one, of many, methods you employ to meet other, great people like you.

    Posted by big dummy September 9, 09 11:17 AM
  1. You are perfect cougar material!

    All younger men fantasize about older, mature women. You know: the "old enough to know, young enough to learn" fantasy.

    So here's what you do: dress up in too tight / too short clothes (heavy on the lingerie), then get thee to a singles bar. You will have your pick of eager young lovers!

    You will not regret it. And they will remember you forever.

    Posted by Lance Romance September 9, 09 11:18 AM
  1. #23, 27, and 28 - very good advice.

    #20 - I second the hope that your ex gets exactly what he deserves. If he gets what he thinks he wanted, then who's to say, maybe the move to leave was worthwhile for both of you. On the other hand, if he's just another one of those 50 year old guys who is convinced they'll find their "real" soulmate in Argentina, and crashes and burns fantastically ... well, they'll get what they deserve there, too.

    On the "grooming got big" comment ... to my mind the LW just said that they hadn't dated since 1978. Not that they stepped out of a time machine in general.

    I agree with the idea that it's good to get yourself out there, particularly where it means getting active. Good for your health and soul. I also agree on not necessarily getting out there to "hunt for a man", but for what a nickel's worth, if I had a choice, I'd think about taking up golf over tennis.

    Posted by SarahJane September 9, 09 11:18 AM
  1. Good for you for going out there and giving it another shot!

    Remember to HAVE FUN - its a huge turn on for people of both sexes.

    If you don't feel comfortable doing the online dating thing look up a singles adventure club near you. Try hiking/biking/etc. with other singles and see if a match develops on its own. If you don't mind doing the online dating thing...remember Google is your friend. A little research can go a long way!

    Posted by ScienceChick September 9, 09 11:19 AM
  1. Sally - Pithy or pity?

    Posted by big dummy September 9, 09 11:20 AM
  1. Started back in the dating thing in my 40's. The biggest difference I found was that unlike when I was younger, I wasn't interested in women I met at bars and such, and choosing dates wasn't as simple as finding the hottest girl. Suddenly not being a moron was also attractive. Online dating was clearly the answer to this... the biggest thing there was finding out there wasn't anything "weird" about it; that its just the way many poeple date nowadays. I got married eventually that way, and I'd highly recommend it.

    Id also say that calling men "crap" who prefer younger women is garbage. What an ignorant thing to say.

    Posted by SoxFanInIL September 9, 09 11:22 AM
  1. Match.com is a good place to start. I believe that they'll give you a free membership for awhile. Browse it for awhile before you make your profile public. First take a look at other woman's profiles and make yours stand out from the pack. Most men over 50 put down that they want a woman up to 20 years younger then themselves. And that is crap! Most women on Match.com want men 5 years younger or older then themselves. You only need 1 good man at a time. Hope that you find one.

    Posted by Susan September 9, 09 11:22 AM
  1. #39 ("Dude") - Uhm... so what does the fact that you're 'nearly as old as' me have to do with anything? I'm having a bit of trouble understanding your post - please learn to put together a coherent sentence, my little friend. And those women who are all hitting on you? If that were really true I suspect you wouldn't be quite so strident in your daily attempts to sound cool and cynical and sexy.

    Posted by Cathy September 9, 09 11:27 AM
  1. For the LW - I'm going to take a softer stance - Listen to Chloe OBrien. Listen to others who can interpret what you've been missing out over the 27 years that you've been off the market. Additionally, you're not even living around here, which may suggest that you might actually find someone decent. Naturally, that all depends. But be careful - there's people like me out there who are willing to do whatever it takes to separate you from your "reality". Anyway - I can't really add anything else that hasn't already been said.

    I happen to like DudeGuy. I mean, he tells it like it is. And screw the haters. I mean, people object to being told the truth?

    Sally -

    "maybe I'm Wisconsin-prejudice because the last time I was there, someone tried to sell me cheese and a can of Schlitz for $15."

    You're not prejudiced against Wisconsinites because they were offering you what they serve best. The Cheese is the best in the US and Schlitz is the cheapest way of getting drunk around those parts. Whoever you were with should have given you some Milwaukee's Best - that's a fine brew indeed. Lest we forget, the bratwurst! BRATS!

    Lastly - GO PACK GO! (yes I'm a Cheesehead - and darn proud)

    Posted by supersonic BLAST man! September 9, 09 11:30 AM
  1. sanity123....anyone that thinks younger women have a stronger libido has never dated a woman 35-40. it truly is the promised land.

    Posted by amentothat September 9, 09 11:31 AM
  1. This LW is my heroine... I was divorced at 26 and it is TOUGH picking yourself up and moving on with your life, this woman sounds amazing. CONGRATS on making it through your first year of grad school!! Dating can be all sorts of horrible and wonderful... my advice would be to just take it for what it is... dating. Like you said, you're not necessarily looking to get married, so just enjoy the great dates and laugh at the bad ones, and enjoy being single again. I bet someone out there will recognize your great attitude and appreciate you, hairless or not :) (although I'm still going to back other readers up and say that I strongly recommend considering some form of hairlessness!)

    Posted by you go girl September 9, 09 11:32 AM
  1. #36 - Seems like we hit a nerve with you, maybe a little too close to the thruth? Now go look in the mirror and repeat all those accomplishments again then explain to yourself how putting your junk on another dude's forehead is not gay. Wash, rinse, repeat.

    LW - Urbandictionary.com is a useful tool, especially when dealing with tools.

    Posted by Darin September 9, 09 11:35 AM
  1. Go slow?

    -

    And wow, Chloe-OBrien #41, just wow.

    Really? Wow. Did you think mentioning Dirty Sanchez's would be gilding the lilly, or did you just think that was the same back in the day?

    Posted by Nick September 9, 09 11:36 AM
  1. LW, you sound like the last thing you need is advice from this group of tools! You've got your stuff together. Enjoy your life, have fun with your friends, find something to laugh at every day, count your blessings, and do volunteer work at least 1 day a month.

    Be open to fix-ups, and even if you end up on a date with a total loser, think of all the funny stories you'll have the next day. Life IS good to those who appreciate it!

