If you’ve spent any time here on the Smart Dating Over 60 blog, you know that we write about online dating a lot.
As I’ve written many times, Cosmo and I met through one, so we know it can work.
Cosmo was successful with dating sites almost immediately. I was on the lookout for new members who seemed like a good match for me and I reached out to him the same day his profile first appeared.
My own success took longer. But along the way, I met some very nice men online who didn’t click with me, but the date was enjoyable nevertheless.
And I learned a lot about who I was looking for, so I was truly ready when Cosmo’s profile passed in front of me.
On our first date, the power of dating sites became abundantly clear to us. We learned that we had been living across the street from each other for about 7 years.
After 7 years, living in a rural area with large lots spacing neighbors far apart, we were unlikely to have ever met, if not for dating sites.
What’s holding you back from using online dating sites?
You’re reading this article so you’re either considering trying online dating or you’re at least somewhat interested.
Do you hesitate because of these things?
- You assume only losers use these sites. You don’t want to look like a loser or date one.
- You think it’s better to meet someone through traditional dating methods (by chance in person or through an introduction by someone who knows you both).
- You think it may not be safe because these sites are loaded with loonies, scammers and people up to no good.
Before I started using online dating sites, I could answer “yes” to all of the above.
But I didn’t want to grow old alone, so I took the plunge. After just a short time on the sites, all my hesitation was gone.
I learned how to use the sites to my advantage, and sidestep inherent problems.
Let’s take a look at each one of the above possible objections and why they shouldn’t keep you from using dating sites.
3 Reasons You May Be Afraid of Online Dating, But Shouldn’t Be
1. Only losers use these sites
In my years of experience with online dating sites, I rarely came across someone I would consider a loser, which is a pretty harsh term. I mean, how do you actually define what makes someone a loser?
I had dates with men who I didn’t care for, for various reasons, but I could tell they would be right for someone else.
Because these sites have so many members, it’s not surprising that a few clunkers would be mixed in.
Once you’ve had a few dates, you’ll probably be able to spot those people you consider to be losers right away.
With a little savvy you can probably weed them out by what’s in their profile, or what they say in your initial emails back and forth, or what they say when you talk by phone . . . before you ever have an in-person date with them.
By the way, one of the best ways to weed out any undesirable dates is to proceed slowly, leading up to a first date.
One of the good things about dating sites: Since there are so many people using them, they offer a lot more potential dates than you’d meet otherwise.
This gives you the opportunity to date more frequently.
Having more first dates may sound like a downside, but it’s not.
When you’re seriously looking for a soulmate or life partner or even for companionship, frequent dating helps you understand yourself and your needs better.
2. Better to first meet in person or through traditional methods
You may be fortunate enough to have a large, far-reaching network of family and friends who will keep supplying you with possible dates.
But that’s not true for most of us, and wasn’t true for me.
Many of us don’t have those resources, so online dating sites are a boon for us.
For several years before I finally jumped on the online dating bandwagon, I clung to the notion that I would magically bump into Mr. Right and all would work out well.
Of course, fairy tales rarely do come true.
I tried all kinds of ways to position myself around potential dates out in the world, but none of it led to anything.
My advice: Don’t give up on either method of meeting dates.
Keep asking everyone you know if they know someone good for you, but also at least dip your toes into the vast dating pool of online dating sites.
Think of online dating as insurance that you actually will meet someone right for you, when the other ways don’t pan out.
3. Safety concerns
Unfortunately, dating someone you first met in person doesn’t guarantee your dating safety.
Unless you’re thinking of dating someone you’ve known as a friend for a long time, you’ll be dating a stranger.
Whether someone you know has introduced someone to you, or you meet someone at the grocery store or some event and decide to have a date, that person is a stranger to you.
A stranger is a stranger . . . no matter how you first meet them.
Bad things can happen on a date even if a friend of yours introduced you and vouches for that person.
You may come across scammers and other deceptive people on dating sites.
But you can easily outsmart them by not continuing to engage with them, once you’re suspicious of who they really are.
With just a little savvy on your part, they won’t be able to get anywhere with you.
If you’re cautious, you’ll spot and dump scammers before they do any harm to you.
