Online dating for older adults
30th October 2017
This news article is from Handicare UK. Articles that appear on this website are for information purposes only.
Finding love in later life should not feel like an impossible task, especially in 2017. With the advancements in technology, finding a partner should, in theory, be easier! The reality is many online dating sites are confusing and once on there it is a minefield.
With a few simple tips, online dating can be both safe and satisfying and can help people find companionship. Getting out to meet people can be difficult as people get older, especially if they have mobility issues and rely on accessible facilities like easy access showers. Trying online dating can open a wide range of opportunities.
It seems that every other day a new-fangled dating app is being launched with an innovative way of matching people. Other sites have been around for well over a decade and tout their algorithms as the secret behind their success.
So what should people know before starting, how can they ensure they are talking to the right sort of partner and maximise their presence online? Find out below.
The right platform
As previously mentioned, there are lots of different sites that offer to find the perfect partner. These can be mainstream or more tailored to niche corners of society. Some of these require those wishing to join to fill out lengthy personality questionnaires which may not appeal to everyone. Other platforms may feel unwieldy and some may even be geared to a different kind of relationship. Choosing the right platform is the key to initial success. Various people have researched some of these dating apps and this Huffington Post article has a great breakdown.
Be aware that many dating platforms are not free, which may mean people go to the effort of constructing the perfect profile, just to find out they are unable to match without paying a fee. Reading the terms and conditions is essential.
Safety is another area to explore and this primarily comes down to the right platform. Some dating sites have strict safety features, requiring different social medias and additional images to confirm who you are. Without these measures, people find themselves talking to perfect strangers pretending to be someone else.
This is important and dependent on the platform of choice. Sites reliant on a sophisticated algorithm need to know personality traits and this can result in a long questionnaire. This should by no means result in a profile that has received less care and attention. As the principle point people convey their personality, profiles should be treated with the utmost care.
A profile that goes on too long will often be skipped, but one that has little information will leave prospective partners unsatisfied. Neither of those scenarios will end in much success. Finding a balance of humour and fun while still conveying the intent of a person’s presence online is an art, but thankfully there are experts to help.
Humans are often very driven by visuals, so though it is important for people to look their best, it is also important, to be honest, and accurate with the images. Photos should be recent, clear and a good headshot never goes amiss.
Being aware that the profile picture is where people make their first judgement, the rules that apply to social media are no longer relevant. While someone may post on Facebook a picture of themselves and their friends enjoying a meal on a Saturday, this will lead to confusion online as a prospective partner tries to identify who you are. Poor lighting and a lack of thought in the clothing will also dissuade people to further peruse a profile.
If someone is conscious of the word count on their profile, employ a ‘show not tell’ attitude. The Hey Saturday blog has some great suggestions:
“The one thing that your dating profile photos should aim to do, is tell people a little bit more about who you are and your personality, while still being as natural as possible. Perhaps choose a background or location for your shots that make you feel comfortable and tells people a little bit about you. Having a prop with you in your photo is also a great way of giving people clues about your interests and lifestyle.”
The first contact
Whoever chooses to make the first contact has an added responsibility – not that this should put anybody off being proactive. With the initial contact comes the pressure of being interesting, engaging and showing that they have read the other person’s profile, a simple ‘hi’ won’t cut it.
A first contact needs to stand out in the other person’s inbox and should, therefore, be well crafted. A little humour goes a long way and while some introduction is necessary, asking questions about the other person is usually a good way forward, maybe referencing something interesting or unusual in their profile.
According to Men Ask Em, you can cut the awkwardness with a well-honed initial question:
“A great first message jumps past pointless questions and right into specific questions. The best questions you can ask have “long-game.” That’s why it works so well to ask a girl about something you have in common. When you bring up a topic you both like, you’ll both have lots to say about it, which paves the way for a longer conversation.”
The reason that many people avoid online dating is safety and as many people represent themselves dishonestly online, it is a fair concern. However, with a little care and an early warning, everyone can avoid a dangerous situation.
People should not be able to deduce the last name, address or occupation of others online. This is mainly to prevent identity theft. While these may be details shared as people get to know each other better, it should not be in the initial contact.
The first time a couple meet, certain precautions should be taken. Sandy Weiner from Last First Date has some suggestions about maintaining security:
“When you meet a date in person, meet in a busy public place. Never have your date pick you up or come to your house. Before you leave, inform a friend of where you are going and when you expect you’ll be home. If plans change, keep your buddy informed of your whereabouts.”
A local café or a restaurant in the centre of town is perfect for a first date, however meeting during the day is safer, as is ensuring there is available transport to get home and you are not reliant on the other person.