When is it time to try online dating?
That is a personal decision and depends on each individual.
Think about why you are interested and what you want to get out of joining an online dating site. Are you lonely? Do you want someone to talk to? Are you ready to meet someone in person? Do you miss having a partner to do things with? These are all valid reasons.
But are you ready?
Have you sorted out your finances after the death of your spouse? Are you planning any big life changes like moving? Are you still crying everyday and in need of some therapy and a bereavement group to help you cope with your grief? Are you vulnerable and maybe not strong enough to do this yet?
Take care of you first. Loneliness comes and goes and it doesn’t mean you need to find a new soul mate, you may just need to find some new interests. But if you think you may be ready, keep reading. How to NOT be a Stay at Home, Lonely Widow.
When our spouse dies, we may over inflate how wonderful that person was. If you compare potential significant others to your perfect dead spouse you will probably be in for a big disappointment. Just because you are talking to someone new doesn’t mean you are committing yourself to a life with that person. Think of this as fun. Try, if you can remember how, to be a little flirty. Be genuinely interested in knowing more about this person. Put yourself in the other person’s shoes. Think of their perspective too and enjoy the moment.
Ok. I’m curious. What next?
Pick a site. eharmony is the site with the most extensive background questions and geared to people looking for a serious relationship. I have a friend who is happily married from that site. Match.com is one of the most popular sites for all ages and I hear that Plenty of Fish now has more members than Match.com and that it is free. Definitely worth looking into. Most sites you can look at for free but in order to participate, get and send messages, you will need to sign up and pay for at least 3 months.
I got lucky on the site called “Our Time”. This one is geared for people over 50. They share information with a site called Senior People Meet but if you don’t feel like being a senior yet, try Our Time.
I paid: what do I put in my profile?
This is your first impression and you want it to be a good one.
Photos: 3-5 pictures are fine. A nice head shot. You can do a selfie or just edit a photo from your phone of your face. Research has shown that people respond well to natural smiles, heads tilted slightly and women wearing red.
A full body picture, wearing clothes of course, is helpful. I had a picture of me with my dog paddle boarding. This message shows that I’m athletic, and have a dog. My husband had a photo of him smiling holding a baby. I thought wow, he is cute and lovable. I did see some of men showing their naked chest. Not too impressed fellows.
Some people have a lot to say but I don’t think that is necessary. Share what you want them to know. I would never tell my last name or address. I also wouldn’t waste time saying what I want in the other person. Maybe someone will surprise you. Most of the basic facts are in the profile. And don’t lie. That’s just not nice.
Initially you may get messages or swipes from characters that you have no intention of meeting. That’s ok. You don’t have to. You don’t even have to respond. In fact if you do tell them you are not interested they may get argumentative.
Watch for scammers and what they call bots – computer generated responses. The photos don’t seem real and the messages may be over flattering. If you begin to chat with someone and they ask you to buy something or use a credit card for something, that is a big warning sign and do not move forward with that one. Also, if you suggest meeting and the person is persistent about not meeting, there is a good chance this is not the real thing.
Most likely you will start to chat with a few people. You may be comfortable doing that for a while. Maybe you will arrange to chat on the phone. I do not like talking on the phone so I did not try that.
For me, I wasn’t interested in a long distance relationship. I wanted to meet someone to spend time with and do stuff like share dinners or go out on the weekends. I also didn’t want someone who lived far away. I was hoping for a 5 mile radius.
After messaging one gentleman who lives 5 miles away from me, the one with the smile and cute baby, I informed him that I get hungry around 7pm. He got the hint and suggested we meet at a familiar restaurant nearby.
This was very exciting and bit scary too. I told my friend where I was going and with who. I knew I could call her if there was a problem. You should always let someone know if you are planning to meet a stranger and then of course meet in a populated place – you know, not a deserted dead end or something.
We planned to meet at a nice casual restaurant so I wore a pretty blue dress and just a bit of makeup. I did still have my wedding ring on. I had been a widow for almost 2 years, but my ring was actually stuck on my finger and I was unable to get it off.
We both ordered hamburgers and a glass of wine. He looked very nice. His hair was combed neatly and he had on a clean collared shirt. Of course he wanted to know how my husband died and I gave him an abbreviated version without going into it too much. He was going through a divorce and his ex was out of the state. That was a little different because we did not feel the same way about our former spouses but we didn’t talk too much about that on the first date.
We ate dinner and talked for 3 hours. After dinner I gave him a quick kiss by my car. He said he’d like to see me again and I said great.
After the First Date
We ended up exchanging phone numbers so that we wouldn’t have to message through the site any more. The next week we went out to dinner again and before you know it we were seeing each other almost every day.
When you do start dating, you will decide what you must have in a new soul mate, what you will not budge on and you may surprise yourself with someone who doesn’t meet all of your requirements. If you meet someone that you click with that is great. If you don’t, at least you gave it a try. Remember it’s more important to be happy with yourself so keep working on that. Take some chances. Try something new. Even traveling by yourself will gain new self confidence and a sense of achievement in addition to discovering new places and people.
Do you have an online dating story to share? Please do.