Over 50, Looking for Love 

looking for loveWay back in the mid-1980s, Newsweek published a story that had single women quaking in their power suits. Drawing on the work of three Ivy League researchers, the story suggested that women over 40 had a greater chance of being killed by a terrorist than of finding a husband.

As Kristen Meinzer reported in a blog on Over 50’s Looking for Love the story and its claims were found to be completely flawed and Newsweek, after the twentieth anniversary of the piece, even retracted it.

Easier For Men to Remarry

Nonetheless, the image of the middle-aged, unloved divorcee persists—and it’s partly accurate (men have a greater chance of remarriage after age 50 than women of the same age), but it’s also not quite as bleak as the 1980s hysteria and some ensuing coverage makes it out to be.

According to 2001 US Census figures, 41 percent of women 50 and over who’ve been divorced have remarried, compared with 58.4 percent of divorced men of the same age.

Toughest for Educated Women

“Among the divorced, the least marriageables in our society are older women, highly educated who make a good salary,” says Dr. Francesca Adler-Baeder of the National Stepfamily Resource Center at Auburn University.

“Studies show men tend to marry down — someone slightly younger, less educated, making less money,” Dr. Adler-Baeder said. “Women in their 50s literally don’t have a visible pool of eligible men around them.”

It’s highly likely some of these over 50 women don’t want to marry again, but if they do they are increasingly turning to the Internet to find likely partners.

Internet Dating for Over 50s

The Sydney Morning Herald reported this month that at the Australian dating site RSVP the over-50s are the fastest-growing subscriber group, with a 30 per cent increase annually for the past five years. The stigma that once may have attached to internet dating is evaporating.

And at the free site Oasis, launched last year, more than 70,000 over-50s joined in the last quarter, said chief executive Dave Heysen.

“Think of a 55-year-old who’s been in a marriage since their 20s, and the relationship ends,” said Lija Jarvis, RSVP spokeswoman. “Their social network is limited. It’s daunting; the rules have changed; it’s difficult to connect to people at the same life stage as you if you leave it to chance.”

Anne Hollonds, chief executive officer of Relationships Australia (NSW), said older people were more comfortable with online dating than meeting partners in pubs or bars.

“If they are coming out of a 20-year marriage and looking to meet a new partner, they’re not likely to go to pubs or clubs. The internet is a much softer entry into the dating arena and older people are more comfortable with that.”