Gone are the days when individuals were most likely to meet their romantic partner through a social setting or through an introduction by mutual friends. Over the past decade or so, online dating has become a common and fun way to “meet” people, and an independent poll coordinated by People Media (the parent company of more than 10 online dating websites), the 50- to 60-year-old demographic group is one of the fastest-growing groups using online dating tools.
Trends are now answering the call, providing online sites that cater to the preferences of a more mature user, rather than creating an offshoot of a site that includes all ages. Senior websites tend to focus on individuals who share similar life experiences, so that users are more comfortable navigating the site.
The Jewish Singles website, OurTime.com, offers several safety tips for individuals using online dating websites. Of course, first and foremost is to never send money to anyone you meet online, and do not share your personal information such as address, phone number or Social Security number. And if any of your online acquaintances sends a frantic email regarding being “stuck out of the country” or “having their wallet stolen,” consider these red flags and report the incidents to the website host.
Additional red flags include:
- an online acquaintance who quickly asks to converse by phone, outside email or messaging
- individuals who “disappear” then resurface with a different name (using the same picture or other characteristics)
- one who talks about your meeting being “destiny” or “fate,” or who refers to “finally meeting their soul-mate”
- someone who claims to be “recently widowed”
- one who insists on acquiring your address to “send flowers/gifts”
- an individual who makes an inordinate amount of grammar and/or spelling errors in their correspondence
- someone who claims to be from the U.S. but is currently traveling, or living or working overseas
- if they ask you for money
To protect yourself online, be sure to use a personal computer rather than a public computer, so your passwords and other information stay secure.
Experts also recommend not sharing any information – including your real name and other personal details – until you feel completely comfortable doing so. If you have any misgivings at all, it’s better to trust your instinct rather than take unnecessary risks. And if you feel pressured to share before you’re ready, it is better to end the connection rather than do something you might later regret.
Remember that you have the option on any reputable e-dating website to block users who make you feel uncomfortable.
Finally, if and when you do meet someone you have met online, make sure you do so in a public place. Let someone you trust know where you are going, including what time you are meeting and what time to expect you to return. Stay sober, drive yourself to and from the date, and don’t leave personal items unattended at any time.
Meeting someone online is the new normal, but the same precautions must be taken online to protect yourself. And the great thing is that if one of your New Year’s resolutions is to date more or to start a new relationship, there have been plenty of success stories regarding those who have met their match for the first time in “cyberspace.”
Living in your Windsong community also provides a perfect opportunity to meet friends the old-fashioned way, as each neighborhood is created for Boomers to enjoy a luxurious, maintenance-friendly home among individuals who share similar life experiences.
Welcome home to Windsong – Where Life’s a Breeze!