Jeff Duff is a 66-year old man who has had two marriages and six sons. He has been following current events since he was age 11, in 1967.
When will You "Live your Dream" through Internet Dating?
Internet Dating has One Big Advantage and One Big Disadvantage
You might be asking yourself, "What does this guy know about internet dating?"
Well, a couple of weeks ago via email, one of the women I was matched up with asked me if I was a genuine "Expert" on internet dating? (I had told her about my two previous articles on senior citizen internet dating, published in this webzine). Her question made me sit back and think about internet dating for a few days. I finally wrote back to her that I was just an experienced widower stumbling my way through the minefield of internet dating.
During the last four months, I have received just over 1,360 unique matches from both Silver Singles (for senior citizens only) and Match.com (for all adult ages) internet dating services. I did have almost three dozen duplicate matches because some women were members of both dating services simultaneously - like I am - but I have excluded them from my number count. Reading through over 1,360 women's profiles and looking at thousands of personal photographs from these women may not make me an expert, but it does make me feel like a 'professional' ... or a professional voyuer, at least.
This woman informed me that she was not having much success in finding a good male match and asked me if she should cancel her subscription with the internet dating site we shared. In reply, I wrote to her that most dating sites operated in pretty much the same way (and cost about the same, too), so there is no significant advantage to switching websites. I also explained to her that these websites could only forward the name of 'matches' to her as fast as they got them from new male subscribers. Finally, I explained to her my theory that all internet dating websites share one big advantage versus everyday meeting-and-dating (or 'blind dates', if you will) and one big disadvantage versus everyday meeting-and-dating (or 'blind dates').
Internet Dating's One Big Advantage
Single folks who live in large cities may have many dating choices, but for people who live in the smaller American cities, villages and rural countryside, our options for meeting potential romantic partners are relatively limited. For example, in my rural area of southwest Wisconsin, we have just four choices: blind dates, meeting people in bars, meeting people in grocery stores or meeting people in churches or temples. (Men used to be able to call random women from the phone book, trying to sweet talk women into dates, but phone books have pretty much disappeared these days.) Blind dates have a lot of problems, but do occasionally work out. Meeting strangers in bars also occasionally works out, but how many videos and books are out there, showing victims meeting serial killers in bars? (Yikes!) Meeting strangers in grocery stores works out once in a decade, but men do run the serious risk of being reported as stalkers. Finally, meeting people in church or temple is probably the best of these poor options, but assumes that the single person is seriously religious and is excited about dating 50-year old virgins.
This is where internet dating services come in! Almost anyone can access dating websites, so anyone can join from anywhere (even worldwide). They are relatively inexpensive to subscribe to (around $20 - 30 per month, for most) and they allow you to meet a wide variety of the type of people that you would like to date. You can screen internet dating matches by their age range, appearance, if they smoke or not, if they drink or not (watch out for the ones who answer: "I drink in moderation, depending on the hour of the day."), if they went to college, if they are skinny, average or 'robust but beautiful' in size, etc. A few even ask if you are looking for someone to share some pot (marijuana) with!
But the most important screening device is the simplest: their posted pictures of themselves! Physical appearance and physical attractiveness is probably the most important screening tool of all - and probably the single best Advantage to doing internet dating. (Who has not had a blind date with a toothless, drunken derelict and prayed for the the evening to end soon?) Internet dating saves you from all of that - as long as other subscribers post honest, recent photographs. I have received female matches that were self-reported to be "65-years old" and were probably not 18-years old in real life (uh oh, jail bait)! I have also received several matches where the woman eventually admitted that their picture was 10 or more years old. I'm sure that women internet daters have similar stories to tell.
Never the less, to be able to pre-screen your matches before going out on a date is a great Advantage! The ability to find out a sizeable amount of information about your matches, before you even meet them, is a huge advantage over other kinds of dates with strangers and near-strangers. Obviously, face-to-face meetings are the most crucial step in internet dating, but that comes later. It really is helpful to be able to try to 'weed out' those heavy drinkers, drug abusers, weirdos, mooches, sex maniacs, racists, sexists, degenerates, TV-addicted couch potatoes, etc. ... and it is sometimes possible to exclude these people with their personal data! Even strangers and near-strangers that you meet at a bar, grocery store or church will not normally have revealed so much personal information to you - before your very first date! - as you will get from an internet dating service!
Remember, information is power - especially when you need to date strangers!
Internet Dating's One Big Disadvantage
Internet dating has one big disadvantage and it is probably never going to go away: the prospective matches are never asked if they are willing to move away from their current location for the sake of a good, loving match.
This turns out to be pretty crucial information and I believe it gets more important as the age of the matches increases. Several interesting, prospective matches have told me the very same thing: they will not move more than 20 or 30 miles from their current home. Many women matches have told me that they will not date any man who lives more than 30 miles away. These older women say that they don't wish to move away from their children or grandchildren - not even for the sake of a good man! I don't believe this is quite as frequent an objection for younger women, as I'm guessing that younger women are generally more mobile than older women. In addition, I do not know if older men are as immobile as older women. But if most senior men ARE as immobile as most senior women, then there are going to be a lot of BROKEN HEARTS among seniors using internet dating!
The internet dating services will NOT ask potential matches about their willingness to move for the right man or woman. Why should they? They want to send each subscriber as many potential matches as possible ... 'the more, the merrier'. This is one way that they compete with each other. Not only does it help these romance businesses to provide as many potential matches as possible, but this is also how they build large amounts of positive 'word of mouth' publicity! If they started to ask potential matches (i.e., customers) whether they would be willing to move for a good match - and how far away? - then the dating services would have to begin restricting the number of potential matches they can provide to their subscribers.
For example, let's say I live in Milwaukee, WI and I'm NOT willing to date anyone outside the Milwaukee metropolitan area. How can my dating service ethically provide my profile to potential matches throughout Wisconsin and Illinois? You can see how this would drastically reduce the number of dating matches that the service can ethically (and perhaps even legally) provide to their romance-seeking subscribers,
THERE IS ONLY ONE SURE WAY FOR INTERNET DATING SUBSCRIBERS (YOU) TO LEARN ABOUT THIS MOBILITY LIMITATION: Ask your most interesting and attractive matches, early in the "Getting to Know You" process, if that man or woman is willing to move to be with a good match? In addition, how far would they be willing to move for love? This could save you a ton of heartache in the future!
If you have found this article interesting or useful, please consider reading my three other articles related to internet dating services, on this website. One is called, Senior Citizen Dating is Like High School Dating the second article is called, Senior Citizen Dating is More Complicated than High School Dating, and the third article is called, "No Drama Wanted" Internet Matches. Feel free to enjoy and share with your friends!