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I turned 33 and online dating went dead...

(90 Posts)
hopeisfadingfast Sun 03-Jan-16 00:56:56

Just wondered if anyone else has had this experience?

I started dating around 6 years ago and got loads of attention in my late 20s. I was in a relationship when I turned 30 and didn't start dating again until I was 32, which was noticeably harder work but I was still getting enough interest to meet a handful of (seemingly) quality new people every month.

Since turning 33 it's like I'm invisible to everyone except those over 60 who can't write in sentences and have no teeth. Slight exaggeration but I'm not getting anyone contacting me who actually looks like a match and even when I message men whose age range I'm within, they never write back. When I was 32 my profile was pretty much the same and I'd say at least half would write back, if not more. I can only think they don't want to look ageist in case it puts off the younger women who they're actually aiming to date.

I'm in the central belt of Scotland, I don't know if that's relevant. I phoned a dating/introductions agency as I'm considering my options and they implied that eligible men are particularly thin on the ground in Scotland but I'm thinking it might be in their best interests to say that!?

I have written profiles professionally for other people and feel that mine is what I want it to be; I used to get men writing to say they liked it even though they didn't think we were a match so I don't think I'm doing anything majorly wrong on that front but I'm not ruling it out. I'm not sporty, outdoorsy or spontaneous which I know means I'm not what the majority of men are looking for in the first place but I do come across people who look like matches in their mid to late 30s and they don't even seem to entertain the idea of talking to me in my old age.

I changed my hair and makeup (and also stopped wearing contact lenses - now always wear glasses) round about the time I turned 33 so it's possible that might be affecting my success rate but I'm getting more real life attention so I don't think I look any worse.

I found an article online that said that most women experience a sharp decline in interest on turning 33 but I hadn't expected it to be quite so sharp! Is anyone else in the same boat? Any tips?

loveitvmonkey Sun 03-Jan-16 01:12:14

I think it's more likely to do with the photos. Glasses can make people look rigid or stern on photos, so you may look intimidating (i.e. serious, intellectual) to men, whereas in RL the whole dynamic with your voice/body/personality comes into play. I'm not saying they are all after a ditzy girl, but in RL geekiness can be a lot more attractive as part of a package than on photos.

Try full-on smiling on photos if wearing glasses, or wearing bright coloured clothes for the photos, so that 'fun personality' factor is clear. Doesn't matter if it's exaggerated, it's just visuals, once you meet up the right men will be attracted anyway to real you.

hopeisfadingfast Sun 03-Jan-16 01:24:32

I have been wondering about the glasses but I'm pretty sure I don't look rigid or stern; I have quite "soft" features and I've been told I'm quite innocent looking. I think I have quite a warm smile and I'm smiling in all of my photos. I'm also wearing bright colours. Strangely, I'm getting more sexual type texts than I used to although I'm not wearing anything particularly tight fitting or revealing. Maybe men just don't like glasses much?

Justaboy Sun 03-Jan-16 01:25:29

Sorry to hear or read this but to some extent it does seem to be a OLD thing that older men are entitled to women 30 odd years younger. Several will tell you this here. Also OLD isn't a place for the faint hearted, there are a few threads running on the subject.

Me. I'm early sixties and despite being divorced from a much younger woman I just couldn't think of messaging anyone your age, seriously there are some real weirdos out the in OLD land that's for sure!

Just out of curiosity you say you write profiles for others. is that for on line daters?.

Don't think sporty, outdoorsy, spontaneous is all things to all men either, that wouldn't interest me that!

Quiet, deep, thoughtful, tolerant, genuine, warn natured and a real interest in the arts and classical music is my thing FWIW!"

Hope you get the answers you need though.

hopeisfadingfast Sun 03-Jan-16 01:26:09

Or they seem them as some sort of fetish thing?!

Justaboy Sun 03-Jan-16 01:28:39

Nowt wrong the specs can make a lot of women look quite sexy those as well as intellectual !. If that's not too patronizing.

