Midlife dating can be a frightening experience in person, without the unfamiliarity of the computer.  Luckily dating on the computer can be pretty simple.  Here are some tips to help you date online.

Learn the Lingo

People talk differently on the computer than they do in person.  They use certain abbreviations that might look like a foreign language to you if you do not know what they mean.  If you are in a conversation online, you can ask the person what the word means or you can look for the definition on the computer.  Honestly, it is pretty easy to get a list of common words and terms on the computer.

Do Not Believe Everything

The online world is just like the real world.  You want to make sure that you only believe information that you have independently verified.  When you deal with people online you want to make sure that you are skeptical of things that appear to be too good to be true.  You don’t need to be scared but you do need to be aware that things might not be as good as they seem.

Limit Personal Information

It is unpopular in the current world of social media to limit the information that one gives, but it is important to protect your privacy.  You don’t need to give every person online your whole life story.  Save the vivid details of your personal life for people that you have actually met in person.   Do not feel obligated to tell anyone personal information about you.  You should only give out information when you are ready.


This is an area that is left to your discretion.  My advice is not to send a picture to someone that you don’t know.  If your relationship develops and you feel comfortable, then you might exchange pictures, but exchanging pictures early on might not end well.  Again, some people feel comfortable sharing pictures, so the choice is yours.

Never Give Money or Bank Information

Above all, please guard your financial information.  If someone tells you a sad story that basically ends with them needing money from you, do not give it to them.  There are a lot of people online that make money from people by telling a sad story.  You do not want someone to play on your emotions.  Only give your money to organizations that have a charity status or people that you actually know.

Choose An Appropriate Name

If you join an online service the name that you choose will matter.  Do not choose a name that automatically identifies you, if you want to remain anonymous.  Choose a name that you can live with but don’t obsess over it.  A quick reminder is that things look different to different people.  Make sure that the name that you choose actually looks like what you want it to be. 

Begin with An Email or Chat

When you start talking to new people you always want to make sure that you control the speed of the conversation.  IF you begin with an email or a chat, you can decide whether you want to continue talking to this person or not.  It is not advisable to start meeting people with videoconferencing or by calling them on your personal phone number.  Many services will allow you to send an email to someone through their system.  This will protect your information.

Treat It Just Like A Face-To-Face Conversation

Be kind and take turns communicating.  Sometimes you might type faster than another person, but you should wait until they respond to one question before you ask another or write something else.  Basically mind your manners.

Don’t Do Anything That Will Haunt You Later

So many people that write things online fail to remember that anything done online can come back to haunt them later.  Just remember that you anything you say may show up at a later date.  Don’t say things that you wouldn’t want someone else to read.

Know the Community’s Rules

Every online community will have certain rules that you will need to follow.  This is not something that you have to stress over, but it is something that you need to know and observe.  Familiarize yourself with the site and its rules before you communicate with someone.

Membership Sites

When you date online you will probably decide to join a membership site.  With all things that you do online you need to make sure that you are protected from scams.  First, only use sites that you know are reputable.  Choose a site that is big and well-known. Second, always check to see if the site is registered with the Better Business Bureau.  IF they are registered at least you know that you have some form of recourse if something goes wrong.  Third, use a method of payment that does not give them access to your bank account.  Basically you want to use Paypal, a credit card, or a prepaid card to pay for your membership.  Do not use your debit card.  If you want to dispute charges, it is easier to dispute them when you use a credit card.

Don’t Be In A Hurry

Sometimes people meet people online and then they are in a hurry to meet with the person.  Make sure that you take the same precautions that you would take whenever you meet a stranger.  Just take your time.   Take the time to learn your preferences, to understand how online dating works, and to find someone that you are really interested in getting to know better. 

Have fun

The great thing about dating online is the ability to control your environment.  Some people are naturally shy or get nervous when they go out on a date.  When you date online you have the ability to think about what you want to say and respond in your own time.  With the internet the world is quite literally your oyster.  This is an exciting time of your life.  Enjoy it.