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Vera Wilson is freelance writer based in North Carolina. She frequently writes on financial topics.
Dating can be a challenge no matter what your age, but it can be particularly daunting if you are an older adult whose first date might have been at a malt shop and who's more into book clubs than bar scenes. So before entering the dating world again, it's good to understand both the pros and cons about dating as a senior.
Despite these differences, the basic rules of dating still apply. You'll want to look and feel your best, so considering start an exercise program (read “Picture of Health” for ideas) and updating your wardrobe. People with similar interests still make good companions, so join a mixed doubles tennis team if you love tennis or volunteer for an organization you support ( here are some ways to volunteer for military causes). Despite rumors to the contrary, chivalry and good manners are not dead and are especially appreciated by mature women.
Although meeting people at events and through friends and family is still the norm, undoubtedly, the biggest change in dating is the advent of online dating sites. Once considered a last resort, today they are used effectively by millions, with individuals over 60 their fastest growing demographic.
Simply put, online dating is a service that allows a community of people to gather, meet each other, and interact socially. And websites are tailored to every population imaginable. Some focus on certain age groups - www.ourtime.com is popular for the over 50 crowd - while some are faith-based, such as www.jdate.com for Jewish singles. Farmersonly.com boasts the tagline “city folks just don't get it.” Sites that focus on military personnel include www.militarycupid.com or www.usmilitarysingles.com. If you're disabled, try www.dating4disabled.com. Most sites charge a modest fee but usually allow a free trial period during which you can see prospective matches.
If done correctly, the benefits of online dating far outweigh any shortcomings. Online dating sites allow you to identify and reach out to people who peak your interest but without the discomfort of face-to-face rejection. You can be specific about your likes and dislikes and avoid wasting time on a date with someone you clearly have nothing in common with. You can start slowly and meet someone in person only if and when you're ready. You can define the kind of relationship you're looking for, whether it's a friend to enjoy foreign movies with or a more serious long-term relationship.
Just like traditional dating, rejection and disappointment are not uncommon, but here are some tips to help you avoid them:
The truth is dating as a senior citizen can be easy, fun, and rewarding. Keep in mind fitness enthusiast Bonnie Pruden's words of wisdom: “You can't turn back the clock, but you can wind it up again.”
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