Thursday, August 11, 2016

Senior Online Dating: Two women, two different experiences

Senior online dating: Two women: two different experiences

By Tom Blake

Online dating is one of the tools seniors can use for meeting a mate. Two women contacted me this week, sharing their vastly different online dating experiences. One found success; the other frustration.

Cheryl said, “I would like to share my recent good fortune and experience with online dating. I began corresponding with a widower in October, 2015, on the dating site OK Cupid, which allows subscribers to write detailed information on their profile and also offers thousands of questions that can be answered on a variety of topics. I have been divorced twice. 

‘When we started corresponding, he had answered nearly 500 questions, and I had answered over 600, and we both had added comments to many of our answers. So we already knew a lot about each other.  

“We remained on the site communicating for a few weeks before moving to personal emails, both agreed to progress slowly and eventually we moved to phone calls and then to Skype. This occurred over a period of several months.  

“Early on, I verified information he gave me (checked his website and ‘Googled’ him). Our correspondence enabled us to learn more about each other and gain confidence in our relationship. We are both 69 and live 600 miles apart. When I flew to meet him in April, there were no surprises. We totally enjoyed each other's company and made a commitment to continue to develop our relationship.  

“He drove to my home in July. We spent two and a half weeks together during which time he met my family, friends, and my church family.
Everyone ‘approved’ of him! We have been blessed to have found love and have made a commitment to travel ‘the rest of the journey’ together.  

“Our correspondence and willingness to be totally open and honest with each other along with both of us wanting a long-term relationship were the keys to our success.”

Cheryl’s point about both of them wanting a long-term relationship is vital to relationship success. Also, she and her man emphasized the benefit of using Skype before meeting in person.

She said, “Skype enables each person to see the other's facial reactions and enhances the intimacy of the communication. We both feel that Skyping before meeting in person made us feel much more comfortable with each other when we did meet than if we hadn't Skyped.  

“During my 15 months online, I encountered some suspected scammers, whom I reported to the site. But I also met and/or communicated with some really nice, caring men. My online dating experience was very positive. I will be moving to live with him in September.

“He often says, ‘life sings,’ and we feel very lucky to be singing a duet.”

The second woman, Annise, was married 25 years before becoming a widow six years ago. After many online dating attempts, she met a wonderful man who later died in a plane crash.

She said, “I jumped back on the Internet and have met and dated a few interesting and scary fellows, including a lawyer, who wore more jewelry than I, a convicted felon, a recovering alcoholic who is mixed up with lots of baggage, a man who prefers non-English speaking women because they are more subservient, and many other characters. Anyway, I’ve been trying!  

She said, “Yikes! What am I doing wrong? Being widowed, I have a better than average appreciation for time; that ‘Life is short’ jingle is brutally true. I would rather spend time in a relationship than spend time in online dating.”

Despite the tragedies that Annise has endured, she continues to have a sense of humor and zest for life. One of her requirements of the men she is meeting: “He cannot be at war with his ex.”

Internet-wise, the only suggestion I have is she might try other dating websites to avoid meeting so many bizarre characters. Other than that, Annise’s energy, positive attitude, resiliency, and determination to never give up looking for a mate are what it takes to find success in senior dating.

Seniors who use the Internet for dating should proceed slowly, and must be prepared for any quirk that might surface. But love can be found, as Cheryl experienced.

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Tom Blake's Interview with Chicken Soup's Mark Victor Hansen - 10 Dating Tips

On Life and Love after 50  Newsletter

Tom Blake's Interview with Chicken Soup's Mark Victor Hansen. His 10 dating tips still hold true today

I am in the process of updating my Finding Love after 50 website, which entails editing more than 200 articles that I wrote 10 to 15 years ago. One article I came across was an interview I had with Mark Victor Hansen, co-creator of the best-selling series "Chicken Soup for the Soul"  and co-author of "The One Minute Millionaire."

                         Tom and Mark Victor Hansen - 2003
Hansen was considered in 2003, when I interviewed him, as America's leading expert on human potential; his business letterhead described him as "America's Master Motivator." He is extremely personable, positive and likeable as well. The interview was about middle-aged and senior dating. His answers to my questions are as important today as they were in 2003. I added the italics.

Tom: “Where should middle-age and senior singles go to jump-start their lives and meet a potential mate?”

Mark: “They should volunteer by test-tasting 12 different groups to find the one or ones most suitable for them. There may be 100 people at each meeting; that's 1,200 people from whom to choose.

“If you want quality dating - a good relationship, great thinking, possibility for travel, good belongingness, somebody with high self-confidence, high self-esteem, who is trying to make a difference at whatever level - you'll find people like that in volunteer groups.”

