The world of dating has changed over the past couple of decades, and this is mainly due to the popularisation of the internet. No longer do we need to go out to meet new people, instead we can just go online with our computers and smart phones and make new connections with other singles from all around the planet. This is part of the new pace of modern life, where we expect things to happen immediately and as easily as possible. The problem is that not everyone knows how to use computers and how to navigate through the jungle that is the World Wide Web; and that is especially true about people who are into their later years. The question is: is the web a safe place for mature people to find love and companionship?
Not so different from the past
It takes practice to understand how the internet works. At first it seems like a fountain of knowledge until you realise that it is mainly people trying to sell you things; but that takes time to understand. Furthermore, making the difference between fact and lies isn’t as easy as it seems. Back a few years ago printed words had some meaning and some validity; but if you remember well not every newspaper would tell the truth. There were plenty of trashy news outlets even before the existence of the internet. So in essence, it is nothing new, rather it is the same just placed into a different context.
For example, the concept of spam emails might sound strange at first. Receiving messages from strangers offering you some inheritance or telling you you’ve won a price isn’t any different that the junk mail you used to receive in the past through your letterbox. Remember all those letter saying you won a cruise trip around the world, the only thing needed was for you to send a small deposit? Online cons are very much the same, and once you get over your fear of using a new platform, you will find that anything that sounds too good to be true generally is. In other words: your common sense has to prevail online just like it does in the real world.
What about online dating?
Looking for love often puts you in a vulnerable situation, it was like that in the past and it is still the same in our present time. This sounds worse that what it is, but it is something worth talking about. When you say you are single and looking for love, you are also saying that you are alone and lonely; two things which scammers love to jump onto. Saying you are alone on the internet or saying it to someone face-to-face puts you roughly in the same spot. The difference is that if you do it online, you can reach a lot more people in a shorter amount of time. This is both a good and a bad thing. The good side is that as a single person, you can reach other singles faster and easier. The bad side is that more people are aware of your loneliness. So what is the solution to this? Well, it’s the same as it was before: you can tell people you are single without making it sound like you are alone and vulnerable. Make sure you come across as someone strong who knows what they want and don’t compromise. That way you will filter out the wrong people who are looking to prey on other’s weaknesses. Again, this is no different from the past, only the platform has changed but the principle remains the same.
Choosing a dating site
This is the trickier part: how do you know what site is safe, and actually do any of those dating sites actually work? The first thing to do is for you to create a new email address that you can use solely for dating purposes. Just make sure that email doesn’t have you family name or any numbers such as your birth year, that way you will keep a certain degree of anonymity.
Once you’ve created that email, you can use it to sign up to your chosen site. It is important to know that any good dating site will allow you to sign up for free, you shouldn’t have to pay from the start. That way you can look around the site and its members and see if you like what you see. Using a free account usually means that the site’s functionalities will be limited, but it should at least give you a good way to check around without having to pay just for that privilege.
So which site should you choose if you are dating in your later years? The truth is that it really depends what you want. There are a lot of dating sites, and most of them will specialise into one thing or the other. If you are looking for a partner who is also in their later years, it is best to avoid the dating sites that specialise in younger people. Instead you are better off searching for ‘mature dating sites’ by typing just that into Google. The reason for choosing a mature dating site is that the people who go there are more likely to be closer to you, more like-minded and generally more mature about how they deal with dating. Young people can be quite rude and using the right site will lead to less rejection.
How to keep safe online
We already discussed the idea of making sure that you don’t come across as lonely or desperate, but there are other things you can do to keep safe online. One of the key things is to make sure you keep your privacy intact. This means you shouldn’t give out your private phone number, you address, your family name; or any other details that people can use to find you in the real world. Anonymity is important, at least in the early stages of meeting people online.
Maybe after talking to someone for a while you can get a better sense of who they are, and if they are genuine. However until you do it is best to keep a wall between you and people, just take your time and be patient. Don’t let your emotions dictate your actions, instead use as much of your logic as you can. If someone sounds too perfect, then they often are, and if they are really as wonderful as they say, then they probably wouldn’t be using dating sites at the first place.
Another very important thing is this: if anyone that you meet online ever asks you for money, then stop being in contact with them. This might sound obvious but it is one of the classical online dating scams. That person will be in touch with you for a while. Getting you to feel for them. Then one day they will message you saying they are having family issues, or illness issues; and they are in need of money. Basically they warm you up at first, get you to trust them and then they ask for money. One you’ve given them the money, you might not hear from them ever again, or they might ask for more later. So to cut this short, any request for money is a no=go zone, avoid them at all costs.
Finally, just remember that you are at home in the comfort of your own house using your computer. No one can really get to you, and no one should rush you into doing anything you don’t want to or are not comfortable doing. You have the power to lead the situation, you are in control. Think of it as the following: you can hang up the phone on a cold calling salesman, you can close your door on a door-to-door salesman; and it is even easier to ignore unwanted messages. As long as you stay in control, there is no reason why you should use dating sites in your later years. Just remember it is all about keeping it together and you will be fine.