Disclaimer: I am not online dating and have no intention to. I'm not actively seeking someone in "meat world" (real life) either. I am open to the possibility of meeting someone organically through groups and activities I may choose to participate in, but I do not ever see myself actively looking.
When I was in my 20s, I dated through personal ads. This was before the internet, and even before voice mail, so people answering your ad would have to write you an actual letter. This took a certain amount of effort. I dated a lot of people, some of whom were nice, but nothing ever panned out. Now, with text messaging, no one has to put out any effort at all, and that's a problem.
That said, I know a lot of you ARE dipping your toes into online dating, so I want to call your attention to an article that ran in last month's AARP bulletin. This is a detailed account of a woman who "fell in love" online and lost $300,000 to a scammer as a result.
AARP is great about staying on the case with online dating scams: http://search.aarp.org/browse?Ntt=online%20dating
Look, I get being lonely. When I was in my 20s I answered a personal ad from someone who turned out to be in prison. And I kept up the correspondence. And yes, I fell in love through letters. I even visited the guy. He sent me flowers out of money he made in the prison laundry. He would talk about how we would live in the country when he got out. I later got back together with an ex-boyfriend and sent him a "Dear John" letter, which he accepted with far more grace than I expected, because frankly, I was scared at how he would react. As it turned out, he DID get out and he DID track me down. I was living with my husband by then, and he accepted with equanimity that I was "attached" -- and never contacted me again. That was a relief.
But I was lucky. I played with fire and fire didn't come back to burn me. And Goddess bless my husband, I'd told him all about that early on when we were dating, and he thought it was funny and let it go.
I have a friend who met her husband online due to a shared interest and he moved here from the UK to marry her. They have now been married for 12 years and she treats him like crap. But that's another story.
So I get being lonely and I get being susceptible. But please, folks...be smart. There was once a cartoon in The New Yorker magazine that showed a dog sitting at a computer and he says to the dog on the floor, "On the internet, no one knows you're a dog." It's that way with online dating. You don't know if people are telling you the truth even about who they are or WHERE they are.
Try to keep the feelings you may develop as "provisional" -- meaning "provided that when we meet in person, you are who you say you are." Get a first and last name and a location. There is a site called Spokeo.com that aggregates information available about people from public records and the internet. It's inexpensive to join and lets you do some background checking.
If a person is always putting off meeting in person, it should raise doubts. Serious ones.
Above all, don't send money. Not even to pay for a ticket to visit you or a hotel room. If someone wants to come to your town to meet you, let him/her pay his/her own way.
Be smart. There are people out there who prey on the lonely.
I think I have shared this before that I met my husband through a personal ad. How different it was then. We talked on the phone a lot and then met. No games, all real.
I have dabbled in the online dating world and am very cynical. I think the scammers are playing several women at the same time as the emails looked and read like cut and paste jobs. There was also a real sense of a different time zone. One guy accused me of checking him out and he could do the same! But that guy really did seem like he lived elsewhere. I did look him up. He said he owned property in an adjoining town and there was no record. He sent me a picture of himself allegedly at this property - his back to the camera!
So I am very suspicious and cynical. I don't answer any of the gushing type messages or from distance. That pretty much means nothing.
We do have to be careful. I'm still on one site and breeze thru once in a while. To me it is fascinating to see the same guys on the site. The same guys who said they were involved with someone. So why are they on the site???
Thanks, Bergen, I will be careful. Probably too much so!
Thanks for posting this, Bergen. Important information. I'm often surprised to hear very intelligent women talk about their online 'matches' and not recognize the warning signs. Just saw this article link posted on FB: http://www.cbsnews.com/news/6-red-flags-of-a-romance-scam/
Scammers look for vulnerable populations -- women and men in their 50s and 60s who are divorced or widowed and may feel rejected or past their prime. They're also likely to target people with weight problems and those recovering from illnesses.
Why? Any of these issues might make you a bit more anxious about your ability to find love and potentially more receptive to the con. The crook will then lavish you with attention and flattery. The idea is to get you to suspend good sense and become enamored with someone you've known online for just a few weeks and have never met in person.
