Online Dating for Senior Citizens: What You Need to Protect
If you’re 50 or older and you’ve found yourself back on the dating scene, it can be an intimidating place that is much different from what you last remember. For seniors in today’s world, finding a meaningful relationship again now revolves around the internet. This can provide a rewarding dating experience, but if you are unaware of the dangers that come along with searching for that special someone on the web it can unfortunately leave you not so lucky in love.
Before venturing onto the many senior dating sites out there, make sure you read about how to protect yourself so that you can avoid the same horror stories as other less fortunate online daters:
#1: Protect your heart. This may sound a bit obvious, but it is important not to get too attached until you are completely sure that your person of interest has the right intentions. The majority of online single seniors are just like you—looking for love and friendship on the internet while having good morals and values. But because you just never know, make sure to take things slowly and get to know someone on the web before meeting in person and really involving your emotions. Trust your gut—if someone seems too good to be true, there’s a good chance that they are. Getting your heart broken is far worse than any loneliness you may feel.
Horror story: A widow who considered herself to be intelligent, well-educated and grounded became involved with a man she met online. Everything was going well and the void she felt in her life since her husband passed had been filled. That is until she received a phone call from a family member of her new online beau, revealing that the man was nothing more than a liar and a con-artist. She found out before he inflicted any major damage on her life, but her heart was still crushed.
#2: Protect your wallet. Sadly enough, there is more than just the risk of a broken heart when you take to the World Wide Web to find a good match. Many people are signed up to online dating sites not with the hope of finding love, but rather with the hope of stealing your money. Be aware of “sweetheart scams” abounding primarily out of Nigeria. These scams are put on by con-artists who prey on other’s vulnerabilities, develop an online relationship, and then ask for money to help with some dire situation. Many trusting and naïve seniors (especially widows whose deceased husbands made the financial decisions) have fallen victim to these scams and lost thousands of dollars.
Horror Story: Besides “sweetheart scams” there are those out there who will go as far as marrying someone to gain access to their bank accounts. In 1999, a 61-year-old man was sent to prison for the third time for financially defrauding women online. He masqueraded as a fireman, race car driver, contractor and pilot and married eleven different women to steal their assets.
#3: Protect your drink. If you get to a point in your online relationship where you feel comfortable enough to meet your internet friend in person, there are still precautions you need to take. On your first date, make sure that you meet (never rely on your date for transportation) in a crowded public place and be sure to let someone know where you’re going. While on your date, be sure to keep an eye on your belongings—especially on your drink! In this day in age, date rape drugs are being used more frequently…and 57% of these cases occur on a date with someone you know.
Horror story: There was a recent incident involving a woman who decided to meet a man with whom she had developed a relationship online. She thought she knew him after weeks of talking, and on their date he was a perfect gentleman. After dinner and great conversation, she woke up nude in his bed during the middle of the night. He raped her after placing a date-rape drug in her wine glass—not in a bar, not by a random criminal, but by a man she trusted and enjoyed.
So for all of you in the 50 and over crowd who are curious about online dating, remember to protect yourself! If you are unsure about the situation, stay guarded. Keep in mind, it’s always better to be safe than sorry.