By Ronda Addy

No matter what your age, dating can be scary. For seniors who want to start dating again after a long gap, it can be downright terrifying. Most have already had the one love of their life and are just looking for some companionship. One way to go about finding this is to use an online dating service.

Joining an online dating service will reduce the time and effort required to find that special person. When you sign up, you need to be honest about yourself. Don’t lie about your age or send a photo of yourself from five years ago. Doing so will make any first meetings awkward.

You also need to be honest about your intentions. Are you interested in just getting to know someone as a friend, or are you looking for a long-term relationship? Would you consider marriage?

After signing up for the online service, you will have profiles to choose from. You may contact the person who interests you by e-mail, instant messaging or using a video or web cam before your actual date. Remember the purpose of a first date is to see if you are interested in a second date, so plan an activity that will allow you to get to know the person. Go someplace public and do something fun. If you plan to eat, choose someplace casual where the pressure won’t be as great.

Safety is always an issue when dating, especially on a first date with someone you hardly know. Don’t give out your address or phone number or disclose any financial information. Take things slow. Should declarations of love come right away, be leery of continuing the relationship. Let someone else know where you are going and whom you are meeting. If you feel uncomfortable with the person at any point, don’t be afraid to leave.

Enrolling in an online dating service can be fun. You can meet some nice people and make some lifelong friendships if nothing else. Just remember to use common sense when interacting with strangers and play it safe, and you are sure to have a good time and perhaps even find another the second time around.

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