Find a Husband After 35: (Using What I Learned at Harvard Business School)

By Rachel Greenwald


Who: Rachel Greenwald is a relationship expert, matchmaker, speaker, Harvard Business School graduate, and bestselling author of Find a Husband After 35: Using What I Learned at Harvard Business School and Have Him At Hello: Confessions From 1,000 Guys About What Makes Them Fall in Love… or Never Call Back.

What: In this book, Rachel describes a 15-step program for women over the age of 35 to use when facing the dating challenges of fewer available men in the dating pool and less available social time from their careers. The program is based upon what Rachel learned in her professional marketing career, using her Harvard Business School education as a foundation. Men can easily adapt the steps to market themselves much better in the online dating world. With some focus and reasonable effort, Rachel states that her clients generally find someone to marry in 12 to 18 months of using the process.

When: Because it was published in 2004, some parts of the book refer to online reference material that is no longer operational. However, the core of the book is still very relevant. It covers how to improve your online marketability.

Where: The program starts by giving you the tools to evaluate your current situation. Then, it provides steps for you to take to begin making small improvements immediately. Thus, it helps you become very efficient in the dating process. After you make your adjustments, Rachel provides a fascinating chart that helps correlate and adjust the quality and quantity of the dates you are getting. The end goal here is to spend your time on high-quality people who are worthy of a second or third date.

Why: As Rachel describes in detail, she hopes to help what she terms as “The Lost Cinderella Generation”: women who broke the glass ceiling, but broke their glass slippers along with it. This includes women in the 35+ age group who have six significant differences from those who are younger:

  1. The biological clock is ticking, with constant comments from friends and family about why you’re not married. If you’re divorced, you’ve got the stress of being a single parent and loneliness after years of having a partner.
  2. Fewer Single Men. According to the 2000 US census, there are 28 million single women out there over 35 and only 18 million single men.
  3. Changed Bodies. This is another cold reality.
  4. The older you get, the more baggage you have accumulated, as listed later in this review.
  5. As we’ve become more seasoned in life, many of us have formed habits that are difficult to break. They reoccur in patterns that keep you choosing the wrong type of men (or women), being too picky about giving new people a chance, being rigid or set in your ways, putting in too many hours at the office, and being firmly entrenched in your home routine.
  6. Insular Lifestyle. You spend more time at the office and less time on the campus like it used to be in college.

How: The 15 steps teach you how to break old habits by making small changes that can easily be adapted by anyone. The steps fall into three groups that take approximately seven months to complete from start to finish. The first group of steps prioritizes examining your search, finding a way to cast a broader net in that search, and identifying what makes you different. The second set of steps deals with setting up the proper marketing for your brand (yourself). The third group looks at managing your search, reviewing what is and isn’t working for you, precisely evaluating your dating results, and making adjustments to improve them. The book ends by helping you define and create an exit strategy out of dating and into a relationship.


What I like best about this book is that while it is written for women, men can equally apply many of the steps from their perspective. It’s comprehensive and detailed. Best of all, it applies well to the 50 Dater age group. Regardless of whether you’re seeking marriage or a long-term relationship, it can help you find dateable men and women who are looking for a quality relationship.

Writing with a lighthearted and humorous approach, Rachel does not hold anything back. Many parts of the online dating world have evolved since the book’s publication, so some of it is outdated.  However, the majority of its parts still apply today. One of the more prominent points Rachel makes to women is that they need to invest in themselves. Finding a great partner has direct costs involved in joining a dating service, buying tickets to singles events, and improving your appearance with new clothes, exercise, diet plans, hairstyling, and pushup bras.

Why You Need to Read It:

Rachel covers so much great material that there is no way I could comprehensively fit it into a few paragraphs. I’ve taken the liberty instead of highlighting some of her most relevant points below.

