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Beacon Senior News

Looking for love online?

Jan 28, 2020 10:24AM ● By Mary Boylan

Don’t shy away from having high standards

The new year sometimes brings hope for new connections. If your New Year’s resolution is to finally take the plunge into online dating, or if you just want to hit the refresh button, here are some words of wisdom from a veteran online dater.

I know that online dating can be challenging, especially for people over 50. I’ve spent more than a dozen years jumping in and climbing out of the internet dating trenches since my early 50s. Divorced after 22 years of marriage, I initially found the process intimidating. But in time, I found rewards that were well worth the effort.

Whether you’re serious about finding true love, or just looking for a nice person to go out with, here are my top five tips and tricks to help you successfully navigate the unpredictable waters of online dating.

1. Know your deal breakers and stick to them.

Give serious thought about what kind of relationship you want, the type of person you’re looking for and what behaviors or viewpoints are unacceptable. Once you know your deal breakers, don’t ignore them. I wasted a lot of time ignoring the red flags that popped up when my deal breakers were staring me in the face. Too many times I cut some slack or let things pass, thinking things might work out. They never did.

2. Vet the candidates.

Be prepared to spend some time weeding out the fakers and scammers. I hate to say this, but it’s true. As online dating has increased in popularity, so has the number of sketchy characters. In the old days, you’d come across some losers and hound dogs here and there, but today what you find online can be scary. Be careful and don’t rule out running a background check, if need be. If you have doubts, check it out or step away. Trust your instincts.

3. Work the system.

Dating sites make it easy for people to get to know one another. Take advantage of it. You can flirt, like, wink, show interest, favorite and give a photo a thumbs up. You can text or talk anonymously. You can email and find out if someone reads your message, or you can peruse profiles without anyone knowing. No matter your preferences, get out there and work it, baby!

Don't hesitate to use the block button

Be proactive, but don’t be annoying. I’ve been blasted by those who think it’s cute to tag every photo with a flirt or a wink. I’ve never appreciated the flirt harassers and haven’t hesitated to use another nifty feature of dating sites: the block button.

4. Email and phone first.

I highly recommend exchanging some emails and talking on the phone a couple of times before going on a date. I’ve made the mistake many times of quickly agreeing to meet, only to regret it later. During these preliminary exchanges, red flags popped up and deal breakers were revealed. I was lucky enough to avoid going out on a date that surely would have ended badly.

But on the flip side, don’t drag out communication too long. If someone hesitates to meet, it might be a setup for catfishing (when someone uses a fake identity to take advantage of another). If someone refuses to meet, move on.

5. Be a dating badass!

I realize that some of my advice may sound harsh, but I learned from experience. I’ve spent more hours than I care to admit giving men the benefit of the doubt, ignoring their bad behavior and hoping for the best, all to no avail. For my peace of mind, I’ve learned to stick to my guns, quickly dismissing those who didn’t rise above the rest. Now I don’t hesitate to give a guy the boot the second I realize the chemistry isn’t there, or we don’t have enough in common, or he is rude, or didn’t call when he said he would. It sounds like small stuff, but manners are important. And the small stuff happens all the time. That’s why you have to be ruthless and keep your standards high.

By being a dating badass, I found the good guys stood out pretty quickly, especially one named Vince. After dating a year, we moved in together, and I am happy to report it seems to be a perfect match.