To love and be loved is said to be the key to happiness. But finding a special someone after being divorced or widowed is no easy feat.
“I was married for 24 years,” said Nancy McDowell, who’s recently ventured out into the dating world.
“Married 12 and a half before she died,” said David Clark, a widower of eight years.
After patching up a broken heart, there’s still hope for a second chance at love. The question is: Where do you begin?
I was a seemingly daunting task for Linda Friend who was divorced and in her 60s.
“I had been by myself for 29 and a half years. A single person,” said Linda Friend.
Jerry Friend found himself divorced at 70 but ready to find companionship a few months later.
“I didn’t really want to go to bars to find somebody and I really wasn’t into church. Where else can you look for somebody?” said Jerry Friend.
That question leads many older adults to try something they never imagined – online dating.
“35 to 50 is the second most popular group of people,” said eHarmony Chief of Advice Jeannie Assimos.
Assimos has seen this trend for the past few years.
“It’s kind of steady going,” said Assimos.
According to Pew Research, the number of online daters between 55 and 64 years old doubled from 6-percent to 12-percent from 2013 to 2015
“I think it’s just the easiest to get what you want because you can put what you’re looking for” said McDowell about online dating.
Assimos points out a robust profile is key to discovering a real relationship.
“It’s a marketplace. It’s a dating marketplace. So you have to present your best self,” said Assimos.
Linda Friend found exactly what she was looking for online by being assertive in her profile.
“My husband is looking for me let him find me,” said Linda Friend.
“I never thought i’d find someone like Linda. She’s a true jewel,” said Jerry Friend.
Jerry and Linda met on Seniorpeoplemeet.com in 2010. Linda was in Detroit and Jerry in Fayetteville.
“I thought this technology is awesome because it opens a whole new universe,” said Jerry Friend.
“I’ll often say to people, be careful what you pray for because it may not come packaged in the way you think it will,” said Linda Friend.
In five months the couple was married.
“It was an act of bravery. I left everything I had. Home and everything for love. Because I believed in him. I believed he was the person for me and I never looked back,” said Linda Friend.
For others, online dating has been more complicated. McDowell is recently single after her 24-year marriage ended in divorce.
“at this age, everyone’s been married a few times or they’ve been in a lot of relationships so everybody has issues that they’re bringing into new relationships,” said McDowell.
For the moment, she’s taking a break from browsing profiles.
“I had a hard time getting men to communicate very well on there. They’re just sort of one liners and one word answers,” said McDowell.
Yet, she’s still hopeful.
“Still would like to get remarried so hopefully there’s a chance of that,” said McDowell.
She’s opted for meeting people in person. McDowell joined a Meetup group in Bentonville for singles over 40.
“You just get to meet different people that are in the area that are in your same situation,” said McDowell.
David Clark is the organizer of the Northwest Arkansas 40+ Singles Meetup group and a big proponent of organic connections.
“Just looking at the pictures can be a huge limitation,” said Clark.
He’s focusing on growing the singles group. And now, with a greater purpose.
“I am now seeing somebody through the group,” said Clark.
It’s hope at the end of a taxing journey. David lost his wife, TJ, to cancer eight years ago.
He met his late wife on an online chatroom named Prodigy Chat before dating profiles existed.
“We got to know each other for who we are without the physical appearance and the attraction to interfere with that. A lot of times we’ll look at somebody and don’t want to go out with that person and never give them a chance,” said Clark.
Whether you choose to meet someone online or in person, David, Nancy, Jerry, and Linda all agree a deep understading of one another goes further than attraction.
“Tall, dark and handsome, this and that. And then you get with the person and the exterior doesn’t matter you look at the heart of the person,” said Linda Friend.
“In this fear we’re living. We can’t hear, see, feel, or know unless we use the hammer of love,” said Jerry Friend.
Giving your heart a true chance to love deeply again.
The Northwest Arkansas 40+ Singles group on Meetup gets together every month.
Online dating sites catering to those 50 and older include SeniorPeopleMeet, SeniorMatch, OurTime, and Stitch.