Online is now the second most common place to meet a partner
First most common is through a mutual friend
It's never too late to be swept off your feet. And that's now truer than ever, thanks to the stratospheric rise of online dating.
The over-50's segment is the fastest growing group of subscribers for internet dating, and the sector has recently witnessed a 40 per cent leap in popularity.
Just ask loved-up Stella Ansell, 69, and her 72-year-old husband Peter. The newly married couple of 'silver surfers' from West Sussex were both widowed earlier in life, but they found love again with each other on the internet just two years ago.
Encouraged by family members who didn't want them to be alone after their partners died, they both took to the world wide web to find a companion.
Stella, 69, and Peter, 72, who met online in 2010 and are now engaged.
Joining a well known dating website, they were matched in 2010 because they're energetic, vibrant, adventurous and love doing things together.
They were engaged in October 2011 and married on 11 August this year.
And their story is becoming more and more common.
Online is now the second most common place to meet a partner, the first being through a mutual friend.
Sites such as www.datingover50uk.com are all offering those over the age of 50 the opportunity to find romance.
Stella, who was alone for two years after her first husband died before joining the online site, told MailOnline: 'It's very difficult making the transitions from being a carer, to being on your own, to deciding to look for someone else.
'And then once I did eventually start trying to go to places like dinners or dancing, I got the feeling that other women were - completely unnecessarily - perhaps a little threatened by me as a single woman.
'With online dating you don't need to worry about that because you're already meeting someone who is in the same position as you.
'Both Peter and went for people online who had been widowed, not divorced, because we wanted someone who had gone through the same experience as us and come out the other side.
'Perhaps if I was 40 it would have been different, but in my sixties I wanted someone who had experienced what I had.'
The couple's first date was almost, however, a disaster.
Stella said: 'It was almost horrendous! We chose to meet in a cosy pub in between us but on the day we picked there was a complete snowstorm and we were both absolutely snowed in!
'I managed to make it to the pub in the dreadful driving conditions, and as I slid across the ice into the car park I noticed only one other car doing the same.
'We both walked up to the door of the pub and there was a sign saying it was closed for refurbishment! Luckily, we both laughed, which was a good sign, and we took ourselves off for coffee...which lasted five hours'
'Go to a website that looks into the type of person you really are, and matches you properly. There are sites out there that are just for a one-off date, but if that's not what you're looking for then be more thorough'.
Thanks to MARTHA DE LACEY, Daily Mail, for the article.
I hate to say it but there's serious competition out there based on the numbers from the Census Bureau. For online dating spend time writing a profile that shows you in the best light. Get a friend's opinion on the final draft. And if you don't have a great photo, ask that same friend to snap a nice candid shot for you to post.
Have a simple and flattering first date outfit already in the closet -- like a uniform. When you have that first date, you don't have to agonize over what to where, how it fits, how you'll look. You'll already know and be able to head to meet Mr. Maybe-Right with a little less stress. And the best thing to show on the first date is the real you. At 50+, who has time for being anything but authentic.
2. Don't settle.
I'm not looking for Prince Charming anymore -- I went to his funeral years ago. As I've gotten older, my ideal date is kind, smart, emotionally available (did I say that already?), thoughtful and not addicted to any substance other than chocolate or coffee. Have you made a list of the qualities you'd like to find in the people you date at this point in life? It helps you get real clear -- again -- on what works and what's non-negotiable for you in a relationship. If someone doesn't measure up, don't settle for less than what you want.
3. Lighten Up
When I was young, I took the whole dating thing so seriously. As I think back on it, the end goal was to get married and have a family -- at least that's what I learned back in the day. Now I don't really worry about getting married again. So I'm less wedded -- not to make a pun -- to the end result and more to the journey in a relationship.
I've also accepted that sometimes I meet someone who just not that into me. If you haven't read the book by that name, it's enlightening-- and liberating. From Kathryn Lord, the Romance Coach, here are a few signs that a man just isn't that into you:
He tells you he's just not that into you.
He tells you he isn't ready to settle down into a relationship.
Doesn't give you a hug or a kiss goodbye.
He doesn't call.
4. Protect yourself in all ways possible.
First, don't share personal information, like your contact info until you've really gotten a comfort level with someone. For instance, keep your email private which the top online dating sites always do for you. If you decide to talk with someone on the phone, call them and *67 before you dial their number so your phone number isn't revealed.
When you're ready to meet someone in person -- coffee in a very public place is a good first date -- advise a friend where you're going and that you will call after you leave. My sister and I have this arrangement and it works well. Once I progress to a longer date, like dinner, my sister knows to call at a certain time. As I answer the call in front of my date, I apologize and jokingly explain how my sister and I look out for one another because my date -- and yours -- should know that someone cares about us.
The other way to protect yourself is at the point you decide to take a new relationship into intimacy. The bottom line is that over 50, we need our own stash of condoms and -- no you can't depend on the other person to have one. Nancy over at Boomerful, who found herself single in midlife, reports that:
After more than a year of being single, what I have learned is this: Condoms are a fact of life. Don't consider any other way, unless you are really monogamous and have both been tested. If you are in bed with a guy and he doesn't have the guts to use a condom ... or he tries to convince you that one isn't needed ... RUN. He is not worth a conversation, much less your body fluids and possibly your life.
If you're timid about buying a box of condoms from your friendly neighborhood pharmacist -- it is a weird feeling -- then you can buy them online.
5. Enjoy yourself.
This one sounds easy but I'm not quite there. It's a goal I haven't quite reached yet in this new world of dating over 50. I'm hopeful, though.
Don't use a selfie as your profile photo! It looks like you don't have any friends!
Don't respond to every email that you receive-unless you really want to.
Don't wait for someone you're interested in to message you first!
Do a little research. Before you write your profile, see what people your similar age and gender are saying about themselves.
Do remember that this is a dating site, not a job interview. Use your profile as a trailer, not the full movie.
Do actually date. Get out and meet in real life!
Don't sit idle. Aim for about ten new messages a day in order to get noticed by other users, and the site's algorithm.
Don't cut and paste. It's pretty easy to spot a generic "I send this to all the girls" message, and it won't do you any favours. Personalised messages stand out much more. and get a real dialogue going.
Don't mention how you promise you won't ever tell anyone you met online. The stigma attached to online dating is long gone. Be proud that you're being proactive in your search for love.