Whether you are divorced, widowed or have come out of a long-term relationship, the idea of getting back into the dating game can be daunting. But there's no reason why you can't find happiness again, or at the very least have some fun searching, so here are a few tips to get you started.
The popularity of internet dating has soared since it began, and nowhere more so than amongst 40 to 69-year-olds. There are hundreds of sites available, and many targeted at over-50s so you won't be thrown in with thousands of young people. The advantage of online dating is that you can search for the person you really want, with the same interests as yourself, and start communicating via email if you don't want to move quickly.
Make a list
As a mature adult, you have the benefit of experience and wisdom, and that more than likely means you're no longer striving for that fairytale romance. Write down the qualities you're really looking for in a partner, as well as definite no-go areas. It'll help you to get clear in your head what kind of person you are interested in, and allow you to sort the wheat from the chaff, and meet or chat with those that could actually lead to a relationship.
Take your time
Getting your profile right is all important when it comes to online dating. Obviously you want to present yourself in the most positive light, but it's also important to be honest - after all, you're no doubt looking for the very same from any perspective partner. Take plenty of time to consider your positive aspects, the things you enjoy and what you're looking for from a potential relationship or friendship. And do spend some time looking for the right photograph. It's an idea to ask a friend to help you choose, as they will offer a more objective opinion, or take a flattering shot for you.
Whatever the reason you're looking for a new love or relationship, don't be afraid to take things slowly and move forward at a pace that you're comfortable with. Protect yourself by keeping your personal details private when online, and if you decide to chat on the phone, use a landline and dial 141 before you call, as this will ensure your number is hidden. If you get to the stage of physical dating, choose a public place - somewhere casual and relaxed like a coffee shop is ideal - and let someone know where and when you are going, and arrange to call them when you leave. It is always better to be safe than sorry.
When you're over 50, there's no rush to think about marriage and starting a family, so have fun with your search for love. As your confidence grows you'll find flirting and chatting becomes easier, and even those people you meet that aren't relationship material might well end up being good friends. Though it can be tough when you're newly single, it's important that you enjoy yourself.
Sites to try
There are many online dating sites to try, some of which are open to all, others that cater for certain age groups. Some will be free, while others charge an annual subscription fee. The likes of Match.com and eHarmony are very well known, but as a result, you may have to trawl through hundreds of profiles to find somebody you're interested in. Those targeted at the over-50s, however, allow you to meet like-minded folk of the same age group right off the bat.
50plus-club.co.uk is a free to join UK-based community that includes forums and chat as well as dating opportunities, while OnlineSeniorDating is a similar type of affair. Overfifties.com is a world-wide service if you're hoping to make new friends around the globe. Saga connections if a safe and secure dating site, but comes with a rather hefty subscription fee of £79 for six months, but the Telegraph's dating site is well worth a visit, as there are more than 90,000 members, aged 40 and above, and it's totally free to sign up.
Are you 50 or over and trying online dating? Which sites would you recommend to others? Leave your comments below...