Long Island grandma Maria Rodriguez had just had the worst blind date of her life.
“He was all over me — no respect,” Rodriguez, 54, tells The Post. The county social services worker, who divorced in 2018 after a 29-year marriage, had been set up with a friend of a friend, and was shocked by how grabby he was. “I was like, ‘Excuse me, I just met you.’ ”
Despairing, and desperate for some quality control, she downloaded her first-ever dating app. Now she says swiping’s the only way to go.
“I’m shopping around,” says Rodriguez, who likes that her app of choice — Lumen, exclusively for singles 50 and older — helps her weed out potential sleazeballs by limiting the number of conversations users can initiate and banning photo DMs.
She also likes that it’s forcing her to play the middle-age dating field, millennial-style.
“I’m very open, but I’m learning to take my time and not feel the pressure to jump right into a big relationship,” says Rodriguez.
‘It’s almost like going through adolescence again.’
More and more middle-aged folks — and even seniors — are getting back in the dating game these days. The latest stats from the Pew Research Center show that spouses over 50 are calling it quits at double the rate their predecessors did in 1990, while a nationwide AARP survey in February found that 13 million grandparents are down for romance. Silicon Valley has caught on, and is cashing in on late daters: the Lumen dating app, which launched in 2018, recently surpassed 1 million downloads, according to a company rep, while 2 million users this year alone have signed up with OurTime, run by the parent company of Match.com.
But the rules and playing field have changed drastically in recent years — and many newly single daters are struggling to make lasting, meaningful connections in the age of texts and Tinder.
“It’s almost like going through adolescence again,” Midtown psychologist Chloe Carmichael, a relationship expert, tells The Post. “You’re suddenly entering a world of dating where you’re not confident about the norms and you’re at a new stage in life.”
For 68-year-old Carol Greenfield, divorced and dating again after a 39-year marriage, the absolute worst thing about online dating is how it allows people to misrepresent themselves.
She learned that lesson the hard way, when she met a promising contender at an Upper West Side patisserie for a date.
“This woman’s profile photos must have been 30 years old,” says Greenfield, a Hudson Heights jewelry designer and wellness consultant. “When I saw her, her teeth were yellow, and her hair looked like a rat’s nest. Dysfunction junction!”
She also misses the magic of the meet-cute, and feels like chemistry is hard to recapture online.
“When I read dating profiles, everyone sounds alike: ‘I’m wonderful, I’m smart, I’m educated,’ ” she says. “It’s very antiseptic.”
For Michael, a 54-year-old entrepreneur who declined to share his last name for professional reasons, the best — and worst — part of modern dating is how many options are out there. Although the Upper East Sider was initially too embarrassed to use dating apps after his 18-year marriage fell apart, he finally cracked and made an account — and suddenly found himself bingeing on booty calls.
“Swipe left, swipe right . . . It became so easy, like a buffet,” the father of two tells The Post. “All of a sudden I’m out three or four nights a week with different people, sometimes not even remembering their names. It was crazy.”
‘Swipe left, swipe right . . . It became so easy, like a buffet.’
He even had a fling with a 23-year-old fashion model he met online. But ultimately, these trysts left him feeling empty, and in 2018 he turned to matchmaker Rori Sassoon, co-founder of the Platinum Poire relationship agency in Midtown. She connected him with a 46-year-old mother of two who runs a successful family business and frequently travels the world, and they’ve been together for a year.
“I realized I wanted to be with someone who is equally established in life,” Michael says.
Sassoon says struggles like Michael’s are especially common among clients of a certain age: They “feel like a kid in a candy store,” she says.
But — as with adolescence, and any other period of great change — she thinks it’s just a matter of taking time to adjust to a new reality. However, “once everyone calms down from all the screwing around, they say to themselves, ‘You know what? Maybe I do want someone who is like a best friend, someone who I can have a real, in-depth relationship with.’ ”
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