Baby Boomers are the fastest-growing market in the online dating scene. In fact, over a quarter of current members are 50 and older.

“More and more people in this age group are finding themselves single again,” says Julie Spira, the California-based online dating expert and best-selling author of The Perils of Cyber-Dating. “Whether it’s through the death of a spouse, divorce, or because the kids went off to school and with an empty nest the parents realize they’re not in love anymore, it’s happening all the time.”

So if you find yourself single and open to looking for love again, be brave, advises Julie, but be prepared to leave the past behind. “Be sure you’re ready for a new relationship – not a time out on your own. You have to want to develop memories that are unique to the two of you and you do that by not living in the past.”

Here are Julie’s top five tips if you think you’re ready.

1) Look in the mirror and realize who you are today: Face it. You’re not the same person you were when you were dating 25 years ago, so don’t try and pretend you are. Whether you’ve gained weight, gone bald, turned grey or lost that big, important job, you have to be comfortable in your own skin, says Julie, or it won’t work. “It’s very important to be authentic and genuine – and to never, ever lie about your age, income, weight – or anything else. If you lie and people find out, they’ll wonder what else you’re lying about.” Always be truthful in your profile and know the power of brevity. Keep it short (100 to 150 words max) so there’s something left to discover about you.

2) Don’t talk about your ex: Even if a date asks, they really don’t want to know, says Julie, “so just save that for another time. Change the subject or ask them a question about themselves, their last vacation or something.” Only when you’re in a more serious, comfortable relationship do you want to go there, says Julie. And it should only be to explain what you learned about yourself from your past relationship, not to trash your ex.

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