Recently, a two-part Dr. Phil show featured a 70-year old woman who had fallen in love with a man she had never seen or met (on a dating site) and to whom she had given in excess of $200,000. Here is the link to the first part of show: http://drphil.com/shows/show/2405/ and the second: http://drphil.com/shows/show/2406/
Tragically, this is not the worst of several Dr. Phil shows dealing with this subject but this show stands out because of the attitude of the victim.
I found this show profoundly disturbing. The woman, Kaye, was abusive to family members who tried to convince her she was being conned. Even after Dr. Phil went to great expense and trouble to prove she was a victim of a scam she didn’t want to hear about it. Her belligerent reaction to Dr. Phil’s exposure of the swindle would make it easy to not feel sorry for her.
But wait . . . Not so fast.
While what I heard and saw was a thoroughly nasty, unlikable woman I also saw pathetic, gut-wrenching desperation. It was painful to watch. She was so hungry for love that she was willing to sacrifice her relationship with her family and throw away her deceased husband’s money just to be told “I love you.” That’s tragic. Unfortunately, more than a few older women desperate for one last shot at love are easy prey for slick scammers who know what every woman at any age wants to be told.
As Internet savvy as many older women are, many divorced or widowed women who had been married 40-plus years living a “normal” lifestyle don’t realize the world is not as sane and safe as it was when they were younger. They just can’t comprehend the magnitude of depravity that can and does exist on the Internet. Their concept of the of the world is still pretty much as it was in the 1950’s.
My suggestion for an older woman looking for love is skip the dating sites. The vast majority of available men over age 70 are over the hill mentally and physically and in need of (or will soon need ) a caretaker. Who needs that? Younger men are looking for a woman 20 years younger than they are. What to do? Stop hunting. Instead, start living and giving. I believe it is in giving that we get — many times over in unexpected and wonderful ways. Get out into the world beyond your peer group. Volunteer in a capacity where you can use your education, life skills and experience to make someone else’s life better. Get over the “I’m too old to work or learn” syndrome and get a job where you can feel useful and meet a variety of people. (A friend got a job at the local hardware store as a cashier and met more eligible guys than she would have on a dating site.) Learn something new that will help you get back into circulation.
If you do join a dating site and find a man interested in you, ask for a video early on so you can see and hear what you are getting. No excuses. If a guy can use a cell phone he can make a video, or have someone help him make it. Foolproof? Of course not. A video does not reveal character or other deficits or deceitful intentions. Photo and video need to be a clear and certain match. Asking for a video is smarter than just taking for granted that a photo of a handsome, virile looking guy represents the “real thing”.
You should provide a video of yourself as well. If you are marketing yourself as a petite blonde and you are 5 feet tall weighing 180 pounds –your definition of “petite” needs to be revealed upfront. A photo of you when you were at 120 pounds is just as deceptive as a 70 year old man who posts a picture of himself (or someone else) at age forty.
The “looking for love” dilemma affects younger women as well as older women. I know my suggestions are easier said than done. What is your take on the situation? What experiences and suggestions would you like to share that would be helpful to other women?
Ann Herzer says
There is no way I would every buy into the sociial media “stuff”. I think people must be desperately lonely to make such a drastic move. I suggest curling up with a good book, or take Barbara’s good suggestions.
Barbara Morris, R.Ph. says
Eileen, thanks for your comment. Desperate people do desperate things. I don’t understand why she went on the show, either, but at some level she may have realized she was in trouble beyond her capacity to cope and needed someone to rescue her, no matter how painful the help might be.
Or maybe, she was just hoping Dr. Phil would find her phantom lover and she would live happily ever after.
Very disturbing indeed, Barbara. I can’t help but wonder why she agreed to go on the show. I guess she was in denial. I wonder what happened to her.
You make some excellent points. The world has changed so much with social media. If you’re not well versed on the necessary precautions, social media is a dangerous place to be.