Dating can be a challenging subject to broach later in life. Whether it's because of a divorce or a death, some seniors find themselves alone and might want to find someone new to share the rest of their life with.
The rules of dating and the ways to get a date have changed over time. It's still possible to meet someone organically through a mutual friend or a at a social event. You could even meet someone in the grocery store. These are lovely stories, but they don't happen to everyone.
With the advances of the internet, online dating has taken off, and seniors can use these websites to seek a soul mate. Personal connections are great for your health and wellness, so if you're ready to date, this is a viable way to get back out there.
A new survey from the Pew Research Center's Internet & American Life Project found that one in 10 Americans have used an online dating site, and many know people who've used a dating site and have found a spouse or life-partner through it. Since it's becoming more popular as a means of meeting someone, the general public's attitude toward online dating has grown more positive. In fact, 1 out of 4 people between the ages of 50 and 64 know someone personally who met and fell in love with someone online, and for people aged 65 and older, it's 1 out of 5.
The survey also noted that 59 percent of people who use the internet believe that online dating is a good way to meet people, which is up from the 44 percent in 2005.
This applies to all people, no matter their age. For seniors, online dating can take away some of the stress from putting themselves back out there. It creates a buffer where you can screen potential dates for commonalities before committing to meet. Once you feel ready to start dating again, you can search for people who you seem compatible with and go from there.
Tips for online dating later in life
Make sure you're ready: Deciding to date isn't a decision that should be taken lightly if you're not truly in the right place to be in a relationship. Before you start, make sure you're happy with your own life and feeling confident. You'll want to be open and have a positive feeling about this journey, so being in the right place mentally is important to finding a successful match.
Be honest: Stay truthful to both yourself and others. When creating your profile, don't feel the need to embellish facts or make things up. Just talk honestly about your interests, personality and hobbies. Same goes when you start talking to someone. Answer questions truthfully because honesty and trust are crucial to the survival of a healthy relationship.
Be safe: Safety is important in all aspects of life. Online dating is safe, but you don't want to open yourself up to issues. Never list your home address, your phone number or details that are too personal. You'll want to save those details for someone after you get to know and trust them. Plan a first date in a public space like a coffee shop or a restaurant as you get to know someone new. Most people on dating sites will mean well, but it's always important to proceed with caution, just like with any other aspect of your life.
Research: Nowadays there are many dating sites out there, so it's important to do your homework and research your options. There are both free sites and ones you must pay for. There are also dating services for specific demographics like older adults, people who enjoy similar hobbies or people who have common beliefs. Find a dating site that seems appropriate and feels the most natural to be on. That way you'll have a better chance of meeting someone you'd like to get to know better.
Take your time: There's no need to rush dating. It's natural that getting to know people takes time, so don't feel like you need to be in a hurry. When you find someone who seems interesting, start with messaging on the sight. Eventually you can move on to phone calls and meeting in person. There's no "right" way to go about online dating or a time table you have to follow. As long as you feel comfortable, take things at the pace you need to.
Be open: Everyone has certain deal breakers that they don't want in a relationship. Even so, some qualities, hobbies, habits or other concerns can be dealt with through compromise. An important thing to keep in mind with online dating is that it helps to be open. Try not to be overly critical from the start, or it will limit your choices and could sour your attitude to the whole process. Becoming more flexible with some of your qualifications in a partner could open you up to someone you might not have considered before but who could be a great fit for you.