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How Online Dating Works

Learn how to ditch the singles bar and avoid blind dates

Many older Americans are making connections with others via online dating services, and if you’ve been wondering if this route could be for you, here’s how you can jump into the world of online dating:

  • Choose a reputable dating site. (See the section, “Select a Dating Service,” later in this article.)
  • Sign up and provide information about your likes, dislikes, preferences and so on. This often takes the form of a self-guided interview process.
  • Create and modify your profile to both avoid exposing too much personal information and ensure that you’re sending the right message about yourself to prospective dates.
  • Use search features on the site to find people who interest you and send them messages or invitations to view your profile.



Websites such as help you search and identify the type of people you would like to meet.

laptops on bed

David Burnett/Contact Press Images

  • You’ll get messages from other members of the site, to which you can respond (or not). Use the site’s chat and e-mail features to interact with potential dates. You may also be able to read comments about the person from others who’ve dated him or her, if the site has that feature.
  • When you’re comfortable with the person and feel there might be a spark, decide if you want to meet the person offline.


Select a Dating Service

Select your online dating service carefully.

  • Look for an established, popular site with plenty of members and a philosophy that matches your own.
  • Review the site’s policy regarding your privacy and its procedures for screening members. Make sure you’re comfortable with them.
  • Use a service that provides an e-mail system that you use for contacting other members only (sometimes called private messaging). By using the site’s e-mail rather than your own e-mail address, you can maintain your privacy.
  • Some sites, such as, offer stronger levels of authenticating members.



Safer Dates uses fingerprint identification and screening to make you more confident that you know who you're interacting with.

Visit a site such as for comparisons of sites. Whether you choose a senior-specific dating site such as or a general population site such as, reading reviews about them ahead of time will help you make the best choice.