Online dating may be a good option if you're over 50 and looking for love. It can be an excellent way to meet new people—and yes, many singles in their 50s and beyond have found lasting love through online dating sites.
It takes work. There are many things to scrutinize if you want to ensure the experience is successful: How do I look on my profile? What should I say about myself?
Do I need to list all my health conditions upfront? What should I write in my profile introduction? And what if something goes wrong? How do I handle an uncomfortable situation or someone who's just not nice?
We'll address these questions (and more) below as we explain why online dating works so well for older adults and how best to avoid potential pitfalls.
Do Your Research and Make a Plan
To find love online, it's essential to do your research and plan. Determine which sites are best suited for your needs. Many options are available if you're looking for something casual or long-term.
Have fun. Online dating can be an exciting new experience full of possibilities if approached in the right way.
Consider Setting Goals for the Dating Process
Setting objectives is an excellent way to keep yourself motivated and on track.
A goal can be anything from "I want to find someone who shares my interests" to "I want to date someone who lives in my home city.
For example, if you're looking for love after 50 and you have a busy schedule with work and kids, traveling across town or even out of state for coffee dates with people who aren't compatible with your lifestyle might be challenging.
If this sounds familiar, consider setting an online dating goal: find someone who lives nearby so we can meet up in person more quickly.
Make Up a Profile With Your Best Self in Mind
When creating your online dating profile, it's essential to ensure that everything is accurate.
If you say you are 5'10" and weigh 150 pounds, don't take a photo of yourself at 300 pounds (unless it's an old picture). Use recent photos with flattering angles and lighting that show off your best features.
Use photos of yourself and not those of other people in them. It will help potential dates know what they should expect when meeting with you in person by showing off how much fun or serious-minded you are, depending on what kind of picture it is.
Avoid using overly personal photos like ones where we're wearing swimsuits or other revealing clothing. It can be too much information for some people who may only want to date someone once they've gotten to know them better.
Write a Bio That's Honest but Not Too Revealing
Your bio should be honest and genuine but not too revealing. You want to leave some mystery for your potential date to explore.
Keep your personal information private from your profile. It's okay to mention that you have kids but doesn't discuss their ages or personalities.
People who don't know them will think they're babies (and maybe wonder why they haven't met), while those who do know them may feel like they're being included in something private and potentially uncomfortable (like when a friend asks me how my son is doing).
Don't mention religion or politics; this can lead to fights later. If someone wants to know more about these topics because they're important issues for them, then feel free to bring them up.
Save the details until after the first date so that if things don't work out romantically, there won't be any awkwardness about continuing friendship ties, among other things, like family members who might not agree with each other politically and religiously.
Check Out the Profiles of Those You're Interested in
Look for a picture that shows off their face, and make sure it's not too close to the edge of your screen or cut off at the top or bottom.
If you see someone who looks like they could be anyone--like an actor or model--try to find out more about them by reading their bio and looking at some photos on social media sites like Facebook or Instagram (or wherever).
If the person has been active on dating sites for a while, some information about them might be available online.
Also, look at what kind of personal information they have provided on these profiles: age range, location, religion, and ethnicity (if applicable)
Be Honest About Your Age and Health
Be honest about your age and health. Don't try to hide your age or lie about it. If you're 62, say so.
And if you have health issues that could affect the other person's decision to go on a date with you (diabetes, high blood pressure), be open about that too.
It's better than having them find out later when it might be too late for them to back out gracefully.
Ask for What You Want - and Avoid What You Don't Want
When dating, it can be easy to get caught up in the excitement of being around someone new and lose track of your goals.
It's essential to stay focused on what matters most to you. It will not work out long-term if the person you are dating does not share similar interests or values.
It's also essential that both people know what they want from each other before starting a relationship together, so there are no surprises later on down the road when one person wants something different than what was initially agreed upon during courtship (e.g., marriage).
Don't Check Out Anyone Who Isn't Interested in You Back
Don't waste time on people who aren't interested in you back. If someone doesn't respond to your message, don't keep sending them messages or trying to get their attention.
Move on. Be bold and let people know that you like them and ask them out on dates; if they aren't interested, they can always say no (and then it's up to you whether or not you want to continue talking with that person).
Don't be afraid of rejection either--there's nothing wrong with being rejected sometimes. If someone says no when asked out on a date or doesn't answer an invitation for coffee, lunch, or dinner. Don't take it personally--move on.
Give People the Benefit of the Doubt
One of the crucial things you can do is to give people a chance.
The internet can be an important place to meet people, but it's also full of trolls and fake profiles. Don't judge someone on their first impression because they may not be who they seem.
It may sound conspicuous, but you need to try it out before you pass judgment on someone else or don't even bother giving them a chance.
Decide How Far You're Willing to Travel for Love
You might be shocked to learn that people can travel far to find love.
Of course, this depends on age, seriousness about finding love, and income. If you're in your twenties or thirties, traveling more than 60 miles would mean moving away from home and starting over somewhere new--which could be scary.
But if you're over 50 years old and ready to settle down with someone special (and not just looking for casual dating), it makes sense to consider moving closer to where they live.
For example, consider moving back home with your family so they can help take care of any kids who need extra attention while raising them as their grandchildren.
There may be some excellent schools nearby instead of paying tuition at another school far away from home where they know their classmates well enough not to need extra tutoring since everyone already knows each other.
Monitor Your Online Activity
Be careful what you say. When you're online, monitoring your activity and ensuring that nothing in your profile can be taken out of context or used against you is essential.
For example, if a potential match sees that your profile says, "I love the outdoors," they might think that means hiking and skiing--but maybe it means camping with no electricity or running water?
Use an innocuous screen name. If people can figure out who owns the account by looking at the username or avatar image (and many do), then consider using one of these tips:
Don't Be Too Picky
It's easy to get engrossed in what you want and not consider whether or not a person is right for you.
However, it's essential to keep your options open when dating online. Don't rule out anyone based on physical attributes or age--you never know who might surprise you.
Be open-minded about location as well; if someone lives far away, they'll move closer because they want to spend more time with you. Perhaps they even have friends who could help relocate them (or vice versa).
Similarly, interests can be overlooked when looking for love online because we often assume that our goods will determine compatibility with another person's tastes; however, this is only sometimes true.
For example, You may have little interest in sports but find yourself falling head over heels for someone who loves playing volleyball every weekend because he makes an effort to show off his athletic skills.
And then later admits that his goal was to impress girls like you.
Be Bold and Set Up a Date
If you're shy, asking someone out can be very difficult. But don't be afraid of rejection. If the answer is no, move on with your life and try again later if there's still interest on both sides.
If you get turned down or embarrassed by an invitation that doesn't work out (or even if it does), don't take it personally--it wasn't meant to be. Everyone has different preferences regarding dating, so keep trying until you find someone who wants what you have in mind.
If you're looking for love after 50, consider using online dating sites to meet people. Many people have found their partners this way, and they can help you find someone special too.
Keep your expectations realistic when meeting someone new online or offline for the first time (or even second).
Take your time getting used to each other and avoid rushing into anything too quickly if you want a lasting relationship with someone who truly understands and appreciates who you are today and who you'll become tomorrow.