    Posted by just_cos September 9, 09 11:41 AM
  1. Honestly, if you have been out of the dating world for the last 3 decades are are looking to start dating again in your 50's, the men you are most likely looking for are in the same boat as you. I doubt that many of them have been professional daters for the past 30 years. They are just as scared and unsure of how to go about all of this as you ...

    Posted by Kelly September 9, 09 11:42 AM
  1. I bet after 30 years of marriage you're now wearing mom-jeans. Lose some weight/get active, get a modern-looking haircut and clothes, and start flirting with guys. Don't think about dating and just have fun, and don''t put out too fast.

    Posted by Bee September 9, 09 11:42 AM
  1. Wow, Meredith. Why do we have to judge other people's preferences? Everyone has some traits in potential dates that they prefer and others --- smoking, too tall, too short, criminal record, drug use, lives too far away -- that are absolute disqualifiers for them. So some men prefer someone younger and that makes them 'crap'? If there's one theme running through my own comments and reactions to what I see here, it's this -- what other people want and need is okay. It may not match up to what you want and need. It doesn't make either of you a bad person, it just makes you incompatible as a couple.

    Posted by JC September 9, 09 11:43 AM
  1. Hey Sally at #46. Did you mean pithy? If so, interesting typo. And you are close to 40. Too old to cop a "Gee, I was only a kid back then, so I can't relate" attitude when addressing a 50 year old. Get a grip. You are middle aged.

    LW, men are attracted to confident feminine women comfortable in their own skin. Not much has changed in this arena since 1978. I was there too.

    Posted by GB September 9, 09 11:43 AM
  1. pithy. pithy. not pity. Hs are so ard to type.

    Posted by Sally September 9, 09 11:47 AM
  1. meetup.com is a great way to expand your social circle and find fun things to do. although the meetups are often predominantly women (as are evening classes, etc.,. in my experience) some of the women may have a brother or even uncle your age for you to meet. ditto about not involving your kids ... they don't want to know no matter how old they are. be safe, never invite anyone into your house until you know them really, really well.

    Posted by espresso lover September 9, 09 11:50 AM
  1. Also, lose the 'tude about supporting your ex thru school. Get over it.

    Resentment and bitterness make lousy aphrodisiacs!

    Posted by Lance Romance September 9, 09 11:50 AM
  1. supersonic BLAST man!--I'm all for expensive cheese, it was the $15 Schlitz that got me.

    Posted by Sally September 9, 09 11:50 AM
  1. Amentothat (#64).. I agree. It does mean that a guy in his 50's might want a woman closer to 40. Thanks, you've made my point!

    Posted by sanity123 September 9, 09 11:54 AM
  1. Maybe you should try a singles cruise. Singlescruise.com is one that I've used. I had a blast and you can get to know people on the website before going. That way when you meet them they'll already know you. Once on board it's a laid back experience and after a few cocktails everyone talks honestly about their situation. I find that most people on these cruises are between 40 and 60. I'm still friends with some of the people that I've met.

    Posted by algernon September 9, 09 12:00 PM
  1. My mother was widowed at 60, after my father died she did not feel like doing anything but friends kept asking her out to coffee, lunch, theater, movies and Mum always went. She later told me even though it was the last things she wanted to do she told herself she would say yes to every invitation incase that it was the last invite she ever got.
    It is a pretty good strategy if you want to expand your social circle and develope new friendships. So you may have seen that movie last week, or you are not into chamber music - just go enjoy the evening. The more things you go to, the more people you meet the more invitations you get...the circle of life.
    I would say the only thing that has changed is the technology, get a good iPhone or Blackberry and when speaking with people if they mention a play or movie...pull out you phone and say great lets get tickets for tomorrow, no need for that "l'll buy the paper first thing in the morning and call you, or we can meet on the line for tickets". The pit falls of this instant technology is that no one really makes plans too far in advance. If you are looking to go out more than a few days in advance poeple will just say "So, Friday I'll call/text/email and we'll make a plan" it can be annoying and this is when Plan B comes in. The technology gives people a lot of opportunity to be flakey.The exception to this is if you are going to see U2 or have hard to get dinner reservations. Best to reserve these events to special friends over casual dates.
    Good luck, I hope you have a lot of fun, you attitude is wonderful.

    Posted by helpful September 9, 09 12:04 PM
  1. Women who shave in private places turn me off. Fashions like this are unnatural.

    Posted by Don't listen to advise September 9, 09 12:06 PM
  1. CheeseLady-
    We are contemporaries, so let’s begin with one easy trick: Don’t call it dating! Now is a good time to just be out with people. It’s a good opportunity to make friends. In this way, the pressure of “dating” is reduced to friendships…not courting. You can tell a friend about the Brazilian you had yesterday, but that conversation might be taboo for a date. Let that friend sit there at the bowling ally (a WI hotspot) and consider the possibilities of you flying free as you try to pick up the 7 – 10 split. It has Forum letter written all over it.

    OK, some things have changed since 1978:
    1) WBCN is gone, so you’ll have to tune in John Tesh on WHOM when you make love. The sex will be slower, but God will be with you.
    2) The Red Sox won 2 World Series and as a result, male Sox fans have higher testosterone levels since 2004. At 50+, it’s worth the hedge against high blood pressure and erectile dysfunction.
    3) Same sex marriage has cut down the % of available (closeted) men and lesbians are converting straight women as life partners. The underlying message is that men, in general, are crap.

    To Meredith’s point on older “crappy” men needing younger women: I agree that men want this…not only because it makes them feel younger, but because they’re not so much interested in true love as much as they need to control the relationship. Women their own age are wise to their BS and have a backbone. The younger women aren’t in it for true love either…She needs a sugar-daddy so she can wait patiently until he dies and collects her inheritance. I guarantee you my dad’s SO (17 years younger) is enjoying The Breakers and Worth Ave. while she passes the time ‘til he ‘departs’. He doesn’t love her either, but (and I say this with sadness) a woman his own age would give him too much resistance and she’d call him on his crap (my mom, god love her). Too bad…I’d love to see him be in love with someone who can help him belt out songs from the 30s and 40s.

    “Boston, ‘78 we didn’t wear Nehru” Haiku

    T’sbeen such a long time
    Think I should be goin’, yeah
    Time don’t wait for me

    Posted by valentino September 9, 09 12:07 PM
  1. "Amentothat (#64).. I agree. It does mean that a guy in his 50's might want a woman closer to 40. Thanks, you've made my point!"

