Kathryn's Blog

The Over 45’s are getting married for the first time…

This article below is a bit misnamed, because it’s about singles who have never been married before meeting up and marrying when they are over 45, not about singles over 45 finding love.  We know that the over-45’s have been finding love, but it is interesting to see that older never-marrieds are saying the vows.  I have viewed never marrieds over 45 or 50 with some suspicion, particularly if the proposed partner has been coupled or married before.  Long time singles have not had the chance to learn what is only possible to learn when you are grappling with a real partner in real time and space.  I suppose if neither partner has been married or attached before, then they are on fairly similar footing (little relationship experience).  The positives are that career concerns, money, and the question of children are pretty much decided by then.  What do you think?

More singles finding love after age 45


When she was still single in her 40s, Debra Siegel made a list of qualities for her yet-elusive perfect husband: honest, family-oriented, a hard worker and physically fit.

But the years passed and the list went unfulfilled.

“When I hit 50, the bells went off,” she says. “I didn’t want to be alone for the rest of my life.”

That’s when she took what she calls “drastic action.” Her future husband, Dan Furlin, was of a similar mind.

“I didn’t think marriage was in the picture for me,” he says. “Once you hit 50, you don’t want to go through the rest of life without your soul mate. I was a little bit more aggressive.”

Both went the online dating route and met within months. The Dunedin, Fla., couple are both fitness-conscious and vegetarian. They were also both natives of New York state, and each had lived in Los Angeles. They moved to Florida — Furlin to Clearwater and Siegel to Orlando — before meeting online. They married in 2003.

Siegel-Furlin, 56, and Furlin, 58, are among a small but growing group of older adults marrying for the first time after age 45. Years ago, these older singles would have been known as the “spinster” neighbor or the confirmed “bachelor” friend.

But now, longer life spans mean 50 is the new 30 — there’s plenty of life ahead.

That, coupled with the baby boomer “never-wanna-be-old” attitude and a greater number of aging singles in the population, makes it more likely that those who want to marry actually will.

A USA TODAY analysis of Census records of Americans ages 45-55 shows that the percentage of those who said they had never been married in 2006 had doubled since 1990, and the percentage of those who were currently married had dropped by 9 percent.

It’s fairly difficult to get a real handle on this segment of the singles population because no federal entity tracks first marriages at specific ages. The closest count is the median age at first marriage, which in 2006 (the latest year for which data are available) was at its highest point: men at 27.5 and women at 25.5, according to the U.S. Census.

A tally by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which is available just for a 20-year period, 1970 to 1990, shows that in 1990, only 0.4 percent of women and 0.6 percent of men married for the first time at ages 45 to 49.

According to the most recent data from the federal Survey of Income and Program Participation, which includes marriage, 13 percent of those who wed in 2003 were 45 and older.

Internet dating has largely made it possible for many of these later-life first marriages. It’s only in recent years that some sites have started monitoring that demographic.

Among them is Yahoo Personals, based in Santa Clara, Calif., which reports a 33 percent increase from January 2006 to November 2007 among users ages 45 and over who say they have never been married.

Since 2005, Match.com reports an increase of almost 10 percent of new members 45 and older and who have never been married; these now make up almost 14 percent of its members.

New patterns, new people

“As people get older, they tend to find themselves in fairly established patterns, so the ability to meet new people goes down over time. They’ve got to do something new if they want to meet different people,” says Craig Wax of Dallas, senior vice president and general manager for Match.com for North America.

Brian Lebowitz, 57, and Lise Goldman, 53, were married earlier this month. They met online almost two years ago and found out at the time that they lived within blocks of each other. Lebowitz, an attorney, lives in Washington, D.C. Goldman, who works in economic development, now lives in suburban Chevy Chase, Md.

Lebowitz says his job and his hobby as a book collector took up most of his free time. But when he turned 55, he decided to give online dating a shot.

“I’d pretty much given up, but then thought I would give it a try and see what it was like,” he says. “Some people — myself included — would be more comfortable starting off communication by e-mail rather than going up to somebody at a party. It’s a less threatening way to go about it.”

Goldman says she always wanted to be married. She had been engaged twice — once in her mid-20s and again more than a decade ago — but she says it just wasn’t right until she met Lebowitz, whom she says is intelligent and kindhearted.

“There are wonderful people still out there who are hiding away in their work,” she says. “He’s an international lawyer, so he needs to work evenings a lot. That’s been one of the blessings that kept him away from the dating scene.”

Dating Web sites have been reinventing themselves since online dating took off in the mid-1990s. They’ve refined their methods, largely emphasizing a more scientific approach, which often includes compatibility and personality testing.

Others have focused on niche marketing, including Spark Networks, whose online dating sites include JDate for Jewish singles, as well as CatholicMingle.com, InterracialSingles.net, BlackSingles.com, LatinSinglesConnection.com and PrimeSingles.net. That site, as well as lavalifePRIME and BOOMj.com, is among those offering social networking for these older singles.



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