Tom: “What advice can you give singles who say they can never trust again?”

Mark: “You have to have self-trust before you can trust others.

“All of us are on a spiritual path and all get betrayed. From forgiveness you go back to deep self-trust. You realize you aren't alone, and that's one of the things the "Chicken Soup" books help people with. Most people need a deeper process rebuilding trust than from a 20-minute church sermon.

(While discussing divorce, Mark asked if I had written a book. I told him my book - scheduled for publication May, 2003, – Finding Love After 50. How to Begin. Where to Go. What to Do, will help divorced and widowed people).


                                            Tom's Book on

Mark said, "You've got a market of at least 20 million there. In doing research for our upcoming book, 'Chicken Soup for the Divorced Soul' (publication in 2005), we learned that the divorce rate is 150 percent in America, which means people who get divorced get divorced multiple times.

"Americans don't know how to grieve and one thing you've got to grieve is your divorce. It takes a year and a half to heal at a minimum, and more time for women than men."

Tom: “I tell singles they should know the qualities that are right for them in a potential mate. Some say that makes love too scripted. They believe love should ‘just happen.’ What's your opinion?”

Mark: “That's the way 16-year-olds think, and it gets them in trouble. People must know what's right for them.”

Tom: “Many older people complain that the singles they meet are too set in their ways and not relationship material.”

Mark: “The new (lifestyle) model, especially in California, is not to get hard in your attitudes. Take a guy like Art Linkletter – he skis six weeks a year and surfs six weeks a year. My daughter can't believe he catches air for 30 feet at a time. He's happily married, but he's as alive and enticing to women as he is to men.

“So, the complaint goes back to the ones who complain. If men or women aren't growing, then they won't find others who are growing. And about gray power - no one should give up their sex life or their life at all.”

Tom: “Can a relationship where two people have a 20-year-age difference work?”

Mark: “We're going into a new age I call the age of the soul. We ask, how does my soul relate to your soul? Are our souls comfortable? Is the essence of my being there? The essence of my being has nothing to do with chronology. A 20-year-age gap is irrelevant, assuming people are spiritually mature and they've done some self-work and introspection.”

Tom: “You're one of the marketing geniuses in the world: Do you think singles should use marketing techniques - such as the Internet, personal ads, networking and dating services – to try to meet someone?”

Mark: “Absolutely. Everyone's got to learn to market him or herself. Do marketing that rocks; it will help bring love back into your life.”

Tom: “Can people who elect to remain single lead a happy life on their own?”

Mark: “Only if they've done a lot of self-work and made themselves feel comfortable with themselves. What I teach on self-esteem is a trinity: 'I like me, I like me alone, and I like me with other people.' Most people have never done the ‘I like me’ step.

“You must have positive, correct self-love first. If I'm in a bonded relationship and don't have self-love first, I won't be OK.”

Tom: “How can people keep a relationship alive and fresh?”

Mark: “Read love books to each other once a month, then discuss them and say on a scale of 1 to 10, where is our relationship? If it's less than a 7, what do we do to get back to a 7? No relationship operates at a 10 full time. Most couples never have that kind of a conversation.”

          Couples should read to each other without falling asleep

Mark's final advice for older singles: "Have lots of friends. Stay active. Get out and meet new people. If you've got the intention to pay attention, you'll get the perfect retention of your love."
Orange County is blessed to have Mark Victor Hansen as one of its leaders.

In re-reading this interview in 2016, Mark’s advice still applies. He is a genius. Here are 10 highlights of what Mark Victor Hansen said:

1. To jump-start one’s life, volunteer trying at least 12 different charities or groups to find the right one for you
2. To trust again, you have to trust yourself, which starts with forgiveness
3. When going through a divorce, you have to grieve. It takes at least a year and a half to recover
4. Singles looking for a mate must know the qualities they seek in a mate
5. No one should give up their sex life
6. Regarding dating someone older or younger, Hansen said, “A 20-year-age gap is irrelevant, assuming people are spiritually mature and they've done some self-work and introspection.”
7. Singles must learn how to market themselves
8. To be in a bonded relationship, you must love yourself first
9. No relationship operates at a level-10 all of the time. Communication between couples helps refresh relationships and keeps them at a high level
10. Have lots of friends. Get out and meet new people (Gee, where have you heard that before?)

Note from Tom: In 2008, Hansen and co-creator Jack Canfield sold Chicken Soup for the Soul. The new owners have carried on. As of 2016, 110 million copies have been sold.

I hope Champs found this interview with Mark Victor Hansen as inspiring and informative as I did.