As more elderly people are becoming more knowledgeable and confident in their ability to use the internet it’s only natural that they’ve also embraced the concept of internet dating, which is an area which has become increasingly popular in general.
Like any form of dating such as an introduction agency, you’re always going to get people who aren’t always what they say they are and you’re highly likely to encounter quite a few frogs before you come across a prince (if you’re a woman), not to mention a host of exaggerated claims about looks, employment and background.
However, as long as you follow some basic safety precautions, internet dating is no less safe than any other form of introduction service and can claim quite a few successes in putting two like minded souls together who might never have met without going online.
Steps You Should Take
Apart from trying to find the ‘love of your life’, your main concerns if using an internet dating website are your safety and privacy. Have a look around some of the dating websites and look for feedback in forums about their reputation before joining one.
There are also a lot of niche dating agencies which cater for older people or with those who have specific interests so don’t be in a rush to get started, do some research first. You may end up getting lots of responses if you’re lucky, some of which you’ll want to pursue further, many of which you won’t, so be sure to open a new e-mail account when it comes to giving your e-mail address out solely for this purpose so the responses don’t interfere with your usual mailbox.
Once you’ve decided on a site you think is best for you, see if it has the opportunity to take a free trial before you have to decide if you want to upgrade to a full membership. You’ll be more able to get a feel of the different types of people on different dating sites without committing yourself financially first.
Staying Safe in the ‘Getting To Know You Stage’
Take things very slowly in the initial stages of getting to know somebody over the internet. A few e-mails might next lead to using live messenger services where you can have a ‘conversation’ in real time by simply typing your responses.
It might then lead to using a webcam and that, perhaps in conjunction with a phone conversation but only let things develop at your own pace and don’t give out any information unless you’re 100% comfortable with it. Unlike a real face-to-face date across, say, a dinner table, there’s no awkwardness if you find that you just don’t feel compatible with the other person.
Online, you’re as anonymous as you want to make it, so if things don’t seem to be working out, simply be polite, tell the other person so and move on. And if you should find that you’re inundated with abusive or persistent e-mails as a result of your rejecting them, you can report the person to the online dating service.
Be very careful what kind of information you post up on your personal dating space and the information you give away in any subsequent e-mails, messenger chats and phone conversations.
Don’t post pictures of your kids or grandchildren and never give out any kind of financial details or your home address. As a general rule of thumb, cut short any contact where people try to find out too much information about you too soon or put pressure on you to meet almost immediately.
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A healthy dose of realism, if not entirely scepticism is what’s called for here. In other words, you shouldn’t take it too seriously, at least not in the initial stages.
People will want to portray themselves in the very best light and some will exaggerate to extremes to impress so take things slowly and carefully whilst having fun at the same time.
Your safety and privacy should be your main concerns whilst if you do get to the point whereby you want to arrange an actual face-to-face ‘date’, all the usual safeguards you should take when actually meeting a person for the first time should apply and there are plenty of resources online to help you with that and all reputable internet dating sites will also give you good guidelines to ensure your safety on that first date.
So, internet dating shouldn’t be dismissed out of hand unless you’ve tried it. Who knows you may get lucky and meet a look-a-like Brad Pitt or Catherine Zeta-Jones!
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