Dear Dr. Romance:

I am a youthful and attractive woman, mid-fifties, who is so confused about online and ads for meeting men. I have been wounded by these men who, after some meetings with them and being promised by THEM that they want to take me for dinner within a few days, they set the time etc. and then BOOM, never do I hear from them again. also, even before meeting them, just via the phone, they ask me how thin I am, what my pension is, if I will have one and the like.

I am so vey confused, upset and disillusioned and believe that my chances have gone by in my 20's. i am very discouraged by this and it seems to always happen to me in this way. do others have these problems tina or are there so very many broken down men? i know how very busy you must be, but would LOVE to hear something of a response or a recommended read, workshop etc. to restore my confidence and faith.

Dear Linda:

Actually, the older you are, the less online sites will work for you, and they don't work that great to begin with. Even the people who successfully meet find they have little in common most of the time.

But, don't despair.  "Where is love?" and "Dating: The Fine Art of Squirrel Hunting"  will help you find find what you're looking for.

To find a life mate, don't focus on dating. Instead, use what I call the "get a life" method. Focus on activities that you enjoy (sports, classes, or political, social, charitable or religious activities ) which involve meeting other people and creating a social circle. When you were in high school or college, you were in the perfect environment for dating and making friends, so seek to duplicate that environment. If you are doing things that are meaningful to you, you'll automatically have something in common with anyone you meet there. It will also move your focus from desperation to something productive, which will bring out your most attractive character traits. As a bonus, you also get to observe that person around other people, which will tell you a lot about his/her character. Dating doesn't happen until you are already quite sure you two are mutually compatible and interested, and success is almost guaranteed.

As people mature they get wiser, and learn to look past the outer package, and focus more on the person within. It's the character of the person that will determine whether your relationship will be a success, not his or your outward appearance. Here are some Dating Do's and Don'ts to help:

Dating Do's and Don'ts


*Do 'shop around:' don't stay focused on one person until you've given yourself a choice.

*Do listen. Don't monopolize the conversation. You'll learn even more about your date, and be more relaxed.

*Do focus on friendship. This early, you can't know where it might go, so concentrate on developing the friendship. You can have as many friends as you want.

*Do get feedback. Offer your comments on the event or the restaurant, and ask your date what he or she thought of it, for future reference.

*Do let your date know if you enjoyed his/her company. A complement is always welcome. If you'd like to do it again, say so.

*If you promise to call, mean it. If you've decided not to continue the relationship but feel you can't say so, don't make empty promises.

*Do tell the truth: don't lie, but also don't share too much too soon. You don't need to tell your date about other dates if you two have no agreement about exclusivity.

*Do pay attention to the clues about your date: you need to learn about this person's character, not just looks and charm.


*Don't assume your date is exclusive with you if you've never talked about it.

*Don't be afraid of silence. Occasional silences allow a conversation to feel natural and unforced.

*Don't make sex the objective. Good reasons for going slowly into sexual activity include: reducing the risk of sexually transmitted diseases and AIDS; avoiding the awkwardness of intimacy with a total stranger; avoiding codependent obsession; and having sex to look forward to. If and when sex is right, it will happen: there's no advantage in rushing.

*Don't date beyond your budget. It doesn't impress your date if, in the long run, you have to make an embarrassing confession, and "buying" someone's company doesn't work. A wide disparity in income calls for frank discussion early on. If your date spends a lot on you, reciprocating with a home-cooked meal, a hand-made gift, or needed repair work will even the tally.

*Don't get too self-conscious. The media focus on youth and fitness these days can make anyone feel insecure and unattractive. Look your best, then forget about it. Instead of worrying what your date thinks of you, focus on what you think of your date.

The Ten Smartest Decisions a Woman Can Make After Forty will help you get a better handle on who you are and how to present yourself to men, and what things to be wary of.

The Ten Smartest Decisions a Woman Can Make After Forty k

For low-cost phone counseling, email me at

Author's Bio: 

Tina B. Tessina, Ph.D. is a licensed psychotherapist in S. California since 1978 with over 30 years experience in counseling individuals and couples and author of 13 books in 17 languages, including It Ends With You: Grow Up and Out of Dysfunction; The Unofficial Guide to Dating Again; Money, Sex and Kids: Stop Fighting About the Three Things That Can Ruin Your Marriage, The Commuter Marriage, and her newest, Love Styles: How to Celebrate Your Differences. She writes the “Dr. Romance” blog, and the “Happiness Tips from Tina” email newsletter.