    A dude in his fifties isn't going to have the libido to keep up with a younger woman. He is also not going to be as attractive as a younger man. That 35- or 40-year-old woman is getting hit on by 25- and 30-year-olds looking for fun, and 40 year old men looking for a relationship. She's got the best of both worlds. The older dudes have a harder time if they only want younger women. Harsh, but true.

    Posted by realitycheck September 9, 09 12:11 PM
  1. Re: grooming, unless you REALLY want to, I say don't start the waxing thing, and don't be concerned about it. I've had some wonderful, healthy relationships with men (I'm now 48 and married 8 years) and none complained, not a single one. Most preferred shaved underarms, and shaved legs in the summer if you have dark hair because it looks nice, but I never got any indication whatsoever that they wanted more than that. Maybe it's the age of my partners. Younger guys nowadays might have different expectations.

    Posted by older and wiser September 9, 09 12:13 PM
  1. Sally - You'll be "phity" in 10 years.

    Posted by val September 9, 09 12:24 PM
  1. # 41, you just made me crack up. It's so true...She could be talking innocently about those subjects and you can just picture her date taking it to a whole different level.

    Posted by Hindy September 9, 09 12:25 PM
  1. Good advice from Mer, Fatherof, Ellen. Good luck, carry on and cycle back in and let us know how things are going. And all the "advice" on social norms, grooming, the woman hasn't been on another planet for 27 yrs - I'll venture she has read a magazine or 200 and has a clue.

    Posted by Maryro September 9, 09 12:25 PM
  1. This letter is a big improvement, and a very refreshing change! This woman has great potential for fun and happiness - mostly since she isn't near Boston and the nasty, disrespectful jerks.

    Where is the Admiral guy - Admiral Antfarm? Or the son? I miss his sign off "at ease people".

    Posted by Trueblue22 September 9, 09 12:32 PM
  1. 'Free advice' from a 50-something man..... Don't discount fitness! In addition to much better health & energy, looking fit is big! Us single guys do not care to date someone who looks like our mothers (or grandmothers). Dress is also big - nothing slutty, but elegantly feminine. For some reason the 'homeless lesbian' (?!) seems to be considered the acceptable norm. If you want to stand out - and we poor males tend to hunt by sight - avoid that look. Meredith is right, nothing really has changed that much in dating; you still have to have attractive 'bait' to catch the best fish!

    Posted by mtacoustic September 9, 09 12:41 PM
  1. Men are "crap" if they have a preference for younger women? How the hell did you get a job writing an advice column? If you can't see how careless and judgemental that assertion is, you really need to find a new line of work.

    Posted by billy tepper September 9, 09 12:48 PM
  1. "1) WBCN is gone, so you’ll have to tune in John Tesh on WHOM when you make love. The sex will be slower, but God will be with you."

    OMG I am laughing so hard. Thanks Valentino!!!!

    Posted by check check September 9, 09 12:49 PM
  1. mtacoustic #88, What's the "homeless lesbian" look? I haven't heard that term before.

    Posted by TallGirl September 9, 09 12:54 PM
  1. I don't have much to say.. I think the LW will do fine.

    I do have something to say about the whole 'men who seek to date younger women are crap' ruckus.. That's a ridiculous thing to say.

    I have never dated men my own age, and at this point in my life have no desire to. I'm in my early/mid 20's and prefer to stick to guys 5-10 years my senior.

    Does that make me crap too?

    Posted by EastCoastGirl September 9, 09 01:18 PM
  1. Well, I have to say I certainly learned one thing from this column over the last few months: New Englanders have a LOUSY sense of humor. Now I can see why this state loves whiny liberals, and angry hippies. It reminds me of what a college friend (from GA) said about going to school in MA: "What is wrong with all these bitter people in the Northeast? It seems like they would rather give you their wallet rather than smile!" Now, years later, I realize it is true...

    Posted by DudeGuyKidDudeGuy666 September 9, 09 01:20 PM
  1. I'm sorry, I have no advice to add today... but, Valentino, that was amazing. Laughing so hard I'm crying.

    Posted by Kathleen September 9, 09 01:32 PM
  1. Thanks heavens, finally, a letter from someone mature.

    Quite the reaction to Meredith's crap comment - I agree that labelling is bad. But I see, and live, her point. Recently a friend of mine told me a story how he met some single guys my age (40) at a party, told them all about me but when asked my age, he was told I was "too old" for them.

    To the LW - best of luck. You have a wonderful attitude. I think you've received some great advice so I don't need to repeat any of it. The majority of the advice here has been well intentioned today. Ignore the rest, and have fun!

    Posted by Patty September 9, 09 01:36 PM
  1. When you find that special someone, whatever you do, no matter how tempted you are, DO NOT snoop in his computer, blackberry or phone!
    Good Luck!!!

    Posted by Shorty September 9, 09 01:39 PM
  1. #52: the new definition of "middle-aged" is 15 years older than you are. Regardless of how old you are. :)

    Posted by just_cos September 9, 09 01:49 PM
  1. Dear LW - Sounds to me like you have a pretty good handle on your situation. Having a makeover (if you haven't already had one) might be a good idea. Also, finding some new hobbies that will let you meet like minded people is a good idea too! Good luck on your journey!

    The whole older men who want to date much younger women are crap, was harsh in my opinion, I'd use the word unrealistic (unless they are super hotties themselves or have fat stacks of cash.) Frankly there are reasons you see women like Catherine Zeta Jones marrying men old enough to be their father. Or even further down that road Anna Nicole Smith marrying that ancient dessicated mummy man, old enough to be her grandfather. Now on the night they got married, she left for the Greek Isles for a honeymoon trip w/her young friends while he stayed home with his nurse (that's one guy who got what he paid for - yikes!) As DudeCity pointed out people should be allowed to ask for what they want, just doesn't mean they'll get it.

    Lastly, I looked up Roman Helmet on Urban Dictionary and I don't feel better about knowing what it is.

