Online dating popular for the 50+ demographic - ABC 33/40 - Birmingham News, Weather, Sports

Online dating popular for the 50+ demographic

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Gray-divorce is at its highest level ever. Empty nesters calling it quits means the number of people over 50 who are divorced has more than doubled over the past two decades.

For many of those recently divorced, the idea of finding a new companion is driving them to dating sites designed for those 50 plus.

Certainly these sites can work, but men and women need to be careful. They do. Singles should use the same type of discretion they would use when meeting someone in person.

There are success stories for people over fifty who choose online dating. But I spoke with a woman whose first experience has her second guessing whether companionship is worth the risk.

"I guess I was just lonely," said Brenda Robbins.

Robbins says she felt a strong desire for a companion. Someone to share her life with. So, at age 64 she decided to give online dating a try. .

One man caught her eye. But, it appeared he had found a way to circumvent her age requirements. He was twenty years her junior.

"He was just coming on to me like crazy," she said.

They decided to meet at his house. It's a decision clinical psychologist Vivian Friedman says may have been a little risky.

"If you stay within a few degrees of your own social circle it's pretty safe. You just have to use common sense," said Friedman.

Friedman says the need for companionship never goes away, no matter the age.

"Humans are social beings and they're programmed to be in groups. You want to date people who are similar to you in age, educational level, in general outlook of life. If you get too far outside that then it becomes the one night stand."

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