The Dating Dilemma – Are you ready to go digital?
by Risha Gotlieb
After being widowed, John, a successful entrepreneur, turned to Internet dating in hopes of meeting someone. The 61-year-old Halifax businessman posted a profile on a popular dating site, but after one year it only led to two coffee dates. Discouraged, he sought out the advice of online dating coach Carmelia Ray.
Ray, who’s the matchmaker on the hit TV series Mom vs Matchmaker, revised John’s profile, and today she reports that he’s enjoying a busy dating schedule. At last count, he has had ten face-to-face coffee dates.
There is no escaping that dating in the 21st century has gone digital. It’s fast and super convenient, with a much more open field to play in – extending the dating options beyond one’s own social network. There are a plethora of dating sites and niche markets that cater to specific needs, interests and philosophies. According to some estimates, the over-fifty crowd are the fastest growing online dating segment, with many sites that now cater specifically to this market.
Expert advice for optimizing your online dating success ratio:
- Laura Bilotta, author, TV host, and founder of the website Single in the City, says to research the best sites for people over fifty, and try to stay away from the free subscription sites, as they tend to attract scam artists. “OurTime.com is a good starting point,” says Bilotta. “And keep an open mind. If your list of do’s and dont’s is too long, it limits your possibilities. The biggest mistake online daters make is not giving others a chance.”
- Invest the time and effort to write a profile about who you are and what you’re looking for. “The first message you send out about yourself should be positive and uplifting,” says Ray. “It’s a form of self-marketing, so come up with a catchy username that sets you apart from others. Express your relationship goals clearly as a ‘desire’ rather than a ‘need’. And don’t get into too many personal details such, as a divorce, an illness or a personality flaw.”
- Karenna Alexander, an international dating coach based in New York City, advises daters to craft really short profiles that are very light and breezy. “Don’t write soap operas and don’t get into details such as how you were hurt before. That stuff is a turn-off.”
- Post a current photo (not more than six months old), minus the sunglasses and hat – one that you feel good about. If you’re not comfortable with a head shot, post an action shot doing something that you love. Even better, post one headshot and two body shots. “Online daters are very suspicious if you post only a head shot; they wonder what you’re hiding,” says Alexander. “Be glammed up, but don’t stray completely from reality.”
- If you’ve been on a dating site for months (or years) without positive results, it’s time to go back to the drawing board. Update your profile and photos, or consult an online dating expert.
- There are many romance scams in cyberspace, but they’re easy to dodge by doing a little research. You can investigate your cyber-date by searching his or her name, and related details, online. Read up on tips for spotting the romance scam on sites such as romancescams.org and my article in Reader’s Digest: Protect Yourself From Online Dating Fraud.
Risha Gotlieb is a freelance journalist who has been published in Maclean’s, Reader’s Digest, The Globe and Mail, The Toronto Star and, now, Active Life. Gotlieb also writes marketing and promotional materials. firstname.lastname@example.org