Internet dating: good, bad, ugly and risky

By Tom P Blake Finding Love After 50

Note from Tom: This article was initially published in 2003. It is interesting to compare 2016 ideas on internet dating to back then.

Meeting a potential mate over the Internet is more popular than ever. Singles in all age groups— even seniors—are checking it out.

Among the most popular sites: Love@aol.com, match.com, matchmaker.com, kiss.com. and JDate.com, for Jewish singles. Note: Eharmony wasn’t even mentioned in 2003 but now is one of the larger and better known sites.

Internet dating gets mixed reviews. Many singles have had success and swear by it. Others say it’s filled with devious people who misrepresent themselves and have evil intentions.

Mary, 48, Mission Viejo, has had “a few dates” with a guy she met on matchmaker.com. He works out at her gym in Rancho Santa Margarita, but she’d hadn’t seen him there.

“I joined match.com and have men coming out of the woodwork. I put a ten-mile radius, but get them from 100 miles away—lawyers, professors, executives. One is driving 30 minutes to have a cup of coffee. What fun,” said Linda, 54, Dana Point.

Karen, Rancho Santa Margarita, made a valid point: “Many singles are afraid of meeting some psycho on the Internet, well, I could meet him in the grocery store.”

Age doesn’t hold back Gini, Baton Rouge, Louisiana, from using the Internet. “I’m 75-plus. I’ve met six older men on the Internet with no bad experiences. After a few e-mails, phone conversations, and a meeting in a public place, judging someone isn’t difficult.”

Singles in northern California also use the Internet. Linda, of Marin County, e-mailed, “Jeepers, creepers, Tom. I lost my first husband in 1994. I met a man thru Love@aol.comwho had moved to Marin from Miami about three years ago. At 51, I married him. I felt comfortable meeting someone online because I had met my first husband thru computer dating, in 1969, in Boston.”

Loria, 62, San Juan Capistrano, says, “I’ve met nice men over the Internet, but you have to be cautious where and when you meet.”

Loria’s right. When meeting a stranger, put safety first. Drive your own car, and go to a well-lighted, public place, where people are present. Don’t get in his car, or go for a walk in a remote area.

People often misrepresent themselves on the Internet. “Men want younger women, so I list my age as four years younger than I am. If we go out, I tell them the truth at the end of the date,” says Judy, 60, New Orleans.

Dating at middle age is something few of us thought we’d ever face. Some consider all aspects of middle age dating demeaning, particularly the Internet.

But, if singles want to meet a mate, they’re going to have to get out there, unless fate brings them somebody. The Internet is merely one of the marketing tools available.

Some singles steer clear of the Internet.

“I won’t Internet date—too hard to judge honesty, character, etc. I’ve had friends burned by it. It provides a smoke screen for hiding things like marriages. I know guys who are married or living with someone who use it to liven up their relationship doldrums,” said Jan, Santa Ana.

“The Internet thing didn’t work for me,” says Marianne, 50, Long Beach. “It’s easy to have hidden agendas and lives. It’s possible to meet someone nice, just less likely than with a personal referral.”

Beth, 60, Laguna Niguel, said, “I’m anti-internet. Too risky. It’s not enjoyable having to be on guard all the time. I’ve heard approximately 35 per cent of the males looking for an Internet relationship are married.”

Internet dating allows people to reach across geographical boundaries, helping singles in small towns meet singles in big ones.

Pearl lives in Antonio, Texas. She met George, who lived 70 miles away, over the Internet. They used to drive to a midway point for dates. No more, they were married last year.

Internet dating expert Christine, Fullerton, says, “The Internet is one of the few places where single women are outnumbered by single men.”

Anne, mid-50s, Laguna Niguel, said, “A gentleman responded to my Internet profile. He wanted to see my picture. I sent it. His response: ‘You are a very attractive woman. I hope you meet your perfect soul mate soon.”

Anne was puzzled by the man’s reply. She asked Christine for her opinion.

“I told Anne to move on, he wasn’t a gentleman. I also advised her to put her picture on the Internet. The Internet is a high-risk, high- potential-return investment of your time. Consider making it a marketing tool in your date-seeking arsenal.

READER COMMENTS AND TOM’S RESPONSES

Judy, La Mirada: Your last column title—“Places to go, people to meet”-are almost exactly the words I found on a breakup note from my husband 36-years-ago. I haven’t heard from him since.” Response: Karma tends to catch up to a person like that.

Sandi, Tustin: “One guy my age wrote that he never dated women my age. He had pictures of his pool, house and airplane. If he gets gold-diggers, that’s what he deserves.” Response: Ugly combo: he’s rude with an ego.

Jeanne, Murray, Kentucky: They’re a lot more places for singles to go in Orange County than in my small Kentucky town.” Response: Reach out via the Internet.

Julie, Newport Beach: “In your book, you misspelled ‘brunette.’ Maybe I should edit your next book.” Response: I’ve always had trouble with brunettes. You’ll be able to start editing in a month or two.

David, Elberon, New Jersey: “I told my daughter and her fiance on the day before their wedding that the feelings you have on your wedding day can’t be refrigerated like a piece of wedding cake. You have to make a fresh commitment to each other daily.” Response: Your words should be included in the vows.

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