Erika Ettin, an online dating expert, has clients of all ages who are searching for that perfect match. But Ettin, founder of Washington, D.C.-based A Little Nudge, said baby boomers make up most of her clientele. Why? Many boomers have been married before and have been “off the market” for a while.
We asked her to share some of the FAQs she gets from boomers who would like to get back into the dating game.
Q: What is the best way for a 50-plus person to meet a partner? Is it online or somewhere else?
A: There isn’t a best way to meet someone. There are many options — online dating, speed-dating events, classes, social groups, the list goes on. The important part is to put yourself out there in some capacity, online or otherwise. If you do decide to try online dating, there are certain sites that cater to an older age group, like OurTime [owned by the Match Group].
Q: Do you have any recommendations for meeting someone in real life?
A: Be approachable. Take your nose out of your phone. Smile at strangers. The best way to attract someone is to show that you’re open to meeting new people, regardless of whether you want to date them or not.
Q: What if the first date isn’t spectacular? Should you see the person again?
A: It’s important to go into a first date with no expectations. Simply having a nice conversation should be considered a success. If you’re on the fence about someone, or are curious to know a bit more, even “just to see,” then it’s worth going on one more date. That spark doesn’t always happen immediately.
Q: Is someone who has been married multiple times — or never married at all — a red flag?
A: Everyone has a story, so rather than making generalizations about people based on prior marital status, listen to their story, then use your judgment. And remember that “never married” does not equal “never had a long-term, committed relationship.”
Q: What if you find out that your date lied about his or her age in an online profile?
A: I don’t recommend doing too much “research” before a first date, unless it’s for safety purposes. Just remember to meet in a public place and, if it makes you feel more comfortable, share your whereabouts with a friend. Someone you find online is no scarier than someone you meet out and about.
If you do find that your date has lied, first decide if you’d still like to meet this person. Ask yourself if the lie was too egregious, if you think this person is lying about other things, etc.
Q: Are the rules for sex any different for baby boomers?
A: First, there are no rules for sex. Just as with a 20-something, 60-somethings should go at their own pace. Do what is comfortable for you, and that will differ for every two people. I would recommend building a foundation with someone before you go too far in the bedroom, especially if you’re looking for a long-term relationship.
Q: How can one keep from feeling frustrated or hopeless?
A: Take a break if you start to feel jaded. But do get back on the horse, so to speak. As difficult as it can sometimes seem, remember that the important things in life take time.