    Posted by sundiego September 9, 09 01:52 PM
  1. #39, DudeGuyKidDudeGuy666 says "And all the newly free "Cougars" like you hit on me every time I go shopping in town. Talk about desperate, the ones who come on the strongest are them mom's of my kids school-mates; how shameless is that, the way they hit on the "neanderthal", if I told my every time it happened there would be some crazy catfights."
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~
    Anyone who brags about this happening to them? Yeah, it's not really happening to them. But you just keep telling yourself that DudeGuy, when your mother calls you up from your basement rec room to dinner tonight, 'kay? :::::shaking my head at the stupidity of DudeGuy's comments!:::::

    To the LW, what Mer wrote is good advice, as well as Chloe-O'Brien. Just enjoy yourself doing whatever it is you enjoy - Yahoo Groups have various groups that are set up for people who like movies; cooking; reading and discussing books, etc. in your area. Perhaps check them out as well.

    But don't listen to people like DudeGuyKid - his name here pretty much tells you everything you need to know about someone like that - "K. I. D." Perhaps not in actuality, but most definitely mentally!

    Posted by Seriously Unbelievable! September 9, 09 01:55 PM
  1. #33 - boy, that just CRACKED ME UP!!

    Posted by davita1111 September 9, 09 01:56 PM
  1. Meredith, I love your column, but I do not like the comment about men being "crap" if they happen to like younger women. Sure, there are older men who prey on younger women, but there are younger women who prey on older men. And consider the plight of a man in Nancy's shoes, who perhaps has never been blessed with children and still wants to be a parent. Would he be "crap" for seeking out a younger woman who shared his values and desire to have children? Your disparaging remark grossly contradicts your statement that age doesn't matter.

    Posted by Watch what you say! September 9, 09 01:59 PM
  1. "...someone tried to sell me cheese and a can of Schlitz for $15. "

    Sign me UP. Sally, I can't believe you ever came home...

    Posted by Q September 9, 09 02:00 PM
  1. TallGirl, I think what he means by "homeless lesbian" look, is tie-dye and Birkenstocks.
    If the LW simply avoids the "muffin-top" she should be OK.

    Good luck,
    DrK

    Posted by DrK September 9, 09 02:11 PM
  1. I kind of agree with Meredith on her comment about men who only want younger women.. Unless they are choosing younger women because they want kids, they are just shallow. I think that is what Meredith means.

    I know someone who did that on Match. He is 37 and put down he was 35 because he wanted only woman under 35. I was like why ? your over 35!! Why would you put down ? He asked me how I could resist him? (because the truth is I am somewhat available but I didnt really want him. ) So why be so choosy? and I am 40! He could be missing out on great women over 35!

    Posted by starry September 9, 09 02:12 PM
  1. Hit the gym (hard), get a current, new haircut, dress sharply with a hint of sexual. Be fun and spontaneous and never discuss your divorce or your Ex. Try something entirely new, that you never would have done with your Ex. And lastly, and most important. Shave, or at least trim. It's that important....

    Posted by TD September 9, 09 02:16 PM
  1. TallGirl - Just look at the pics on any news site of two women marrying, and you'll see. For some reason, many lesbians think they are betraying their sex by dressing in a feminine manner. "Homeless lesbian" = "It's Pat," from SNL. If they see beauty in the feminine shape, they sure don't indicate it. // val - That line yesterday, "catch and release nymph," so beautiful! // Now Nancy - a majorly way things have changed is that Alan Alda and Tom Selleck are both out; metrosexual is still in, and those men are the equivalent of "homeless lesbians," only better-groomed.

    Posted by reindeergirl September 9, 09 02:28 PM
  1. Hey, DudeGuyKidDudeGuy666 at # 93. If you hurry you can be in Georgia by dinner time. Please hurry.

    Posted by GB September 9, 09 02:34 PM
  1. DrK #103, Thanks. Tie-dye and birkenstocks....hmm....I didn't know you could buy a wardrobe like that around here. Definitely not an attractive look. Sounds like a Seattle kind of thing...

    Posted by TallGirl September 9, 09 02:35 PM
  1. Once you go Homeless Lesbian, you never go back.

    Posted by valentino September 9, 09 02:39 PM
  1. Sheboygan is the new Brazilian.

    Posted by valentino September 9, 09 02:42 PM
  1. you should try dating a woman. so much more fulfilling and satisfying.

    Posted by lizzy September 9, 09 02:56 PM
  1. Dude666, THAT'S what makes New Englanders so great: we'll hand out money and you don't even have to ask.

    Posted by Sally September 9, 09 02:58 PM
  1. Haven't been here in a while, so decided to check it out again. Nothing's changed: same crass disgusting men who probably belong to the same anger-management therapy group and are secretly giggling to themselves like gross perverts about using dirty references or bashing Meredith about using a word like "crap" that has obviously once again triggered their little insecurities and traumatized them; statements that should never appear on a site accessible to children ("the dudekid loser" who sounds like a level 3 offender type, god help his alleged children); and just overall immaturity.

    Letter writer, you sound mature and truly nice. This is not a good place for you to be hanging out if you want healthy and intelligent advice. Think of this like recess during the 7th grade. Go to the people in your life that you can trust and who truly love you. They will provide more value, or steer you to someone who won't gratuitously violate your space.

    By the way, Meredith, you deserve better than this, too.

    Posted by yupokay September 9, 09 03:01 PM
  1. I have a buddy. He is 52. He separated from his wife this year. He has never been happier (I think).

    Please just don't talk to people about your sex life when you start knocking boots. I can't eat dinner with him anymore.

    Posted by IamChachi September 9, 09 03:05 PM
  1. just want to say ;

    I am pretty , stylish , well-bred, and I have been alone for 10 years now ;

    The difference between being lucky and unlucky ...

    Beware . Mens often lie ....very very often ...
    and they like money too ... too often ...

    Posted by careme September 9, 09 03:13 PM
  1. If you're a man in your forties or fifties and want kids, sorry, you missed the boat. You should have been willing to settle down when you were younger instead of sowing your wild oats. Women who want to have kids will do so with men their own age. Truth hurts, I know.

    Posted by realitycheck September 9, 09 03:21 PM
  1. Dear careme (#115)--write to Meredith and let us all have a go at helping you!

    And Nancy--I wish you the best--I bet you'll do fine once you get going--and for the record, I have noticed that a lot of men who like much younger women (guys in their mid-to-late 40's-up thru mid 50's) either are 1): emotionally immature and younger girls know/expect less; or 2) less accomplished in their careers than their peers and they feel like they dont measure up and they know younger women havent been there yet so they cant as easily recognize failure.

