POST 50
02/28/2013 11:55 am ET

Online Dating: Dos And Don'ts That'll Get You Noticed!

SPECIAL FROM Grandparents.com

Give Yourself a Dating Advantage

If you’re single and over 50, chances are good that either you want to date again, or your friends and family are after you to do so. In fact, the 50-plus set represents the fastest-growing group of Internet dating users, according to a study by Lehman Brothers. But how do you write a profile that attracts the right people for you?

“Dating requires that you sell yourself,” says Denver-based Carolyn Bushong, LPC, psychotherapist, marriage counselor, and dating and life coach. “People over a certain age tend to talk about their grandchildren, their past lives, or what it’s like to be retiring or retired. That may be what is going on in your life right now, but it’s not sexy. Focus on your future.”

Here, Carolyn's five age-tested tips for setting up your dating profile. Read them, then try them out at Match.com, eHarmony or SeniorPeopleMeet.com.

1. Emphasize your active lifestyle.
Don’t even mention the word retirement because it puts you in a certain category and indirectly says the opposite of an active lifestyle. Instead try, “Since I left my law practice a few years ago, I’ve been volunteering for an animal shelter.” Or, “I teach English as a second language.” Bring your past experience into your profile--what is your expertise? The key is to focus more on what you are doing today than delving into the past.

2. Answer the question: What makes you an exciting person?
For example, “I’ve traveled to Paris, but I still hope to see Asia someday.” Or, “I’m back in school taking classes in design, something I’ve always been interested in, but never had the time for before.” Demonstrate an appreciation for learning and fun to show that you’re open-minded and not set in your ways. Optimism is attractive and leads to a greater dating life.

3. Present yourself as sexy without using sexual terms.

Go ahead and admit that you read "50 Shades of Grey." That is sexy. Just don’t talk about your favorite positions or use explicit language. It’s perfectly fine to express what makes you feel sexy. Say, “Here’s a favorite picture of me salsa dancing,” as opposed to “I love to shake my body when I dance.” Select photos where you feel and look your best (but do omit revealing pictures of cleavage and hairy chests!)

4. Sound financially responsible without offering specifics.
Sell yourself, but don’t oversell, and certainly, never boast. Use simple language like “I support myself financially.” If you are not of economic means, avoid the topic. Somehow you want to get across that you’re independent and can take care of yourself.

5. Focus on all that is positive in your life.
Have you read a terrific book within the last year? Mastered a new skill, like fly fishing or using a potter’s wheel? Seen a memorable film? Frame your written profile with pleasant experiences, staying away from negative discussions about your knee surgery, cataracts, or any other health ailments. “Women,” says Carolyn, “are more guilty of being upfront about all the things wrong with them, and this can be a real turn-off.”

5 Ways to Spice Up Your Sex Life
7 Ways to Keep Your Spouse from Driving You Crazy!
Marriage Advice We Got from "Hope Springs"

EARLIER ON HUFF/POST50:

PHOTO GALLERIES
10 Tips From The Better Business Bureau To Avoid Online Dating Scams

CONVERSATIONS