If you’re like most people, online dating can conjure thoughts of apps like Tinder or sites like Plenty of Fish. And while swiping left or right may sound appealing to the 20-something crowd, it can seem overwhelming to anyone over the age of 25.
These days, dating is a little more complex than simply meeting or being introduced to someone, exchanging phone numbers and chatting. Online dating has taken the “traditional” meet-cute and turned it on its ear, letting singles connect easier and quicker than ever.
If you’re looking for love or companionship in the age of technology, here’s what you should know to stay safe.
Online Dating Options for Older Adults
Though it may seem like a foreign land, 1 in 5 internet users ages 55 to 64 report using a dating app or service. One in 10 older adults age 65 and older report doing the same. But how do you choose where to start? It can seem like there are as many dating apps and sites as there are potential mates.
Experts recommend keeping your activity to between one to three sites or apps. Any more and it’ll be too overwhelming to manage.
Sites like eHarmony, Match.com, Silver Singles and Elite Singles all charge varying amounts per month for services. Each site employs varying degrees of personality testing to match you with a mate or companion. There are also free dating apps and sites like Bumble, Plenty of Fish, OkCupid and Tinder.
How to Stay Safe with Online Dating
Protect your privacy: Play it safe when dating online by sparsely sharing personal information. Don’t give out your phone number, social security, address or any other personally identifiable information.
Watch for strange requests: Keep an eye out for strange requests — like money — from would-be suitors. If you get any requests for money or anything of value, stop all communication and report the interaction to the site or app.
Research, research, research: Found a match? Experts recommend researching the person online before meeting in person. A simple Google search will do, or you can conduct a more in-depth search via a background check agency. Once you’ve determined you’d like to meet someone and have checked them out online, meet in a public place.
Whether you meet through an app, a dating site or social media, stay safe by researching any potential suitors and being aware of requests for money or goods. And don't forget to meet in a public place and always tell someone you trust where you'll be.