    I do agree with the idea of hitting the gym if you arent in the shape you would like--or even if you are, it will make you feel better about your body, and you'll get some additional self-confidence. Plus you can fit in to a (few) clothes that are designed for younger women--one piece here and there can work w/a woman your age.

    Good luck and write back to Mere and let us know how it turns out!

    Posted by E September 9, 09 03:21 PM
  1. 1) Meet new woman. They have male friends. Men you aren't interested in have friends you may be interested in too.
    2) You will never meet a man while sitting on your couch. (I haven't met any women this way).
    3) Vary your routine. (i.e. Don't always do grocery shopping on Monday nights or you will only meet people who shop on Mondays.)

    Posted by JG September 9, 09 03:25 PM
  1. ...I spy someone who hasn't been to the western part of our great state or the eastern tip of the cape...108 tallgirl :)...not that being in those locations make the outfit any more acceptable, but the great city of Northampton has one of the largest, if not THE largest populations per capita of...birkenstock wearers...also containing a mix of flannel with the tie-dye. Cool place, cool people, bad clothes.

    Posted by Brian September 9, 09 03:30 PM
  1. I have found that my insecurity as I date in my late 40s and now 50 is countered by my improved ability to know myself and laugh at myself. I have a fab gf and none of the high conflict life I led before in a 20 plus year marriage. Just dont expect everyone in your life kids and friends to accept every element. They probably liked it the old way but that is over. You will also lose some couple friends--its hard for people to maintain two friendships and two world views. Simply: Build new relationships.

    This is your dating/adventure/ love life and enjoy it. We are not getting any younger. Skip the razor and be your self.

    Posted by cisco kid September 9, 09 03:37 PM
  1. Brian #119, I have been to those places, but maybe I'm a bit oblivious to other women's clothing. (Odd, since I have a lot of nice clothes and love to shop. I dunno.)

    The one thing I HAVE noticed lately is young women (teens and twenties) in low-rise jeans with rolls of bare stomach fat hanging over the belt. I don't know how they can look in the mirror and think that's ok. Someone should tell them it's unflattering. Nancy in Manitowoc, don't dress like that.

    Posted by TallGirl September 9, 09 03:57 PM
  1. M says:
    "You're not limited to a specific age range anymore." to a woman, then follows with "...some men only want to date younger women. They won’t even consider women their own age. Ignore those men. They are crap."

    Hmmm...have you forgotten Cougars? Are you prepared to call them "crap" as well, or do they get a special pass in your book because they're women?

    How about not labeling people whose perspectives you don't agree with, and probably don't understand. You're hardly in a position to pass judgment on them. And by "you're" I mean all of us.


    Nancy:
    Dating is significantly different than it was in 1978 - and so is the world.

    What hasn't changed is that there are people you'll enjoy spending time with, and others you would rather not.

    Just put one foot in front of the other and get out there.

    Posted by George September 9, 09 04:14 PM
  1. Valentino is my hero:

    "WBCN is gone, so you’ll have to tune in John Tesh on WHOM when you make love. The sex will be slower, but God will be with you."

    Then this:

    "Sheboygan is the new Brazilian."

    Absolutely f-ing fabulous.

    And Dude? It's not that New Englanders have no sense of humor. It's that you're not funny. See the difference?

    Posted by Cathy September 9, 09 04:23 PM
  1. Nancy - wish you could bottle some of your strength for me. I'm quickly approaching my 50th, and for the past 17 years have been taking care of my parents, and my daughter, who is on her way to college. I constantly ask myself, "Okay, now what do I do???" I'm slowly coming back to life and blossoming at 50 can be a good thing. Ask your friends to help you out - there's no shame in that....find new friends and interests. It sounds easy, but that first step is a giant one, believe me!!!

    Posted by Michele September 9, 09 04:27 PM
  1. realitycheck said (#82, #116):
    "The older dudes have a harder time if they only want younger women. Harsh, but true."

    "If you're a man in your forties or fifties and want kids, sorry, you missed the boat. You should have been willing to settle down when you were younger instead of sowing your wild oats. Women who want to have kids will do so with men their own age. Truth hurts, I know."

    Actually, you don't know. I have several male friends in their 40's and 50's who were busy building businesses or careers - not sowing their wild oats- and married "late". All happily married (with kids or planned), and to younger women.

    And then there are those of us who married in our 20's and 30's and now find ourselves 50+ and divorced, for a variety of reasons. All have GF at least 10 years younger, and sad to inform, we don't appear to have a problem "keeping them happy". You can skip the money factor, because some of my friends are dating women who make more than they do.

    Some like them younger, some older, and some in the same age range. Your generalities are as poorly thought out as your moniker - "realitycheck" is clearly a misnomer.

    Posted by George September 9, 09 04:34 PM
  1. "If you're a man in your forties or fifties and want kids, sorry, you missed the boat. You should have been willing to settle down when you were younger instead of sowing your wild oats. Women who want to have kids will do so with men their own age. Truth hurts, I know."

    That's all so true. My mom had me with a man her own age instead of settling for one of her dad's friends her dad's age. Dad wasn't too elderly to help raise me when I was a kid, and I didn't have to watch him die of old age while I was still a teen.

    Do these straight men in their fifties who don't date women their own age because they "want kids" actually want to have and raise children, or do they just want sex without condoms? Do the young women who go for them because they "want good providers for their children" actually want to have and raise children, or do they just want babies without thinking about the odds of being a teenager's single (widowed) mama too?

    Posted by Joe September 9, 09 04:55 PM
  1. There's a difference between being open to dating younger AND older, and ONLY dating younger. A 50-year-old man may not think a 50 year old woman is attractive, but he's not all that to the 35-year-olds he's chasing, either. He's not going to have much luck until he gets over himself and starts being more realistic in his search.

    Posted by realitycheck September 9, 09 04:59 PM
  1. TallGirl and Q - Congratulations on making Mere's "Voices" column in today's paper!

    Posted by reindeergirl September 9, 09 05:12 PM
  1. George #125,

    Just one woman's opinion here....the problem with marrying an older man is the risk of being saddled with his health problems. Men start dying of heart disease in their 50s, and the percentage of men with e.d. grows through their 50s and 60s. Overall, men die much earlier than women.