  • In the 50 Dater age bracket, your future long-term relationship candidate may come in a completely different package than what you imagined 20 or 30 years ago. Rachel does a great job of explaining why this is. What we were looking for in our 20s is entirely different from what we seek in a partner today. However, many are stuck in a 20s frame of mind.
  • Rachel offers a complete list of little things you can do that will open you up to meeting new singles in your daily routine. Examples include going to a different Starbucks or grocery store or taking some classes, with recommendations for what to do during the class breaks.
  • As previously mentioned, finding a better-quality date starts with investing in yourself. Rachel’s Dow Jane Index is a guideline for assessing your physical appearance and how you package yourself. Both men and women will benefit from adhering to the index. It considers how you present yourself in your pictures online, how you look when you show up for a date, and even how you appear in your regular day-to-day life.
    • Blogger’s Note: I’ve reviewed thousands of profiles on Bumble, Tinder, Match, eHarmony, POF, and Coffee Meets Bagel. It’s truly underwhelming how poorly people present themselves through their profile pictures. On average, eight out of ten profiles I see have little to no effort put into good photos. In the first part of 2019, I had a six-month subscription to eHarmony. I reviewed 647 profiles, of which only 9% made a good effort at creating acceptable profiles with good to excellent photographs. There is a direct correlation between photo quality and online dating success.
    • Many women over 35 wrongly go with shorter hair and business attire. They fall into the trap of seeking compliments from women, not realizing that this is not as attractive to men. Rachel has found that 90% of the men she has spoken with prefer longer hair on women.
    • When it comes to attracting a man, femininity wins almost every time. Longer hair, flowing skirts, an ever-so-slightly revealing neckline, small-scale jewelry, and manicured fingernails and toenails combined with feminine behavior will go far. Be a woman: play the gender role, but don’t be a giggly Barbie doll.
  • It’s easy to fall in love with an online fantasy man who has great photos and looks great on paper. He says all the right things, has great potential, but never has time to meet.  Rachel recommends that if he can’t meet you within two weeks, you need to move on.
    • Blogger’s Note: Rachel is right on the money here. I’ve seen many women get stuck on Love at First Type.
  • It’s important to cast a wider net. Many women over the age of 35 are stuck in the mode of seeking a husband or boyfriend for potential. The reality is that they now all come with history because they have a longer past with more potential failures and problems, a complex web of long-term relationships you must fit. The silver lining is that you get to see how a man has handled those failures and difficulties. It’s a pretty good indicator of how much he has matured over the years.
  • You create your personal brand by identifying what makes you different. Rachel walks you through a process to identify who you are and how to present it online. It comes down to the three words or phrases that address your physical appearance and personality. Once you get this in place, it makes it easier to write your profile and dress for and select pictures.
  • Online dating is the way to go, and why you should focus a good portion of your attention on this activity. Rachel explains this as well as why women with whom she has worked have abandoned online dating. It turns out they have not been approaching it correctly.
    • You shouldn’t put all your eggs in one basket. Rachel recommends getting on more than one dating website and communicating with and dating more than one man at a time. People in online dating may disappear for no reason at all. It’s easy to fool yourself into thinking that a few good dates mean the real thing is about to happen. Then the rug gets pulled out from under you. It happens quite often, so this practice mitigates disappointment.
    • Blogger’s Note: Rachel is one of many relationship experts who confirms the 50 Dater approach of dating more than one person at a time.
  • Rachel explains how to easily determine if you’re in a dating rut and what steps you can take to work yourself out of it.
    • You can create ice-breakers and conversation starters. These are ways you present yourself in profile pictures and in person to make it easy for men to start a conversation with you.
    • How the business product life cycle is equivalent to your dating profile and personal brand. The cycle includes introduction, growth, maturity, and decline. Sometimes, you need to reintroduce yourself or take a break to refresh. Doing this at regular intervals is essential to not losing motivation.
    • You can follow her tips for regaining motivation after you’ve had a series of bad dates or setbacks.
    • You can use a variety of ways to market yourself, such as singles groups, social locations, single dad spots, and online dating.
    • You can analyze your dating results. The quality and quantity of the dates you’ve been getting are broken down into four groups:
      • Garage Sale
        • Low volume of men (Three dates or fewer per month)
        • Low quality of men (You want a second date with less than 50%)
      • Flea Market
        • High volume of men (Four or more dates per month)
        • Low quality of men (You want a second date with less than 50%)
      • Boutique
        • Low volume of men (Three dates or fewer per month)
        • High quality of men (You want a second date with more than 50%)
      • Upscale Department Store
        • High volume of men (Four or more dates per month)
        • High quality of men (you want a second date with more than 50%)
      • Rachel is very detailed about how to move out of Garage Sale, Flea Market, or Boutique and into the Upscale Department Store. This not only applies to women but men as well.
      • Blogger’s Note: This analysis is probably my favorite part of the book and is very accurate!
    • If you have a Relationship Fizzle, where things don’t go well after you’ve started seeing someone, you can follow Rachel’s advice on what causes it and how to correct it, using a program audit that she has outlined. It’s often the result of false branding.
  • Rachel offers “Man-agement” for an exit strategy if you think a man is relationship worthy.
    • Phase One: Keep your options open.
      • Blogger’s Note: This is sage advice as I’ve personally experienced exes coming back into the picture, especially in our age group. A man may also look good on paper, but after a month or two, any potential cracks in the foundation will appear.
    • Phase Two: Make a shortlist of three essential qualities your future man must possess.
      • You need to keep it to three essential qualities because once your heart is doing backflips, it’s easy to make exceptions or overlook your core three.
      • You need to create three dates to test for these qualities thoroughly. For example:
        • Kindness: A volunteer trip with you for the day at an elder-care home
        • Fond of Children: A chance to babysit your niece or granddaughter with you
        • Spontaneous: A weekend bed and breakfast invite on one day’s notice
    • Phase Three: Don’t throw good money after bad.
      • If he flunked one of your tests or did any of another thousand things that are deal-breakers, cut your losses and quickly move on. Bad daters rationalize the warning signs. Smart daters have the discipline to end wrong relationships, even if they’ve invested a lot of time already.
    • Phase Four: Make it an exclusive relationship.
      • You need to have “the talk” with him about this after he passes your tests.
      • If this talk scares him away, it’s a deal-breaker.
      • Anything else that could become a deal-breaker needs to be negotiated.
    • Phase Five: Seal the deal.
      • Discuss your future with him and see how he reacts by introducing a catalyst into the conversation.

– Paul

Book Title:  Find a Husband After 35: (Using What I Learned at Harvard Business School)

Author:  Rachel Greenwald

Year Published:  2004

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