You haven't had a date with anybody other than your ex-spouse in 30 years. Is Internet dating right for you? Before you go high-tech with your love life, here are some things to consider.
The biggest benefit of using the Internet is that it allows singles to come into contact with people they wouldn't have otherwise met.
Unlike when we were younger, there aren't places where older singles gather primarily for the purpose of meeting each other. The Internet can offer the opportunity to "mingle" specifically with those in our own age group. This is especially helpful to people living in towns or remote areas where there aren't people many other ThirdAgers to date. It's also particularly important for those of us who aren't as mobile as we once were. Without leaving the house, the Internet allows us to establish contact with a large number of people who ostensibly are interested in finding romance.
But while the Internet has brought many older singles together, don't kid yourself -- it's not an easy arena. Let's look at some of the realities of online dating.
What you see may not be what you get. People misrepresent themselves. The biggest fib seems to be about age. Many single women feel that if they're honest about how old they are in an online personal ad, they'll get few -- if any -- date offers.
Anne, a single woman from North Carolina, ran an Internet ad stating that she was 55, although she's 60. She met a man via the ad and went out with him once. Later, she changed her profile to say that she was 57. At that point, the man she'd dated sent her an e-mail with a subject line that read, "Leap Years." His message: "We go out once and your age in your profile goes from 55 to 57. At that rate, a few dates and you're in your 60s." She had changed her age in her profile because she'd felt guilty. William Mosconi of Anaheim, California, said, "Age has no bearing on real age. Sometimes 'little white fibs' of omission may be OK to hold back for a later time if the relationship takes hold."The next biggest fib: using an outdated picture. One woman received a response to her ad from a minister. After a few e-mails, she "confessed" to fudging about her age. He wrote back, "I confess, too. I fudged also. My first picture is a year old, but the others were taken several years ago." Even men of the cloth tell "little white fibs" on the Internet! The "third biggest" fib: masquerading as someone else, whether it be a pilot, lawyer, or doctor, or whether it's about being single, divorced, or a widower. All could be lies. That "unattached advertising executive" could be unemployed and married.
RisksThe biggest risk: people lurking on the Web with evil intentions -- to steal your assets or to inflict bodily harm. When meeting strangers in person, always be careful. Meet only in public places and share information about yourself slowly.For women in particular, another risk may about men looking for sex. Savvy women can tell by the questions men ask. There are a lot of these guys out there. RejectionWhen Internet dating, one needs a thick skin. Don't take rejection personally; it goes with the turf. Gina Woodruff of Long Beach, California, made plans to meet a man for a drink as their first date. But as soon as she'd ordered her club soda, he left. Another ThirdAger said, "I've gotten a couple of those 'the chemistry isn't right' comments. Must be a way to say, 'I don't like the way you look.'" Tips for Online DatingThe Internet is a powerful way to meet people, but keep these final thoughts in mind: Don't be idealistic or expect too much Don't take rejection personally Trust your instincts If someone seems too good to be true, he or she probably is When meeting in person, be extremely careful and aware Don't be naive or gullible Remember: You're playing in the big leagues nowTom Blake is a syndicated columnist in Southern California and the author of Finding Love After 50: How to Begin. Where to Go. What to Do (Tooter's, 2003).
Source: Relationships & Love