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I am also no "spring chicken" and should probably forget about this. Some guys may already have rented a motel room and want you for sex only. You can trust the free sites, they have nothing to gain by trying to get you to stay on there for a lot longer.
But it would be nice to meet someone local to go out for coffee with, etc. try simply posting a profile and tell yourself that you will only communicate in writing for a short period . the man gets too impatient, then he was not the right man. Why you need to be with others among other reasons until he has prooved himself trustworthy . The ones you can trust from the point of view of the site itself are the free ones. The others use tricks to get you to pay to renew your membership.
I signed on with Christian Mingle and Senior People Meet, but many of those I've met have seemed a bit sketchy. I have one man that I write to on the site and will never meet as he has too many health issues. Middle ground of wise, prudient, self-protective activism is best. I own and run websites (not dating ones ) but I have had to investigate them regularly for articles on my sites. The most popular is plentyoffish because it costs you nothing, so you will not be getting people who pretend to be other clients to get you to sign on again etc. There are also specific sites for specific things such as dog lovers, gays, friends only with no sex etc. It's just that a lot of older men are still chasing their youth by chasing young women.
A couple asked for my private email address, because supposedly their membership was running out or it was easier to write from regular email. THere are plenty of jerks out there and some of them are dangerous. It had a bad reputation for attracting sexual idiots, but the owner/designer just revamped a month or so ago and the new safeguards seem really to have helped. You do not have to respond to anyone, and you can cut off anyone that upsets you. Still, I really enjoy writing back and forth with him as he is very intellegent, very well read, and has a sense of humor. But you will get people who are not genuine on all sites. You would have to google whatever it is you are looking for. But beware of some of the people on them, some are not honest etc. I always had issues with younger men chasing me( which I didn't want). I have already noted that I am in a wonderful new relationship with a man I meet through a free site.
At first I made the mistake of giving it out, but finally read the cautions about scammers, and that was one. Still, it is very unlikely that any man (nice, safe, or whatever) is going to come knocking at your door. I have actually met one or two of the men, one was so dull it was sad, the other was a little too interested in talking about sex, but did tone it down when I objected. Put no personal information on that account and there will be no danger of hacking, etc. I have come across them on gransnet, mumsnet, sagazone etc because the sites are too busy to check out each person who goes on there and anyway people can lie. I tried some of the sites that are supposedly for platonic friendship only and they are good and don't cost anything but found that the people were either too young or too old and we had nothing in common and they lived much too far away. I think they are risky like everything else in life. People are always saying that they want to find someone honest and family oriented but don't know how true that is?????????????????
Bottom line, you do not have to actually met anyone. Why not set up a second email account for only your dating profile responders . With penfriend sites - which might suit you - you can specific which countries you wish to hear from and you can also stipulate males or females and age group, hobbies etc. You may be better off searching for a local woman friend (straight) because most men find it hard to be platonic friends with a woman and start to want more and move on if it is not forthcoming. you can cut off anyone who seems to have too much drama or trauma.
After awhile you may come to be able to trust the person. And if ever you decide to meet don't go and meet him alone the first time or two. I would email a girlfriend all the info that I had on the new man . That way, at least someone knew something about who I was meeting for coffee. you can decide whether you want to take that step or not.
Learn about what they value and don't value Learn what the person is like AS a person. The kee is how does he act on a consistant basis over time? name, email, phone number, where we were meeting, etc.
Some men will pretend they want to be a friend when really they are after sex. And some will be married or with someone already and pretending to be single.