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Sunday, May 24, 2020

Navigating the dating game

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Technology has revolutionized the dating world, but sometimes it’s better to go old school — especially if you’re on the older side yourself. 

Just ask Judith Gottesman, a former geriatric social worker who’s been running her matchmaking business,

“Internet dating is really impersonal and anonymous, and people often create works of fiction in their profiles,” she said. 

Matchmakers like Gottesman can connect people whose profiles never would have connected online because of age or other criteria.

“I had one male client who wanted to date younger women,” she said. “I had a female client, and I knew she and [he] were a perfect match. He never would have dated someone his own age. She wouldn’t have even come up in his online searches. I pushed and pushed for them, and now they are happily married.” 

Lori Salkin, 32, a Philadelphia-based matchmaker who works with singles in the United States, Israel and Europe, and sets up Jewish couples through the website Dee Gaines started 3InLove, a matchmaking service for older singles.

She said that as people age, they “go through the process of thinking about where they want to put their efforts for the rest of their lives. They ask themselves, ‘What do I want to accomplish with the certain limited time I have?’ They’re interested in settling with a partner they can share a routine with.”

Gottesman added that because health issues come up as they get older, individuals often look for partners who take care of themselves. 

“People want to find someone who is healthy because they lost a spouse who was unhealthy and they don’t want go through that again,” she said. 

Lifestyle compatibility over 50 is about more than health, though. It’s also about money and whether or not people are still up for adventure. 

“Some individuals don’t want a partner who can’t keep up with their lifestyle,” Gottesman said. “If they’re not retired, they want to be with someone who is also not retired. They want someone who has an active, productive life as well. That can be tricky because some people retire early and others never want to retire.”

In their 20s, singles are more flexible. They’re willing to modify how they function and negotiate on certain issues. Jenny Apple, who sets up Jewish couples throughout Southern California, said it’s not as easy to set up those over 50 “because they’re set in their way of life. It’s harder sometimes to get them to appreciate the value of being set up with another quality individual.”

Jenny Apple, California matchmaker

It’s not about being stubborn though. Apple, 31, from the Beverly Hills area, said it’s more about the baggage that comes along with being a certain age. 

“Sometimes it’s understandable. You have children or a sick parent to take care of, and you don’t want to uproot them. That’s a challenge, and a personal life decision, but people … have to weigh the factors,” she said. “They have to say, ‘Is it more important for me to have a partner in life or to be comfortable with my environment?’ ”

Aside from enlisting the help of a matchmaker and setting up an online dating profile, Gottesman recommends that singles who are 50-plus treat dating like they did at any age. That means getting out and mingling.

“If you just stay at home and don’t try to meet anybody, you’re not going to find that he or she will just knock on your door,” she said. “You should go to singles events or volunteer somewhere you care about.” 

Gaines and her partner at 3InLove, Trudy Green, are working on putting together singles events for the older population over the next six months. She said she continues to focus on people of this age for many reasons. 

“The 50-plus community is a wonderful population to work with,” she said. “There is such wisdom and knowledge that comes out of this group.”

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