You can use technology in your favor to find love after age 50. (Pexels)
If you’re over 50 and looking for love but have resisted trying to find it with the help of technology, you may want to reconsider..
It might be a departure from the way you met someone in your younger days, but with some motivation from Amira Heim, a sex and relationship educator from East Coventry Township, Chester County, you might be well on your way to creating a profile for yourself on a dating app and have a date to look forward to in a week or two.
Heim will be offering a one-hour workshop on “Dating After 50” on Nov. 29 at 1 p.m. at the TriCounty Active Adult Center in Pottstown.
“She is going to cover how dating changes as you age, expectations, attitudes and challenges,” said Brian Parkes, executive director of the Adult Center. “She will also talk about romance scams, online dating options and healthy sex.”
Parkes said he hopes people leave the session with more confidence in their ability to have healthy romantic relationships later in life.
Heim began teaching sex and relationship education 17 years ago by offering in-home sex-ed parties.
“I did bachelorette and birthday parties where I was trying to get people to advocate for themselves and get them comfortable talking about things they are uncomfortable talking about,” she said.
Heim said this topic pertains especially to seniors.
“With older generations they really didn’t talk about it,” she said. “They waited until getting married to have sex and got little understanding about what a relationship looks like.”
She said the older we are, the less comfortable we are with broaching topics such as boundaries, safe sex, toxic relationships and consent. All of these relationship buzzwords are new to many in the active aging category.
“The older we are, the less access we had to that sort of information, which is information that can lead to healthy and fulfilling relationships,” Heim said.
Through her workshop, Heim looks forward to supporting older adults in the community who might be searching for a new relationship whether they are divorced or their spouse has passed away.
In her workshop, she will offer helpful tips on using dating apps.
“I’ll give them advice on how to meet people in person and online,” she said. “We’ll discuss how to be clear about what you’re looking for, understanding their needs, their boundaries and their non-negotiables.“
Heim said that online dating can open up opportunities to meet your match.
“Online dating is so big and can be so helpful,” she said. “I think it’s especially good for seniors because you can cast a wider net and you can meet somebody you might not have run into in your day-to-day life.”
Heim said there are upsides for matching with someone based on similar interests, similar values, and maybe someone of a certain religion you are looking for.
“If they’re on a dating app, you know they are out looking for a relationship, too,” she said. “You have a higher chance of meeting someone than waiting to meet someone at the grocery store by chance.”
The one thing she warns about with online dating is the potential for being scammed on your quest for love. She said it’s important to look for potential red flags.
“They start off as a person in the military or with Doctors without Borders and have some big job and come on hot and heavy” she said. “All of a sudden they say, ‘I’m in this jam and can you send me $1,500.’”
Given there is a certain level of care you should exercise when meeting new people, Heim said there is a higher safety factor with online dating.
“With online dating, you can take all the time you need before you spend time with someone in person,” she said, adding that the relationship would likely start with emailing and then might lead to texting or speaking on the phone before meeting in person.
In terms of which dating apps and websites to gravitate toward, Heim offered good avenues for seniors.
“If someone is looking for a relationship, I suggest they go with a tried and true one such as Match or eHarmony over Tinder, which is more casual,” she said.
Heim suggested it’s a good idea to consider going the route of paid or upgraded memberships.
“People are a little more serious if they have spent the money, and it gives you more access to information,” she said.
If you’re open to the idea of online dating but feel nervous about getting started, Heim offers some helpful tips.
“Play with your profile and take a look around and warm up to it before you dive in and think you’re going to find your soulmate before dinner,” she said. “Most of the dating apps are designed to be very user-friendly. It can feel a little overwhelming at first but they make it easy for people to find who could catch your eye.”
She said if you’re not tech savvy, it’s a good idea to ask a friend who would likely love to help you get set up on a dating site because it could be fun for them to be involved.
Once you find a potential match Heim said it’s important to take the time to talk to them and get to know them before you determine if you are comfortable sharing your phone number.
“Like any dating, you have to listen to your gut and what feels right to you,” she said. “I always recommend a first date to happen during the daytime in a public place and telling somebody who you trust where you’re going to be.”
Heim offered one recommendation for a date and will share more at her workshop.
“The TriCounty Adult Center is a great place for a first date,” she said. “You can arrange to meet somebody for lunch, exercise or play bingo.”
TriCounty Active Adult Center