Retiring alone is something I have not planned for. I have been happily married for 25 years. I hate to think that anything would happen to my husband. But many of my soon-to-retire and already-retired friends, after years of marriage, have found themselves alone, whether through divorce or death of their life partners. In all my research about affiliate marketing for grandparents, the subject of seniors meeting seniors online has come up several times, enough times that I thought I should talk about it here on my blog. I’ve done a little research, and here’s what I’ve found.
Should I Date?
Only you can know your situation, and your situation has nothing to do with anyone else’s. Your life is going to be different from EVERYONE’s. So, don’t listen to people who say it’s too soon, or that you’re too old, or that you’re too…whatever. Only you will know when it’s time.
I have a friend whose husband died of cancer. She waited five years before she decided to date. The man she met waited only three months after his wife’s death to start dating. It’s been a couple years, and they are now married. In their case, it was the right time for each of them, but was drastically different from each other’s waiting period.
Your dating situation is none of anyone’s business but yours. It doesn’t matter if or when or how you decide to date, there will always be someone who thinks they know better than you, what you should do. The prime suspects of this issue can be your children. Their attitude toward your dating is not about you, it’s about them. They will need to come to terms with whatever you decide to do. After all, it’s your life, not theirs that it affects. Bottom line is, that they should want you to be happy.
Even though my friend waited five years, her kids were really upset with her for wanting to date. And her new husband’s kids were furious. But in the end, all their families are getting along.
I, myself, was divorced from my first husband. I was married again nine months after the divorce was final. I have been married to my second husband for 25 years now, so I would say that it wasn’t too soon for me to date again.
Should I Date Online?
If you want to, sure! There are some really great online dating sites tailored for seniors. Examples would be the following:
NOTE: I do not advocate for or against any of these online dating companies. These are merely examples of sites, in case you had not heard of them. Search and/or join at your own risk.
NOTE ALSO: Many dating sites require fees. Be sure to check the dating community’s rules, and read carefully any material you may be required to sign, so you know what you will be charged. There are free sites, so do some good research.
My friend met her new husband on eharmony. I met my second husband by answering the personal ads in our local newspaper, before there was online dating. I knew him in high school, but the personal ad re-introduced us. My sister met her husband of 26 years in the personal ads. My ex met his girlfriend online, and has been with her for at least 20 years. I know of many other successful relationships that started from dating services, online or elsewhere. It’s a great way to meet people outside your normal social circle. And if you work with a dating service designed for seniors, even better. It narrows the field to people who are more like you, and have similar life stories and future goals.
However, there are a few do’s and don’ts that one should bear in mind while dating online. Because seniors are particularly vulnerable to cyber crimes, it’s best to be cautious. See my article on senior cyber crime below:
Online Dating Do’s For Seniors
Do … Post a great, recent profile picture of yourself. It’s proven that you get more responses with a profile pic. An honest photo of yourself sets a president, that you are an honest person from the start, and that you have the self-confidence to put yourself out there.
Do … Write a good profile description. Make it interesting. Put in your favorite pastimes, your favorite food, anything else you find compelling about yourself.
Do … Be honest. It’s a whole lot easier to start out on honest footing, than to try to explain why your story changed from what you first wrote about yourself.
Do … Use a unique user name and password that you don’t use anywhere else. If a person does get a hold of that user name and password, they will only have access to the dating site, and not your bank accounts or other places where you log in.
Do … “Make sure you aren’t talking to a fraud. There’s actually a word for this: “catfishing.” Due to the anonymity that can be achieved through online correspondence, some people will take on an alternative identity to fool the person they’re talking with. Perhaps you meet a person online who appears to be attractive and who has an interesting biography.
The two of you become online friends, but in reality, that person looks nothing like their profile picture, and their biography is fabricated. You’ve officially been “catfished” — or, rather, “lured into believing a false identity.” It is hard to identify these people so rely on your impressions. If it does not feel right, there is a good chance it is not right.” From Guide for Seniors
Do … Respect yourself. You don’t have to answer if you are not interested. You can politely decline, but don’t feel like you have to. And if someone is not respecting you, (not taking NO for an answer) then report them to the dating site’s administrators.