Some of their tactics are laughable. I remember a few people emailing me overly flattering statements based solely on my profile. We hadn’t communicated yet in any way. And their emails weren’t written coherently and overall didn’t make a lot of sense.
Once or twice I answered their emails, but they never responded. My suspicions were right.
Red flags to detect scammers
Here are a few red flags from CBSNews to help you detect scammers before they entrap you, including someone who:
- Urges you to move your communications off the site. A typical reason they give is that their membership is about to run out.
- Goes overboard lavishing you with attention and flattery. If you’re lonely and vulnerable, they’ll pick up on it, make you feel like a million bucks and then easily convince you that they’re in love with you.
- Always has some kind of excuse for why they can’t meet you in person.
How to keep yourself safe from bad players
And you may come across people who are out to do you physical harm.
With simple precautions like these you’ll keep yourself safe . . . whether you first meet them online or in person:
✅ Be truthful on your online dating profile, but don’t include your real name or any other identifying information about yourself.
✅ Find out as much as you can about someone, before you have that first date. Here’s one of the ways online dating will benefit you. A dating profile will probably give you more information about them than you’d get if you first met by chance in person somewhere.
✅ Don’t get into your date’s car on the first date. Drive yourself or get there yourself.
✅ Don’t invite your date to your home on the first date. Wait until you’ve had a few dates and get a sense of whether you’ll be safe alone with them.
✅ Make your first date a coffee date, so you can escape quickly and easily, if necessary. Meet during the day in a public setting.
✅ Be careful with alcohol. It may make sense to you to have a few drinks on first dates, to loosen up and have a better time. But alcohol leads to poor decision making. It’s best not to drink at all, or limit it to just one drink.
✅ If you fall head-over-heels for someone on the first date, proceed with extreme caution. No matter how great she or he is, take it slow. The “sex hormone” oxytocin may be raging within you, causing you to make hasty, unwise decisions . . . like hopping into bed with them way too early.
✅ Trust your gut and be skeptical.
- If something feels wrong about your date, don’t continue with them.
- If they keep pushing you to say “yes” when you’ve already said “no”, get away from them.
- Conversely, if someone seems way too good to be true, they probably are.
It’s okay (in fact, wise) to end a date quickly that doesn’t feel right.
And it’s okay to nip any potential problems in the bud before you meet in person by emailing/texting them that you aren’t going to make the date and you don’t think things will work out.
You should be courteous (in case they’re not really a creep), but you don’t have to give any explanations or feel bad about it.
So you see, with a little care, you don’t need to worry about your safety with online dating, as compared to traditional dating methods.
In fact, it could be said that online dating is SAFER than first meeting someone in person because you’re more likely to be on your guard having met through one of these sites.
More Online Dating Advice
As I mentioned above, Cosmo and I write about online dating a lot, because we want you to at least consider it, if you’re seriously looking for a soulmate or life partner.
Check out two of our most recent articles here about dating sites, both by Cosmo:
How Many Online Dating Sites Should You Use?
Is there a benefit to using multiple dating sites and apps? Or is it better to focus on only one?
My recommendation is to start with at least two or three dating apps such as eHarmony (our readers’ favorite online dating site), Zoosk or Elite Singles.
Make sure you can dedicate some time each week to be active on the sites. Time availability is obviously unique to your situation and it’s a determining factor in how many sites or apps you should use. If you don’t devote regular time, you won’t have much luck.
Don’t spread yourself too thin by using more sites than you have time to manage.
Best Place to Meet Singles – Online or Offline?
What’s the best way to meet mature singles nearby? Opinions on this topic can get quite passionate.
One the one hand, there are plenty of skeptics about online dating and dating apps. On the other, there are others just as frustrated from trying to meet older singles via traditional offline networking.
Here on our blog, we routinely see people venting about one dating method or another.
For instance, some folks swear they’ll never use dating sites again. Others say it’s impossible to find dates via traditional offline methods. Others who have given up on finding compatible singles often blame it on a lack of eligible older singles in their area.
But there are compelling reasons to use a mix of methods to meet singles, no matter where you are searching geographically, or where you are in your dating journey.
The reason for frustration often lies not in the online or offline method, but in how they use them.
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