I am a 50 year old lady that is so tired of being alone. I’ve been married twice and neither one worked out, but I only have myself to blame. I’m having a hard time meeting men that I feel will be good to me.  Maybe I just don’t give them a chance, but I can tell within an hour whether I want to be with him or not. Because I really don’t date go places where I can meet people which made me think about trying online dating, but I’m afraid of all the crazies I hear that are online. How can a woman like me find love again?

Finding love at any age can be challenging, however for women, particularly Black women over 45 it can be downright daunting. With that being said, based upon your letter it appears that the more immediate issue is your perspective, not your present social circumstances.  While I don’t know the details, it’s unlikely that you were the only person at fault for the failure of your marriages. After all, it takes two to tango.  It doesn’t matter if they ended one year or ten years ago; as long as you don’t have a balanced view of what happened, you will invariably carry those misperceptions and accompanying baggage into your next relationship.

I understand that by the age of 50 you have a pretty good understanding of what does and doesn’t work for you in a partner and there are certain things which can be an automatic turnoff on a first date (like someone downing four scotches in forty-five minutes or ogling every woman that passes your table).  However, it’s impossible for anyone to be able to tell with 100% certainty how compatible or incompatible a person is within an hour.  The reality is that it takes time to really get to know someone.  I’ve had a couple of great relationships with men who for one reason or another initially started out in my “friend zone”.  We can never fully predict when Cupid’s arrow will strike, and with whom.

From what I’ve seen over the years, the difference between those who find love and those who don’t can often be attributed to their attitude. I have several acquaintances and friends who have found love 45+.  I also know women in their 30s, 40s, 50s and 60s who haven't had a relationship in years, largely in part because of their choices, not circumstances.  For instance, three years ago a girlfriend of mine was complaining about not having been on a date in years despite being an attractive and loving woman Christian woman.  She’s open to dating men from other races (which opens up her options) however refuses to date outside her faith (which limits them) and says there aren’t any available ones in the small church she attends.  I told her that Jesus wasn’t going to place teleport a God fearing man into her living room and suggested that she join a Christian dating site or take up a hobby that will put her in proximity with men she’d like to date, such as golfing.  It’s been three years and she has yet to post an internet dating profile or take a golf lesson.  She still hasn’t been on a date.  It seems to me that her singleness is more a function of her rigidity and lack of willingness to put herself on the dating market than her age.

The late great Negro League baseball player Satchel Paige said “Age is a question of mind over matter. If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter.”  There’s no getting around the fact that the pool of prospective mates shrinks as we get older.  And let’s be real:  the dating pool of available Black men has never been a big one to begin with.  But women should always keep in mind that no matter what their age, they are always in their prime for somebody.  If we are willing to focus less on the external packaging ( i.e. weight, profession, height, etc.) it can open up a whole new group of potential partners.   

Which brings me to your concern about online dating.

Jumping on to the online dating superhighway has its benefits and its deficiencies.  Online dating sites open up an entirely different pool of candidates. You won’t be limited to the men at your job or house of worship, however in my experience the anonymity of the computer makes it easy for a person to, how can I say this delicately – LIE.  There is something about posting your profile on a computer and communicating exclusively through email and phone calls that seems to lead more people to take extreme creative license with the truth.  We can minimize the likelihood of getting involved with someone who’s as you say, “crazy” by taking things slow and making sure their words line up with reality.  Trust your gut and know that even if you do encounter someone who’s not on the up and up, you get to decide whether or not they stay in our life.     

No matter how old we become, we don’t have to be defined by our past relationships failures.  Every divorce or breakup contains an opportunity for us to become wiser and increase our ability to have better loving relationships.    The bottom line is that if you increase your self esteem, shift your attitude towards dating (no more one-hour complete psychological assessments), and go outside your social comfort zone you’ll increase the likelihood of finding the love that you desire. There are no guarantees that this will happen, of course, but at the very least you’ll feel better about yourself and have a more optimistic outlook towards love, which goes a long way towards attracting a partner.