Which Internet dating sites are best for seniors?
By Tom P Blake Finding Love After 50
(This article was published in December, 2012. Not much has changed with Internet dating sites in 2016)
I'm often asked by Champs which Senior Internet dating sites I recommend. There is no correct answer because everybody has different personalities, tastes, expectations, appearances, website experiences and needs.
Karla, Palm Springs, recommends avoiding the free sites such as Plenty of Fish and OK Cupid: "I wouldn't go to a 'free dating site' again. I feel that if a man or woman is serious about finding a quality mate, they should be willing to pay for it--sort of a 'good faith' thing. Otherwise, the word 'cheap comes to mind." She added that the quality of men on freebee sites is very low. And yet, there are other women who have met decent men on the free sites.
But fee-based sites aren't perfect either. Karla said this about a well-known paid site: "Not only is it expensive, it doesn't accurately interpret one's personality created from their endless questionnaire." She cited a question the site asks: "Do you ever drive over the speed limit?"
I admit, I don't see why a question like that is important in finding a compatible mate.
Liz, Illinois, said that that same site is "cumbersome, slow to use, and too expensive."
Religious seniors seeking a religious partner can go to speciality sites such as Catholic Singles, Catholic Match, JDate (for Jewish people) and Christian Mingle, among others.
Jennifer said, "Sites that try to connect people on one single common interest (e.g., both people play bridge) cannot assess physical attraction. Sites that allow users to search through a large database are better. People can make their own selections. The only problem with these sites is many people misrepresent themselves.
"A lot of the men are married and pretend to be single. A lot of the women are overweight and misrepresent their weight. Some people post photos that are years old and almost everybody lies about their age. People using these sites need to meet in person to determine the facts and decide for themselves if they are interested. This means doing a lot of screening."
A few Champs feel that the sites that cater specifically to older singles such as Our Time, a site formed out of the merging of Senior People Meet and Senior Friend Finder, work best because most of the people on those sites are seniors looking for other seniors.
Sue, divorced eight years and an Internet dater for five years, said about Our Time, "The cost isn't too high, but it's enough to ward off the odd balls."
She added that if she meets a guy she likes online, and they date for three to four months, she will remove her profile from Internet sites.
Match.com, which owns Our Time, seems to have a good reputation, but, according to Liz, "does not target the over 50 crowd."
However, Stella says the sites that cater to older singles have their flaws as well: "I was on a site for six months. I scheduled four dates, all of which cancelled at the last minute. Also, there were many, many men who wanted phone sex, and several that were married or shacking up and just wanted to see what was 'out there.' I did meet a nice gentleman from Canada who was 80, but alas, he also wanted sex. They never change, doesn't matter if they are eight or 80."
Mindy said, "Dating sites may be great for some people--they certainly expand the dating circle--but for me, everyone started to blur together. I started responding with 'hey you.' I found it disconcerting that someone you did not know would get angry when you would not meet them."
Susan, 57, Australia, commented on meeting up with old friends via Facebook: "Be careful with this one. I have found that even with the passing of decades, they have the same issues with more baggage."
Regardless of the drawbacks on the various sites, lots of couples have had success using Internet dating sites. Gale, North Carolina, emailed, "Match.com was very rewarding for me in 2001. I received two free weeks in my mailbox, and met the love of my life, in spite of the distance. He moved south, we married and lived happily until his passing in 2008."
"I suggest caution for anyone using these sites, until you are absolutely sure with whom/what you're dealing. Unfortunately, there are many unstable people out there, both men and women."
No site is perfect. Dawn, who had a beef about a senior site, said, "The biggest gripe I have is the warning that members do not exchange any personal information such as phone numbers or addresses 'for their own safety.'" She said safety is not the reason: "All they want is to keep their membership list high to encourage future memberships/subscribers."
Three years ago, I published a book titled How 50 Couples Found Love After 50. (Amazon.com)
Of the couples featured in the book (many, our own Champs), 55 percent met online. More than half of the people featured were widowed. The most utilized site among those couples was Match.com.
Some singles admit they've had no luck with Internet dating and prefer to pursue other means of meeting potential mates, such as through networking with friends and family or attending social events in their respective communities.
Virginia alerted me to a website that ranks the top 10 best seniors dating sites. It's a nice looking site. But let me warn you. I would be very careful putting too much credence into the site. Notice there is no company or anything other than an email address.
I studied it in detail and found that it is totally an affiliate marketing site. What that means is, if you click on any link to any of the dating websites, and you join that site, they get a referral commission. Notice there are no freebee sites listed.
Bottom line: The Internet is a double-edged sword when it comes to seniors seeking mates. It can be a great tool as the plethora of success stories proves. However, it also can be highly discouraging for seniors. They is a lot of rejection so a thick skin is required. Plus, many, many seniors have been scammed and lost thousands of dollars by being taken, particularly new widows who are vulnerable. Playing the Internet dating game for senior is not for the naïve or faint of heart.
Internet dating takes a lot of time, effort, and patience, and often, some money.
Which site is best? It all depends on the individual.