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8 Ways to Find Love Online

More and more 50+ singles are using Internet dating sites to find a mate. Here's how to make it work for you.

En español | In the old days, you most likely would meet Mr. or Ms. Right in college, on the job, maybe in a bar or though family and friends. Today, people are increasingly getting together through online dating — especially if they're over 50. Various studies have found that older adults are the fastest growing segment of online-dating services.

See also: Expert advice on dating after 50.

So if you're looking for love, this can be an ideal option. (I say this, not only as a resident relationships expert at perfectmatch.com, but also someone who met my boyfriend of five years online.) Here are my tips for efficient, effective and safe online dating:

Woman using laptop computer at home

Internet dating sites are attracting a large number of 50+ singles. — Photo by: Sharon Wharton/Getty Images

  • Be sure you're ready. If you're not ready to date, you simply aren't in a position to find a healthy relationship. To do so, you need to feel reasonably happy and confident of your worth. If you're still angry or hurt from a past relationship, wait a bit. You need to feel positive, open and up for an adventure. If you're having trouble getting to the right mental space, you might consider seeing a therapist.
  • Do your homework. There are all kinds of online dating sites, so spend some time on the computer researching what looks best for you. Decide if you're interested in a "pay to play" or one that's free. (Personally I think you are safer if everyone has to use their credit card and is therefore not fully anonymous.) Of the pay sites, match.com is the biggest, but there are all kinds of boutique services if you'd prefer to better target your dream date. For example, there is equestriansingles.com for horse lovers, fitsingles.com for fitness types, and all sorts of specialty sites such as asianfriendfinders.com, christiansingles, gaydate, jdate (for Jewish singles) and therightstuff.com (for ivy leaguers). If you're looking for a free site, plentyoffish.com and nerve.com are two of the larger ones.

Next: Be smart about your privacy and safety online. »

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