And weird sex text & dick pics are par for the course as I think you'll find, its a odd world out there in OLD landsad

N0More314 Sun 03-Jan-16 01:29:32

I find that hard to believe. I'm 44 and I occasionally get messages from men of about 40. There are lots of men coming up to forty who are beginning to want to meet somebody. There's no way you could be experiencing a sharp decline. I'm sort of seeing a commitment phobic man two years younger than I am, and also, early days, a lovely man five years older. So your being 33 is not the problem.

Can you take off the glasses for your photos and then mention in your profile somewhere that you do wear them. Or do one of yourself in a white coat and a clip board and make a joke of it. And another dressed up to go out. That way you're not hiding anything.

N0More314 Sun 03-Jan-16 01:39:26

ps, I don't know what site you're on but if there is a search for ''new users'' and you've now been on there a while, maybe you're not coming up in the searches.

How much older are you prepared to date? I sympathise with the much older men. Who needs ONLINE help to meet a much older man!

If I were you, I'd set your settings so that men over 7 (?) years can't contact you. It saves you the awkwardness of feeling bad about not replying.

Instead of messaging the men you like the look of, view their profiles! They can see who's viewed them, and who's added them as a favourite.

It looks like you're deciding whether or not to contact them.

It's a numbers game indeed though. I have messaged men in the right age group, similar attractiveness, remarked on something on their profile and they haven't replied either. You have to try and prompt the men you like in to messaging you. If you like the look of somebody who has listed French as a hobby, you put in French as a hobby too and then I think you will be suggested to them.

hopeisfadingfast Sun 03-Jan-16 01:42:39

I'm quite thick skinned and I generally don't take the rejection personally. I know it's just how it is online although there is the odd day every so often that I get a bit down.

Justaboy, yes I did profiles for other online daters; I quite enjoyed it but the pay was very poor despite the end customers being asked to pay hundreds of pounds. I might start a sideline to my own business one day though. I agree there are plenty of men who aren't sporty etc but I can't get them to write back. Strange thing is I used to get almost no sex texts and I've still never had a dick pic - so it could be worse!

Can I ask where you are based N0More, roughly speaking (I'll understand if you don't want to say)? And how fussy would you say you are? I'm not fussy on some of the things others seem to think are very important (height, income, formal education) but I don't ever reply to the "how are yous?" and I do like someone to show some understanding of what they're looking for in their profile, beyond shared interests. I may have to try the no glasses route but I honestly think I look better with them.They have also increased my confidence as they hide a minor skin condition I have although it's not visible in any of my photos, with or without them.

N0More314 Sun 03-Jan-16 01:48:06

I'll pm you in a minute! I can't sleep!

I'm fussy enough. I could meet somebody in real life if I didn't want them to be attractive and interesting. I could go down to a local bar and meet somebody so I am discerning yes.

The weird thing is though, my experience has been the opposite of yours. Slow to begin with and now it seems to be picking up and I think it's because I added more photos and I have stopped actively messaging men, so I care less. I am just waiting (horribly passive I know) so I either reject or follow up. There's less investment on my part and so I feel it less when nothing happens. Because it's not a rejection per se, it's just a quiet week.

kua Sun 03-Jan-16 01:48:38

Justaboy I find it a tad amusing that you are advising others on OLD when I have just read on another thread, you have never done it yourself!

OP, what you should do is over a glass of wine or two, go through all ages within your area and block those who you would never be interested in, that will narrow the field a tad and identify who you may like..

ZenNudist Sun 03-Jan-16 01:50:45

Just offering a bit of sympathy. OLD sounds depressing, but ultimately lots of people meet long term partners that way.

Probably the glasses. I don't think 33 is a watershed unattractive age. At 37 I'd be happy to be your age, also having kids ages you. Are you dc free or single mum?

I hear an awful lot about the horrors of OLD from female perspective. What is male perspective? Do men find it as hard?

If you're getting IRL attention good for you - anyone interesting worth dating there?!

