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What is it like to date in a bedroom community like Westchester? Here, for your amusement or alarm, depending on which side of the fence you fall on, is a completely unscientific look at what is going on between eligible men and women between the ages of 25 and 50 who are looking for an attachment in the land of the attached.


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SOME of them married soon after high school or college. Others continued to date for another decade before saying, ''I do. But whatever their particular story, the of Westchester residents who became divorced in their middle years has been on the rise in the last decade. Figures from the United States Bureau of the Census indicate that the of Americans who divorced between the age of 40 and 54 in represents nearly 14 percent of the population, up from 11 percent a decade ago.

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For more information, call View on timesmachine. Occasionally the digitization process introduces transcription errors or other problems; we are continuing to work to improve these archived versions. Besides, my grandchildren are nearby in White Plains. Lent runs frequent evening film discussion groups in Mount Kisco at the Happiness Is. Cafe, including a Sunday brunch, and at Noble Cafe in Irvington. There are those who are single through divorce or the death of a spouse as well as people who have never been married.

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We have family activities, dances for the adults or house parties. Sunday night dances are held at the Gambits lounge in the Westchester Marriott in Tarrytown. Although the suburbs have traditionally been a destination for people seeking good public schools for their children or a more comfortable place in which to raise families, there are increasing s of never-married people who have chosen to live in the county either because they work here or prefer its environment to that of Manhattan.

There's not that much to do up here, and people are so busy working and commuting that they don't have much energy left to develop a personal life.

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Like Mrs. Kaufman, many residents don't fit into the expected profile of married couples with 2. To preserve these articles as they originally appeared, The Times does not alter, edit or update them.

You can't go alone to fund-raising dinners of organizations you work for. TimesMachine is an exclusive benefit for home delivery and digital subscribers. For Caren Schweitzer, program coordinator for the Westchester Self-Help Clearing House, which is a service of Westchester Jewish Community Services, the increase in support groups and programs for singles in the county is a welcome change.

Marion Smith Singles, which organizes events for singles in the New York City area, offers activities like tennis parties, dances and sailing parties. There aren't a lot of meeting spots, especially if you don't want to drink and drive. I knew no one who had been widowed at my age. People find bookstores better than going to a bar. Typical of the Singles Network's clients is Donald, a year-old divorced businessman who lives in a bedroom community in the lower county.

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This is what my husband and I dreamed of. Some single parents turn to organizations like Parents Without Partners to help create a comfortable social life. Her is The to call is The to call isextension When a client is involved in a relationship, the calendar, in effect, is stopped and any remaining days on the person's membership can be used later. Similarly, many of those who are divorced or widowed want to remain in the communities where their families and friends still live. I think dating services are the wave of the future. Metzger said. The dating service asks a lot of questions when you up, and asks for feedback on the dates you go on, so they're better able to match you with someone.

Obviously, you don't have everything at your fingertips the way you do in Manhattan.

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For singles in their mid-to-late 30's, and into their 40's and 50's, the situation can be more challenging. But that image of nuclear families is undermined by statistics. Of the nearlymarried men and women in the county, there were close to 60, widows and widowers, 16, separated people and 40, divorced men and women, according to the United States Census.

Kaufman said.

I have no support to help with my son, so I can't even go to the city for a day. Since most of the Singles Network's clients are corporate workers and professionals, Ms. Metzger and her partner screen potential customers to assure comfortable dating situations.

A solution that many singles have devised is establishing an alternative social universe that parallels that of the Saturday night dinner parties, community picnics, P. For those who shun the singles scene at bars, there are informal and organized alternatives, ranging from a variety of support groups to recreational activities, coffeehouses, cultural events and dating services. It feels safer, and they are not pressured to have a drink.

He declined to give his last name because he did not want his neighbors to know that he was using a dating service. WHEN Naomi Kaufman, a special education teacher in the Yonkers public schools, became a widow two years ago, her once familiar world became an altered and sometimes awkward landscape.

Now there is an acknowledgement that there are singles in suburbia. I have a support system with them, and with the people at my school and in my building.

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I'd hate to give it up. Lent said. For others, it's an opportunity to get out of their homes. It makes it difficult. Other popular alternatives are the film salons and book discussion groups Jackie Lent has created through her organization, Inward Bound Adventures.

There are singles all over Westchester, but it's difficult for them to find each other. There are other issues for single parents to contend with. Kaufman recalled.

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Schweitzer said. We are a support group so people don't feel awkward going somewhere.

A Yonkers widow, Mariane Oelsener, who works as a medical secretary, added: "I'm still in the same house. And if these singles don't exactly perceive themselves as second-class citizens in a realm of married couples and families, they nevertheless do not feel entirely comfortable. Kaufman found another community where she felt she belonged.

For other singles, planned activities reduce the anxiety level that often accompanies socializing.

I don't feel isolated at all. Those who are interested in learning more about the programs and organizations that cater to singles in the county can contact the following groups there are many support groups for singles. And they feel isolated because so many of them are surrounded by intact families.

But people are not only coming to groups for specific support but for a sense of a larger community.

In the Yonkers community where Mrs. Kaufman and her husband had lived and raised their two children during a year marriage, Mrs. Kaufman struggled to regain her equilibrium. Those who are uncomfortable with the bars have found alternatives. People won't talk to strangers in a mall, they don't go to bars, so they hibernate and make excuses. For some, the focus is on meeting a potential partner.

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For some single men, the support group For Men Only can help smooth the process of being separated or divorced and help them re a social network.