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Four tips for online dating for later in life

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In the wake of Valentine’s Day, it’s back to the drawing board for those who took a break from swiping on Tinder to eat free chocolate and watch chick flicks.

While online dating has become the norm for millennials, statistics show that older adults are also starting to use online applications and websites for dating.

In fact, 15 percent of those aged 55 and older are going online to find love and companionship. As the online dating trend gradually grows, here are four things to consider when venturing online to find love:

1. Getting started: Find a dating service that works for your lifestyle

So you’ve decided to give online dating a try. But where do you start? First off, choose a dating service that works for you.

There are multiple sites and apps available. However, some allow you to connect to other singles of the same age, gender or cultural group.

For example, is specifically for users age 55 or older only. When choosing a site, think about what you want to get out of it. Ask yourself these questions:

  • Am I looking for friendship or long-term romance?
  • Do I want to date people my age or am I open to varying age ranges?
  • Do I want to date people with similar religious beliefs?

These are just some factors to consider before choosing a dating site. Once you’ve assessed, you’ll have an easier time choosing the platform that is best for you.

Here are five dating sites with positive reviews to consider:

  1. A community “that helps people over 50 find the companionship they need.” While Stitch offers dating services, it also boasts that, by joining Stitch, you will gain a community of friends. Stitch offers people dating options, travel partners, or workout buddies.
  2. While not exclusive to the 50-plus crowd, has more users in this age group than any other online dating service.
  3. This site is simple and, according to the site’s creators, it’s the most popular dating site for people ages 55 and older.
  4. OurTime caters to people over 50.
  5. ChristianMingle: A dating website exclusively for Christian singles. If your religion is an important factor when considering a potential companion, ChristianMingle may be a good place to start.

2. Make your profile stand out

Now that you’ve chosen an online dating platform, it’s important to create a profile that shines. Take time to create a meaningful profile summary — something that highlights who YOU really are.

Be specific.

“Potential dates skimming your profile are more likely to respond to specifics. Believe me, it’s a much better strategy than scheduling a coffee date and finding you have little or nothing in common,” Next Avenue author Chuck Otto said.

It’s also important to choose a photo that reflects what you actually look like. We all want to make the best impression, but don’t post a photo from your high school glory days if you’re retired. Choose a photo that highlights your best qualities and doesn’t leave potential lovers guessing which of the three people in the picture is actually you.

3. Staying safe online: Be cautious at all times

While there are plenty of happily ever afters from online dating, it’s always necessary to be cautious online. Watch out for common red flags to avoid scam artists and a broken heart. According to US News, these four signs could mean bad news:

  1. Unusually bad grammar: Not only is it unappealing, but odd phrasing raises suspicion that they’re using an online translation service.
  2. Never available: It’s best to cut communication with someone who is never available to meet in person.
  3. Head over heels too fast: While everyone loves hearing those three little words (I love you), if it comes unnaturally quickly, it could be a scam.
  4. Asking for money: If a new online connection asks for money, delete them.

Stay safe and post cautiously on social media. While we all want to post about our upcoming holiday vacation or weekend plans with our new crush, social media gives everyone, including strangers, a clear view into your world, leaving you vulnerable and exposed.

4. Dating successfully: Dos and don’ts of online dating

Blind dates are exciting and nerve-wracking. You never know if you’ll hit it off or be faced with two hours of awkward conversation over dinner. However, there are some basic dos and don’ts when it comes to dating.

Dating coach Lisa Copeland suggests these three tips when dating after 50 years old:

  1. Be available: You may connect great via chat, but if you’re never willing to meet up in person, you’re never going to fall in love.
  2. Have an open mind: Be open to who you date. While you may have certain non-negotiables, be willing to chat and date with a variety of people. You may fall in love with someone you’d never consider all because you took a chance.
  3. Understand your partner: When dating as a senior, you may be stuck in your ways. While it’s important to stay true to who you are, it’s also important to understand people for who they are. Learn how your potential partner communicates and make an effort to speak their language.

While your kids may be grown and you may be retired, don’t close the door on finding love as a senior. Online dating opens up many new possibilities for finding true love or companionship on the web.

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