Are you a senior single who finds yourself muttering “I hate online dating?” Or maybe your online dating frustration just leaves you a bit depressed about the prospects of ever finding a good match.
Sure, it’s easy to blame the online dating apps for a bad experience or lack of success, especially if the whole online process is new to you. Combine that with the fact that it may have been decades since your last dating experience.
Yet there are simple ways to ensure that the dating sites are working for you, and not against you. I’ll get to that in a second.
The Not-So-Hidden Agenda of Online Dating Sites
Admittedly, there are indeed reasons to be skeptical about whether dating sites actually work for the benefit of their members.
1 – Agendas differ.
Dating sites are businesses which need profit to survive. There is nothing wrong with that. Their agenda is to make money. Yours is to find compatible dating partners.
Sites that have your interests at heart will satisfy both agendas.
2 – You are both the consumer and the product.
This means you’ll be subject to all kinds of research and analysis, often without your knowledge.
A few years ago, it was discovered that OK Cupid conducted social experiments on its users—without telling them.
“In one test, it obscured profile pictures. In another, the site hid profile text to see how it affected personality ratings. And in a third, it told some hopeful daters that they were a better or worse potential match with someone than the company’s software actually determined.”
One result: if a user was told that a prospective match had a high compatibility score (when in truth they didn’t) they were more likely to reach out to that incompatible person with a message.
OK Cupid technically did nothing wrong, and their terms of service say that users might be subject to research and analysis. They also said they did the tests in an effort to make the website work better for the user, likening their test to medical studies in which subjects are given placebos.
So if your intuition is telling you something isn’t quite right with the matches you’re getting, there might be a reason for it, not of your own making.
I remember answering tons of questions on one dating site. Matches trickled in ever so slowly and none of them seemed quite right for a couple of months. That’s when someone reminded me it’s better for the dating site, at $59/month, for me to take a long time to find the right one.
3 – Some dating sites are, well, crazy or dangerous. You be the judge.
How about Meet-an-Inmate, for those George Costanza types who like a no-commitment dysfunctional relationship at a distance.
Or CraigsList Personals and STD Match for people who like high stakes and an element of danger. (To be fair, STD Match serves a purpose in matching up singles who have STD’s. However, I don’t think you’d want to use it if you’re disease-free!)
Others like Hot or Not, Beautiful People, and Ugly Schmucks could drag your self-esteem to new lows, if you let them.
However, if they suit you, by all means press ahead. You have to find what works for you.
Reasons Why Dating Sites are Useful Tools
I could probably find other reasons to avoid dating sites, but I prefer to live in the solution.
The fact is that online dating widens the pool of available prospects.
Some other compelling facts:
- About one third of all online users have used a dating website or app.
- About 47% of online users have met a romantic partner using a dating app or site (or know someone who has).
- About 20% of committed relationships and 17% of marriages started online (Statistic Brain).
I met Daisy online even though she lived across the street from me for years. We would never have met without online dating.
How to Get the Most from Online Senior Dating Sites
As with all important things in life, it pays to be proactive in your dating search. No one is going to look out for you as well as you will.
There are three things that will get you on the path to finding success with your online dating adventure. And it starts well before you sign up for any kind of dating app.
1 – Know yourself.
The better you know yourself and all your motivations, passions, personal attributes, strengths and weaknesses, the better you’ll be at picking a compatible partner.
2 – Know your ideal partner.
It’s not rocket science. In fact, a successful dating strategy very much parallels successful job search strategies, as well as successful marketing tactics. To get a great job, you have to know who you want as your employer so you can go after them. In business, you must know who you want as a customer. From that, all else flows.
The same applies to dating. Once you know who your ideal partner is, you can start on the path to finding them. Otherwise, you’re just flailing about blindly, hoping to find the right one in a much smaller local pool of friends, family, and work.
Online dating sites are simply tools of the trade to help you find that person. It’s software that’s going to instantly broaden your world of dating prospects while weeding out those who who aren’t a good match.
When you look at dating apps as your tools to use as you see fit, you are in control. Not them.
When you know yourself and know what you want in your partner, the search is easy.
For example, when a dating site presents you with dozens of matches, it only takes seconds to weed them out because you know precisely what you want. No guessing. No failed dates. No frustration.
3 – Try several senior dating sites or apps.
Once you know yourself and who you want, experiment with several sites. Try both free and paid sites but expect to pay something at some point.
Even the “free” sites ask you to cough up some money to access features that you need to really work well within their platform. Yet many of the free versions will give you a good feeling for how they work, before you need to commit money.
Read about the online dating sites that are right for you in Top 10 Best Online Dating Sites for Over 60: How To Choose and Use Them.
Ultimately, your online dating success depends on your goals and how you feel about your interactions with potential dates on each site.
- Do you like how they behave and communicate?
- Are you finding matches that you’re willing to date?
- Do you have to wade through a lot of casual observers and trolls to find good prospects?
If you’re over 60 and are fed up with your online dating experience, don’t despair. Check out this road map for dating success to get the confidence and skills you need to find your ideal partner.
Online dating sites and apps are simply tools to help you find a good partner. They are not a magic pill that will instantly find the perfect partner for you once you answer a few questions.
Nor should you give up on your regular offline channels for dating. You never know where your next date might be found.
If you like the article, be sure to share with your friends who are dating.
And if you have a story about the ups-and-downs of online dating, let us know in the comments below. Thanks for reading!