Monday, June 28, 2010

Dating in Retirement

No one wants to enter into retirement alone. Retirement should be the happiest time of your life, and having someone to share it with is important. For those retirees who are single, widows or widowers, it can be difficult to find love and companionship.

There was a time when senior dating was virtually unheard of. Today, many senior singles are happily dating and finding new relationships. Dating is fun at any age; just because retired from employment does not mean retired from work. Yes, love and retirement do go together!

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While hard statistics are hard to come by, online dating sites data indicates that the older the senior demographic is growing rapidly. In fact, that there are now specialty dating sites for senior singles. And, these sites are vibrant with activity.

This offers the answer to one of the most frequently asked questions for senior singles; how to find a date. While there are various places you can meet older singles such as church, park, and senior centers, none beats online dating. Why?

Well, because at no other venue will you meet as many seniors from all walks of life who are actively looking for a relationship.

This is perhaps the biggest advantage of senior dating online: availability of scores of people happily saying "I'm available". Compare this to your local church or other place of worship. The bigger number of older people will usually be "taken". Then there are those that will find something to talk about if you as much as insinuate that you want a date. And there are always the backstabbers and judgmental types.

Meeting other singles at the park or senior center with a view to finding a date is not easy either. You see, you don't know who is available and who is not. You also have no way of telling who is ready for a relationship. This brings us to the next point: relationship readiness.

Most senior singles are single because of either divorce or death of a spouse. Usually, having been in a steady relationship for many years with one person, it can be extremely difficult to return to single life psychologically and emotionally.

There is the story of a retired single woman who thought she had met her perfect match online; until she actually met him in person. There was nothing wrong with his looks or mannerisms. He appeared to be the perfect gentleman, with a good education and financial security to go with it. Though he too was retired, he had taken good care of himself and had a good income to keep him comfortable for the rest of his days. He also had kept his body in pretty good shape.

The couple met on their first real date at a nice restaurant with the perfect atmosphere for a date. To cut a wrong story short, at a certain point the gentleman pulled out an album of photographs of his late wife, some of them depicting their happy life together. All he talked about that evening was his late wife and how wonderful she had been throughout their relationship and marriage.

Needless to say, that man had no business being on a dating site or even looking for a relationship by whatever means. He was not yet over his late wife's death as he was still grieving. The new relationship, had it gone further, was destined to fail sooner rather than later. Love and retirement do go together, but you also must be ready and open for it.

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Steps You Should Take

Apart from trying to find the ‘love of your life’, your main concerns if using an internet dating website are your safety and privacy. Have a look around some of the dating websites and look for feedback in forums about their reputation before joining one. There are also a lot of niche dating agencies which cater for older people or with those who have specific interests so don’t be in a rush to get started, do some research first. You may end up getting lots of responses if you’re lucky, some of which you’ll want to pursue further, many of which you won’t, so be sure to open a new e-mail account when it comes to giving your e-mail address out solely for this purpose so the responses don’t interfere with your usual mailbox. Once you’ve decided on a site you think is best for you, see if it has the opportunity to take a free trial before you have to decide if you want to upgrade to a full membership. You’ll be more able to get a feel of the different types of people on different dating sites without committing yourself financially first.

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Staying Safe in the ‘Getting To Know You Stage’

Take things very slowly in the initial stages of getting to know somebody over the internet. A few e-mails might next lead to using live messenger services where you can have a ‘conversation’ in real time by simply typing your responses. It might then lead to using a webcam and that, perhaps in conjunction with a phone conversation but only let things develop at your own pace and don’t give out any information unless you’re 100% comfortable with it. Unlike a real face-to-face date across, say, a dinner table, there’s no awkwardness if you find that you just don’t feel compatible with the other person. Online, you’re as anonymous as you want to make it, so if things don’t seem to be working out, simply be polite, tell the other person so and move on. And if you should find that you’re inundated with abusive or persistent e-mails as a result of your rejecting them, you can report the person to the online dating service.

Be very careful what kind of information you post up on your personal dating space and the information you give away in any subsequent e-mails, messenger chats and phone conversations. Don’t post pictures of your kids or grandchildren and never give out any kind of financial details or your home address. As a general rule of thumb, cut short any contact where people try to find out too much information about you too soon or put pressure on you to meet almost immediately. A healthy dose of realism, if not entirely skepticism is what’s called for here. In other words, you shouldn’t take it too seriously, at least not in the initial stages. People will want to portray themselves in the very best light and some will exaggerate to extremes to impress so take things slowly and carefully whilst having fun at the same time.

Your safety and privacy should be your main concerns whilst if you do get to the point whereby you want to arrange an actual face-to-face ‘date’, all the usual safeguards you should take when actually meeting a person for the first time should apply and there are plenty of resources online to help you with that and all reputable internet dating sites will also give you good guidelines to ensure your safety on that first date.

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