What My Kids Taught Me About Love

Many baby boomers find that their kids can help with romance—by showing them the ropes to online dating. Take these lessons to heart and watch what happens.

By Julie Taylor

hen it comes to online dating, your grown kids can often teach you a thing or two. And why not? After all, you’ve taught them a lot over the years, and now it’s their chance to return the favor. Here, ten daters over 50 share the most meaningful lessons they’ve learned about online dating from their Internet-savvy offspring.

It’s easier than you think
“I was really intimidated to try online dating because I am computer illiterate. I’m one of those people who doesn’t know how to program my VCR or work my answering
“I’m computer illiterate, but my daughter showed me how easy it was to do online dating.”
machine, so I was certain I could never master a dating site. But my daughter came over one night and showed me how to log in and browse. It was remarkably easy. She taught me how to do it in less than an hour. Now I’m a whiz at it!”
—Josephine Nikitopoulos, 66, Orlando, FL

There are a lot of great catches online
“I was a little skeptical of the kind of people who would be on an online dating site. But then my 32-year-old son started doing it—and I obviously knew he was a great guy! When I saw the kinds of women he was meeting on the Internet, I was even more inspired. His experience changed my outlook and gave me the confidence that I could meet great people on the Internet, too. And I do!”
—Luis Dashiell, 58, Lawrence, KS

It invigorates your social life
“After my husband died, I spent over a year being a homebody and basically feeling sorry for myself. I watched a lot of TV and just hid from the world. But then I got tired of being bored all the time. I needed something to do. My son suggested I try online dating. Before I knew it, I was going out a few nights a week. I was going bowling, seeing plays, and having fun again. Even if some of the men I met were not love matches, it was nice to spend time with new people and get out into the world again.”
—Francis Fouch, 65, Plano, TX

It’s a date, not a marriage proposal
“I had just come out of a nasty divorce and kept telling anyone who’d listen that I never wanted to get married again. To me, this meant that I didn’t even want to try online dating or any other kind of dating. I pretty much swore off men completely. My kids convinced me that going out for coffee with someone I met online didn’t mean I’d have to get married to him. Just because I didn’t want to walk down the aisle again didn’t mean I couldn’t have fun. They opened my eyes to the possibilities of online dating without looking for ‘marriage material’—and now I’m having a ball!”
—Jeannie Olsen, 56, Bentonville, AR

It sure beats going to a bar
“Back when I was dating in the ’70s, the only place to meet single women was at a bar. But now that I’m in my late 50s, the last place I’d ever want to go is to a smoky, loud club filled with boozed-up patrons. I was moaning about this to my sons, and they told me I should try online dating—that’s where single women can be found these days. Turns out they were right!”
—Ronald Dugan, 59, Madison, WI

It’s open 24 hours
“I’m a very busy lawyer, and I work 70 to 80 hours per week. One day when my daughter asked me if I was seeing anyone, I told her I had no time to meet anyone with my hectic
I shouldn’t limit myself to only one type of dating.
schedule. The next day, she signed me up for a dating site and sent me the link. She told me the site was open 24 hours—so there were no more excuses! I gave it a shot and found it was perfect for me. I could surf the site at 11 at night or 6 in the morning... whenever my schedule allowed. Even if I only had five or ten minutes, it was possible to shoot off a quick email to someone interesting and make a connection.”
—Phillip Feinburg, 60, New York, NY

It’s good to diversify
“I’m a CPA, so I think in terms of numbers. Online dating didn’t really appeal to me until my son — who’s also a CPA — explained it in terms I could understand. He told me just like I would never put all of my money into one mutual fund, I shouldn’t limit myself to only one type of dating. I should try meeting people at work, at church, through friends, and online. He challenged me to diversify my social life, just like I’ve diversified my portfolio. I couldn’t say no to logic like that!”
—Randy Walker, 61, Leonia, NJ

You can reinvent yourself
“After my wife of 40 years died three years ago, everyone in my social circle knew me as ‘June’s husband.’ I was just half of a couple who no longer existed. Any time I was around my old friends, it was impossible for June’s name not to come up at least ten times. While I treasured these dear friendships, I needed a fresh start, too. My twin daughters suggested I try online dating. I could reinvent myself online—I’d no longer just be ‘June’s other half.’ The women I met online didn’t know June, so I could truly have a clean slate. I will always honor my late wife’s memory, but I knew June would want me to move on. Online dating helped me do just that.”
—Mike Parker, 72, Portland, OR

It’s not very different from meeting people other ways
“I had the attitude that I didn’t want to meet strangers online. But then my daughter told me that I needed an attitude adjustment. She said, ‘If you meet a man at a coffee shop or at the gym, he’d be a stranger at first, too, right?’ I’d never looked at it that way before. That gave me the nudge I needed to give it a try.”
—Shirley Ellis, 52, Tujunga, CA

It’s possible to find love again
“My daughter went through a divorce three years ago. It was heart-wrenching to see her experience that kind of turmoil and pain. Eighteen months after she got divorced, she joined an online dating site. Suddenly, she felt good about herself again. Plus, she met the love of her life online, and they are getting married next spring. Seeing her get a second chance at love made me realize I, too, should consider this avenue and that someday, I could find love again.”
—Rosalie Christianson, 70, Modesto, CA

Julie Taylor has contributed to Cosmopolitan, Redbook, and other publications.
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