Dating is daunting in the best of situations. But, making the jump back into the dating pool after the loss of a spouse is unthinkable.
Chances are that your marriage was long enough that dating seems completely foreign. The current dating landscape looks more like an alien planet than anything you did in the past. For some, you may have lost your spouse to an unexpected injury or accident which is even more jarring. For many, this means the very first time they would ever have to consider using online dating as a way to meet people. Then there is also the fact that for some, dating a widower or widow can seem strange.
Anxiety over trying online dating is only made worse by the media. Accounts of dating scams and people misrepresenting themselves flood the news.
Yes, there are definitely some people out there that are up to no good. There always will be whether you meet online or out in the world “traditionally”. But, online dating is one of the best and most popular ways to find your next great love.
Here are some of the most common questions about finding love online after losing a spouse.
Am I ready?
The first hurdle to jump with thinking about getting back into the dating pool is whether they are ready.
I’ve had widows/widowers who have come to me for online dating profile help years after losing their spouse. I’ve also had people come to me as little as 72 hours after laying a loved one to rest.
There is no set rule here. What feels right to you is the right answer for you. It doesn’t matter what other people tell you. You are the one who has to live your life, not them. With that said, here are a couple of things to consider:
Are you looking because you are ready for the next chapter of your life? Or are you looking because you want to fill a hole in your heart?
This is one of the biggest factors between success and failure when dating as a widow or widower. If you are looking for someone to enjoy life with, you are ready.
But, if your main motivation is that you are missing having that second person there… you might need a little more time to get into the right headspace. Remember that it might also be
Can you describe what you want without picturing your spouse?
I’ll admit, this question is a little unfair.
Everyone looks back at the great relationships of their lives to decide what they need for the next one.
But, if you can’t judge the worth of a potential new mate without comparing them to your lost love it’s not the right time. Once you can establish what you’re looking for and not comparing your date to your husband or wife, then you’re ready.
Which Dating Site is the best place to find someone open to dating a widower or widow?
There are over 3,000 dating sites and dating apps online, but how do you know which one is the right one for you?
There are not only a ton of sites, but some of them are much better than others. Depending on who you are and what you want in a relationship, the answer will be different.
Are you a widow or widower under 45? Your best bet is going to be with Match.com, eHarmony, POF, Bumble, or ChristianMingle.
Both ChristianMingle and eHarmony tend to lean towards a more Christian audience. If you are Jewish, Match is going to be your best choice.
While JDate is the largest dating site for Jews, it’s not a great one. You will generally have a much better experience on Match.
If you are over 50, the options for dating sites start to change a little bit. Bumble is not going to give you the chance to connect with people the way you’d generally want.
Match.com is the best option for you. Coming next would be eHarmony, POF, and ChristianMingle for potential success. You also have the option of joining dating sites for singles over the age of fifty. Two of the best are Ourtime.com and Silversingles.
Of the two, Ourtime has more people and it provides you with the ability to search for someone you’d like. Silversingles is a smaller site that is newer to the market. Like Harmony, they rely on a computer algorithm to pick matches for you.
Which one you choose depends on a few different factors. Would you like to search through people yourself? Do you trust their algorithm to get it right on its own?
Before you consider joining a 50+ dating site, you should know that singles in their 50s- early 60s feel the people on the sites are “too old”. If you try one of them out and find that you agree, Match is going to be a much better online dating site for you. However, on a site with older people you are more likely to find people in the same situation as yourself and more open to dating a widower or widow.
What Photos should I use?
When it comes to online dating, your dating profile photos are as important as the words you put in your online dating profile.
Bad photos can give an inaccurate impression of you. That leads to people making assumptions about everything from age to your health. Even whether you are real or a scammer.
Here are some tips that will help your dating photos stand out:
Keep them recent
Your photos should be from no more than 12 months ago, even if you think you still look the same. If there is a photo from a couple of years ago showing you doing something you love or on a big trip, you can use one. Make sure that you put a date in the caption so people know it isn’t recent.
Only use photos of you
You should be the only person in most of your photos. One group or family pic is fine, but these photos have to be primarily of you. That also means not cutting people out of photos, blacking out their faces, or showing pics of pets.
A photo of you and your dog can be heartwarming. But, a photo of your dog is just a photo of a dog that has no connection to anything.
Headshots aren’t just pictures of your head
A lot of people make the mistake of taking headshot photos for their profile. That kind of photo tends to make you look heavier than you are in real-life.
When your face is that close to the camera, it feels like you are invading the space of the person looking at it. The last thing you want to do is make the person looking at your profile feel uncomfortable.
Instead, make sure that the camera is 6-10 feet away from you. Take a photo that starts a couple of inches above your navel and goes up a couple of inches above your head.
Your eyes and your smile are the keys to connecting
Don’t worry about looking serious, intellectual, or even sexy in your photos. Focus on looking like the kind of person that people will want to spend time with.