    When she's 35 and he's 45, it doesn't seem like an issue. But when she's 50 and he's 60, he may seem pretty old to her.

    I think any single woman in her 30s or 40s would be wise to date at least one man who's 60 or 65, to see what that age is really like. Obviously she'll be 60 or 65 herself someday. But she may not find that age appealing in a man when she's not there yet herself.

    Just my two cents.

    Posted by TallGirl September 9, 09 05:23 PM
  1. If the cheese is so good in Wisconsin, I'm wondering: do they make really good grilled cheese sandwiches there, too?

    Posted by Frico September 9, 09 05:56 PM
  1. "The Midwest farmer's daughter really makes you feel all right,
    and the northern girls with the way they kiss, they keep their boyfriends warm at night..."

    Sounds like you have two weapons in your arsenal, Nancy, while we Massholes only have this one:

    "Well, East Coast girls are hip, I really dig those styles they wear..." and that doesn't even apply in Boston! Good luck!

    Posted by Beach She Boys Gan September 9, 09 06:02 PM
  1. #113

    When Meredith is prepared to use the "crap" label on anyone who wants to date outside their general age group then we'll call it even.

    Until then, the label is unfair.

    Posted by Turn Over A New Leaf September 9, 09 06:24 PM
  1. TallGirl #129:
    Fortunately, and speaking from experience, all women don't share you concerns regarding early death (dropping in their 50's? Oh please, the stats are insignificant), nor e.d..

    While you may think it "wise" for women in their 30's and 40's "to date at least one man who's 60 or 65, to see what that age is really like", do you really think they'll have the same perspective 10 to 20 years later?

    I understand you are speaking from your point of view, maybe you can grant them theirs.

    Posted by George September 9, 09 07:04 PM
  1. I haven 't had a date in awhile either...then tried PassionSearch.com. Now I have dates all week!

    Posted by Dan September 9, 09 07:10 PM
  1. One can never say what motivated a person to say something but perhaps the crap reference was in regards to being superficial by only wanting to date a "HOT" looking person. And we all know HOT usally comes in a young package. With the exception of Cindy Crawford, Halle Berry, Jennifer Aniston, Demi Moore, Selma Hayek on and on. I bet the men who only want to date 20 and 30 somethings would fall all over themselves to date the women I listed and wouldn't care one bit they are over the hill 40-somethings! (To be continued!)

    Posted by JulesK777 September 9, 09 07:24 PM
  1. Some of these postings are really funny. I went bare for one of my boyfriends in the 1980s and the itching drove me crazy-never again. My FWB shaves because he's seen enough men and women in adult movies. He's 4 years younger than me but in his fifties. Why would I want to date younger men? Because older men unless they use Viagra are only good for one go when I am just getting started. By the way, my favorite song for long slow s@x is "Maggot Brain" by Funkadelic. There's a lot an older woman can teach a younger man. I've done things for and to to my FWB that his ex would never have done with him and he is grateful.

    Posted by Liz Pakula September 9, 09 07:38 PM
  1. Farrah Fawcett & Michael Jackson on The Dating Game ! i have seen tall _______ dating tall __________.is it better to be heartless (searching for love forever,condoowner, 9 kids, 9 stepkids waiting for a "wingman" to come along when generational differences tend to dwindle ) or homeless ? I did sign for Compramatics then! mainly no, definitely no in mingle2 bionic hookups.

    Posted by Cher September 9, 09 07:50 PM
  1. I understand that guys respond to the visual but sometimes it just goes too far. Wanting this always hot-looking, hairless nymph is just too hard to maintain for women. And what kind of women is this always-maintaing toned, hairless bod, is she kind and loving? Maybe not, sometimes she is self absorbed and wants to be compensated for her outward beauty through money and material things...and is oh yes what I hear men call a BITCH. Yikes! In fairness, I have dated both average and great looking men and some are nice and some are not in either category.

    Posted by JulesK777 September 9, 09 07:51 PM
  1. I am 52 and met the love of my life on match.com at age 45. I have never been happier. It was worth the effort to find true love for the first time in my life. Before I met my husband, I had many dates with charming, intelligent, really great men. One man (an attorney) asked me to a sold out Diana Krall concert at the Wang. Oh gee-I had to think about it for maybe 30 seconds before I said "I'll meet you there". When we met I thought he looked older than his profile indicated. He said his age on match was a typo. Ask me if I cared after a wonderful evening of unbelievable music and great conversation with a charming gentleman. The key is that I drove my own car.

    Posted by CABE September 9, 09 08:07 PM
  1. 1. Yes, meetup is a great site if you're not ready for full-on internet dating yet (or ever).

    2. On a serious/downer note, std's have come a long way since 1978. When my Mom told me about a recently widowed friend who was beginning to date again, I told her to to give him "the talk" just as she gave it to me. She informed me that I was "being silly" and he would "be fine". Well, he's fine now, but it took a few rounds of antibiotics. (Yes, maybe too much information that I know this detail, but she wanted to inform me that I was right. I don't know the specifics.) Condoms are a given, even if pregnancy is no longer a risk. You're not insulting him to insist on it, you're respecting yourself.

    3. Despite most of the letters you'll read here, dating can be fun, and your outstanding attitude can only help. Enjoy yourself, and good luck!

    Posted by formerbostongirl September 9, 09 08:44 PM
  1. On one level I understand the unwillingness of most men to consider same-or-older-age women. Really. I do.

    On the other hand, menopause for my wife was a horror show, which means it was almost as horrible for me as it was for her.

    So, if we were to part (highly unlikely other than by death, I think), well, do I want to relive that experience? In all honesty, no, I don't.

    Posted by Definitely Older. Maybe Wiser September 9, 09 09:02 PM
  1. Oh, come on, people. Just a few days ago we were treated to a bunch of male commenters preaching to the womenfolk that we should be aiming for men at least ten years older, since men prefer younger women and women lose their looks (while older men, apparently, remain hawt). They also insisted that women only wanted money, which is news to me and a lot of women on this site. Perhaps I should bow to the expertise of the bitter menfolk.

    I notice no one called them on their craptastic attitude towards women--apparently, women are supposed to open their minds to date older men they aren't attracted to, while men can continue to be shallow and stupid.

