When the earth was young
When we last officially checked out of the dating game – what seems like a million years ago – it was a different world. Youth clubs, campuses, local nightclubs and bars; basically, we gathered wherever our age group hung out after hours and the contact was person to person.
Today, cyberspace is the place to be, so let’s take a look at what this means for dating for those us in our 50s and beyond.
Back in the dating game
Through divorce or being widowed, many Baby Boomers are now finding themselves back in the dating game.
After decades of married life, the prospect of dating again will probably range from wildly exciting to incredibly daunting.
But if you think getting back to dating in your fifties and sixties is going to be like riding the proverbial old bike, you’re only partly right; the bike has changed.
Getting back in the saddle
So what’s up with this new bike and how do you get back in the saddle without falling off – too often?
As with everything else, the digital revolution has changed the dating game forever.
While the rules of engagement are pretty much the same as they always were, the controls are vastly different.
The rise of online dating
As it turns out, people over 50 are a brilliant fit for online dating because we:
- Have laptops, smartphones, tablets and good internet connections
- Are prolific internet surfers
- Have rusty dating skills
- Can afford to sign up to quality dating sites with good matching capability and safety precautions
Today, members of our generation who are returning to dating and socialising are catered for on every conceivable level. From people looking for romance, lasting love and possible marriage, through to people just wanting to socialise and have fun with peers in a similar life stage. From sites focussed on local communities to sites with global reach – you name it, there’s a site for you.
The good stuff about online dating for an older generation
In many ways, dating sites have taken over from the stomping grounds of old – the discos, school hall dances and the lecture halls and cafeterias on every campus around the world.
Online dating sites provide a safe ‘public square’ where you can set up your profile, control your privacy and check out the opposition before making or accepting an overture.
Contact can be maintained or broken without any stressful personal contact.
Dating sites also level the playing field between the sexes. Studies have shown that women are more likely to initiate contact on a dating site than they are in person.
Things to watch out for
The good news is that online dating hasn’t really added anything negative to the dating process, however, “Security” is the watchword here.
When life goes online, it’s magnified in some respects. Your exposure to con artists and identity thieves is greater, so you have to be very careful with the information you put online and who you allow into your circle of friends.
Part of being cautious and protecting yourself is to thoroughly check out the dating sites you choose to join and trust your instincts. If you have an uncomfortable feeling about a site or potential suitor, no matter how well they check out, it’s time to move on.
Where to begin your digital dating adventure
If you are new to online dating your first port of call should be The Online Dating Association.
Formed in 2013 to bring a little law and order to a rapidly developing industry, it has loads of information about online dating best practices. You get free, detailed advice on how to compile your profile, how to meet people online and how to go about staying safe when the time comes to meet a new acquaintance in person.
Apart from being a great introduction to what should be an exciting and rewarding “next chapter” in your life, the Online Dating Association provides a list of its members. This is probably the best place to start, because even the fairly focussed search term “online dating sites for over 50s in the UK” will hit you with over 55,000 results.
Here’s a leg up – how to find the top rated dating sites for the over 50s
Probably the most daunting thing about finding a site to join is how many you have to choose from – there are literally thousands.
Before you set off on this journey, you need to know who you are and what you’re looking for in a companion. This may seem obvious, but if you don’t take a few moments to reflect on exactly what you want and what you are expecting from the sites you join, you may well be disappointed.
All sites need a personal profile. For guidance, refer to the Online Dating Association guidelines and their great advice on how to handle dating on the internet.
With your profile sorted, make a short list of some sites you feel interested in and then hit the Reviews trail. Here’s a great review site to get you started and give you some ideas for the type of sites you might be interested in using: Which Date
Read as many reviews as you feel are necessary to make a decision, but don’t make the mistake of reading only the first one that pops up.
Be bold, be safe and have fun
In the end, online dating isn’t so different from what we got up to in our youth. The focus might have shifted for most of us, but the anticipation and thrill of new beginnings is every bit as exciting as it used to be. Enjoy the adventure.