For that to happen, they need to connect with you and that connection happens in the eyes and the smile. That means you should avoid wearing sunglasses in your main photo.
It also means you need to relax and smile. It doesn’t have to be a huge grin, but you have to look like a person is happy to be alive.
Focus on who you are, not what you have
This tip is mainly for men. Some of you out there are using photos of you with your cars, on your boats, or in front of your houses to impress people.
Cut it out.
The women you want to meet think photos like that show you have nothing to give other than money. The women who like those photos are generally not the women you want to meet.
How do I write my Dating Profile?
One of the hardest things about online dating is figuring out what to say on your profile. I know, I’ve been helping people do it for the last 16 years.
How do you tell people everything they need to know about you and what you want in just a couple hundred words? And, how do you do it without getting in your own way? Well, the good news is that you don’t have to tell people everything about you.
That’s not what your profile is for.
Your profile is there to give them just enough information so that they want to know more. If you’d like an expert’s help writing your profile, our Essay-Based Profile Creation or Premium Profile Creation packages will be very helpful.
If you want to write your profile yourself, here are some tips to help you along the way:
Do not talk about your spouse
For a lot of people, it can feel like you are dishonoring a passed spouse by not mentioning them in your profile. But, it really is the last thing you should be doing.
When you set up a profile on any dating site, it will ask you about your marital status. When you select Widow/Widower, it will place that information on your profile page.
If you mention your spouse again in the written profile, most people assume you are not ready to invite someone new into your life.
Focus on what you want, not on what you had
It is very easy to fall back on memories of your last relationship to determine what you want in the next. Doing this can make you sound like you are wallowing in your past.
Instead, try to think about what makes a relationship good for you. Not what would make a person good for you but what you want from the relationship itself.
Those are the things you should talk about when describing the partner you want to meet.
If you have spent any time on dating sites, you’ve seen people telling you all of the reasons you should like them. Or, all of the great things their friends say they are.
Don’t do this.
It sounds like you are trying to convince people to give you a chance. That ends up making people feel like they probably should move on to the next profile. Instead, focus on talking about your life and how those qualities about you shine through.
Context is key
So many profiles are just lists of interests, activities, and qualities.
They are boring to read and no one really connects to them. Instead of writing a list of ten things, pick four and give each of them the context to mean something.
Don’t just say you like to travel, talk about your favorite adventures. Don’t just say you like music, talk about the first concert you saw or what you sing in the shower.
These little bits of detail will help you transform them from a list into a person with whom people can connect!
Don’t be afraid (or too proud) to ask for help
Most people struggle with their online dating profile. If you get stuck, send me a message, or give me a call at 888-447-7634.
How do I protect myself from scammers?
The most common thing I get asked about by reporters is, “What can you do to protect yourself from online dating scams?”.
I’m not going to lie, scams are a big problem. Last year, singles reported losses of nearly $410 million to scammers. What’s worse is that the FBI thinks that might just be the tip of the iceberg.
Some experts estimate that 80% of romance scams go unreported. The victims are too embarrassed to tell anyone.
The good news is that, while there will always be bad people out there trying to ruin it for everyone, there are two very simple rules that you can follow to make sure you don’t fall victim to predators.
NEVER Send Money to Anyone You Meet Online
This might sound like common sense, but scammers are very good at their jobs. A good scammer will build up a relationship with you over time. Often times, they won’t even ask you for money. Instead, they’ll create a crisis or opportunity where you feel compelled to offer.
If you ever find yourself in this situation, remember what I’m about to say: NEVER, in the entire history of online dating, has anyone ever sent money to someone and had it end well.
It isn’t even a 1-in-a-100 chance of it going well. It ALWAYS GOES BADLY.
Just don’t do it!
Meet online and then meet in person as soon as possible
Time is one of the biggest tools in a scammer’s toolbox.
They rely on being able to take the time to develop a bond with you through emails, messages, and sometimes even phone calls. As genuine as any of that might feel, nothing is real until you meet!
To avoid finding yourself in a position where you are more vulnerable to scammers, do your best to meet anyone you connect with on a dating site within a week of the first time you communicate with them.
Most scammers are not local. They are in different countries and on different continents. If they can’t or won’t meet you, they aren’t dating you, they are playing you. If they can’t meet you within a few days to a week of when you start chatting, it is time to move on.
Where Do I Go From Here?
This should give you a better idea of where to start if you are a widow/widower who is considering online dating as the way to start your next great love story.
You deserve to be happy, and online dating is now the most popular way for new relationships to start.
If you have any questions about how to make the leap or about anything in this article, drop me a line, or call me, toll-free, at 888-447-7634.
I would be happy to answer any questions you have or to offer you a free 15-minute phone consultation. You only get one chance to make a good first impression.
Let me help you make sure it’s a great one!