    TallGirl, I don't need to date a guy in his 60's--my parents are that age! I know what to expect. LOL. I don't want to have kids, but that doesn't stop the older guys from contacting me--it's not all about having kids (either that, or people don't read profiles). And if I see in their profiles that they won't consider women their own age, I don't give them the time of day. Hypocrisy is a turnoff. George, maybe I'm mean, but I do think that someone who is 53 is crap for not giving another 53-year-old a chance just on the basis of age. If you don't find people your own age attractive, then how attractive do you think you are to someone 10-15 years younger? Strikes me as entitled with a side of midlife crisis.


    Posted by PM September 9, 09 09:27 PM
  1. TallGirl #129:

    I have a family member who married a man 20 years her senior and had a child with him. The man's grown children were his second wife's age. Fast forward to her current age of 54 and his of 76. Their daughter is out of college, living and working well. The man has dementia and she's at home 'babysitting' him.

    Years ago my college sociology prof suggested the women go down to the local junior HS and find a guy to marry. This way they'd line up better towards the end of life.

    Posted by dan September 9, 09 10:43 PM
  1. I understand the lesbian homeless comment to some extent. Perhaps it's worded a little inelegantly. But the general idea that some older women do not care about their appearances, believing that this somehow gives them extra feminist credibility, is accurate. I saw a woman today in my suburb of Boston that actually caused me to do a double-take. Late 40's, early 50's tops. Picture round, steel-framed (and crooked!) glasses, a messy men's haircut, and a bed jacket that today's nursing home residents wouldn't wear. This doesn't make her seem professional, hire-able, or dateable. Ever wonder why smart, accomplished women (Oprah, Michelle Obama) ALSO aim to be polished and fashionable? Could it be that looking like a complete slob makes you look clueless, not feminist? Aesthetics matter.

    Posted by local September 9, 09 11:12 PM
  1. "I understand that guys respond to the visual but sometimes it just goes too far. Wanting this always hot-looking, hairless nymph is just too hard to maintain for women. And what kind of women is this always-maintaing toned, hairless bod, is she kind and loving? Maybe not, sometimes she is self absorbed and wants to be compensated for her outward beauty through money and material things...and is oh yes what I hear men call a BITCH. Yikes!"

    Especially when that outward beauty is expensive to get! Makeup costs money, loans to afford breast implants have to be repaid, etc.

    Posted by Leslie September 9, 09 11:24 PM
  1. "I have a family member who married a man 20 years her senior and had a child with him. The man's grown children were his second wife's age. Fast forward to her current age of 54 and his of 76. Their daughter is out of college, living and working well. The man has dementia and she's at home 'babysitting' him."

    So he got to do a young woman without any birth control back then, and he's got a young woman waiting on him hand and foot right now. No wonder some people think it's good for older men to prefer younger women.

    Posted by Leslie September 9, 09 11:28 PM
  1. "and I just finished my first year of graduate school and am healing emotionally from the experience."
    Indeed. Grad school can have that effect on people.
    (thanks for the laugh, albeit unintentional)
    Good luck to you, you sound like you're doing great.

    Posted by former midwesterner September 10, 09 12:15 AM
  1. Nancy, best wishes and congratulations on all you're doing! You're admirable. One huge thing that has happened since 1978 is the AIDS epidemic. If you do meet someone and decide to become intimate, use a condom every time, even if you're postmenopausal and don't need it for bc. Good luck!

    Posted by Tony September 10, 09 01:07 AM
  1. Nancy -- here is what has changed: you can't trust anyone, not even the men you meet from friends and family. People close to us won't necessarily know a con or a cad. However, we now have ways of checking their backgrounds - and you should not feel bad about doing it! On the other hand, even a background check won't give you info on their medical background -- herpes and AIDS weren't concerns in 1978.

    Posted by cantstandya September 10, 09 01:55 AM
  1. PM #142:
    "...maybe I'm mean, but I do think that someone who is 53 is crap for not giving another 53-year-old a chance just on the basis of age"

    You can think (believe) anything you want about men (or women) who don't want to date people the age YOU believe they should be dating.

    Just accept that you're being judgmental and harsh, and by casting labels on them you are DEMANDING people conform to YOUR view of how they should live their lives.

    And that's fine, if that's how you want to lead your life.

    Posted by George September 10, 09 07:03 AM
  1. I don't know if this will be relevant, but I am a 38 year old, single (well engaged) educated woman who found my "soul mate" by accident through Craig's List. What that made me realize is that sometimes, you have to think beyond the box. Yes, dating can suck, but at the same time it can (and will be, if you let it) be an eye opener.... and not in a bad way. Everyone has something to share, something that makes them special. I believe that everyone has a story, and you just have to be open enough to let them share it.
    Consider yourself lucky... you get thid opportunity to learn and grow from other people's experiences. Plus, they can learn from yours! I'm sorry about the demise of your marriage, but think about it. Would have rathered have stayed in a relationship just for safey? Good luck and I hope to hear an update soon!

    Posted by Anonymous September 10, 09 07:29 AM
  1. Nancy:
    You're doing well here, and deserve a lot of credit. That Ex of yours, well, he thinks he's a player, because he just found a new squeeze more than likely younger than him. All that "soul mate" stuff he told you, that's just nonsense. His brain isn't working on all 4 cylinders he's got there, and he'll have a flat tire soon. You can be very proud, raising your kids while Mister Pseudo-Player there was out lookin' at the local real estate. He's got his come-uppance coming to him down the road there. You have lots of choices now, and you're not too old, so go out and find you a new squeeze yourself. If love happens, that's fine, if it doesn't, that's OK too, you can fish for more and the computer will help you these days. Who's he talkin' all this "soul mate" nonsense to now, huh? He's a fool, and you just won a big prize by him drifting away like that, towards his own oblivion. He can take his "soul mate" crazy-talk to a shrink, and see how quick he gets laughed out of the therapy room. You're gonna be A-OK, hear?

    Posted by Chucky Burles September 10, 09 07:41 AM
  1. What a good conversation. I have met several nice guys online and one in particular, who lives a few hours away, called last nigt and wants to come and meet me, and you'll love this one: STAY AT MY HOUSE! OK, he's a retired military officer, with a top clearance, but sounded offended when I told him that I would make a hotel reservation for him. I live alone and there is no way....we'll see if he ever shows and if not, he has showed his true colors early. And I am disappointed as he has really sounded interesting (though he's a Yankees fan and a Republican - two strikes out of three!) So have fun out there but no overnight guests!

