Ask Michele: Is it ALL about AGE?

Hi Michele –
I’m finding men view my profile, but then rarely contact me. I would be grateful to know why someone would take the time to read about you and then never follow up? Is it the case that each and every silent watcher saw something they THOUGHT they might be interested in, and then decided that some aspect of my profile was a definite “no way”? If so, what sorts of elements of one’s profile are the rule-in/rule-out leaders? One of my suspicions is that many men around 45-55 (my age group) who either never married or never had families need a young fertile wife to complete their plan. If that’s really what they’re looking for, then there should be a huge banner over their profiles stating “If you are not well within the age range of being able to bear my children ( 22-36, or so), now that I’m ready for a family, I am not interested. In fact, despite the fact that you may be an excellent choice for a companion for me, I am only interested in women far younger than myself, even if we have nothing in common.”

Perhaps it would help if the website were divided into separate groups of people who are mutually agreeable to the age and child-bearing status, and little else; and then another group of members who also feel that a narrowly-defined age-range is of utmost importance completely regardless of any other qualities a person may have; and then, perhaps, a group that is only minimally interested in the age of the other member, and have other qualities they look for: a sense of humor, the ability to converse easily, shared interests, strongly held beliefs, religious and otherwise, and the ability to consider whether it shows promise of a meaningful life together – AFTER learning a little about them.

It is extremely unnerving to send a note to someone I see as interesting, and then to hear dead silence from that person. Likewise, it is certainly disconcerting to know that certain members have viewed one’s profile, perhaps even several times, and decided that initiating, or responding to the incredibly difficult process of clicking on an icon designed simply to say “Hello,” is just not worth it.

Is this a Women are from Venus/ Men are from Mars issue? If so, then I’m sufficiently unimpressed by this whole process, especially when it is Catholic-oriented, to think that the women on this website are being measured and judged and found wanting.

I would be delighted to be shown how wrong I am –

Thank you,
Is it All about Age?

Dear Is it All About Age,
For some men, yes, it is all about age. For other men, no, and they are as equally frustrated as you are. I can hear that you are exasperated at the process, feeling as if you and your profile are constantly being “judged.” And, there is some truth to that perspective. When meeting people on a dating website, the initial impression becomes less of first impressions of the person and more about details on the profile. This is both good and bad. The good part: it weeds out all the men (and all those wasted in-person introductions) who don’t meet your criteria or who would possibly date you but never really want to get serious. The bad: I hear how you are taking it personally, since your “self” is on display within your profile.

Yes, some older men are looking for younger women, now that they are ready to have families. And for women, that is infuriating. We don’t necessarily have the same flexibility, and many times because of our emotional maturity we wouldn’t be interested in a much younger man. Well, the same for the emotionally mature men. But before we bash every relationship out there between an older man and a younger woman, remember that each person has the right to choose what he or she wants for himself or herself in a relationship. If you believe the men looking at your profile really just want a baby-machine, or simply want arm candy to make themselves feel younger, then certainly these are not men you would be truly compatible with.

The protocols of dating online are different too. Looking at your profile is the same as scanning the room. Just because you meet someone’s eyes as he looks across the room does not mean he is beholden to come up to you. Who knows why someone would read a profile and then not get in touch, the possibilities are endless. Each person has his or her own rule-in/rule-outs, so it would be impossible for you to try to come up with all the answers or worse yet try to be someone that meets all the diverse criteria. And, sending a note is the same as walking up to someone in a crowded bar. It would be nice, appropriate, and even the Catholic thing to do to actually respond in a polite manner even if you are not interested, but sadly both men and women fail to do so.

I would encourage you not to look at who is looking at you (the old adage that the more you look for someone the less you are going to find him). If you choose to contact men you are interested in, consider it spaghetti against the wall. Some is going to stick, some is going to stick and then slowly fall off, and the rest is going to just drop to the floor. Stay true to yourself, your values, your beliefs, and the right man who respects those qualities in a woman will respond. When? Only God knows, and really .. only God knows. It is always in His timing, which admittedly can be very frustrating. Just know that you do not need to be, or become, anyone other than who you are, and who God created you to be, to find the partner He is preparing for you right now.

I hope that is helpful.

God Bless,
Michele Fleming, M.A.