To Tell or Not to Tell on Senior Dating Sites

to tell or not to tellTo tell or not to tell? That is the question many seniors ask themselves when registering for online dating or when preparing their profile information. What am I talking about?

Aging isn’t a pretty process. Along with the wrinkles and gray hair come infirmities such as strokes (often with speech or physical limitations), diabetes (sometimes with amputations), heart conditions (often with erectile dysfunction and impotence), organ disease (sometimes requiring frequent hospitalization or at-home dialysis) and many other health problems that result in significant disability. Many of these health issues require substantial health interventions and thus even if there is not significant physical dIsability, there is often significant health disability. At a time when the person is reaching retirement age and looking forward to pursuing lifelong pursuits that they have worked and saved for, such as travel, vacation homes, etc., and further, looking forward to pursuing these activities with a lifelong or long-time partner, many seniors find themselves thrust back into the senior dating pool after their partner has died or is no longer in the picture. But how do these seniors get back into the dating pool, especially if they have significant disability or health problems?

The answer isn’t as simple as it seems. Internet and online dating have become the norm in our society. Consumer rankings exist at www.consumer-rankings.com for virtually everything, including online dating sites. The top five best online seniors dating sites, ranked from first to fifth best are Zoosk at www.zoosk.com, OurTime at www.ourtime.com, Match at www.match.com, eHarmony at www.eharmony.com and EliteSingles at www.dating.elitesingles.com. Unfortunately though, only Our Time is recommended for members over the age of 50, while Match, eHarmony and EliteSingles are for members aged 25 years and over, and Zoosk is for members over the age of 18 years.

For sites such as Zoosk, Match, eHarmony and EliteSingles, the fact that anyone can register can be extremely intimidating for the newly single senior entering the dating pool again. Not only is there a very wide range in the ages of prospective partners, there is no “real” way to detail one’s health issues or infirmities unless this information is put in the “profile” write-up section. On occasion, a member will detail his/her problems in their profile but in general, the vast majority of members list only their most attractive features. Let’s face it; putting details about one’s health problems up on a public website is both uncomfortable and unattractive…for anyone, never mind the senior with embarrassing health problems such as incontinence. What if their other single senior friends see this very personal information? No, posting personal health details on a public website is not likely to be attractive to the senior who finds him/herself in the dating world again. Yet at the same time, many seniors with significant health problems believe it to be “dishonest” in some way not to tell prospective partners these problems upfront.

If the senior does not post details regarding health problems, it is almost certainly required to tell a prospective partner of these difficulties when conversation begins with that member, particularly if the health problems are likely to impact the other person. For example, if the senior must go to the hospital 3 days a week for dialysis, with each visit lasting 5 hours, this will most definitely affect any relationship with another, particularly if the other person planned to travel in their spare time. Unfortunately, it is likely that many other prospective partners will simply not want the hassle of an infirm partner. Also unfortunately, although it is necessary to tell prospective partners of such serious health issues before any relationship begins, it is also hard to be rejected after telling that Potential partner of the problem. So what to do?

There are a small number of seniors dating sites where the newly-single or newly-interested senior can go to register, with a limited amount of confidence that other members are likely to have similar issues simply because the site is restricted to seniors. OurTime and other less well known sites, such as SeniorPeopleMeet at www.seniorpeoplemeet.com, SeniorsCircle at www.seniorscircle.com and SeniorMatch at www.seniormatch.com (among others), allow members to connect with other seniors, without feeling compelled to disclose significant medical and health issues right at the very beginning of correspondence with another member, because there is this underlying assumption that the other seniors who are registered with the site are likely to have “senior” problems, and thus, not as likely to be put off by health difficulties. These sites allow the senior to “tell without completely telling” other members that there are health issues, as with the other seniors registered at the site.