    Posted by CarolincC1 September 10, 09 08:08 AM
  1. Why would you even want to start dating again.

    I had the same situation - married 28 years, divorced at 50. I'm 62 now and have never been more content. No dating, no interest in dating. Lots of friends, great job, lots of activities and travel.

    I decided that I needed to be comfortable with myself before I decided whether I wanted to start another relationship, and after a couple of years I decided I didn't want another relationship - at least not in the "short term." I have no regrets for those 28 years and I have three wonderful grown children and two grandchildren.

    I don't want the kind of distraction dating brings - it's great for teenagers and twenty-somethings, but I'm at a different stage in my life - and I don't want to be a stranger in someone's family and I don't want a stranger in mine. At this point in my life, married or not, I do age appropriate things - and dote on my grandchildren, and enjoy my grown children.

    I do what I want, when I want, and am not burdened with someone's expectations and disappointments.

    Good luck.

    Posted by Barb September 10, 09 08:15 AM
  1. almost 30 years of marriage and all he can say is : you are not my soul mate! what an ***.

    Posted by Anna karoleen L September 10, 09 08:23 AM
  1. Understand that online dating is no longer seen as "wrong" or "taboo." Embrace it. Sometimes it is the best way to meet a diverse group of people.

    Posted by Giuseppe September 10, 09 09:53 AM
  1. Dan # 143,

    Yes, your professor had a good point. If we look at statistics, women should really marry men who are about 8 years younger. Then husband and wife would die at about the same time.

    I toured several nursing homes not long ago (thinking about my parents' future care). It was quite an eye-opener. They're essentially homes for women. Hardly a man in sight.

    Posted by TallGirl September 10, 09 10:00 AM
  1. Great attitude. You don't sound bitter and you're improving yourself. And at 50 or 51, YOU"RE YOUNG. Be yourself and be patient.

    There's something to be said for physically taking care of yourself too. When you look good, you most likely feel good about yourself. But don't go overboard with the grooming. Not all guys are fans of hardwood floors.

    Posted by bohica September 10, 09 10:14 AM
  1. Is she a cougar?

    Posted by liberal September 10, 09 10:15 AM
  1. "Just accept that you're being judgmental and harsh, and by casting labels on them you are DEMANDING people conform to YOUR view of how they should live their lives."

    I see. But the 53-year-olds and 55-year-olds who won't give women their own age the time of day, and urge me to open my mind to dating older (when they can't be bothered to date their own age) aren't at all judgemental. I see. Special rights for the menz.

    I don't demand that people conform to my view of how they should live their lives. I just don't like or respect hypocrites. If I met a woman who made $30K a year but wouldn't give a man who made the same amount the time of day, I'd think she was just as crappy.

    Posted by PM September 10, 09 12:21 PM
  1. Ooops, missed reading LL yesterday. This column was a very well researched and written piece, in my opinion.

    The use of the "c" word was entirely appropriate. It's Meredith's column and she can say whatever she feels while she's composing it. Blogs can be tricky to edit, though, so the sounds of rattled cages are what one can expect to hear from some of the equally unedited commentators.

    Controversial? Nah. Sexy, maybe. It's the wild west out here in the blogosphere. Everybody's got a gun and few pause to think before aiming and firing. That's what makes a writer a writer and a blogger a blogger. It's like the equivalent of crack shot Wild Bill Hickok versus a crowd of sod-busters with shotguns. It's all OK, though. Nobody lost an eye or anything.

    Crap is still crap by any other name. Keep calling it like you see it, Meredith.

    Posted by Mari September 10, 09 12:46 PM
  1. DudeGuy, your mother called. She says you've used up all your allotted time on the computer, so it's time to come up from the basement and have your vienna sausage and mayo sandwich. She also wants you to sell your Star Wars lunchbox collection and buy your own computer.

    Posted by Wish I believed in censorship September 10, 09 01:33 PM
  1. I met my husband online. I had to go through a few frogs before I found the prince. I agree with the advice about meeting in public places and not giving out too much personal info.

    My husband and I met for the first time at a bookstore, and then we went to a coffee shop. It was great, because I knew in advance that if the meeting stank, I'd still go home with a good book.

    I also suggest volunteer work, sports clubs or other activities clubs, or church groups (if you're a church-y person) as ways to meet people.

    Posted by Anonymous September 10, 09 09:07 PM
  1. I vote w/ going out and getting a GREAT makeover! Pick a nice salon in a major city that has massage, hair, makeup, etc.Get a full day of beauty (no matter the cost). Tell them you want a better/more modern version of yourself and then LET THEM DO THE REST! Don't tell them you don't like this or that... let them decide what will make you look great and a proud member of the "I'm single in the 21st century" club. Good luck - and HAVE FUN!

    Posted by wish I was single.. September 10, 09 09:26 PM
  1. I'm a woman in my late 20's and I know many men my age and older that enjoy dating an older woman.

    I say..have some fun with it! You'll learn a lot about yourself and a lot about these creatures we call "humans." I think it will take some time for you to find someone with whom you can be serious with, but I think you need that time to experience life.

    Have fun and enjoy your new found freedom. Excuse the cliche, but the world truly is YOUR oyster now! Do with it what you wish!

    P.S. You might want to give the grooming some serious thought as well ;)

    Posted by AlittleJealous September 13, 09 10:24 AM
  1. I just wanted to say that Nancy, you are my hero. 50 years old and going back to graduate school? I think that is awesome. It is really impressive that you are taking control. Cheers to you and your freedom.

    Posted by sometimes September 13, 09 01:40 PM
 
ABOUT LOVE LETTERS: Welcome to Love Letters, the place for love advice (giving and getting). Globe relationship columnist Meredith Goldstein and Boston.com readers are ready to take your letters and tell you what's what. Have a question? Click here to submit or email us at loveletters@boston.com.
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Meredith Goldstein is a Boston Globe columnist who follows relationship trends and entertainment. She offers daily advice on Love Letters — and welcomes your comments. Meredith is also the author of "The Singles," a novel about complicated relationships. Follow Meredith at www.meredithgoldstein.netand on Twitter. Love Letters can be found in the print edition of The Boston Globe every Saturday in the G section.

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