N0More314 Sun 03-Jan-16 01:59:53

kua I know. I find it a little bit voyeuristic the way justaboy hangs about on the dating thread. Two decades older (at least) than the average poster and he's never done it. I try to forget he's there so that I can open up to the others but it's a little odd imo. The insight of a younger male would be useful but he's so old-fashioned that he can't offer any useful insight. I am sorry justaboy but your presence on every dating thread is really puzzling and slightly disconcerting to me.

N0More314 Sun 03-Jan-16 02:06:39

Zennudist, the men I've been out with have made comments that suggest that they think it's a "woman's game". The second man I dated said that to me, and I didn't argue with him as I didn't want him to think I was strugging :-p wanted to make him think I was inundated. He liked me but not enough to go on a second date, and I didn't really care. Was, surprised tbh. After what he'd said. Another friend of mine, a real life friend has left it disilusioned but he was trying to date women in their 30s because he's 47 with no children and desperately wants a child.

I think it's making me braver in real life, and less embarrassed to send out an ''im interested'' signal, so stick with it HOPE!!

kua Sun 03-Jan-16 02:11:33

Yep, Nomore, I used to post regularly on that thread under various different names and it pisses me off that a few certain individuals target it for dates. Though they never do OLD hmm.

OP, I wear glasses, though I would not take a close up pic with them on, as why would I? They are looking at me!

N0More314 Sun 03-Jan-16 02:15:09

I think maybe certain male posters might get an ego boost from the erroneous belief that they are contributing a male perspective.

There are some male posters on here who have posted useful perspectives though. I'm not anti male poster, shut the gates of mumsnet on men. I'm just wary about opening up on a thread about dating when I feel that there is a voyeur.

hopeisfadingfast Sun 03-Jan-16 02:15:42

N0more - Nothing wrong with the passive approach! If it works for you it works for you and as you can say you can mix it up with some more active weeks when you're in a different frame of mind.

One of the things I am quite strangely fussy about come to think of it is that I like a man to be smiling in all or most of his profile photos. I think it's so unwelcoming not smiling and I'm looking for someone warm. This does admittedly rule a lot of people out but I would make an exception for an exceptional profile.

^ I'm 44 and I occasionally get messages from men of about 40. ^

I read an article by Amanda Platell recently saying that she gets a lot of attention from men in their 30s and these men have apparently told her that they are put off dating women in their 30s as they're all desperate to get married and have babies. They say dating older women is more enjoyable and less pressurised so maybe this is a thing (although I think Amanda Platell is a good bit older than 44). I don't think I come across as baby or marriage crazy but perhaps I am being tarred with the same brush of others who are. And yet it does seem hard to believe that the men that feel this way are anything other than a minority.

ZenNudist - I don't have children although I would like to have them one day. I'm open to dating people who already have them.

I go to lots of meetups and I have expanded my social circle a lot so go to pretty much everything I get invited to which is tiring but fun. I do meet men who I find attractive and who seem to find me attractive but there are very few who I feel have the relationship skills needed to actually maintain a happy relationship (I'm so sick of lop sided conversations where I ask way more of the questions). In general I find I meet a lot of women that I connect with at these events but not very many men. Every so often I find one but there always seems to be a hidden but fatal flaw when you get to know them (anger management issues, alcohol problems...)

kua - I find it quite easy to identify who I like - they just don't write back any more confused. And I'm more than happy for JustaBoy to chat away - all opinions and experience arising from other spheres can be illuminating.

kua Sun 03-Jan-16 02:21:57

Sorry, I have to ask this, are you are journalist?wink

N0More314 Sun 03-Jan-16 02:22:46

But what do you want hope? do you want marriage and babies? If you do, then don't pretend that you don't. Don't be cool girl. There are going to be lots of men looking for a woman your age. There are. I bet the men of about 37, 38, 39 are your best bet. They don't hear a ticking biological clock exactly but they've have an awareness that their days of attracting women of childbearing age are not infinite.

