Online Dating Advice For Widows and Widowers, Start Living Again!
Do you find yourself wanting to move forward and take a chance at love again?
If your answer is yes, then you've come to the right place.
I'm going to show you how you can broaden your selection and perhaps, find your next love connection, online.
I will show you how to create a your profile, how to connect, and most importantly, how to be safe and feel comfortable about the whole process.
This post may contain affiliate links. Please see full disclosure for details.
How Soon Should A Widow/Widower Start Dating Again?
I started dating after all the "Firsts" without my husband and that was six months after his death. I had such a wonderful love relationship with him that I wanted to do it again.
Others around us may wonder if we loved our spouses so much and are still grieving, how can we even think about dating again?
We will be grieving them for the rest of our lives. Dating again isn't going to change that.
We may fall in-love again, but we will always have the love we have for our spouses in our hearts, forever. Only Widows/Widowers understand this.
Love doesn't divide, love multiplies.
We do, however, need to give ourselves ample time to grieve, especially during the darkest days.
Only YOU know when it's time to try to move forward and start living again.
If you're wanting to move forward but are consumed with guilt, then here's what I learned in my grief journey that might help you. Go to my post, We Each Have Our Own Journey To Travel In This life, Make No Apologies.
There is also a great article on Grief and Sympathy web page called, 'Falling in Love While Grieving'.
My Experience With Online Dating
I was 18 years old when I got married the first time and that lasted 25 years. After the divorce I had no idea how to date again and found out the dating game had changed quite a bit.
I decided to try Online Dating so I joined OkCupid, Match.com and Plenty of Fish...but not all at the same time, I didn't want to seem like a Hussy after-all!...LOL.
For two years I was on those sites off and on, until I met my second husband, Brad, on Match.com. Very sadly, exactly two years later, my husband died of cancer (My Story). After six months I decided to try again.
I learned quite a few things the previous time, I knew exactly what I needed to do to find the type of man I wanted and to do it safely.
I met my fiance, Jeremy, on Plenty Of Fish and I'm very much in love again.
I want to share with you the things I've learned and some ideas on how to be successful in finding your next love.
Which Online Dating SITE Is The Best?
Plenty of Fish, in my opinion, is the best choice and I'll tell you why:
It's free. Some people think because it's free, you'll have more Creepers. Creepers are everywhere, online or otherwise, but I will teach you how to avoid them in a bit.
Match.com has a lot of non-payers. You can create a profile and search for free but you can't send and receive e-mails if you don't pay. Even if you pay, they can't respond if they're not a paying customer. A whole lot of the profiles are non-paying. Plus, most of the people on Match are also on Plenty of Fish (POF)
In my experience, there are more scammers on Match than there are on POF. My theory is, the scammers, usually from 3rd world countries, think you have money because you're on a paying site. So they know how to hack in, and they troll those more.
E-Harmony is too expensive and you're only matched with just a few people and they are usually miles away! I've heard of people being told they can't find a match for them and they weren't a good fit for E-Harmony. Brad, my late husband, was one of them...LOL
OkCupid is free as well, and I'll be honest, I had a lot of fun there, but in my experience, most weren't seriously looking for a lasting relationship. At the time, I was just getting my feet wet after being widowed, and having fun was definitely a distraction from my grief.
How To Get Started With Online Dating
My advice here is to look at the different dating sites and decide which one you want to go with.
You may even want to go with several at a time and there's nothing wrong with that. I was just joking earlier when I mentioned about being a Hussy...LOL...
I was on POF and OkCupid at the same time.
I would avoid trying to do it all at once, or 'Live". You need to think about what you want to say, then put it all on Word, Google Docs or some other writing platform to jot everything down. Make sure you save it, so you can have access to it in the future.
Creating Your Profile
1) Profile Picture
Professional Dating Advisers will tell you to get a professional profile picture done, but I say you don't need that.
With our smart phones and "Beauty Face" setting, all you need to do is take a selfie.
Take several of them and choose the one you like the most.
Put on some make-up, put your lashes and lipstick on, style your hair and start shooting.
You can usually find the "Beauty Face" setting in the 'Settings' of your phone's camera, or you'll see a 'Drop' looking icon with stars next to it.
Set that at full blast. Be careful with it though, because there are separate settings to make your face look a lot thinner and your eyes bigger. I wouldn't use those.
You want to get rid of your "slight" imperfections like acne or wrinkles, just like a professional photographer would do. But thinning out your face and making your eyes bigger, is just deceiving.
Some people say using Beauty Face is deceiving, but the way I see it is, a picture doesn't capture your inner beauty.
