Be Bold. Swipe Right: Online Dating After 40

If you are 40 or older, single and seeking your soul mate or even just looking to date, then you need to be dating online. I’m not saying that dating the old fashion way doesn’t work, it still does.  But if you want to cast a wider net, you need to be online.  The Holiday Season is the time of year that a lot of people feel lonely.  This is a great time to get online and start some conversations!  Everyone knows at least one, two or even three online dating success stories.  I’m one of those success stories.  My boyfriend and I met using the free online dating app Plenty of Fish 4 years ago and are still going strong!

Don’t be the lonely old lady who says she’s afraid of the internet, but is on Facebook, posting practically every move she makes and photos of every meal she eats!  You have a social media profile.  Why not have an online dating profile? Use all of those same selfies you have posted on Facebook or Instagram of you at the gym, at the beach, at the barbecue, in the car, on your friend’s boat, and with your “crew.”  Because we know you have plenty of these.

Why are you so uncomfortable about online dating?

Because you feel every man on an online dating app is a weirdo that is lying about his age and job.  Many are, but not any more than the guys you meet at the happy hour after work, at church or anywhere else.  Or you feel it makes you look desperate.  Is it desperate, or is it taking control of your life and not just waiting to possibly meet someone through friends, at a party or at a bar? Or you say you don’t want anyone seeing your picture and profile posted on a dating site.  This is what I have to say about that:  If someone is seeing you on a dating site, they are seeing you because they are ON A DATING SITE TOO!  The unspoken protocol on this is: “I won’t say anything about seeing you. And you won’t say anything about seeing me! When I was online dating, I saw a LOT of men that I knew.  Even married men that I knew.  I gawked for a minute, and then just clicked “next” and moved on to the business I was there for.

Or maybe you feel that most men dating online are only looking for hookups.  Many are, but many aren’t.  So look for those who clearly state in their profile that they are looking for “a relationship,” “someone to share their life with,” or “a wife” if that is what you are looking for.  If you are looking for a hookup, look for those who say they are “looking to have fun” and do not state that they are looking for relationships.

Or maybe you say, ‘how can you trust some stranger that you met on a dating site?’  What I say about that is: you don’t trust a stranger that you meet on a dating site.  And you don’t trust a stranger that you meet at a bar, in line at the supermarket, on a bus, on a plane or on a train.  You do not trust them here or there.  You do not trust them anywhere.

Yes, back in the 90s men you met online were, 8 times out of 10, weird, socially inept techies, who were uncomfortable speaking to women in the real world.  I dated a lot online in the 90s and kissed a lot of frogs.  Frogs that seemed really great when looking at them through the window of their perfect virtual world – their online profiles –with handsome photos and great jobs. But meet them in the real world, and you realize they have no sense of humor, little personality, and no swag – real or virtual.

Today you will, of course, still meet the socially inept techie with no personality or swag, but today, literally everyone is on at least one online dating app- normal guys, rich guys, funny guys, that guy next door, guys with lots of personality, guys with swag and guys without.  It’s where people meet in this busy world.

Tinder and Bumble

I say, try it.  Upload a free dating app, upload a few. Go on some dates for coffee. Have a drink and some conversation.  Be bold. Swipe right and meet some new people.  If you happened to make a connection, that’s great.  Bumble and Tinder are two of the dating apps I have tried.  Both are free with paid upgrade features within the app that I did fine without.  With both apps you swipe right if you are interested in a profile and swipe left if you are not.  If both you and the guy have both swiped right, then you may start a conversation.  With Bumble, however, only women can begin a conversation if you have both swiped right.  Men cannot reach out to you.  With both apps, and with most dating apps, including Match.com’s dating app, conversations are held through the app and appear on your phone similar to the way Facebook messenger works.  So, no being stuck front of your computer searching through profiles.  And you receive “text” messages from potential matches through the app without giving out your number.  You can do it where ever you are, whenever you have some free time.  Messages come in on your phone and you can respond to them on your phone.

Most apps also tell you how far you are away from a potential match.  Some tell you in real time. So, if someone you are chatting with happens to be in the bar across the street, it will let you know that that person is within a mile of you.  I found this a little creepy, so I turned this feature off.

Some Advice

So, start swiping. Start setting up some dates.  Get dressed up, put on some makeup and get out of the house and start dating! But also be safe.  Take their phone number when you begin to move your conversation offline and don’t give out yours. Block your number when you call them.  Don’t commit to dinner for a first meeting. Just meet for coffee or a drink.  If you both like each other you can continue the date and go somewhere for dinner.  If you don’t like the guy you can have a coffee or a drink and then say goodnight.  Meet your date at a busy restaurant or coffee shop.  Tell someone where you are going and if you guys go to another location, let someone know.  Be careful walking to your car or use valet.

If there’s no connection, then keep it moving. If you were interested in him, but you never hear from him again or he sends you a note later saying he wasn’t interested.  So what.  Keep it moving.  Don’t take it personally.  You don’t know this guy and he doesn’t know you. What do you care what he thinks?  He’s probably got a girl at home or even a wife and is just out testing the waters. You never know. But it usually has more to do with them and NOT you.  So, don’t dwell on it. Move on to the next.

If you are only interested in men the same race as yours, then great, but please don’t limit yourself.  Be open to something new.  Be open to other races.  Read profiles.  See who has lots in common with you and forget about race.

Be open minded.  Meet some new people and just have fun with it.  You might actually find someone you really like.

Donna Torrence is a correspondent at Poisedmag.com and is also a freelance writer and entertainment publicist for Media savvy PR.  Donna lives in New Jersey, and her and her boyfriend, Firefighter Bill White, marked 4 years together this past November. Follow Donna on Twitter: @donnatorrence, Instagram: @donnatorrencenj

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