Let's face it: Dating is daunting. And when you're a Boomer, it may seem next to impossible. You might be coming out of a long-term marriage, or emerging from a period of time where you were consumed with raising children or caring for elderly parents -- or, perhaps you still are responsible for children and/parents. Have your "dating muscles" atrophied? You might feel like you don't have the slightest idea how to go about flirting, meeting the opposite sex, much less handling issues of sexually transmitted diseases. You might feel like your body is old or unattractive. Disrobing in front of a romantic partner? Definitely not.
Plus, today's dating world doesn't remotely resemble the one you knew. How proactive are women supposed to be? Is the third-date rule (for having sex) still in effect? Just how do you handle an HIV discussion? Is online dating reliable, safe, or even effective? And all these questions and difficulties are magnified for female Boomers, who outnumber their male counterparts and also have to compete with younger women.
Yet many Boomers, including women, have gone out there and had the fun and excitement of their teenage years all over again (and with the wisdom of the years, it's even better!). A 54 year-old artist recently e-mailed me about her new Boomer boyfriend:

Joe adores me. He tells me I am a treasure, a rare beauty. I make him feel alive after so many years of being dead. Joe loves my voice, my thoughts, my work. He bought riding boots and we went riding together. His 95-year-old mom in Miami wants to see my photo.

Many Boomers have created love in their lives -- the kind of deeply fulfilling love that offers true friendship along with the chemistry of lovers. Love, of course, is good for us. Research shows that married people are healthier both emotionally and physically. And having sex is good for us, too. Research shows that an active sex life may lead to a longer life, a better immune system, greater heart health, improved mood, even the ability to prevent certain cancers and ward off pain. Intercourse typically burns around 200 calories, which is equivalent to running on the treadmill for 30 minutes! And both activities release endorphins, which elevate mood and lower pain levels.
Once you take the dating plunge, you may be very pleasantly surprised at the possibilities, especially in online dating. This goes for female Boomers too. They often report that once they start, they feel more confident, more clear about what they want and therefore, more attractive! Female Boomers are more empowered and more affluent than ever before. The good news is that often, younger women cannot compete with them for a male Boomer's attention. The thirty-somethings are too active and demanding in terms of nightlife and other activities, whereas a Boomer man may prefer the seasoned wise companionship of a woman who has been there and done that. In other words, both male and female Boomers are in a position to pick and choose who they want to date.
And there is plenty to pick and choose from. A recent survey showed that 70 percent of single baby Boomers actively date. And 45 percent of men and 38 percent of women between the ages of 40 and 59 have sex once a week. Boomers have taken to online dating in increasing numbers. Lavalife.com, a dating site known for its younger clientele, reported a 39 percent increase in Boomer use from 2003-2006 and Match.com indicates that the 50+ singles are its fastest-growing segment.
Here's what Shirley, a 50-year-old divorcee is experiencing:
I just met another amazing guy. This one actually was suggested by Match. I winked. He e-mailed. I e-mailed back. He called me and we had a fabulous conversation. He was so easy to talk to. He seemed honest and sincere. I asked some pretty blunt questions that he happily answered in good detail. And he's tall! He created a business and sold it in 2006 because he had plenty of money and wanted to do something else. On the other hand, Bill, the writer, is coming out this afternoon. We are going to the beach. Bill says that he has written a poem for me…

So, what are you waiting for? Join the party!

The formula for successful Boomer dating:

Tip 1: Bring out your charisma. Find activities that you truly adore and that create happiness and joy in your life. Ideally, pick activities that will transform both the inner and outer you. Take a personal growth course; learn to meditate; or start a spiritual practice.
Tip 2: Take care of you. For the outer (and inner) you, start a regular exercise program. It is definitely the fountain of youth. Give yourself a makeover so that you look great in your own eyes. Get that trendy haircut, go shopping and try out those clothes that your friend wears that give him/her a sexy, attractive or powerful look.
Tip 3: Don't be shy to advertise. Then put out the word in your network that you are ready to date. Seventy-two percent of relationships come from a person's network of friends, co-workers, and family. At first, don't be picky -- simply tell folks you are looking for a wonderful person.
Tip 4: Go where the singles go. Go where the opposite sex (or same sex, if you prefer) is. If you like what you see, smile, make eye contact, give a sincere compliment or ask for some help. Sign up for on-going classes/activities that interest you and that have potential dates in them. For example, courses on finance, investing, sports and leadership; snowboarding/skiing; hiking; and cigar tasting usually have a lot of men in them. If you're a Boomer male, women are attracted to growth, craft, cooking, or spiritual courses. If you're not sure, ask the enroller about the ratio of men to women. There are many other fun activities, classes, and clubs so Google any class/topic plus "your city" and "classes."
Tip 5: Definitely do not miss out on online dating. Using the Internet is essential because it gives you a sense of the wide variety of singles that are out there right now. Sixteen million singles are dating online in the U.S. according to the latest independent research. You can partake of this smorgasbord of possibilities right there at your computer. Spend the time and work two sites. In addition to Match.com and Lavalife.com, Boomers can use sites like eHarmony or PerfectMatch.com (63 percent are 35 to 60) and PrimeSingles.net, a 50+ site whose membership grew 39 percent in 2005. Then there are more specialized sites like BigChurch.com for Christians, Jdate.com if you're Jewish, or OurPersonals.com if you're looking for same-sex romance.
Tip 6: Put some time into it. Most people spend more time planning a vacation than they do planning their dating lives. And they get great vacations and little-to-no love life! So if you want to date, get out your calendar and set aside 8 to 10 hours per week to spend on going to courses. Then work your online dating program so that you are actually going out on dates.
You have the basic tools for successful Boomer dating. You can learn my secret tips for creating love that is just right for you in Chapter 12 of the paperback version of the bestselling dating advice book, Love in 90 Days: The Essential Guide to Finding Your Own True Love. You might also enjoy the DVD of my PBS Special Finding Your Own True Love that is aimed at boomers. Both are available at www.lovein90days.com
So remember, face down your fears and insecurities and get in the game.
As the poet Kahlil Gibran wrote:
When love beckons to you, follow him, though his ways are hard and steep. And when his wings enfold you yield to him, though the sword hidden among his pinions may wound you. And when he speaks to you, believe in him...

Author's Bio: 

Dr. Diana Kirschner is a psychologist who has helped thousands of singles get the love they want. Dr. Diana’s dating and relationship advice have been featured on the Today Show, where she is a frequent guest & the 90 Day Love Challenge on the Fox Morning Show. Her PBS Special, was based on her bestselling book, Love in 90 Days. Love in 90 Days is now in paperback with a new chapter, Dating Games Men Play! And to celebrate the launch be among the first 500 to order and get $100 in FREE BONUS GIFTS! Visit http://www.lovein90days.com/new-dating-book/

Dr.Diana's brand new Ultimate Secrets to Finding the Love you Want text message subscription program is also now available! Receive her ongoing love support, inspiration & powerful relationship tips on you cell phone for only pennies a day. And the first 500 subscribers get $500 in FREE BONUS GIFTS!
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