I’m 49, recently divorced, and finally feeling ready to get back out there into the dating world. There’s only one problem…I have absolutely no idea where to start! Please help!!
Congratulations on taking the first step towards reentering the dating world! As is the case with anything unfamiliar, the thought of dating may seem a bit terrifying at first, but just think of all the new and exciting experiences you have to look forward to!
Believe it or not, the dating world isn't just for 20-somethings. The internet has made it possible for people of all ages to connect with other singles around the globe with options including various dating sites and hobby-specific online groups. If this social networking jargon sounds more like a foreign language, just sit back, relax, and let’s break it down to find the right dating scene for you:
Match.com- One of the most popular online dating sites. Match allows you to set your own criteria in terms of what type of person you are looking for (age, sex, interests, etc), and you are also free to view most people’s profiles. Perks include a wide range of diversity, full control of who you want to pursue, and an overall casual vibe. There is also a monthly fee to use Match.com
eHarmony- More limiting than most dating sites. You set your specifications for who you are interested in, and will not be able to view anyone outside of those preferences. Perks include more privacy, and you basically just sit back and relax while eHarmony searches for the best matches based on your specifications. Be prepared to answer a lot of questions when setting up your profile. Also, eHarmony lacks a lot of diversity as it is not inclusive of all sexual preferences and orientations. Like Match.com, there is a monthly fee to use eHarmony
Ok Cupid- The most inclusive in terms of sexual preference and orientation, but generally targets a younger crowd. Ok Cupid has more of a fun, playful feel, kind of like a “Facebook” for dating. Like Match.com, you run the show, and can view most other profiles. And it’s free!
(also see plentyoffish.com and itsjustlunch.com)
Hobby-Specific Online Groups
Meetup.com and Yahoo groups- Meet people based on your area and interests. Don’t see what you’re looking for? Then start your own group!
LinkedIn.com- Connect with other professionals in your area
Fetlife.com- Meet people in the fetish community
There are also plenty of ways to get back into the dating scene that doesn’t involve finding love on a computer screen. Business and community mixers are a great way to meet new people. Ideas include industry-specific luncheons, religious groups, or any events related to a specific hobby or interest (my personal favorite is a wine lover’s group).
Also, if you don’t have one already, this is the perfect time to get a gym membership. Not only will you meet new people, but your body will thank you for it. Here’s a tip: if someone catches your eye mid-workout, go use the machine closest to them. Even if you’re the Einstein of fitness equipment, ask them for workout pointers. If treadmills and weight machines aren’t your thing, take a fitness class. Or better yet, a dance class. This is guaranteed to put you in close quarters with new people.
Lastly, if you’re feeling really bold, you can always go the old-fashioned route and scan the bar scene for potential dating material. But if you ask me, I vote for saving time by screening the mismatches on the net before meeting them in person. Now go get your groove back!