Legal obligations for dating single moms

Some sites, like Prime Singles.net, cater specifically to the over-50 crowd.

Others attract boomers with more-specialized requirements like religion (Big for Christians and for Jews) or sexual orientation (Our for gays).

For now, Chaddock says, her ideal relationship would be a "flex time" romance.

"Sex is such an enjoyable activity at any age," says Brown, 83. Jim Safka, CEO of Match.com, says that people over 50 make up his site's fastest- growing segment, with a 300 percent increase since 2000.

They exchanged emails and discovered that both had lost spouses and had other experiences in common. "There were huge sparks, a lot of mutual attraction, and a weekend that was very passionate," he says. In the back of my mind I thought, could we pick this up where we left off? Like many men his age, Germana was looking for a new life companion. American women in their 40s and 50s are better educated and more affluent than any previous generation of women at midlife, and that has transformed the way they view dating.

They don't necessarily want or need to center their lives on a man.

It's one thing to get an all-clear from a 23-year-old son or daughter but quite another to date around when you've got a preschooler in the house.

Images of middle-aged sex are beginning to permeate popular culture, from Jack Nicholson and a nude Diane Keaton in "Something's Gotta Give" to Charles and Camilla (together at last).

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