Nine Online Dating Myths for Seniors

When you’re considering moving in a new direction it can be hard to separate fact from fiction. Many seniors who are looking at online dating for the first time might be intimidated by the wealth of rumor and “fact” that floats around the web. This is a great opportunity to address some of the issues head on.
Online Dating is for Young People
Never mind the fact that there are now dozens of online dating sites designed specifically for seniors. In the last five years, 55+ users have been the fastest growing demographic in all relationship-oriented sites. In terms of those who choose to use online dating as a tool, seniors are well-represented.

Computer Knowledge is a Necessity
Computer knowledge is needed to use an online dating site in the same way that automotive knowledge is needed to drive a car. You can get to work just fine without knowing how to replace your car’s flywheel. There are a few basic tasks that need to be learned – uploading a photo, manipulating a mouse, reloading a browser. These can be mastered in minutes. The rest is simple point-and-click style interaction.

Online Dating is Unsafe
Caution and common sense are important anytime you’re meeting new people. But it is easy to see how online dating can be safer than meeting someone at a church picnic. Many sites have identification verification options, and unlike a face-to-face introduction online you’ll be able to get to know the person in complete anonymity. In fact, you’ll be completely in charge of when you want to make yourself, and your contact information, known.

Online Dating Doesn’t Play to an Older Person’s Strengths
If you haven’t ever used an online dating site, you may think the process is mystical, and the process that actually pairs you with other matches can be scientific and baffling. But once you begin communicating with your match, the process is only slightly different than what human beings have been doing for decades. You communicate – first through written messages, then through phone calls and lastly in person. In the end, it all comes down to you sitting across from a new person, talking and listening. Just the way it always has.

Online Daters are Shallow
There are online dating sites for every conceivable human need and category. You won’t be surprised to know that there are hundreds of sites designed specifically to serve people who want more “casual” relationships. However, if that’s not what you want, you have many options as well. Sites, like eHarmony, exist solely to serve people who are interesting in substantial serious relationships. The good news is, since serious relationship sites are unlikely to be useful to those who are interested in more casual relationships, they tend to stay away.

Online Dating is Rampant with Scam Artists
As an online problem, con artists are not limited to dating sites. In fact, almost any site that deals with money and/or introduces people have had issues dealing with scammers. In the online dating world, the scam almost always works the same. You meet a match, have some seemingly meaningful back and forth either online or on the phone and the person asks for money. Con men aren’t fools and they can be quite good at their jobs. They may ask for a loan to buy a plane ticket to come and see you. They may have a dog that needs emergency surgery after being hit by a car. It’s usually a “loan” and it often sounds reasonable.

The best rule of thumb for dealing with scammers is this. If a person that you meet online asks you for money, report it to the site where you met them and have no further communication with them. This may be harder than it sounds, because the scammer is going to be charming and attractive. They are going to be madly in love with you. It’s going to feel like you’re pushing away a relationship, but you’re only guarding your bank account.

Grant Langston, Senior Director, eHarmony