Ashamed of Internet dating? Not in 2016. Internet dating is a necessity for lonely singles, especially people living in remote areas.
By Tom P Blake Finding Love After 50
This column was originally written in 2008. The stigma of meeting on the Internet is almost non-existent in 2016.
I am writing a book on how couples age 50+ met. Most couples who've found love in their later years are eager to share their stories. And these days, often the way they met is on the Internet.
But some who met on the Internet don't want that fact to be known. Recently, at a post-wedding dinner, the groom was addressing the guests and said they met via a business encounter. My partner and I were surprised because we know them well and knew they met on Match.com.
Jeanne shared a similar story, although not involving the Internet: "A male friend told me about meeting his wife while skiing when she fell at his feet and he helped her get up. For Christmas, I gave them a cute figurine of a skier in silver on top of a crystal rock. His wife looked confused and asked why I got that as she didn't ski. Turns out, they had met in a bar."
Should people be ashamed to share with the world how they met? I put the question to members of our group.
Marta emailed, "I met my husband-to-be on the Internet and feel no shame about it. I speculate people don't like to think that they were 'looking' for love, that they had to go online to meet someone.
"Admitting we were looking breaks the myth that love 'arrives out of the blue,' as in some kind of a romantic film. They might feel like a loser. My life isn't like a film; I'm no loser. I had to look for love and am glad I had the guts to do it. I was online four and a half years before I met my sweetie.
"People ask me all the time how we met; I tell them with a smile and encourage them to try Internet dating."
Christine said, "As a professional wedding planner for over 20 years, I've had the pleasure of coordinating seven weddings for couples who've met through various Internet dating sites. The majority have been very comfortable with everyone knowing. In fact, one couple mentioned how they met as a part of their wedding ceremony."
Christine said that couples who were uncomfortable admitting they met on the Internet said they didn't want to appear desperate. She added that one of the reasons she started teaching an Internet dating class was to discuss what a wonderful option Internet dating is for singles to meet each other.
Christine added, "Tony and I just celebrated our one-year wedding anniversary and yes me met through the Internet and tell everyone who will listen."
Jon said, "There is nothing wrong with telling people you met online. It can take a long time before someone you are interested in comes along. It isn't like the ads on the tube where you change your hair color and suddenly bikini-clad blonds start climbing all over you."
"What's wrong with meeting on the Internet? I don't get it," declared Brenda.
Terry shared, "Why care about how people met? The important part is that they did meet."
Gail said, "The chances of meeting a suitable person increase with a wider area to search. When I find my next life partner, I don't care where I find him, and I don't care who knows. I will be so very happy."
When people ask John how he met his Russian wife, he is happy to share that they met online. "I get more acceptance about Internet dating from people who travel, especially to Europe, than from others, and of course, from couples with foreign brides or grooms."
Meeting on the Internet is accepted publicly in the Big Apple. Shirley pointed out that some New York Times wedding announcements mention that couples met on the Internet.
Lynn added, "If everyone would share their success stories about Internet dating, many more available and sincere people would take the chance using it. It is stories like theirs that encourage me, and make me more determined to never give up."
Mary made a strong case for including Internet dating in one's plan of attack: "The Internet sites are new venues and open considerably more opportunities to meet people that we would otherwise have a chance to meet."
Should couples be ashamed that they met on the Internet, or in a bar, or on a trip, or at work? I don't think so. However, as many of you pointed out, it's their business how they met and they can say what they want.
But, revealing how they met could help someone else find true love. At our age, we'll accept all of the help we can muster.