My own encounters revolved around OK Cupid and Plenty of Fish, both of which are free dating sites.

Here’s what I learned: If you’re looking for someone of similar interests and lifestyle, the more specific you can be upfront, the better. What was the last good book your read, or film you saw?

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Over the course of several months of online dating, I discovered that the pool of available older women is vast and diverse (as is true of men, although perhaps to a lesser extent) and that with a little effort, a reasonably intelligent, halfway-presentable person can usually generate some interest on dating websites. We’ve survived death and divorce, raised families, managed careers and built support networks of family and friends.

And even though procreation is off the table, I picked up clear signals from the women I met online that the meter is running, so it’s best to get on with things.

Overall, their more mature and less emotional approach to parenting created children that were better behaved, well-socialized, and emotionally healthier in their pre-teen years.

Waiting to start a family has perks for middle-aged mamas, too.

For instance, does “loves sports” mean you’re up for cross-country skiing and white-water rafting, or is it a declaration that every weekend is devoted to channel-surfing the pro and college games? Potential dates skimming your profile are more likely to respond to specifics.

Believe me, it’s a much better strategy than scheduling a coffee date and finding you have little or nothing in common.A few dating sites allow men and women to fire off a canned “Hey, there! Better to write your own greeting and show you actually looked at the person’s profile. That’s one of my favorite books, as well.” carries more weight and is more likely to get a response than a generic response.Internet anonymity brings out the worst in some people, and there’s a certain amount of that in evidence on dating sites.“Fast Freddy ‘55” may think his bad-boy behavior is secretly a turn-on for women, but he’s deceiving himself.The majority of women I spoke with said they refuse to acknowledge crude come-ons.Most wanted to push past the introductory emails and calls to schedule a get-together ASAP.