I have in my profile that I like interesting and intelligent people and I'm open to making more single friends but that I'd "prefer to date people who are at least open to the possibility of a relationship". I have a lot more in there so I don't think it sounds uptight. And anyway, at this point, I'd rather not waste my time on men who just wanna hang out......... "we're both adults, we're both attracted to each other, why don't we just mmmm enjoy each other....... " Have had versions of that speech several times but less since I updated my profile thank god. I think I come across as a very. nice. wholesome. woman in my profile :-p

I sent you a pm.

hopeisfadingfast Sun 03-Jan-16 02:51:54

Thanks for the pmN0more - I've just replied. smile

I say in the tick box bit that I want kids but I don't talk about it in my profile and it's not something I've ever talked about during the messaging phase or in the early stages of dating. I reckon men in their late thirties are a good bet too but they don't seem to feel the same way about me confused.

kua - ha ha, no not currently a journalist but I'm self employed and I've often dithered about dipping my toe in that kind of water. It won't be any time soon though and I doubt I'd be writing about my love life or lack of it. Don't think it would help my chances any, advertising the fact I'm struggling!

Come to think of it, would having become self employed be off-putting for men? I now have a "profession" of sorts whereas when I first started dating I was earning peanuts in a non-career type job which I thought might count against me but didn't seem to. I'd have thought it was a step up but maybe in the current economic climate I'm a risky proposition. Seems unlikely though. Quite possibly it's the glasses. Thing is the makeup that looks good with glasses looks odd without them for some reason - and without them my skin thing is more obvious (essentially it's just that I have to wear a lot of cover up makeup around my eyes which wasn't all that noticeable when I was younger but even just having a few lines now makes it obvious I'm wearing a lot of makeup. The glasses kind of hide this).

N0More314 Sun 03-Jan-16 02:59:53

I'd advise making some comment about looking for a man who is ready for the same things as you are, if he's the right man. if you write, you can play around with it so that it is obvious what stage of your life you're at but it doesn't sound like you're recruiting for the job of husband and father and the position will be filled regardless of the calibre of the candidates applying.

YOU THINK no no no I will scare off all the men but you'll only scare off the men who'd waste your time. There will be men looking for somebody to have a serious relationship with.
What you don't want is to get attached to men who 'just wanna haaaang out''. And there will be an abundance of them. SCARE them away.

I put something joky for my profession. My job isn't any clue to my personality, but the joke is obviously a joke.

I saw Corporate Whore listed as somebody's profession and I laughed at that. Also "yes, I have one". blood donor was listed as a profession as well. I laugh at anything a bit different.

hopeisfadingfast Sun 03-Jan-16 03:19:12

I'll give that a try N0More, maybe I sound too light-hearted and not serious enough and that was great at 27 but not so great now. And I agree there are some funny things that people list under profession. Wish I could remember some of them now; I should write them down as people have a lot of fun with that bit and it can be entertaining!

Curious to hear if anyone in my area has had a similar experience; maybe when everyone wakes up tomorrow I'll find out.

Thankgodforthat Sun 03-Jan-16 07:57:18

It's not your age. I have 20 years on you and get lots of messages and dates, from men my age but lots much younger. Fed up with it at the moment and taking a break mind you.

I would also say it's the photos. When my profile photo was of me in a tight red dress, I couldn't keep up with the replies. I then worried that it was a flattering photo and I didn't look anything as good in real life. I put up a more ordinary photo and the response changed to a steady stream.

I don't know what site you are on but I change my username and write a completely new profile every now and then. Somehow completely different men turn up in searches.

Eekaman Sun 03-Jan-16 08:29:04

Sorry OP, but I hadn't realised ageism was so narrow niched... as in, 32 = acceptable. 33 = over the hill. smile

Now, obviously, it isn't actually like that, so what else has changed in your OLD habits? Different site, different text, different photos? Try going back to the previous text / sites / photos and see if the responses climb.

And seriously now, it is not your age. No one ever noticed any difference between a 32 yr old and a 33 yr old. Honestly. Good luck.

TooSassy Sun 03-Jan-16 09:04:15

OP, this isn't your age.

It's most likely the glasses. Men are visual creatures and whilst glasses are great, I think the non glasses look works better.

Give it a go, remove some of the pics with glasses and replace with non glasses and see what happens

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