Seniors dating online: Do you feel lucky?

Karen was a 70-year-old whose husband had passed away the previous year. She was lonely and lived in a tiny rural community, where the assortment of single older men was exceptionally limited. She decided to try out internet dating. She read the tips that were given online for how to write a successful personal profile. All she got in response were replies from men she could tell were scammers and gamers. She wrote and rewrote her profile, trying to make it sound better and that her words would attract someone nice.

Finally, she got mad. Nothing was paying off. She sat down and wrote from her heart, with the genuine passion and anger she felt. “I’m not here to be anyone’s servant. If you want a woman to pick up your socks, go look for somebody else”. Basically, Karen broke every rule in the book for a “winning” profile essay, but she didn’t care. She was fed up. She was going to do this her way, or no way at all.

The very day after she posted the new profile, a man named Dennis found her on the dating site. He read her fiery essay, chuckling the whole time. “This is one old gal I’ve simply got to meet,” he said to himself. Within a week, he drove the hour’s distance to her town, and they met for coffee. It was love at first sight. Karen and Dennis have now been together after 13 years of marriage, and still are going strong. They are a true, senior, internet love story.

Many mature-age people today are turning to the internet to find the love of their life. While sometimes this is indeed successful, the practice can be fraught with dangers. There are stories of individuals being scammed, ripped off, and occasionally even killed when they have trusted a stranger they met on the internet.

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What you need to be aware of

If you decide to engage in online dating, do it very carefully and responsibly. Spend considerable time talking with the other person over the phone before agreeing to meet him or her for the first time. From the start, pay close attention to subtle signs that something is not as it appears to be. When we ardently want to meet that special someone, it’s easy to fool ourselves into thinking, “This must be the one!” We ignore the warning signs because our desire for love is so strong that it blocks out what our eyes and ears are telling us.

Be careful not to let that happen to you. Be very wary. If you are confident after multiple phone conversations that the person on the other end of the line is genuine, agree to meet him or her in a public place. Never go to a secluded location with the person, or give the person your home address, until you’ve met several times and have spent a lot of time together. It’s advisable, before meeting, to do a criminal background check, and in other ways to check out the veracity of the person’s profile. For instance, you could call the place where they work to make sure they really are employed there. If you find any discrepancy between what they’ve told you and how their story checks out, don’t walk away. Run. Do not make up excuses for them, or accept their lame explanations. Just get yourself out of there.

That said, if done responsibly and cautiously, internet dating can be a way of meeting available seniors based on values and interests shared. Some describe Internet dating as a process of getting to know another person from the inside out, rather than from the outside in, the way we do in real life. By the time you actually meet, assuming the person is genuine, you know a great deal about each other. Using the search options available on dating websites, you can narrow down the individuals you contact by specific qualifications, filtering out the hundreds you would not be interested in. But, remember: anyone can lie on a dating site. Check out their story before you get involved, and don’t let your hopes blind your reason. Only if you are responsible, rational, and careful, can internet dating be both safe and productive.

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Tell us, would you give internet dating a go? Or have you before?