First, select a dating website that feels congenial. This isn’t as easy as it sounds, because so many choices are available. For example, do you want to date people who share your religious beliefs? You’ll find a wide spectrum of sites for various denominations – and even some for atheists and agnostics in search of romance.
Do you want a site specifically designed for your age group, such as “over 50s”? Are you open to someone divorced – or never married? Or do you prefer to meet a widower who understands firsthand the grief and loss involved when you lose a spouse? There are websites for all of these categories, plus some that focus on matching up people in similar occupations. A few even connect farmers and those who would like to meet farmers. And don’t forget the issue of economics. Some websites are absolutely free. Others charge a fee. Only you can decide what is and isn’t worth it.
If possible, before making a choice, talk to other widows who have dated online about their own experiences at websites. They can often provide valuable information about what to expect. At the same time, realize that “the world’s worst place to meet someone” for one person can be “the best place” in the eyes of someone else. So do your research, but trust your own gut as well. You can always drop out of a site if it doesn’t work for you.
The next step is to create a personal profile, which is required on every website. Try to find someone experienced in online dating to help you. One widow turned to someone younger – her daughter-in-law, who had dated online before her marriage. The latter urged her to, “Say what’s unique about you. What are your interests or values or dreams that make you stand out?” How about you? Do you watch football games, love the beach (or crossword puzzles or travel on steamships)? Have you opened a new cupcake business? Say so.
Yes it’s scary to try something new. But think of it as an adventure. And stay tuned next month for tips on actually talking to people online – and avoiding the trap of unrealistic expectations that can stop you cold.
If you have a question for Florence, please email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Florence Isaacs is a freelance journalist, author — and a widow herself. Her books include My Deepest Sympathies, When the Man You Love Is Ill,What Do You Say When and Just a Note to Say...The Perfect Words for Every Occasion.
Image via The Associated Press, Al Behrman