- Gender and Relationships»
- Dating & Online Dating
Dating After 50 - A Different Reality
Everyone has heard about online dating and many are still a little skeptical. I have to admit it was the last thing on my mind eight years ago, a couple of years after my marriage of over twenty years came to an abrupt halt .I also would not have believed that I would now be living and working in China and about to celebrate my fifth wedding anniversary to someone I met online that year. So I am definitely not in a position to criticize this type of meeting!
At that time I was asked to teach an online course for the local school district. I had never attempted to do such a thing but I was up for the challenge. The first project I embarked upon was to build a chemistry website that covered the curriculum from one end to the other, complete with animation and videos of myself teaching specific lessons. It took me several months to finish but I was proud of what I had done and the Board and the parents accepted it.
However, up until then I had never taken part in any kind of chat group. I knew I was going to have to learn how to do this in order to meet my students online outside of scheduled virtual class time. Looking for a group to practice with, I searched the list of chat groups on MSN and found one that looked interesting and unobtrusive. I tentatively joined and logged in to the group one Wednesday evening.
There are hundreds of chat groups out there that have nothing to do with couples or relationships. This was one of them. It was simply a group of people from all over the world that got together a couple of times per week to talk about everything from politics to the weather. It gave me the opportunity to talk online and build up some experience while talking to a diverse group of people. It was great. Nancy was the host and was always online when I logged in.
Over a period of time, the others started drifting away for one reason or another until it was basically the two of us chatting on a regular basis. Neither of us had any intention of starting a relationship with anyone. But one thing led to another, a little flirting began between the two of us and the next thing I know I had invited her to come and visit. She had been working overtime for months and was looking for a holiday. Surprise, surprise, she accepted.
Thinking back, I remember one of my friends telling me it was ridiculous to be chatting to someone in Memphis, Tennessee when I lived in rural British Columbia, Canada. Like we were ever going to get together. And I basically felt the same way. I don’t know what I was thinking at the time. We got along great and talked for hours several nights a week. I don’t think I was really lonely but for some reason I could not break it off and continued to return on a regular basis to chat. She felt the same way.
We had no idea at first what each other looked like, how old the other was or even what the heck we were even talking to each other for. But we continued to be drawn to the computer most nights to talk about our life stories, our dreams, our likes and dislikes, and pretty much everything else that could be discussed between two people at a distance.
This continued from the summer into January of the next year. By then, she said she was accepting my invitation to visit and would arrive the third week of January. Was she nuts? All the way to Canada from Memphis in the middle of the winter? I was flabbergasted but excited. I told her I would meet her at the airport in Vancouver and we would take it from there. Talk about a first! It was nerve-racking enough asking someone over for dinner but to invite somebody from Memphis and have her accept was really off the wall!
To make a long story short, she arrived on a Friday night. We stayed in the city and drove the three-hour trip from Vancouver the next day. From the first night, we felt comfortable with each other. She stayed a week and a great week it was. A month later, she returned and we have been together ever since in a great relationship. I guess we are one of the successful couples who have met online but we are not the only ones from what I have heard. I have read of others and, since we first met, have talked to many others who have told me of similar success stories of online encounters. I still say that talking to somebody online is as good a way to find out about the person as meeting in a bar or at a party. Meeting people online can be great fun.
Online dating has given us the opportunity, from the comforts of our own home, to search for that special someone. Even though I wasn’t searching, I still found a new partner! Obviously, there are precautions everybody should take in meeting up with a person in real life you have met online and I will discuss that now. These tips are a compilation of other people’s ideas since I truly haven’t taken part in a real online dating situation. Or could it be classified as dating? You be the judge.
1) When you introduce yourself, use common sense and do not reveal any personal details about yourself. Take as much time as you need in getting to know someone before being comfortable enough in revealing all there is to know about you. We talked for weeks before we began to reveal small truths about each other. It took even longer than that until we felt like we could exchange our real names.
2) There is no point in lying on your profile or when you talk to someone. They will eventually find out.
3) Let others know your true intentions when contacting them by email. Again, honesty is the best policy. There is someone out there that is a match for the real you. There’s no point pretending to be someone you’re not.
4) Use a nice recent photo of yourself on the profile and make sure you are happy. Members with photos are likely to get up to 9 times more replies than members without any photo image attached to their profile.
5) As in real life, don’t talk about your ex. Nobody wants to hear about your past relationships. Live for the future, not the past.
6) If someone replies to your post, be sure to write back as soon as possible. If you are interested, show it. And don’t feel bad about asking for a picture if you haven’t already seen one. Don’t be in a rush to meet them until you are comfortable doing so.
7) Always meet your date for the first time in an agreed upon place during the day. Always tell at least one friend where you are going and leave a contact number. As in the dating tips discussed in my Dating Refresher Course, go easy on the alcohol.
8) At this point, it is like any other date. Enjoy yourself and do your best to get to know your new friend.
Online dating is a viable option these days to meet new people, especially for those uncomfortable going to bars and clubs. There are a large number of available candidates and you might just get lucky. Don’t give up on the first attempt if it doesn’t work out. What ‘s the rush? If you are in a rush, maybe you should try the next option if it is available in your area.
Speed dating is the latest addiction to grab and go, the Wal-Mart of dating. However, many couples say it is the way to go.
For those of you who are out of the loop, speed dating basically consists of a large group of women and men getting together in one location. Every couple has several minutes to speak with each other before they change partners and begin the process again. A lot of ground can be covered in one evening as far as meeting potential partners for the future. Numbers and names are exchanged if agreeable to both parties.
In this situation, you get what you see. Unlike Internet dating, looks cannot be deceiving. The person with all their quirks is sitting in front of you. And they are sitting in a supervised, public location in an area you are familiar with, not in some seedy, dark bar. Usually they will be people from nearby, if not from your own neighborhood.
And last but not least, they are relatively inexpensive compared to dating services that can charge up to $1000 for a membership. The cost of Internet dating sites can also add up if there is a monthly fee. Best of all, you might meet somebody and even start a meaningful relationship! No time in your life? Sometimes neurotic? Don’t like small talk? Then speed dating may be for you!
I know, you’re saying, “Are you kidding?” Nope. I saw it first on an episode of a popular TV show. I decided right there and then that this had to be a good story. But I decided to go ahead and check it out on the net. Sure enough, they do exist.
“What’s a Cuddle Party?” you ask. Well, that’s a good question. A Cuddle Party is a social event designed for adults that has become popular in some urban areas. The idea began in 2004 as a way to explore communication, boundaries and affection. It relies on the fact that many people are not getting their required daily allotment of touch. Cuddle Parties provide a safe alternative to other avenues of communication such as paying for a massage or having an overnight fling with a drunken first date.
It’s another way to meet people and begin new friendships in a safe, “relaxed” environment. For more information on this new phenomenon, you can use Google to find a cuddle party or check out this popular Cuddle Party website.
These days, there’s more to life than real life when you think about dating again!