So, since I’ve been exploring the world of dating as a senior (over 65) for a year, what do I now feel it means?
I started with checking out the online dating sites ) and had little success. see Dating for Seniors for more details on several sites and the results.
In the meantime, I’ve also approached dating in two other ways – joined a site called “Stitch.net” and started going to meetups (See meetup.com ). Both of these methods have given me a measure of success in learning what dating is about in this time period and at my age. This post will talk about “Stitching” while the next post will focus on “Meetups”.
Stitch.net is an online site, that could be considered a dating site, but the profile section of the site is still in its infancy stage, especially here in the US, so has only given me limited success. The beauty of Stitch has been its online forums and its activities sections. Stitch began in Australia, spread to England, is also gaining momentum in California, and now is starting to expand throughout the US. There is a minimal fee for joining which enables you to participate in the discussions and view profiles of others, and attend activities.
The profile section is unique in that it allows you to search for “friends” or “romantic” partners. However, the amount of info on each person is a lot less than requested by other sites, which also gives you less insight into the person. In Stitch’s favor, that doesn’t really matter, as you get to know the members through their involvement in the community both through discussions and activities. Once both you and the other person click on a “Stitch” option in favor of their profile or connecting, you are “stitched” or able to private message each other.
The discussion boards on Stitch are its oyster. There are about 20-50 different discussions going on at any one time based on topics. The topics range from what cologne a man should wear, to challenges unique to widows and widowers, to sex, to political topics. The participants that create or respond to the discussions form their own online community where people agree, disagree, learn from each other, and support each other through challenges. The community has developed over time, so some of the threads go very deep, and some change on a regular basis. Everyone is friendly to newbies, which is necessary because the site has a unique layout which is different from other dating sites and newbies sometimes need to be pointed in the right direction.
I have learned so much from reading and responding to the online discussions. If you have a question about life as a single senior, simply post your question, and you’ll get honest responses from both male and female participants, and people who are at different stages in the process of being single. It has opened my eyes on so many issues and built my confidence. In some ways, I found I wasn’t far off in my thinking on some issues, and increased my knowledge in others.
The pearl in the oyster of Stich is its activities. Anyone can suggest and/or create a local activity and host it. This takes the online community one step further, giving participants a way to meet others without the stigma of “dating”. Groups gather for an activity and can evaluate it afterwards. While this part of the site is currently small, yet growing in the US, it has been very successful in parts of Australia. One US gentleman, who had planned to travel to Australia anyway, was met by about 100 Australias at a Stich Activity there, so got to see locals during his travels. The California group that is growing steadily, will be hosting the first ever “Global” Great Stitch Get-together this May. Participants from all over the globe are coming to meet in California @ Asimolar.
So far, after about 6 months of being engaged online in Stitch, I have attended several activities based in my local area. I have also jumped on board, and planned and attended several activities thus earning myself the level of “Champion”. These activities have been attended mostly by women. However, through the discussion boards as well as during our activities, we are exploring ways to include more men in the activities. In order to help grow the Stitch community as well as my own single community, the activities that I plan have been posted on both Stitch, and Meetup.com under the Top of the Bay Single Boomers group page. The next posting, Meetup Magic of Senior Dating will describe my journey using that tool.
What does dating mean at this stage of life? See