I noticed that this past weekend marked a lesser holiday known as ‘Sweetest Day’, which is celebrated in some parts of the U.S. – largely in the Midwest and Northeast. Very similar to Valentine’s Day, it offers an opportunity to bestow candy and cards to those you are “sweet on.”
It’s a holiday my generation grew up with, though I’m not sure how the holiday is faring in terms of current popularity. But it brought to mind the latest stats on Internet dating: more than a whopping 41,000,000 Americans have gone online to find a match or a date.
Increasingly, it’s the most popular way for people over 50 to meet and marry. Research suggests that Boomers who date online is now growing two times as fast as the number of younger users. According to recent research by eHarmony, the biggest growth segment in online dating for the next decade is going to be the 55-64 age group.
But for many people (Boomers and not), especially those who are newly single because of divorce or death, the thought of dating and finding a partner also can be daunting and scary. And though society’s comfort level has grown with the emergence of respected online dating communities over the last decade, a healthy amount of cautiousness persists – and rightly so.
So, where to start?
If you’re trying online dating for the first time, or even if you’ve tried it before and it didn’t work out, and you may want to try it again, you should look at one of our own resources, the AVG Guide to Dating Safely Online (free download here).
In the meantime, here are a few tips:
- Figure out what you want. You may want to date only people your age and in your local geography. Or you may have certain religious affiliations, or hobbies, or interests that you are looking for in a potential partner. With literally thousands of dating sites out there, you have options to tailor your search to your desire.
- Once you’ve narrowed down the sites and apps you would consider signing up to, look for any articles, blog posts or social commentary that illustrate other users’ experiences. Are there any problems, such as privacy concerns, associated with the site?
- Use technology that you are comfortable with. There are of course many dating sites that are pretty much like digital classifieds. But increasingly there are other options, such as mobile apps that let you find singles in the area. (More than half of eHarmony users now use mobile devices to interact with the dating service.)
- Don’t provide intimate details about yourself until you feel comfortable with the person you are dealing with. By the same token, realize that any content you share – from your interests to your photos – becomes the property of that site, and you lose the rights to control how it’s used. That means your picture could pop up as a “Date Of The Week” promotion – or your dating profiles can turn up on Internet searches. So look in the privacy settings to make sure yours is only available to other users logged into the site.
Readers of my column know that I’m a big fan of second acts (and third acts, and beyond!). And that doesn’t only apply to careers – but to relationships as well. J So whether you decide to try online dating – or to go the old fashioned route – I say do some homework and then just go for it!
October 28, 2014