Local seniors looking to feel that spark, find someone special

Locals open up about what works and what doesn’t
By: Sara Seyydin Journal Staff Writer
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Donald Eckels has learned that even later in life, it is never too late to find that special someone. The former Sacramento resident, 71, met his counterpart on an online dating website for seniors. The pair lives in Auburn now and Eckels is one of many seniors who say they had to step out of their box on their quest for love. Others say they love the single life and don’t feel pressured to be in a relationship. Local single’s group entrepreneurs say there is nothing like old-fashioned, face-to-face connections when it comes to making a love connection. Eckels said taking his search for a match digital worked for him, but took some time. “I met my significant other on Senior People Meet online,” Eckels said. “I’ve dated a number of ladies on the Internet and you have to meet several to find a keeper.” Being flexible and outgoing are two tips Eckels offers to other seniors looking to meet someone, both of which he has put in practice himself. Originally, he emailed his sweetheart and told her she lived too far away. Several emails and conversations later, he decided she was worth the drive, and later worth the move. “Be flexible and certainly tolerant of differences. I think that is the hardest thing to do at our age is to adjust yourself to other people,” Eckels said. Woman seeking man: Has teeth, will eat corn on cob Darlene Ryan, 77, of Diamond Springs, was widowed in 1991. That first Valentine’s Day she decided to get a group of friends together to spend the traditional lover’s holiday with. “My late husband was quite a romantic and that first Valentine’s Day that rolled around was quite hard. Many times he would come home with a bunch of flowers,” Ryan said. “He would say, ‘These are just because, just because I love you.’” I called up several of my friends who I knew were alone and invited them out to dinner.” Ryan said ultimately she is looking for someone with a great sense of humor. She likes to infuse humor into her personal ads in local newspapers. In one she said she had all of her original teeth and was looking to share corn on the cob with someone. “I’ve always tried to bring in a little bit of humor because I do like to laugh a lot. I got quite a few responses to my ad, probably 10 to 12 calls I would say,” Ryan said. “I only met up with one gentleman.” The former stay-at-home mother of five and big band singer said finding someone who enjoys music and dancing would also be fun. She said she has even had men who were significantly older than her, and younger than her respond to her ads. “They said, ‘Well, I like older women,’” Ryan said. “But, you know, I’m not a cougar.” As far as her expectations for dating go, Ryan said she probably isn’t looking to get married again, but would like to have a male companion. In her search, she joined a dating service at one point that kept its members information in a collection of books that other members could go and browse. She said it is imperative when meeting someone new to meet in a public place. Man seeking woman: Willing to upgrade for right lady William Habant, 87, of Carmichael has also been trying to meet a lady friend by creating a personal ad. He said he’d like to have someone to visit local stores and restaurants with. “I would like to find one we can drive places and do things together,” Habant said. “I like to go to Sam’s Club. I like to go to Wal-Mart. I like to go to a couple fish restaurants in town.” So far Habant said he hasn’t met up with any of his prospects, but does think he has a lot to offer a woman. “I’m easy to get along with,” Habant said. “I’ve got sufficient money to take a little gal along with me. I’m fairly young-looking compared to my age. I don’t have any wrinkles. I’m not pot-bellied.” For the right woman, Habant said he would be willing to upgrade his 5th Wheel Montana travel trailer to a larger model. Pete Williams, 55, of Rocklin, said he is more content being single right now. He joined Mozie’s Adventures, a group for active singles in the region. Williams, a retired California Highway Patrol Officer from the Newcastle office, said he has never been married and won’t ever marry unless he meets someone very special. “I’ve never met anybody that made me do handstands. I like being by myself,” Williams said. “That is why I joined Mozie, because we get out. I retired at the end of 2010 and I needed something to fill that void.” For him, getting out and trying new things with other singles isn’t necessarily about meeting women. “I find that after all these years that I am just happier by myself. I’m alone, but I’m not lonely,” Williams said. “I prefer to hang out with the people in the group.” Mozie Cupit, who owns Mozie’s Adventures, said many of the people in her singles group do end up finding lasting love. She said meeting in-person and doing activities allows relationships to build more naturally than online dating. “What I have found that has really worked is that they have things in common,” Cupit said. “They might be kayaking together. All of a sudden they realize, ‘We really have a lot in common.’ I tell them, ‘Just take time, get to know people.’” She said some of her clients have complained about the false image some people portray on online dating services. “People get very frustrated because there is a lot of false advertising,” Cupit said. For those recently re-entering the dating game, Cupit said it is best to gradually ease in. “Build some friendships, friendships can turn into relationships.” Reach Sara Seyydin at