We all know people that aren't that good looking, but you think they are beautiful because their inner beauty shines through when they interact with you. A picture doesn't capture that, so I think using Beauty Face is one way to compensate a little.
With Beauty Face
No Beauty Face
2) Have At Least 5 Other Photos To add
Have whole body pictures doing something you enjoy.
If you're 'Curvy', like I was when I started dating again, then show one with you far away.
They may notice you are curvy, but they will often focus on the fun activity you're doing.
If a man/woman sees you showing the whole you, they will see a confident person. Confidence is very attractive.
Here's a couple of examples:
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3) Don't Kitten Fish
You've probably heard of Cat Fishing, where someone pretends to be someone else and they use someone else's pictures? Well, Kitten Fishing is when you use pictures that are from 5 to 10 years ago.
There is nothing more of a turn off than kitten fishing.
You'll be surprised how many people do it, and when you meet them in person, they look nothing like their pictures!
Use photos that are no more than two years old.
4) Don't Lie About Your Age And Body Type
These sites will ask you what your body type is.
Thin, Athletic, Average, A Few Extra Pounds, or, Big And Tall/BBW.
I've met a few men who have lied about their age and their excuse is that they feel and look younger than what they are. But, in actuality, they don't look younger...LOL
If you're serious about finding someone for a lasting relationship, you must tell the truth. Remember, beauty is in the eye of the beholder.
What To Say In Your Headline
You get a chance to say in one phrase what you're about, or what you're looking for in your headline.
You can use quotes like "What's meant to be will always find a way" or "Looking for the one whom my soul loves".
Mine was, " Forget Butterflies, I want the whole Zoo!".
How To Write Your Description Or About You
When people are doing a 'Search', Your picture and the description you write about yourself will be their first impression of you.
If you message someone, they will look at your pictures, read your profile, and message, when deciding if they should write back to you.
Tell a little about yourself but not specifics. Don't say where you work, your name, phone number or your address.
Give just enough information about yourself to make them want to know more.
Talk about what you like to do during your spare time.
Include your goals and aspirations, what makes you unique and what your interests are.
Describe what you enjoy doing, but don't just tell them, make them feel it!
" I love going to the beach. There's nothing like sitting on the smooth cool, sand right at the shore. Savoring the ocean waves washing up my feet, up my bare legs then washing back down, all with the rhythm of the sea."
Imagine yourself doing that activity and be creative in describing it. Adding a hint of sexiness will go a long way.
Make sure you say in your Bio what you're looking for. Don't make a laundry list but specify what age range, list some virtues you'd like them to have.
One of the things I made sure to specify is that they must have a steady job as I do. Specify what is important to you.
One of the things I always included was, "Must have good teeth and good hygiene, but if you don't, and I like you, I'll give you a bath!" Men love that! I've gotten so many messages just because of that line. You have to add a little humor in it all and make it fun to read!
You could be lucky enough to find your person the first go round but most won't. You'll kiss many frogs before you find your prince, but there's nothing wrong with having fun while you're doing it.
So again, I advice you to write all this up using Microsoft Word or the like and save it. Then Copy and Paste it on your dating site. This way, if you ever delete your profile, and things don't work out and you want to go back on, you have your profile already written up and ready to go.
What To Do After You Publish Your Profile
You can put up your profile for all to see and wait for messages.
Be forewarned, you'll be cringing a lot. People who don't even come close to what you describe of what you are looking for, will message you.
You'll get messages from twenty some year old's trying to hook up with you.
People that are seedy looking will message you. I'm talking about people who don't even put in an effort to look good.
Some will look like they just rolled out of bed.
These messages are enough for some to just say, forget it!
Let me assure you, there are ways to avoid all this.
Use The Message Filter
Here you can specify what age range and area of distance you're looking for.
It used to be, you can specify only those with a picture of themselves can message you. Now you are required to put an image up before you can create your profile.
Only those that fall in these ranges can send you a message, and this will weed out your undesirables.
Hide Your Profile
Take yourself off the shelf where just anyone to view and YOU do the shopping!
I never felt comfortable just being out there for everyone to see. So, I would hide my profile then do a search.
If I saw someone I might be interested in, I'll send them a message.
On POF, even if you have your profile hidden, the person you send a message to is able to see it because you made the connection with them.
On Match.com, if you hide your profile, nobody can see you, even if you message them. However, for an extra monthly fee, you can add this feature. It's called the Privacy Mode.
Make The First Contact
For women, there's nothing wrong with you making the first move. In fact, statistics show that there's more chance for a relationship when the woman makes the first contact.
