Online Dating Tips For Seniors

An increasing number of older adults are turning to online dating to find a life partner or simply a date. A recent study found that from 2013 to 2015, the number of adults aged 55 to 64 who dated online doubled from six to 12 percent.

This surge has lead to an increase of dating apps focusing on older adults leading to a more specific dating pool. If you’re single and looking to find a partner, don’t hesitate to try online dating but keep an open mind and become informed of safety tips and etiquette. Let’s review some online dating tips:

Be Courteous

Practice patience when scrolling through potential profiles. You will be surprised at the number of people who match your criteria. If you get responses but aren’t interested, be kind and simply reply ‘No thanks’ and leave it at that. They took the time to read about you and were interested in meeting you in person. They deserve the courtesy of a short but polite response. If you meet someone who is abusive or rude, block them immediately and report them to the online dating app.

Be Cautious

You may meet plenty of people before you find a good match. For this reason you should try and keep it a bit anonymous and separate from your private life. Create an email that you will use specifically for online dating. Do not give out your home address, phone number until ready. Don’t give out your income and details about home ownership and your financial situation. Once you have established an email correspondence, you can move on to online chatting and even telephone.

Once you feel comfortable enough you can decide to meet in person. Pick a public place like a cafe or coffee shop and have an exit strategy in mind. Let someone you know where you are meeting and be sure they have your contact information. Let them know the name and phone number of the person you are meeting.


Create Honest Profile

Honesty is always the best policy. Make sure your profile contains honest information and an up-to-date photo. After all, you would expect the same from potential candidates. Include hobbies and interests that you currently enjoy. You can always check in with your friends and family to help fill out your profile.

You will be competing against many people so make your profile stand out from the rest. Don’t be serious but instead be light-hearted and positive. You want people to know you are a fun and interesting person to meet. Include your goals, values and perhaps your bucket-list.

Include what you are looking for in a partner or companion.  Studies show that the best strategy for creating a profile is to use 70% of your profile to take about yourself and 30% to describe what you’re looking for. Your preferences could include whether you prefer a non-drinker or a non-smoker. Are you interested in someone who enjoys outdoor activities or staying indoors watching films.? You don’t, however, want to rule people out based on your checklist. Keep an open mind if someone seems interesting and take the time to get to know them. But don’t compromise your values.

The dating site PlentyofFish found during research that people who used the word “love” in their profiles were the most successful at finding a relationship. Men benefited from using words like “heart”, “romantic” and “relationship”. The takeaway is to not be afraid to say you are looking for love.


Health Concerns

Older adults hitting the online dating scene are at bit of a disadvantage compared to younger people. Older generations never had the good fortune of a progressive sex education. Your education may have been more focused on abstinence instead of condoms. You probably were not educated on HIV/AIDS or incurable genital herpes either.

Unfortunately, as we grow older our immune systems weaken making us more susceptible to infections. Older adults have had a 20 percent increase for acquiring STDs and half of people over age 50 in the U.S. are diagnosed with HIV. STDs include syphilis, chlamydia and gonorrhea.

STDs can be asymptomatic for long periods of time which means they can be passed on to unsuspecting people and left untreated. STDs can be treated with antibiotics but if left untreated can result in severe health consequences such as pelvic inflammatory disease in females. Untreated syphilis can lead to damage to the brain, nerves, eyes, cardiovascular system, bones and joints. In extreme cases, it can be fatal. Condom use is among the best ways to protect against infection from your partners and yes, there are even condoms for women.

Please get tested! People over 50 at risk for HIV are 80 percent less likely to be tested than at-risk 20 to 30 year-olds.


Family Support

The dynamics of your family can have an impact on whether you engage in online dating. It’s important for your children and even grandchildren to be supportive of your choices. They may have concerns about safety and hidden agendas with potential dates.

You may have children who are still grieving another parent and may think you are moving on too quickly. Experts advise not telling family members immediately what your plans are regarding dating. Wait after a couple of dates until you are more comfortable with the whole process as well. If you start to tell them about each date, they may start validating or rejecting each one.

When you decide to introduce them to your family, emphasis how special this person is to you and how they make you feel. Many adult children don’t see their parents as real people and not as someone who needs companionship, love and sex from a significant other. They may not want to see you endure heartbreak but you need to stress that with age comes wisdom. You are willing to accept the risk of pain for the joy you’ll receive from a romantic relationship.


Online Scammers

Older dating people are in danger of being scammed out of money not only from meeting people in real life but also from online dating apps. Statistics report that in 2018, people reported losing $143 million to romance scammers. The median loss was $2,600 and for people over 70, it’s $10,000.

Before signing up with an online dating app, find out what they are doing to protect their customers. Questions to ask include: what algorithms are they using to detect suspicious language and how do they monitor for fake profiles. Do they issue alerts to their members? Review their site to see if they offer advice on how to safeguard against scammers.

Adults who have recently lost a loved one whether it’s through death or divorce are especially vulnerable. Scammers can quickly detect and target your psychological weakness. If you suspect a scammer, report immediately to your local authorities. Here are some tips to be guard:

  • If someone sends a photo, use google to “search by image”. If they are a scammer, their photo may show up under other names.
  • Search google with their email name. It may show up under romance scam sites.
  • Research their social media accounts to see if they are legitimate such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn pages.
  • If they avoid emailing, it could be because they can’t master the english language. If they email too much, it could be they want to avoid the phone because of cost and time. Keep your emails between 5 and 10 before venturing further with the relationship.
  • Speak on the phone only a couple of times before meeting. If they consistently say they are away on business, this is a red flag. The longer they keep you on the phone, the more time they have to acquire personal information.
  • If they profess their love quickly, be on guard.
  • They may claim to be from the U.S. but are working overseas or in the Military.
  • They may tell you they can’t visit because of work or illness.

They may start asking for money for the following reasons and will ask you to wire the money or load the money onto cards such as MoneyPak or gift cards from Amazon, Google Play or iTunes:

  • Pay for plane ticket to visit.
  • Pay for medical expenses.
  • Pay customs fees to retrieve something.
  • Pay off gambling debts.
  • Pay for a visa or other official travel documents to visit you.

Positives of Online Dating

There are positives with online dating as well as negatives. The negatives have already been discussed so let’s look take at a look at the positives:

  • Because of retirement or death of a partner, your social network may have been reduced. Dating online increases your access to others by expanding your social network to include potential dating partners.
  • Older adults, especially women, feel a sense of greater control allowing them to make the first contact if they choose to do so. There is no pressure to respond which increases the sense of control.
  • Even though a romantic relationship may not blossom, a friendship can develop instead. You may decide to become good friends and provide companionship while pursuing activities together.

While online dating scammers may scare you off, if you empower yourself with knowledge you can take control of your love life. It may be time to put yourself out there and move forward. Who knows, you may find that significant other!


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