Only a few years ago, on-line dating was considered a last resort to find someone to go out with; kind of a secret that participants didn’t want their friends and families to know about. But today, more and more couples proudly announce that they met on-line. The phenomenon is not only for younger couples; older people are just as enthusiastically joining in.
For older people who are thinking about exploring on-line dating, there are some special factors to consider. Many people in their golden years, especially the women, are much more naive, more trusting, and more vulnerable than today’s younger generations. In addition, seniors may be dealing with the loss of a spouse, health issues, loneliness. Their self-esteem may be wavering, and they are risking possible rejection. It might take quite a lot of courage for them to put themselves out there.
Telling their children or trusted loved ones about their on-line plans is usually a good idea for seniors. A case in point: “Cindy,” a 65-year-old grandmother, arranged to meet “Frank,” who said he was 75 years old and a retired mounted policeman. They planned to go to a Chinese restaurant, and Cindy agreed to meet first at her house. Frank was coming from about 50 miles away and she thought he might get lost looking for the restaurant in her town. She told her children he was coming, and one of them decided on his own to stop by her house while Frank was there, to see that she was safe.
On his way to their meeting, Frank called Cindy to say that he had missed the exit on the New Jersey Turnpike and was lost. He called twice more – once to say he missed the exit after he had turned back the other way, and a third time to say he missed the exit yet again. He finally arrived an hour late, and when he stepped out of his car, Cindy saw a frail, much older than 75 man, who was a bit disoriented. She invited him inside to freshen up; then they left for the restaurant in his car, with Cindy giving directions.
He hit the curbs as he drove into the parking lot. He was flustered, and unable to eat. He said he had recently been hospitalized, and his stomach was still not right. Cindy began to worry about him! They returned to her house, and a few minutes later her son just “happened” to stop by for a moment, and he met Frank.
Later in the afternoon, Frank said he had to get back home, as he could not see after dark. He drove away, and neither of them called the other again.
Frank’s family should have known that their frail, very elderly father was out driving on the New Jersey Turnpike, going to meet a blind date, unable to see well, missing the exits, getting lost, hitting the curbs as he drove, and completely unnerved by a date with a nice-looking “younger” woman. They need to know, and they should help him to choose someone closer to home, and only when he is fully recovered from his surgery. He could have had a bad accident, or worse.
So go on-line, meet some nice people, but always protect yourself. Meet at a public place, no matter how far either person has to travel to get there. And don’t be ashamed to tell your children or loved ones what you are doing. They want you to be happy, but also safe. Wouldn’t you want the same for them?
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