Life doesn’t end at 50, so why let age get in the way of one of life’s great pleasures – finding someone to relate to and possibly fall in love with? Online dating over 50 can make it possible.
If you’re in the middle of life and find yourself divorced, widowed or tired of being a senior single, there’s no reason you shouldn’t put yourself back in the dating game. Sure, it can be daunting to start “all that” over again. Doing it online instead of in the real world can seem even scarier. But thousands of people in their 50s and beyond have ventured into this arena, and you can too.
All you need is an open mind and basic familiarity with websites. If you can email or use Facebook, you can navigate online dating. Ready then? Great! Get started and flourish with these five tips for online dating over 50.
1. Choose the Right Dating Site
Don’t be intimidated by the array of options on the Internet – there is a dating service right for you. Start by deciding what you want, and be honest with yourself. There are sites devoted to everything from hobby-specific meetups to casual dates. Look for what fits your needs.
If in doubt, a good place to start is an all-purpose dating site. Any of the big-name services will allow you to search by age range. You may also consider a site geared specifically toward online dating over 50.
2. Start Off on an Honest Foot
Everyone wants to look their best in a dating profile. There’s nothing wrong with choosing photographs that are especially attractive. Make sure they are current photos, however. That means ones that reflect how you appear now, not when you were 30 pounds lighter or 15 years younger.
Enlist the aid of someone who knows you well to help you select a photo that is flattering and accurate. A good friend, your kids or a sibling may be happy to review shots and give you the honest truth.
3. Have Realistic Expectations
When looking at dating sites, it’s easy to get caught up in all the gleaming profiles presented for your approval. However, as you probably realized when crafting the perfect profile for yourself, it’s all too easy to misrepresent oneself. When you first started dating years ago, there was no “buffet” available on the Internet – you had to see people as they were. So it is with online dating; it’s just a different way of figuring out who is right for you.
Of course, you will want an initial attraction. But keep in mind that you – and potential dates – are at different stages in your lives. No matter what a person posts for public display, if he or she is in your age range, there is likely to be evidence of that age. Hair loss, graying and perhaps a few extra pounds may be in the mix.
4. Leave Your Baggage at the Door
Daters in their 50s and above have a history of experiences that younger men and women don’t. You’ve probably weathered a divorce (or lost your spouse) and may still be processing negative feelings about that. You may have children, grandchildren or aging parents. You could have health concerns that weren’t present when you were younger.
Although it’s hard sometimes to not let feelings come out about the not-so-shiny aspects of your life, your first contact with a new person is not the time to discuss such things. It may be tempting to reveal lots of information about yourself in the initial pre-date “chatting” stage, but try to stay positive and controlled.
5. Meet Safely and Simply
So you’ve found someone interesting and have exchanged emails or phone calls. Now it’s time to meet in person.
Take basic precautions for meeting someone new. Meet in a neutral place that is familiar. Tell a friend, relative or someone you trust about the date. There’s no need to get into details – just “I’m going out with a new friend, and we’re meeting at Starbucks” will suffice.
Speaking of Starbucks, coffee is great for a first date, as it allows space for comfortable conversation without the commitment of a full evening’s activities. If you find things are going well, you can certainly extend the date to dinner or some other activity. Scope out what’s going on nearby, from restaurants to movie times, to be prepared.
After your date, be sure to follow up (email or text is fine), and don’t be worried if you have several prospects. A benefit of online dating is the sheer reach, allowing people of all ages to meet others who they might never have met before.
So embrace the process of online dating over 50 and enjoy the journey.
Your Turn: Online Dating Over 50
What has been your experience with online dating over 50? Share your stories and tips in the comments below!