Online dating Love doesn’t stop at 65 and nor does the thrill of the chase! For a good many 'mature' New Zealanders who find fulfilment in relationships with family members, grandchildren and friends, locating a mate or a special person with whom to spend time can make you feel like the last single person left on earth. Fortunately, there is a significant number of quality, untapped GrownUp singles out there just waiting for you to take notice. The question is, where do you find them?
I (editor) was aghast when my mother suggested I try online dating. I was 31 and single and having no luck with men through traditional methods. Both my parents laconically stated that I should try the internet because the “Internet today is yesteryear’s dance halls”.
Dance halls in the 1950s were full of young singles; eyeing each other up across the room, dancing with each other and having fun. Many of them walked away with a partner for life (my parents met at the Crystal Palace Dance Hall in Mt Eden and were married six months later – easy!) Was the internet really such an equivalent?
In modern terms – yes! Internet dating is a collection of singles, all standing against virtual walls, with virtual glasses of punch in their hands, trying to catch the virtual eye of a virtual stranger across a virtual room. If you’re not convinced here are some pros and cons to weigh up…
- Online dating offers lots of choices: Not since high school or university will you find such a large number of potential mates in one place as you will find on an online dating site. It can be heartening just to know that there are many mature singles out there who would love to find a loving partner.
- Online dating is relatively inexpensive: While there are many free chat rooms and online personal ad sites, you may want to invest in paying a small fee to meet people who are more serious about meeting a quality partner.
- Online dating profiles are a fun way to learn about people: Online dating sites that offer space to write personal profiles which include hobbies, special interests, political beliefs, dreams, goals and favourite activities will give you the most accurate idea of what a person is like, and will help you decide if you have enough in common to make a connection. Tip: if someone posted a short profile and clearly put no thought into it, you can expect that kind of communication in real life.
- Even if you don’t find love, you can find companionship. Like the dance halls of yesteryear, just because you don’t marry him, doesn’t mean he can’t be a good friend!
- Online dating makes it easy to connect: By exchanging email and phone calls with your online dating prospects you get to know each other slowly, without the awkwardness that comes with first dates. If you choose to meet, you’ll already know a lot about each other, and that could help you both feel more comfortable.
- Beware of free online dating ads: Some sites allow people to post their profiles and respond to others for free, but unfortunately these free sites often attract insalubrious individuals. It’s important to check out the site carefully before you join.
- Online dating costs money: Many online dating sites will allow you to view other people’s profiles before joining, so you get an idea of who’s available. But they often charge to let you reply to a profile, and here’s where you need to be careful. Check out the membership dues and rules for each online dating site before you join, especially if you provide a credit card number. Make sure you know exactly how much it will cost, whether you’re signing up for an automatic renewal that will be charged to your credit card, and what you will need to do to quit the online dating site when you’re ready. (If all of this is a bit daunting, ask your children or grandchildren to do all the investigative work first so you can just have fun)
- Pictures can lie: Photos are often an important component of online dating profiles. Unfortunately, some people post photos that were taken many years ago, or that are extremely flattering and not very true-to-life. If you remind yourself that s/he probably doesn’t look as good as his photo, you won’t be disappointed.
- People can lie too: In an effort to get more responses, or in some cases to deliberately mislead, some people lie in their online dating profiles. Don’t believe everything you read—if he sounds too good to be true, he probably is.
- If these cons haven’t scared you off, then you may be ready to venture into online dating.
To join fellow GrownUps seeking companionship, please click here.
Some Dating Advice for Single Grown Ups If you decide to take the plunge and try online dating, that’s the first hurdle completed. Now you need to actually meet and have a date in real life.
A first date is one of the most nerve-wracking aspects of dating at any age. If you’re 50+ and just starting to date again after a few years or a few decades, however, the uncertainty about where to go, what to wear, and what to talk about can seem almost insurmountable.
You wonder whether your date will like you, whether you’ll like him or her, and how much dating etiquette has changed since the last time you were out there. (If you’re wondering whether women still want doors opened for them, the answer is yes!)
While there are no absolutes when it comes to senior dating, there are a few tried and true strategies that may help calm your nerves and increase your chances for a successful first date:
- One purpose of every first date is to decide whether you want a second one. With that in mind, plan a date that encourages conversation and helps you get to know each other, and avoid activities like movies and plays that leave you sitting silently in the dark.
- Tailor your first date to include a common interest, hobby, or shared value, which may help you establish an immediate connection around something that has meaning for both of you.
- If you plan to have a meal on your first date, make it lunch and combine it with some fun activity so that you have more things to talk about while you eat. Dinner sometimes implies more intimacy than you may be ready for on a first date, and having the whole date depend on two near-strangers sitting across from each other and making conversation can create a lot of pressure.
- If the whole idea of senior dating makes you nervous, consider going on a group date with friends or participating in a group activity such as a wine tasting or lawn bowls.
- Be smart, be safe, and have an exit strategy. On most first dates you’re going out with someone you don’t know well, so stick to public places and tell someone you trust who you’re meeting and where you’ll be. If you start to feel uneasy about the person you’re with, leave.
- Whether you’re 16 or 65, the best way to enjoy a first date is to keep an open mind, focus on the things you have in common, and make your primary goal to simply have a good time.
Love is just a click away…
Click here for advice on safety and personal protection for online dating.
Do you have a question on senior dating or an experience you’d like to share? Please contact us…