For nearly 60% of single people over 50, “finding love” is the top New Year’s resolution, and more than half rank it as the number one priority in 2012, according to a survey of members of OurTime.com, the online dating site for singles over 50.
At 56% of respondents, "Find a Companion" ranked higher than exercising more (34%), reducing stress (29%), saving money/spending less (28%), dieting (20%) and quitting smoking (12%). This is not entirely surprising, since the respondents were members of an online dating site. (We can presume that a query of participants in Weight Watchers or Debtors Anonymous would yield quite different results.)
Still, the survey suggests that Baby Boomers are romantics at heart, as the desire for companionship also outweighed dating more (33%) and having more sex (29%). "There is a recognition that relationships are a huge source of contentment and fulfillment," says psychiatrist Dr. Gail Saltz, the relationship expert for OurTime.com. "You can have a lot of money and perfect health and no relationships and be quite unhappy."
The good news for singles seeking love: The numbers are on their side. "If you look at divorce rates for the decades of the 1970s and 80s, they were quite high –- so there are a lot of single people in this age group, which means a bigger pool for whoever is out there looking," Saltz says. "It’s a unique opportunity because this age group is now using the internet in a way they didn’t before."
Just don't be too picky when you first dive into the pool, she suggests. "We have a tendency with dating websites to say, 'I want X,Y and Z and you don’t have Z' -- and that can really shrink your field quickly. Try dates with lots of different people and don’t say no at the get-go." For a full list of Dr. Saltz's online dating tips, check out our slideshow.