Kathryn's Blog

Good news for older singles—Maybe

A short piece in a recent New York Times caught my interest, about the increase in older men compared with older women: the numbers of men 65 and older increased by 21% between 2000 and 2010, nearly twice as many as women of the same age (11.2%). Author Stephanie Coontz writes a hopeful companion piece “A More Resilient Male?”, and Susan Jacoby cautions against too much rejoicing in “A Blip vs. the Long Haul.” But older men surviving at twice the rate of women would seem to be good news for both.

The expectations of older women have really changed over the last 60+ years. My grandmother was widowed at 48, and while an attractive and appealing lady, to my knowledge, never dated or even entertained the thought before she died at 81. My mother, her daughter, was widowed at 75 and remarried at age 81. I met my now-husband Drew online when I was 48. While statistics show that I am more likely to be widowed than he is, given the trends and the fact that he is in better shape than I am, who knows? At some point, one of us will be single again. And perhaps on the market.


Questions for serious couples to consider

I’ve got quite a few clients who are now in serious relationships, and even some weddings on the calendar. One asked for some guidance for him and his Sweetie on what they should be asking themselves in preparation for a life together. Most of my focus so far has been just helping a single find someone. How nice to now be able to consider “What next?”

In response, I’ve started gathering questions. It’s amazing to see how many come up. In an attempt to organize the bunch, I’ve seen them fall into some categories.  Here they are below:

The Future
Your home

What do you think? What are questions that you would want to ask and get answered before you commit, legally or otherwise?  Send your contributions to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)


Marriage Thrives!

Did you know that in South Africa, same sex marriage has been legal since 2006? Now tell me, is it strange to think that South Africa is more progressive than the United States about allowing consenting, loving adults to be legally and publicly joined? Or what?

Did you see the July 24th New York Times’ Styles section? The WHOLE SECTION was devoted to celebrating gay couples’ and their newly legal right to wed in New York State. Here’s a great photo essay I just found. I always scan the section of wedding announcements (usually looking for those who met online, or at least, those willing to admit to it), and as various states have legalized same sex unions, more and more of the couples in the Style section were gay. This week, about half were, and many had been couples for many, many years.

Wherever you stand on the issue, it is hard to be against wanting to celebrate finding a loving partner. Yea for New York state! And yea for Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Iowa. More are ahead. Maryland seems to be heading that way, and Obama has softened his position.

PS My dear Aunt Glenice who reads every word I write) emailed to tell me that Illinois where she lives also has legalized same sex marriage.  She attended the wedding of her favorite neighbors, two ladies.  Yea, Aunt Glenice!


SAQ #10. How do I figure out what my “market” is?

In the August 1 issue of *eMAIL to eMATE*, I wrote about the need to be realistic about your partner search. You can read that article here. Essentially, singles need to be realistic about what kind of partners they can realistically expect to attract. Otherwise, they are going to end up very frustrated and alone.

Here’s how to establish your market worth: Search your dating site and make a list of at least twenty desirable potential Sweethearts. Go ahead and rank order them, the most desirable first on the list. Then start emailing these folks, five or six at a time, and wait for the results. If you haven’t gotten any responses within a few days, a week at the most, then send out another batch of first emails. If you get all the way through your list and you have gotten no replies, you are aiming too high for what you have to offer. Expand your parameters a bit (easing off the requirements you had in the first round), make another list, and start sending out those first emails again. Once you start getting good, solid responses to your emails, you have determined your market. You are contacting the sort of people who are most likely to be interested in what you have to offer.

Now, this SHOULD be the last step in a thorough preparation. You should have already gotten yourself as ready as possible to find love. My book “Find a Sweetheart Soon!” takes singles through a careful process of getting ready, designed to remove possible obstacles before they are encountered. You should have already mounted a quality profile on the best dating site. I can help you with your profiles, making sure they are attractive in both words and photos. Since your profile is your sole means of attracting your best love, it is crucial that it be the best you can make it. You should know how to craft an appealing first email – your only chance to make a first impression. Have you done these steps?

Let’s talk a little about “expanding your parameters” that I mentioned above. Here are the common mistakes that I see singles making: persistently contacting much younger singles (more often men looking at women 10 years or more younger) despite the lack of responses. Women specifying men over 6 feet tall (only 15% of American men are six feet or over). Getting distracted by “handsome” or “gorgeous” and not even looking at the profile essays. Given that dating sites provide so many possible choices, why would a young woman prefer a man 10 or more years older than she is, unless he had something great to offer in exchange (think “money”)? There are lots of great men who would make wonderful husbands and are between 5 and 6 feet tall (like 85% of available men). Handsome and gorgeous may be nice “eye candy,” but nothing about handsome or gorgeous has anything to do with ability to be a good mate.

To use selling a house as a metaphor for your worth on the dating market, you most likely will get just what the market thinks you are worth. You are most likely to overvalue what you have to offer. It is a bit of a blow to see the reality, but accepting reality is most likely to get you paired up.


SAQ #9 How realistic should I be about what I am looking for?

In short: VERY.

The more realistic you are about who you are and what you have to offer, the better. If you have assessed yourself accurately, then you will be better able to judge what you can get for what you have in exchange.

Internet dating has really brought to the forefront the market aspect of looking for love. It’s not that dissimilar from buying a house. A house is worth what someone is willing to pay. A really nice house (with a savvy seller) will hold out for the very highest price.

When you go house shopping, the place that a realtor will start with you is figuring out what kind of money you have to offer. What are you bringing to the table? There is no point in showing you houses that you can never hope to purchase.

Venturing onto a dating site is like going house hunting without a realtor. You plunk yourself down in the site and then try to sift through all the candidates. Since none have an obvious price tag, and you likely have a rather distorted sense of your own worth, why not try for the best? Of course, everyone else is doing that, too, so the top 5 or 10 percent of the candidates get close to 100% of the emails. Since those folks are getting a clear indication that they have a lot of “worth” in this market, they are going to hold out for the very best offers. Is it any surprise that so many first emails go unanswered?

We tend to have a pretty high – and unrealistic – estimation of what we have to offer. In surveys, most people rate themselves as above average in appearance, which is of course impossible. In truth, most of us are in the middle of any attractiveness scale.

There is nothing wrong with going for the top candidates on a dating site, but be realistic: It is probably a long shot. A very long shot. You will probably not get a reply. It is not the fault of the candidate. You misjudged, so learn from the experience and try again. Start moving down from the 10’s to the 9’s and 8’s, then 7’s and 6’s, until you start getting strong positive responses from those you are contacting.

The reality that you cannot get 10’s or even 9’s or 8’s to respond to you is not the dating site’s fault. They aren’t your market. Once you find your market – which could easily be 5’s or 6’s, because most of us are in that range – then settle in and have a good time. You’ve found the buyers who are interested in what you have to offer.

P. S. A Romance Coach (me, for instance) would be very helpful to you in figuring out your “market value” and even how to improve it. Why not get a consult with me? Signing up is easy—see that blue box over there on the left, under my picture? Click “Set a meeting” and you’ll be walked right through.



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