Read their profile and send them a short message. Include in there a comment about what they said in their profile. That will show them you actually read it.
I was the one to make initial contact with my fiance. In fact, he would have never found me if I didn't message him first because, I'm 5 1/2 years older and I didn't fall within the age range in his searches. Plus, I had my profile hidden and wasn't appearing in searches.
Not everyone will respond, don't be discouraged. You could be the most attractive person out there but you're not everyone's cup of tea.
Just keep searching and sending messages, more than likely someone will respond.
MEETING IN PERSON
Some people think you should communicate online for awhile before meeting. I totally disagree with this.
You may end up creating a fantasy about this person by their "Online" persona, but when you finally meet them, they're nothing like you imagined.
That happened to me. I started communicating with this guy who lived 3 1/2 hours away. He looked great in his pictures and we even Skyped for awhile. This went on for about two months, then when he was finally able to come and see me, I didn't feel attracted to him at all. There wasn't any chemistry. We were both disappointed.
How To Stay Safe
- Meet in a public place where there are a lot of people around. Never after dark!
- Take a screen shot of the profile picture of the person you're meeting and any other information you have on them like, their name and phone number, and send it to a friend. Also, tell them where you're meeting and what time. Be sure to let your friend know when you get home so they don't worry.
- Pick a place where you can talk but also do a favorite activity.
- I used to meet people at my favorite hiking trail. There were always a lot of people around so it was safe. I would just put on my work-out clothes, tie my hair up in a ponytail and put on a bit of mascara. Very casual but real!
- It never failed, the guy would always want another date, but, it was up to me to accept!
For Women - dye your hair and get your nails done.
Show that you care about yourself and your appearance.
Someone posted this next picture on Facebook and I believe it to be true.
For Men - Get rid of that unwanted hair, on your back, your ears and nose.
Make sure none of that is hanging out.
No comb-overs. If your hair is receding and half way up your head, buzz it all off. To me, Bald men are sexy!
Now that we're talking about hair, make sure to trim down there as well. Nobody has Jungle Fever anymore.
Second thought, you may want to keep it, so you don't give in to sex too soon...LOL
What To Wear On Dates
- Whatever you wear make sure it's pressed and clean.
- I've found wearing a dress for a woman, makes a great impression on a man. Men still like for women to be feminine.
- Look in the mirror and make sure your button-up shirt isn't cattywampus. On one of my first meet ups, the guy had his buttons all skewed up. That was all I could think of and couldn't get past it!
- Not only that, but make sure it's buttoned. I was on a first date with a Fire Chief and he was hot! We were in deep conversation, you know, getting to know each other. Lo and behold, I look down and discovered half my boobs were hanging out!
- If you're still wearing your engagement ring, be sure to wear it on your right hand. That's what I had been doing, but, on that same first date with the Fire Chief, I was in such a hurry when I was getting ready, that I automatically slipped it on my wedding finger... Ha ha ha...needless to say, Fire Chief never asked for a second date. How embarrassing!
One of my suggestions is to get a clothes subscription so you don't run out of nice clothes to wear. My recommendation is Stitch Fix. I love Stitch Fix. It's like Christmas for me when each box arrives!
Their clothes are really cute and you get a personal stylist for just $20, which is deducted from whatever you purchase from your box.
They have Stitch Fix for both men and women.
When you join Stitch Fix, they'll ask you to fill out your design, colors and style preferences. Let me tell you, my Stylist, hits the mark every time!
You can also choose what budget range you want to stick with. How often to receive a box, monthly or every other month. You can cancel anytime.
Like I mentioned above, they'll charge a styling fee of $20 for everytime you get a box.
When you get your box, try on your pieces, keep what you want, and return what you don't want.
They make it very simple by providing a postage paid bag. All you need to do is bring it to the post office.
Whatever you keep, the $20 styling fee will be deducted from your total.
Because you're my friend, if you sign up from here, using the button below, you'll get a $25 credit!
Give it a try!
Things to remember
Be confident. Like I said, Confidence is very attractive.
Try not to be crazy! After all we've been through, we're lucky if we're not a little messed up. BUT if you do go crazy and you end up ruining a budding relationship, don't worry, you were just practicing anyways...LOL...You'll do better next time 🙂
Be patient. You may have to go through a few relationships to find the right one. Don't be discouraged.
Don't chase anyone. There isn't anything any man, or woman, can do to you that would hurt worse than what you've already been through. So do not chase after anyone, you've survive widowhood, you can survive anything. So go have fun!