As Generation-X-ers and some of us younger Baby Boomers now share the real estate commonly called “midlife,” the traditional notions about being single seem to have changed significantly since our 20’s. In 2014, The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that “single people now outnumbered married people.” The world of dating and the seemingly impossible task of finding love has become a terrifying job of navigating in a digital jungle. Twenty or thirty-somethings are definitely comfortable socializing online, “liking,” texting and typing many of their interactions. For some of us who started dating before the Internet, besides causing big headaches, these cyber searches and digital connections can feel like unnatural ways to begin a relationship.
Online dating sites do offer a perceived level of filtering until friends start retelling online dating horror stories. Some prefer online dating to having friends or family set them up because they feel they can better discern for themselves who is suitable company for a first date. This may be the biggest difference between dating at mid-life and dating at 20 or 30: Discernment. It’s not that we don’t want to date and have fun. It’s just we, mid-lifers, tend to be a little more selective about how and with whom we spend our time. Often, binge-watching with a bottle of Pinot Grigio wins out with me.
One alternative is organized events where people actually go to a venue to meet up with other singles. These events are usually organized for singles of specific age groups, which generally makes people feel more welcome. This is one reason I developed Introductions by Diana (IBD), which caters specifically to discerning Boston area singles age 45 and up. One of IBD’s offerings is Dating Over Dinner events, where singles head out on the town for an elegant evening with like-minded people. Diana, the hostess of the events, properly introduces everyone at the event. It’s a new take on a more traditional way of meeting people.
The unique format of IBD may just be the new modern tradition: a way to meet singles in real life, one on one and in person. For Generation X and Baby Boomers tired of today’s digital options, Dating Over Dinner and other IBD events and outings have a more desirous appeal. We’ll see if it sticks with the younger generations as they start to look up from their screens for new alternatives.