This topic is worthy of continuous attention ...
Members who posted to this thread contributed highly important safety tips for everyone's well being out in the dating world ...
Obsessiveness, compulsiveness, exhaustion from grief, the need to run wild &/or self loathing can drive a person to disregard all safety measures as well as common sense. It it very easy to allow ones self to slip away into another nightmare of horrors.
Before making any major decisions, ask yourself these questions first:
Are you Hungry?
Are you Angry?
Are you Lonely?
Are you Tired?
If the answer is yes to any of these questions take necesssry steps to resolve issue ...
Proceed with caution ...
Take care of yourself ...
"In another moment down went Alice after it, never once considering how in the world she was to get out again.”
― Lewis Carroll,
I would go so far as to say that when you are lonely is the WORST time to look for someone, because your judgment is impaired. Having been very lonely in my 20s when I would date anyone to not be alone, I can say that you can only find a good partner when you already feel complete within yourself. Loneliness is an internal condition. It is not caused by lack of a lover. Once you are at peace with yourself and comfortable in your own skin, you have more to offer someone else. Love is about the giving to someone else, not just about finding someone to give to you.
I agree with that, I had a good social support network when I was online dating and I spent time making sure I was OK being alone.
I found the process of online dating gruelling and emotionally draining, with most of the people you contact you end up getting less out than you put in. It was worth it in the end but it was a slog and I'm glad it's over.
To be safe you need to go into it feeling that your life is OK as it is (for now at least), you need to be strong enough to reject and be rejected. You can find yourself in a situation where you are emotionally attached to someone who could up and walk away without a trace at any moment, and you may be the person who needs to do the walking away.
If you are in a reasonably good place then online dating is a great tool for meeting new people (it's much more convenient then serial signing up to Adult Education classes), but if you are not then you run the risk of opening your vulnerabilities to complete strangers.
Patrick, that's why I don't on line date. i just don't have time for it. You really have to be committed to the "process" and have a salesman's attitude toward it, where its never personal if it doesn't work out. It sounds like you were committed to the process and it worked out for you, which is great. I just don't know if i have that inside me.
It's good advice. Like you I don't want to actively look for someone so I've started going to meetups. I went to one last night single women over 45 just because I wanted to meet friends in a group without a dating vibe and afterwards, I never felt lonelier. They were nice women, okay, most never married, illnesses and small traumas magnified, all about themselves, and now I feel profoundly alone. Do you have any straight forward clear sighted advice on looking for friends while lonely? I feel as if I want to shut out the world and not think about repairing my life.
I have had this experience too. I joined a "women friends" group and while they were perfectly nice, I just could not see myself doing that on an ongoing basis. My widows/widowers group was less depressing.
Here's what I have found: going to groups where there is a common interest is what gets me energized. I've gone to some political meetups, I've joined an independent film meetup, an ethnic food meetup, and a volunteer meetup that lets you do one-shot things. I go home from THESE feeling psyched and energized and optimistic about the future.
So my suggestion is to find meetups that do things that interest you, that will attract people with similar interests, not just about "making friends." That takes time and will happen more organically as you do more things. That's what I'm doing in my new community.
Yes, it's hard. When I am working at home alone and I am alone in the evenings I feel I miss my friends in NJ terribly and wonder if I did the right thing, even though I know I did. It will take time.
The usual advise would be spend time with people, be yourself and let it happen; but being widowed takes away a huge part of who you are, how can you be yourself when you're still trying to work out who that now is?
It's OK to feel lonely, it sucks but you don't have to do anything about it unless you've got the energy and the inclination to do so. If you feel that it's worth it then give the group a few more tries and see if you connect with anyone, if you don't feel that that particular group is worth bothering with then look around for something else.
Repairing your life hurts, so does not repairing it. While I was rebuilding my life I felt like my existence was a constant stream of having to choose what type of s**t I was going to have in my sandwiches that day. Even though it was always at a price, it did get better for me over time.