One of the advantages to online dating — meeting people you never would have met otherwise — is also a disadvantage.

One of the advantages to online dating — meeting people you never would have met otherwise — is also a disadvantage.

More and more 50+ singles are using Internet dating sites to find a mate. Here’s how to make it work for you.

by Dr. Pepper Schwartz | Comments: 0

En español | In the old days, you most likely would meet Mr. or Ms. Right in college, on the job, maybe in a bar or tho’ family and friends. Today, people are increasingly getting together through online dating — especially if they’re over 50. Various studies have found that older adults are the fastest growing segment of online-dating services.

So if you’re looking for love, this can be an ideal option. (I say this, not only as a resident relationships experienced at perfectmatch.com, but also someone who met my bf of five years online.) Here are my tips for efficient, effective and safe online dating:

Photo by: Sharon Wharton/Getty Pics

Internet dating sites are attracting a large number of 50+ singles.

  • Be sure you’re ready. If you’re not ready to date, you simply aren’t in a position to find a healthy relationship. To do so, you need to feel reasonably blessed and certain of your worth. If you’re still angry or hurt from a past relationship, wait a bit. You need to feel positive, open and up for an venture. If you’re having trouble getting to the right mental space, you might consider watching a therapist.
  • Do your homework. There are all kinds of online dating sites, so spend some time on the computer researching what looks best for you. Determine if you’re interested in a ",pay to play", or one that’s free. (Personally I think you are safer if everyone has to use their credit card and is therefore not fully anonymous.) Of the pay sites, match.com is the thickest, but there are all kinds of boutique services if you’d choose to better target your desire date. For example, there is equestriansingles.com for pony paramours, fitsingles.com for fitness types, and all sorts of specialty sites such as asianfriendfinders.com, christiansingles, gaydate, jdate (for Jewish singles) and therightstuff.com (for ivy leaguers). If you’re looking for a free site, plentyoffish.com and nerve.com are two of the larger ones.
  • Enlist your friends. Ask for help when you’re choosing a picture and packing out a profile form that tells potential dates who you are. You need an objective eye on this. You might think it’s a good picture, but maybe your friend doesn’t. Trust your friend. You may think your brief rendition about yourself is enticing — but maybe it comes off as arrogant or too timid, or has too much about your kids and not enough about you. Give it to a few friends to review.
  • Avoid clichés in your profile. You will detect why when you read what others write about themselves. There are just too many people out there who ",like long walks on the beach", or ",love theater, fine restaurants and exotic travel.", Whatever you write, make sure it voices the goals, values and lifestyle choices that make you distinct.

Learn how to set your privacy controls and use reputable dating services.

  • Don’t limit your options. Be judicious about how you reaction questions about what you’re looking for in a fucking partner. Some sites ask about your ",deal breakers,", that is things you absolutely don’t want. If you make your list of do’s and don’ts too long, it will limit the possibilities. So only put earnestly disqualifying or absolutely necessary things in that list. (For example, ditch the requirement that he has at least a master’s degree but keep the one that says he can’t be a smoker).
  • Stay safe. When you find someone you are interested in — or someone finds you — exercise caution. At least originally, talk on your mobile phone instead of your home phone, which can be linked to your address. For a very first date, meet in a safe public place — a coffee shop is ideal. Until you know the person better and are certain he is who he claims to be, don’t let a date drive you anywhere or even walk you to your car if it’s a secluded place. Tho’ most people are fair and well-meaning, you shouldn’t take any risks at all.
  • Take your time. One of the advantages to online dating — meeting people you never would have met otherwise — is also a disadvantage. Since the people you meet are coming from outside your network, you don’t know people who can vouch for them. So you need to be super cautious. Don’t automatically trust everything your date tells you, no matter how veritable he or she may seem. It takes time to be truly sure that this person is who he says he is — and that he’s being fair about his intentions. On that topic, you should be fair about what you’re looking for in terms of a relationship, too. Some online daters are only out for a good time, while others (the majority, I believe) are looking for a serious relationship.
  • Be resilient. It may take a while to meet Mr. or Ms. Right. Some people are fortunate right off the bat: They meet that ideal someone quickly, the feelings are mutual, and the relationship gets serious. Many more people, tho’, don’t have that kind of luck: They meet many people who don’t interest them or who don’t showcase any interest. It can take many, many coffee shop dates before you find someone who is right for you. Still, it’s worth it. If you think of these dates as an chance to expand your social life, you will find that you can love the coffee — even if the person has no long-term prospects. But if you stick it out and keep attempting, you eventually find that very special someone.

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