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Shrink Wrap: Hopeless in San Diego seeks advice on dating at middle age

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Question from Hopeless in Hillcrest

I’m in my 50s. It's been two years since my long-term relationship ended, and I find that the single world has changed dramatically since I was last single in 1998. What happened to dating? When did everyone stop going to clubs and churches and bookstores to meet people? Why is everything done online now? It seems like San Diego men only want hookups, not relationships. How does one find quality people to date?

Dear Hopeless in Hillcrest

The traditional “pick up” scene of meeting people through friends, clubs, bookstores, coffee shops, etc. has drastically changed. These places are still a great to meet people, but more and more people resort to using the Internet.

The Internet is an added bonus to the dating world; creating a space to meet other singles, such as MyPartner.com, Adam4Adam, PinkCupid.com, or Poz.com.

The Internet creates easy access to cyber flirt your way into a relationship, filter through your choices, and “shop” for someone more of a fit. Not only is it an easy way to access dating services by the simple clicking a button, it also allows you to reach out before even meeting face to face. Unlike the traditional way of meeting others in person during specific hours, the Internet allows you to cruise through the catalog of singles at your own pace and time of day.

Here are a few things that can be helpful when living the single life on search of a “quality” mate:

Be social: Don’t rule out meeting people in the traditional sense. Simply because the dating scene now has the added bonus of Internet matchmaking sites doesn’t mean you should rule out meeting others in social settings. Attend social events, parties with friends, networking events, etc. The more you are social, the more opportunity you have to meet others. Don’t hibernate away in your home. Instead of sitting at a park hidden away or at home on your couch alone reading a book, go out to coffee shops in the gayborhood to read your book, where there is a constant flow of people. Push yourself to be social, even if you aren’t in the mood.

Go with intention: Either online or in person, join groups with intention for finding the “right” mate. For example, if you enjoy rock climbing or hiking, join groups on meetup.com or urbanoutings.com that focus directly on that … with an LGBT focus. Not only will this give you activities that fit your needs, it also helps to attract possible mates that fit your interests and are quality. If you are looking for something longer than a one night stand, surround yourself in what you want … with intention. Don’t put yourself on Adam4Adam with your crotch as the photo; instead join groups that gravitate towards what you like. The older aged crowd is using the Internet more and more to meet others, so age is nothing but a number.

Be strategic: Either in public or online, try to be strategic at sending the right message. Body language speaks louder than words. If you are in coffee shops or networking, keep track of what your body language is saying. Don’t have your back towards the crowd, arms folded with your head down, or hidden away in a corner. Instead, make eye contact, make it a requirement that you have to introduce yourself to others, and hold your head up high. As mentioned earlier, don’t simply put a crotch shot as your profile picture if you aren’t looking for a one-night stand. Instead, be strategic with your photo, making sure it is attractive, yet intriguing. For example, a photo of your sexy eyes, or a photo of you looking over your shoulder smiling (the mammalian pose for mating). Also, don’t simply be on one dating site, join several sites to create more options.

Hopeless in Hillcrest … Don’t give up! The perfect someone is out there … you simply need to be creative at putting yourself in situations where you can run into that ideal mate!

To learn more relationship advice from the author Jennine Estes, San Diego’s Marriage and Family Therapist, visit her relationship column Relationships in the Raw or her San Diego Couples Therapy website.