Online dating for seniors is currently a popular topic in the news. Years ago, many seniors were embarrassed to go public with their desire to meet someone new. Men and women aged 65+ wondered, “What will I tell my friends? My family? My neighbors?”

Fortunately, the perception of Online dating has changed. Thanks to television programs and celebrities like Betty White, we now accept the notion that romantic interests continue past the age of 65.

Over the last two years, specific events have helped to shape public opinion about senior dating, specifically, Online dating for seniors. Here was one such event:

AARP created a dating website and icon Martha Stewart admitted to using online dating to find a romance. Martha disclosed this to a genuinely surprised Matt Lauer on the Today Show. As he continued his interview with giggles and surprise it was clear that Martha, who is always so self confident, was also confident that online dating was a legitimate option.

As a psychologist in private practice for more than 30 years, I have seen the evolution of dating behaviors and venues. In my early years of practice I heard ongoing laments of single bars and Single Parties that we’re referred to as horrible “Meat Markets.” Women felt as though they were on display for gawking men. Men felt uncomfortable and insecure about approaching women for fear of blatant rejection. Women who were beautiful we’re never approached because of what seemed to be insecurity of men. Some men who would approach them assumed they’d be conceited and would start the conversation with ‘attitude.’ I recall several patients who were quite beautiful having such experiences.
I recall my first experience with a woman patient who met a man online. This was prior to Online dating services being well known. The experience occurred in a chat room of a smaller internet carrier that no longer exists. I had been seeing this patient for issues unrelated to dating. We worked week after week on those other issues. Then one week she mentioned to me that she had met someone online and he was coming halfway across the country to spend some days with her. I did all I could not to GASP!!! “WHAT ARE YOU DOING???”

I later found out the couple met in a chat room that focused on specific interests. They started up a conversation in the chat room, then on email, then on the phone.

Finally it felt right to each of them to have an in-person meeting. As her psychologist I was very concerned for her safety and for her tremendous disappointment.

Much to my surprise and to their delight…it worked out perfectly. They continued to visit each other for some time, met with each family, and soon they were married. For several years following, I received Holiday Letters from the couple describing their happy year together.

I learned then that things had changed in the dating world. Online dating could work.

Obviously….Online dating IS working for many. isn’t your grandmother’s dating style…or your mother’s style for that matter. It’s what is NOW happening. We now have computers, internet and social media…we are “connected” and learning more each day how to use these platforms.

I still have my worries. I still want people to be cautious. I recommend learning everything you can about someone, before meeting in person. Find out if you have friends in common, verify certain information, and if very little information exists about the person you are chatting with, consider running a background check. In the end, Online dating will offer you more information and choices than the “meat market parties” of days gone by.

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About erodino

Elaine Rodino, PhD., is CEO of Senior Premier Dating LLC, is a licensed psychologist in private practice. She is a fellow of the American Psychological Association (APA), Pennsylvania Psychological Association and the Los Angeles Society of Clinical Psychologists. Dr. Rodino is a past president of the APA Divisions of Independent Practice, The Society for Media Psychology and Technology, Central Pennsylvania Psychological Association, Los Angeles County Psychological Association (LACPA), the Foundation of LACPA, and recipient of the Distinguished Lifetime Contribution to Media Psychology Award, and the Distinguished Service Award to LACPA. She has appeared on T.V. and radio and contributes to magazines, newspapers and online health sites on issues regarding Couples, Relationships, Sandwich Generation, Holiday Blues, and other popular topics.

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