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Online dating may seem frightening at first, but it may be your path to meeting that special someone.

Dating can be a tricky matter at any age, but there are a few special challenges for active adults in their 50s and beyond. Having an empty nest means less chances to meet single adults through parenting functions, and moving into retirement can make it even harder to meet new people. Social clubs for singles can be a great option for those in active adult communities, but online dating opens another world of possibilities.

When turning to online dating, your safety should always come first. Common sense precautions, like using a reputable website and first meeting at a public place, should always be observed. A few other good ideas include bringing a cell phone on your first date, letting friends know where you will be and moving slowly in the relationship as you get to know your potential new match.

But before you get to the first date, you have to connect with someone you like enough to want to meet in person. There are several online dating sites available. Some are free, but most come with a membership fee. Sites that offer a free trial period or free accounts with limited functionality can be a really good way to test the waters before spending any money.

Well-known dating sites like Match.com and Chemistry.com help singles of all ages meet people they would like to date. But there are also online dating sites specifically designed for more mature singles. These sites are often geared toward people in their 50s, but may allow for younger members over a certain age (such as 30). They can be a great place to find casual companions or long-lasting romance.

With over 12 years of experience, SeniorMatch.com is often listed among one of the best online dating sites for older adults. The site is free to join, and paid memberships (with additional features) are available for one, three or six month periods. The site’s large pool of members makes it a great place to meet a wide range of people and maybe a special someone. 

There are several other age-based online dating sites as well. A few to consider include, Senior Friend Finder, Mature Free and Single, and Dating for Seniors. Those who are more interested in a May-December romance may also want to look for their perfect match at AgeMatch.com, a site geared specifically toward age gap dating. Taking a chance with an online dating site can be intimidating, but it could also be a great place to make friends or a spark a new romance.