Coming to you from the single’s bar high atop the Monrovia Marriot.
We interview Helen V. Reese, author of the book Project Ex, an entertaining novel about dating after 50.
We wondered how much of the protagonist of the book (Lydia) actually came from Helen’s life. Both are therapists. Lydia has a long list of ex’s she finds using a Facebook ad and interviews them for an article she’s writing. Helen says she didn’t have as many. However, with Internet dating, you can meet a lot of guys.
Rebecca mentions how guys try to pick her up on Facebook, probably because she used Photoshop on her profile picture. Sharone says the guys who try to friend her are 23-year-olds from Southern Hemisphere countries trying to get a green card.
Lydia has been single for 12 years and is trying to figure out why she can’t find a decent relationship. She discovers that in many cases it didn’t have much to do with her personally. The guy was the one with the problem. We’re always asking ourselves “Am I too heavy?” “Did I have bad breath,” “Is it my age?” Then we beat ourselves up.
Men also use Photoshop and don’t look like they really are on dating sites. Sharone found a man she knew on JDate who still had black hair when she knew it was gray.
Put you’re a current photo on your dating site profile but make sure it’s a good one.
Are there benefits from dating after 50?
After 50 were not so much into perfection and don’t have as rigid of ideas on how we want a man to be. (Height, weight, profession, etc.)
Hopefully, we like ourselves more and have a better sense of who we are.
We have life experience and more to share. In other words, we’re more fascinating.
How to Jump back into dating
In the book Lydia takes her best friend on some adventures (including a cruise) If you go somewhere with a girlfriend and don’t meet a guy you can still have fun with your friend.
Girlfriends are great resources to meet other people. Single girlfriends don’t mind listening to you tell them a guy was a jerk, whereas your married friends may not understand.
Rebecca says she has a hard time imagining a romance with an “old guy.”
After Helen’s brother passed away, her sister in law became involved with an older man and it turned out to be a wonderful match. He was in great shape, so you never know.
As women, we need to accept that we’re older. Many women over 50 are in better shape than men because we use anti-aging products to keep us younger looking.
All three of us agreed that Harrison Ford is a hunk, despite the fact he’s with a much younger woman.
Sharone used to avoid bald guys until she realized it was because some of the bald guys she dated were lemons. The baldness had nothing to do with it.
We regret the “nice guys” we let get away when we were young.
Are you terrified of online dating?
Security is paramount. But still take a chance and get out there. Do it professionally. Have a great photo taken of yourself and take care writing your bio even if you need to pay a professional to do it. An excellent profile is key. Be open to revising it if it isn’t working. There’s no commitment in just doing that much.
Meeting people in bars can be scary and depressing. You don’t know who is married or whatever.
Avoid serial dating – That’s someone who has their profile up all the time. If you meet someone, take it off while you’re dating. Then put it up later if you are looking for a new relationship. Take breaks. Spend time with girlfriends doing fun activities. You don’t need a man to do things. Have friends over. Throw parties. Someone you connect with may know someone who’s perfect for you.
Hang around people who have the same interests as you. Check out Meetup.com. They have categories for every interest, including dating after 50 and you can meet people in a group setting.
Volunteering is also a great way to meet nice people. They are passionate and happy about what they’re doing.
How to vet dates when you meet them, especially online
Don’t get into texting for long periods of time before actually meeting. Some people text and email each other for months. For one thing, you’re giving out important information to someone who could be a scam artist or even worse. They may write like Hemingway but until you meet them, you don’t know who they really are.
Chat with them on the phone. Set up a meeting in a public place. Don’t let a person you’ve never met come to your home. Then, see what happens. Some online dating sites arrange lunch meetings, rather than evening dates, which are safer.
Stick to furry puppy dogs and kitties
You don’t need to rescue another puppy dog or kitty on a life raft. As women, we nurture, but we don’t need a partner who is a mess. When you do, you are investing too much emotional energy.
When you meet someone in person you can smell them. Pheromones are important for connecting. A guy may sound dreamy on the phone but if he stinks it’s all over.
How to talk about a new relationship with your grown up kids.
It can be challenging and awkward but you have to tell them this is a guy I really like and we’re not little kids. You guys are out in the world, now it’s my time and when you come over he’s going to be here. Over time, it should work out.
Helen is now in her second marriage with a fabulous guy. She works as a clinical social worker by day. Because she was single for some time and was out on the dating scene, she thought she’d write about it and it became Project Ex. She ended up self-publishing it. Because she was working full-time it took her several years to complete.
The problem she had with publishers was that her protagonist was “a certain age.” She says in her blog;
“I’ve been doing some research on matron literature, a genre which focuses on older female characters as protagonists. This genre – an offshoot of chick lit – is also sometimes called “hen lit,” “granny lit,” “matron lit” and even – God give me strength! – “hag lit.”
Kind of scary. She also said that the humorous tone of the book made it more challenging to publish.
She’s thinking about writing a sequel.
Her book, Project Ex is available on Amazon.
Contact Helen for a signed copy.
Her blog is www.helenvreese.com
Please visit our author’s corner by clicking here.
Have you had experience dating after 50? Please leave a comment below.