Online dating: a guide for people over 50
When I was younger and in a different era, it was easy meeting single men, striking up a conversation and dating. Well, sorry to say, older single people today have a tough time meeting the right partner, someone who shares similar likes and dislikes and really wants a meaningful, long-term relationship where both feel mutual chemistry.
Having been married twice, my hope was to find someone with whom I can spend quality time and enjoy a movie or dinner. Meet someone who makes me laugh and with whom I can talk about life over a cup of coffee or a glass of wine. Someone to enjoy activities with me, travel together and share some romance.
Sounds easy, doesn’t it?
Yet many of my friends have given up looking for a partner in life.
Figure out what you want
Keep in mind, many of us mature seniors have been single for a long time and have become accustomed to the solo lifestyle. This admittedly has some nice bonuses, such as making our own decisions to come and go as we please. It’s important to know what we want and don’t want in a relationship — regardless of what our kids or friends think is best for us.
Also, for mature singles, the traditional relationship is a thing of the past. Now that we are older, with grown children, and we’ve probably been married once or twice, or widowed — we have different needs.
Many of us still have some of the same needs we had in our 20s. I can surely speak for myself. There may be snow on the mountain, but there’s still fire in the furnace, as they say!
There’s a big difference in the activity level of the older population today compared to our parents’ era. Today’s silver population is more active and has the means and time to join the gym, travel and live in 55+ communities, where there is always a lot going on.
There are cruises for singles over 50. Every type of card game, exercise and entertainment imaginable is offered at clubhouses and community rooms. Free Silver Sneakers — a Medicare benefit — makes it easier than ever to stay fit. We are living longer and having fun doing it.
Some tips for online dating
At the same time, a social change has taken place. Sure, it’s possible to meet someone at the gym or on a cruise. But online dating has become the way to meet someone while sitting at home in our recliners with no makeup and frizzed-out hair.
I have been on and off many dating sites for so many years that I’ve lost count: Match, Plenty of Fish (POF), Date A Golfer, eHarmony, Tinder, Our Time and a couple others that I can’t recall.
If you’d like to try one of these dating websites, here are a few tips when creating your profile:
—Your picture must be current, as in taken in the last six months. Have at least one recent full-length picture of yourself. Make sure your feature picture is of you alone and shows your best facial expressions. Use some humorous captions.
—Write a strong bio. On most dating sites, you answer preset questions and then write a brief biography. After your main picture, your bio is the second most important piece of information about you. This is where you have the opportunity to highlight and promote yourself. Write as if it were a sales letter for your dream job. Or dream partner, in this case. Your writing gives a peek into who you are, what you have to offer, and what you are looking for.
—Be positive and optimistic. Even if you are angry about some of the people you have dated in the past, refrain from making your profile into what you don’t want rather than what you do want. You must be upbeat and cheerful in your word choices. List activities you currently enjoy.
—Be truthful. Honesty is the best policy. That includes your age and your answers to the profile questions. If you smoke, say you smoke. If you drink, say you drink. If you want an honest and trustworthy partner, you must first be one yourself. Dishonesty will show its ugly head sooner or later.
—Keep comments about politics and religion out of your profile.
—Proceed safely. Being safe is more than locking your car doors at night. It means being aware. Remember, people aren’t always who they pretend to be online and may take advantage of someone who appears to be vulnerable. If you’re feeling uncomfortable about a situation, trust your gut and take measures to remove yourself from those situations or don’t get into them in the first place.
After several years meeting people through dating websites, I’m still looking for the perfect companion. Yet I’ve learned so much more about myself from the online dating mistakes I’ve made along the way.
I’m still an optimistic person. I believe there is someone out there who wants the same things I do and will still appreciate a partner who has all of my qualities…even one over 50 (or 70!).
This excerpt is printed with permission from Sandra Lindberg’s book 51 Shades of Online Dating: A Guide for People Over 50, available for $15 on Amazon. For more information, visit http://sandralindberg-writer.com.