Do … Take everything you read online with a giant grain of salt. Do not believe everything you hear. Just because you are a respectful, honest person, does not mean that anyone else is.
Do … Meet in a public place if you have decided to meet in person. With a lot of people around, you are less likely to have embarrassing issues or confrontations that could lead to assault or other crimes.
Do … Tell a trusted friend or family member where you are going, with whom, and what time you expect to be back.
Do … Have someone you can call for backup, or a safe place you can go if you get followed. My plan, when I was meeting someone from the personal column, was to call my dad when the date was over. If I didn’t call him, he knew where my date was, and would come looking for me. I also carried my work ID with me. I would leave the date and go directly to my work, where I could get into the building with my card access, and if anyone followed me, they would be stopped at security. Another suggestion is to station a wing man. Have a friend there in the restaurant at another table. In case anything does wrong, your friend can step in.
Do … Ask someone for advice. Talk to your clergy or a good friend. And if you can, get advise from your kids or other members of your family. Talk out any feelings you have or any misgivings you are harboring. It always helps to have a sounding board for big issues like dating.
Do … Listen to your intuition. If something doesn’t add up, or sounds too good to be true, then there probably is reason to worry. Go with what your gut tells you. I know my gut is usually right.
(It’s sad that we have to think about such issues, but in this day in age, cyber crime is, and should be on all of our minds. It’s better to be safe than sorry.)
Online Dating Don’ts For Seniors
Don’t … Have anything in your profile picture that identifies where you live and work. Don’t stand in front of your house for your picture, and don’t share pictures of your house. Crooks, knowing that you are a senior citizen living alone, can easily use Google Earth to find your house, just by plugging in your home city and your house number.
Don’t … Give out your personal information. Of any kind. If possible, don’t share your last name. Hackers can take any piece of your personal information and find everything they need to know about your social security number, your bank accounts, and any other information they can use to take your money.
Don’t … Give out any money. Scammers love to pick on the lonely widow or widower, and steal your money with their hard luck stories. I made it a rule, one that I shared with my daughters as well, to ALWAYS keep your finances separate. Don’t allow joint bank accounts. Even if you really feel you can trust the person, sometimes you can’t. You might think you know someone, then all of a sudden, all your funds are gone. Don’t give access.
Don’t … Be afraid to report suspicious behavior. There is nothing wrong with calling your community service officer and telling them what you have seen and heard that concerns you. Most of the time, the police will do nothing, but the important thing is that you are on record if something bigger happens, or if things get reported by multiple people. I have personal experience with that. A relative of mine was a drug addict and convicted felon. One time she called my house and left serious threats on my answering machine. I called the community service officer. I said, just in case something happens, here is what my relative said on my answer machine. Years later, my answer machine tape was used as evidence to convict my relative of further crimes. You never know how much help you are being. So, even if it seems small or silly, report it.
Don’t … Go along with things you don’t agree with or don’t want to do, just because you don’t want to be rude. Crooks prey on people whom they can manipulate. Don’t allow yourself to be manipulated. Just say no. And sometimes you have to be rude. But being rude is a small price to pay if you can avoid getting into trouble with a scammer.
A Place to Meet Like-Minded People
As you know, if you’ve been reading my blog, I’m an advocate for grandparents and retirees learning affiliate marketing, and of the training you get from Wealthy Affiliate. This is a great place to start a part time or even full time job that will eventually earn you passive income, but also a platform to meet like-minded people with similar goals and dreams. You can meet people from very young to elderly from all of over the world. Please see my review and other articles I’ve written about Wealthy Affiliate below.
So, I don’t mean to scare you off from cyber dating or dating in general. Dating, while in your senior years, can be fun and exciting, and can be very rewarding. You can meet someone to do things with, or just to talk to. And having that connection when you’re a senior, can be very helpful to your mental health and well-being. Get out there and have fun, but take a little care and be aware of a few things, and you will be alright.
Please put your comments and questions below, and thank you so much for reading!