Weekly column in the Washington Times Communities by Laurie Edwards-Tate

If all the advertising full of hearts and flowers hasn’t given it away already, Tuesday is Valentine’s Day. More than ever, many of the couples celebrating their love this year will have met through online dating. Of the online matches who meet in person, one-third turn into relationships. One in five married couples married last year met online. By 2019, it is estimated that more than half of all couples will have found their start through online dating.

Online dating isn’t just for the young. Over the last year, the number of dating-site users 50 years of age or older has grown twice as rapidly as any other age group, according to comScore. The online dating website OurTime.com, the largest dating site for adults 50 and up, says it has one million members, a growth rate of 400 percent in just two years. It calls the growth “astonishing.”

OurTime.com surveyed its membership and found that 93 percent agree that having a romantic relationship is an important component of their overall happiness.

Survey results show romance is alive and well among the Baby Boomer generation:

  • 89 percent are at a point in their lives where they feel fulfilled and are looking for someone to share their lives with.
  • 95 percent are more focused on compatibility, and finding someone who makes them happy, than they were when they were younger.
  • 89 percent say they have a better idea of the type of person who will make them happy.
  • 80 percent have children over the age of 25; 81 percent do not have children who live at home.

The OurTime.com survey also found that when compared to their younger years, adults have changed their views in the following ways:

  • 85 percent agree that companionship is more important now.
  • 79 percent are more confident in what they want out of life.
  • 87 percent are more confident in their intelligence.
  • 82 percent are more confident when meeting new people.
  • 91 percent are more confident as a judge of character.
  • 52 percent are less focused on “getting ahead” in their career; another 29 percent said the career question was not applicable to them.

The best news of all for young and old alike: the OurTime.com poll found 82% of the people surveyed are happier and more optimistic than when they were younger.

Dr. Gail Saltz of OurTime.com says “The main reason people 50-plus are happier now is that they are more confident in themselves and about what they want from life.

“Priorities shift in this stage of life and relationships become more and more important to one’s happiness.”

Today, someone turns 50 every seven-seconds, making the 50-plus demographic the fastest growing demographic in the country, the company says. The 78 million Baby Boomers now represent 28 percent of the U.S. population. According to 2010 U.S. Census data, almost 30 percent of Boomers are single.

“As these surveys illustrate, most people in this stage of life are no longer so stressed about getting ahead in their careers, and their kids are already out of the house,” said Dr. Saltz. “This allows them to focus on companionship and sharing this fulfilling time with someone they love.”

We are sweet on our LifeCycles readers. To each of you, Happy Valentine’s Day!

Until next time, enjoy the ride in good health!

LifeCycles is intended to provide inspiration and information only. If you are considering any health, dietary, exercise or lifestyle changes based on the information provided here, please seek advice from a qualified professional.
Laurie Edwards-Tate, MS, is President and CEO of At Your Home Familycare in San Diego, California. In addition to her positions as entrepreneur, health care executive, educator, radio segment contributor and media guest, Edwards-Tate is also a wife, daughter, and dog lover. Read more  LifeCycles in the Communities at The Washington Times. Follow At Your Home Familycare on Facebook and on Twitter @AYHFamilycare.
Please credit “Laurie Edwards-Tate for Communities at WashingtonTimes.com”when quoting from or linking to this story.
Copyright © 2012 by At Your Home Familycare

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