When Brigitte found herself single after her 15 year marriage ended amicably, she was very aware that she was highly unlikely to meet a potential partner through her work (as a teaching assistant) or through her normal social life. So she decided to take a pro-active approach and try dating online.
Says Brigitte “I just wanted to get on with my life and move it forward, and I knew I wanted to meet someone else”
It was the best decision Brigitte could have made, as online dating led to meeting her husband Graham.
I asked Brigitte how she found the experience of dating online, and to share her personal tips.
How did you decide which dating website to join?
I decided to join one of the bigger, more established ones (in my case Dating Direct) and one that required you to pay to be a member. I felt that if people had committed to pay, they more likely to be serious about finding a relationship, and as they had to give payment details they were more likely to be genuine and be who they said they were.
How did you find the process?
First impressions do count, and I only considered people who had photos alongside their photos. I think you can tell from a photo whether you like someone or not.
I was lucky that I was always happy communicating online. I had always had penpals, including people I had met online, so I didn’t find the prospect of meeting a potential partner online daunting at all. For me it wasn’t like jumping into the unknown. I saw it as an exciting world to discover.
I personally don’t like driving – so I didn’t want to meet people who lived too far away, so I set myself a 15 mile boundary.
Did you meet people as soon as you connected online?
No. I had lots of exchanges of messages and emails before meeting up. I think you can learn a lot about a person just by having online conversations and asking questions about their lives.
I met 3 others before meeting up with Graham. I saw one person on several occasions but I knew he wasn’t the one for me. I could have continued to see him – he was good company and it was nice to have someone to take me out, but I knew I wasn’t serious so it would be unfair to him. I only ever saw one person at a time- and didn’t correspond with others.
Interestingly , Graham, who I am now married to had the profile that was the least likely to be a good match for me – he had just had a new hip and studied maths- his online profile was totally uninspiring – plus he is extremely tall (6ft 6ins) and I am just over 5ft tall. But he looked nice. We corresponded for 6 weeks – in fact he wondered if I was ever going to agree to meet him face to face! When we did eventually meet up in a pub one evening we just clicked. We talked for over 6 hours . I closed my account after that first meeting.
Tips for dating Online
What tips would you offer to other women looking to start dating online?
I think it is a brilliant way to meet people. But you need to do it safely.
- Choose a larger reputable dating website. Keep your profile lighthearted.
- Ignore what friends might think. I had friends who suggested that only ‘sad’ people met online – but today people lead such busy lives, that often it is the only way to meet. At my age I didn’t want to go clubbing or to the pub, and I definitely was not going to meet anyone through work.
- Always meet someone in a public place – tell a friend where you are going. Never give anyone your home address or phone number. It is so easy to find out about people now. Do your homework – before you meet someone face to face check them out online.
- Be brave – take the opportunity to meet someone new.
- Don’t worry about matching the criteria exactly. If someone doesn’t tick all the boxes it doesn’t mean they’re not right for you. Give them a chance – opposites do attract.
- Go for it!
Many thanks to Brigitte for sharing her story and inspiring others to take that step! As Brigitte says: I hope that it will encourage others to give online dating a go. For me it was the best thing I have done. Without it I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to meet Graham and would probably be a rather lonely fiftysomething me!