Online Dating Advice From The ExpertsPosted on: 05 June 2008 by
50connect.co.uk offer their top tips to the nation’s over 50s on how to succeed when dating online
In the last twenty years the divorce rate among the over 50s has gone up more than 50%, 8.7% in the last five years alone. One in seven people aged 50 to 64 is now a divorcee. Increased life expectancy, ‘empty nest’ syndrome and adjusting to life in retirement, as well as society’s changing attitude to marriage and divorce have led many seemingly stable relationships to break down.
As a result, the numbers of single over 50s looking for love online has grown to a phenomenal degree.
“Gone are the days when joining a dating agency was viewed as something only for anorak wearing loners,” comments Andrea Kon, relationship expert and Agony Aunt for portal 50connect.co.uk.
“Thanks to the internet and the increasing number of singletons in this age group there are thousands of over 50s online looking for someone to share their lives with. I’d urge anyone looking for companionship and love to give online dating a go.”
While online dating can be a liberating and enjoyable experience, Andrea, who found love herself mid-life, urges that the over 50s in particular, should take note of a few simple precautions before embarking on a relationship online.
Some of Andrea Kon’s top tips include:
1). Nerves can make us do strange things, but the trick to online dating is to take your time. Start things slowly online and try to relax. Chances are you will have spent many years away from the dating game so start things slowly and try not to come across as desperate for attention! If you meet on a dating site, use the "whisper" facility many provide so that you can chat privately and begin to get to know one another.
2). When you decide the time has come to chat in 'real time' women should offer a mobile number only. A man, however, should be prepared to give out his landline number. If he won't part with his landline number (and he must have one if he's talking online) don't take the relationship any further. Do post a photograph online and insist your new friend does the same. You want to know who you are meeting before you set up a face-to-face date.
3). If you do decide to meet face-to-face with someone you have met online, make sure you have access to independent transport. Drive yourself, or ensure you have the number of a reliable taxi firm with you so you can escape if you need to. Make sure you meet in a safe public place like a coffee shop or restaurant. Let someone know where you are going to be, what time you are meeting and what time you expect to be home. Ask a friend to come along and just sit 'in the background' if it makes you feel safer. Only meet at a time and location that you are comfortable with.
4). Do give out a 'proper' name before you meet, and expect to be given a proper name rather than an internet 'handle'. Women should never give out personal information such as a home address or landline telephone number to a man she has met online, although it's OK to give a general idea of where you live. If he's not prepared to tell you, don't even arrange to meet him.
5). Never give out personal information on the internet. Never post personal details in a profile with an internet service provider (ISP) or give out personal information in a chat room because it can provide unscrupulous individuals with ammunition to target you and possibly prey on your emotions, at a time when you are particularly vulnerable.
6). See if you can establish a personal connection, no matter where the person you are chatting to lives. It might be you have friends or acquaintances in the area and can ask them to do a bit of 'snooping' on your behalf. Before taking an online relationship further it is worth using the service provided by 192.com, which for a small fee gives you access to the electoral register. This will tell you who a person currently lives with. If there is a man or woman at the same address, you might tactfully enquire as to whether your new 'friend' has a parent still living at home, or sons or daughters over 18. You don't have to be overt. If the answer is no, yet someone of the opposite sex but with the same name is registered at that address, beware! Anyone of the opposite sex registered at the same address could be a live-in partner. Cheating on the internet is easy because anyone can be whoever they choose.
7). Beware gold diggers online, both male and female. Steer clear of anyone who asks for any personal financial details. It is sad but true, that many people over 50 fall victim to deep-pocket diggers so never reveal any private details concerning your income, your assets or your means of financial support. Of course, it's fine to discuss your work, but never let on how much you earn or share any other private information on the internet before you have got to know your 'friend' face-to-face and have established some trust.
Concludes Andrea Kon; “Having said all that, my best friend met and married the man of her dreams after meeting him on an internet dating site. Internet dating can be a wonderful way of meeting people that you would normally never meet, so long as you are aware of the pitfalls and take care. Older daters who follow simple rules really can have a happy ever after.”
Andrea Kon has worked as both a staff and freelance journalist/features writer for a number of national newspapers and magazines. Her specialties include emotional health and human interest features. She has been Agony Aunt for 50connect for four years and has extensive experience in both television and radio.
Andrea’s book, How To Find Love Mid-Life, (Hodder & Stoughton, £7.99), demonstrates that whatever your age, it is possible to find new love.
50connect.co.uk is the leading online portal for the over 45s in the UK. With 1.6 million unique users per month, 50connect offers the most significant research point for the attitudes of today’s over 45s.
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