Thanks to widespread vaccination efforts, the world has reopened following the COVID-19 pandemic and once again people are free to gather, travel, socialize, and enjoy going out to restaurants, movies and cultural events. People who have found themselves single again after the loss of a partner, through a divorce, or are empty nesters with time for themselves may be considering joining the online dating world – and there are plenty of sites geared for adults over 50.
According to a recent Forbes Healthy Aging report, older adults no longer need to rely on family and friends or in-person social events to meet a potential romantic partner or companion. There are many dating websites that help connect mature adults – SeniorMatch was rated 5 stars by Forbes as the best site for people new to online dating, with an affordable membership fee, a mobile app, and a well-established platform. Other sites like OurTime are great for local events and meetups, and eHarmony was found to have the best gender balance.
Whatever site older adults may decide to give a go, companionship can have a positive effect on overall health and well-being, helping seniors live longer and healthier, more engaged lives. But it’s also important to consider safety, as not all sites provide criminal background checks on their users. Be wary of anyone who comes on strong and then asks you for money or personal information. Red flags to watch out for also include stories of financial hardships, being asked to share a compromising photo, or being asked to invest in some kind of “get-rich-quick” scheme.
If you are joining a dating site, check for a reputable website that is accredited by the Better Business Bureau, and ask friends for recommendations. Don’t give out too much personal information like your last name, place of employment, the city where you live, or the names of your children. Watch for matches that quickly ask you to leave the dating site platform to communicate directly through phone or personal email – your email address may have your full name. Many platforms now allow you to conduct a video or audio call through the app to protect privacy while confirming the identity of your match.
If you do decide to meet IRL (in real life), be sure to meet in a public place – a mid-day coffee is a good start, and let friends or family members know where you are going and check in with them before, during and after the date. Older adults are common targets of romance scams because they often have a nest egg of money saved, may be socially isolated and are often reluctant to report financial fraud to the authorities or admit they were victims to their families.
Stay safe, and enjoy the adventure!