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By Tom Blake
Many senior couples have met via online dating sites. For people living in small towns or remote areas, internet dating may be one of their only choices to meet potential mates.
But seniors using these sites must be extremely cautious. Here’s why:
- Online dating sites are in business to make money—your money—make no mistake about it. Some advertise as being “free” sites, but to get the full benefit of those sites, you must upgrade to paid memberships.
- Some sites lure you in with free offers to browse photos of “singles” within the geographical area you choose and the age range you seek. But to communicate with those people you see, if they even exist, requires payment. And even then, I hear from seniors who have been totally misled by some sites.
- Many sites sign you up for a month, but end up charging you for a year. Breaking your contract can be a nightmare as can getting a refund. Auto renewals end up costing you even more, and trying to get out of those commitments is almost impossible. Customer service? You might hear a recording like this: “Due to unusual call volume, please call back later (or tomorrow).”
- Most sites make you sign a disclaimer that allows them to use the information you post. Your personal info is no longer yours. Some sell your information to other sites.
- And then there are online dating scams. The Federal Trade Commission states that “millions of Americans use dating sites, social networking sites, and chat rooms to meet people. And many forge successful relationships. But scammers also use these sites to meet potential victims. They create fake profiles to build online relationships, and eventually convince people to send money in the name of love. Some even make wedding plans before disappearing with the money. An online love interest who asks for money is almost certainly a scam artist.”
To avoid some of those negative experiences with online dating, make sure you read and understand the subscription policy of a website before signing a contract and paying with your credit card.
It’s also best to do some research before signing up for any site. Check dating service reviews on websites like DatingCop.com, Consumeraffairs.com, Huffingtonpost.com, and Sitejabber.com. (But be aware that DatingCop will try to get you to click on dating sites they are promoting and benefitting from.) RomanceScams.com is also a must to visit before online dating. You will learn a great deal about scammers and how to avoid them.
To compare many dating site prices, visit www.giveyourhandabreak.com/price.
And remember—dating sites are in business to make money.
With those comments in mind, here are some apps seniors might want to use:
- Meetup.com – The most important dating app for seniors is not a dating app at all. Rather, it’s Meetup.com, which provides a wealth of information on activities and places to go for seniors.
When singles get out and mingle with others, they vastly improve their chances of meeting potential mates. And the best app for that is Meetup.com. It has 80,000 meetup groups in 100 countries. The Meetup website states that there are 6,019 meetups “nearby” to South Orange County.
Meetup users can search within whatever mileage radius around their city they want. And the website shows the number of members within each group—it might be just a few people or hundreds. People can even create their own meetup group if there isn’t an existing group to their liking.
And best of all, there is no cost to use this site.
- Our Time – Bills itself as the premier online dating destination for seniors. Monthly cost is $29.96. Six months cost $107.76. Our Time owns the Match.com group, POF (Plenty of Fish), OkCupid, Tinder, and BlackPeopleMeet, among others. Each of the Our Time sites have the identical dating “Safety Tips,” which are critical to read.
- SeniorPeopleMeet.com – Seniors can view 15 free valuable dating articles without having to sign up, including “A Crash Course in Online Dating Tips,” and “5 Age-Defying Dating Tips.” Read them all. Cost: $29.97 per month. $90 for six months. This site is free to browse/view mature singles, but to interact with those singles, you will need to subscribe.
- Finding Love after 50 Facebook Group – About 500 members. Must request to become a member. Owner (me) will approve or disapprove you.
- eHarmony.com – Extensive personality questionnaires are long and tedious—do they help? The cost is about $60 per month. Some reviews warn that it’s hard to terminate your contract.
- Primetimelove.com – There are several positive reviews on sitejabber.com. See “Mature Dating Tips” on the website homepage.
- FarmersOnly.com – For people in remote areas, ranchers and farmers. A man I know in West Texas found his mate on this site.
In addition to using the Internet for dating, the two best ways for seniors to meet potential mates are:
- Networking – Tell your friends and relatives you’d like to meet a potential mate. They might know of someone who would be perfect for you.
- Being social – Get off the couch, out of the house and involved in activities you enjoy. This will help you meet potential mates you share interests with.
Read more of our Aging Well special section here: