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Relationship Advice

A 53-year-old widow reveals the truth about dating again later in life

''It was completely daunting and totally different.''

By Rebecca Sullivan
Just over six years ago, Keti Govic was happily married to the love of her life and was planning her future with her husband and their two gorgeous children.
But a shock cancer diagnosis turned her family's world upside down. In just four months, her incredible husband was gone.
Finding a new partner and dating again was the last thing on Keti's mind, but about 18 months ago she finally bit the bullet and dipped her toe into the world of online dating.
"It was completely daunting and totally different. My husband was the love of my life and my first real relationship. We met when I was 21, married, had children and suddenly that's all gone. I'm 53 and trying to get back into the dating scene and it's challenging," Keti told Now To Love.
"He was the sold breadwinner, so that made it very financially challenging. You're starting all over again. You have to get back into workforce and find a partner, just like if you were an 18 or 19-year-old again."
Trying to forge a genuine connection with someone online proved tough.
"We didn't have social media back then, we had real conversations face to face and you'd meet people through dinners or at gatherings, but society has changed so dramatically," she said. "We are super busy with work and at this age, a lot of my friends are married with their own families, so to find a group of people to go out with is difficult."
Keti's husband died six and a half years ago. (Image: Supplied)
After downloading Tinder and Bumble, Keti went on a few dates with different men, but found they were clearly just interested in a casual sexual relationship.
"Sometimes they don't have honourable intentions. They're not after a genuine connection and you can sense it immediately," Keti said.
"Or they want something instant and a full on relationship, but you need to start as friends first with a genuine connection. It does all fade away and when you're in your eighties and nineties, it's the companionship and friendship that's the lasting element."
Plus, she found about "80 per cent" of the men she was chatting to ended up being fake profiles.
"They're all engineers working on oil rigs. I just couldn't believe it," she said.
18 months ago, Keti tried her hand at online dating and wants to share her lessons with other women. (Image: Supplied)
Catfishing, the practice where a victim engages in an online relationship with someone who fakes their identity, is becoming a massive problem for Australian women who are starting to date again later in life.
In fact, people over the age of 45 make up 50 per cent of all scams relating to dating and romance. 1,950 people were involved in dating and romance scams in Australia between in the first six months of 2019 alone and lost over $11 million as a result. The average catfishing relationship lasts five-and-a-half months.
This catfishing epidemic among older Aussie women was what led former journalist Charly Lester to set up a brand new dating app called Lumen, designed especially for people aged 50 and over.
The free app has has 300,000 members from all over the world, including the US, UK, Ireland, Canada and New Zealand, with more than 20,000 Aussies now using the app to find love.
Lumen uses advanced technology to ensure that catfishers are kept at bay, plus only people over 50 are allowed on the app, to encourage people do date others their own age.
But some catfishers go to extreme lengths to dupe the system, even using photos of celebrities as their profile picture to swindle naïve users, with many using photos of celebs like Donald Trump, David Bowie, Marilyn Monroe and Katherine Hepburn to try to nab an innocent user.
She says loads of men use fake photos and use a fake identity. (Image: Supplied)
Lying about your age and what you look like is pretty common in online dating, but Lumen's special technology forces people to be honest.
"When you sign up, the app asks you to take a selfie. You can't get any further if you can't take a selfie," Charly told Now To Love.
"Then that selfie is used behind the scenes to verify if you're the person you say you are.
"We use AI [artificial intelligence] in the same way that machines in airports do.
"We cross reference 600 points on your face to check you're the same person in the photo and it roughly guesses your age.
"It flags your photo with us if you look significantly younger. So you can't get onto Lumen if you're in your twenties."
This technology is something Keti says she is grateful for.
"I find men my age are after younger women, but on Lumen it's people who are comfortable in their skin," she said.
"They're not embarrassed to advertise their age. Their age is something to be embraced, because not everyone makes it to 50 so it's something to be celebrated."
WATCH BELOW: Top tips for dating later on in life. Story continues after video.

Top tips to avoid being catfished

  1. Always keep communication on the dating app or website, where it can be moderated and you can easily block or report someone for suspicious behaviour.
  2. Use dating apps or sites which use anti-scammer software and offer identity verification.
  3. Double-check the information someone gives you on websites like LinkedIn, to check they are who they say they are.
  4. Use apps or websites which use GPS to ensure you are talking to someone who is nearby.
  5. Never provide personal information which could be used to steal your identity.

Top warning signs you're dating a catfisher

  1. They make excuses about why they can't meet in real life.
  2. Your gut tells you they are too good to be true.
  3. They don't have any internet footprint - no social media accounts, or accounts with very few friends or followers.
  4. They ask you for financial help before you have ever met them.
  5. You reverse image search their photos, and someone else's name or social media accounts come up.
Celebrities whose photos are used by catfish include Donald Trump, Marilyn Monroe and David Bowie. (Image: Supplied)

Keti's top tips for dating again later in life

  • "Never rush into a relationship, even though it can be really lonely to be on your own. It is quite lonely, quite often. I go to the theatre on my own and it would be nice to go to the movies or dinner or theatre and just have friendly conversation. But my advice is don't rush into anything. We are allowed to have some selection criteria and not settle.
    I'd rather be happy than settle, and if that means being happy on my own for a while, then so be it."
  • "Know what you want. You'll be able to immediately sense if someone isn't right for you".
  • "Find someone roughly your age who isn't afraid to own it. We're all afraid of ageing but it's something we should celebrate, because not everyone gets to live to their 50s."
  • "Go with your gut."

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