Online Dating After 50

Online Dating

9 Tips for Online Dating After 50

Julie Spira
Julie Spira Posted:
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It feels like I’ve been dating online on and off since the dark ages, when in reality it’s just been since the ’90s. Still, one thing is for sure: Dating sites are how people find friendship and romance today. The proof is in the enormous volume of singles, including senior singles, looking for love online has increased dramatically in the past two decades.

Let’s face it. You were hoping your friends would set you up, and you’d magically fall in love with their perfect-for-you selection. If your pals keep saying, “I don’t know anyone good enough for you to introduce you to,” it’s time to take matters into your own hands.

For singles over 50, the time has never been better to find a companion or a great love for your new chapter, so here are nine tips to shorten your search while dating in cyberspace.

1. Online Dating is a Numbers Game, So It’s Time to Play

It’s time to get over the stigma that only desperate people join dating sites. The online dating industry is thriving and has been commercially successful for over 15 years. Since relationship statuses frequently change for Americans over 50 due to divorce or death of a partner, that doesn’t mean you have to spend the rest of your life alone or pining over an ex.

According to the Pew Research Center, the number of singles 55 to 64 who have used a dating site or app doubled from 2013 to 2016, and Match reports singles 50 and older are its fastest-growing demographic, with membership in this segment seeing a 300% increase since 2000.

Also, Pew reports that 28% of Americans aged 50 to 64 define their relationship status as single, and 36% of Americans 65+ are unattached. So clearly, singles are out there waiting to meet you, and they’re relying on their smartphones in their quest to find love.

2. Sign Up for a Niche Dating Site

Several dating sites focus exclusively on singles over the age of 50. From the Match Group’s OurTime and SilverSingles to the Lumen app, joining a niche dating site for singles 50+ makes it easier to find age-appropriate matches from the comfort of your mobile phone.

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4.7/5.0

Relationships: Casual Dates, Deep Relationships

Match System: Personality test suggests matches

Our Experts Say: “eharmony's simple compatibility matching system makes the site a popular choice for seniors seeking deep, long-term relationships...” Full Review »

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eharmony is a top choice if you’re looking for a serious relationship and you want to find someone who shares similar values and beliefs with you. Its compatibility quiz is very in depth.

★★★★★
4.7/5.0

Relationships: Serious Relationships

Match System: Search, Receive Partner Suggestions

Our Experts Say: “EliteSingles caters to highly educated single men and women, and it uses an advanced Fraud Detection System to make sure everyone is who they say they are...” Full Review »

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EliteSingles is a dating site I’d recommend for intellectuals, as most of its users have at least an undergraduate college degree. The site also has a detailed personality assessment that will learns who you are and helps find out who would make a good match.

★★★★★
4.8/5.0

Relationships: Friends, Dates, and Relationships

Match System: Browse by zip, age, appearance, more

Our Experts Say: “Match.com has more "over 50" members any other dating site, and it has a simple matching process that is responsible for millions of romantic connections...” Full Review »

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Match is the king of dating sites, and that goes for senior dating as well. It has more users and more success stories than most other dating sites. And that’s thanks to its proven algorithm and focus on helping users find relationships.

By joining a 50+ dating site, there’s comfort in knowing you won’t find your profile mixed in with those of singles the same age as your kids and grandchildren.

The good news is an OurTime “Dating After 50 Survey” showed that almost three-fourths of singles 50+ are hopeful about finding love — even though nearly half report they haven’t been on a date in five years, and by being a hopeful romantic, you’ll be in good company.

3. Keep Your Wish List Short and Sweet

While singles over 50 know what they’re looking for, your quest for perfection needs to be revisited. Creating an enormous list of the ideal partner is a huge mistake because it sends the message that your potential dates won’t live up to your expectations, and they’re more likely to take a pass when they view your profile.

Instead, try focusing on three to four dealbreakers, and narrow down your desired list to characteristics that really matter. Those may not include a limited age range, unrealistic height requirements, and searching in zip codes of within only a few miles.

Avoid adding this phrase to your profile: “Do not contact me if…” I’ve seen profiles that say, “Don’t contact me unless you’re financially stable,” or “Don’t contact me if you’re not over your ex.” And saying, “Don’t contact me if you’re not 6 feet tall,” when only 14.5% of men in the United States are 6 feet tall and over is unrealistic.

While these may seem like reasonable requests, the message someone viewing your profile receives is “stay away,” and I promise you they will.

4. Photos are Worth a Thousand Words

Believe it or not, your dating profile is only as good as your worst photo, so posting a selfie or one wearing sunglasses should be excluded from your profile.

It’s best to limit your photo gallery to seven to nine pictures so you leave something to the imagination, and for goodness sake, don’t post a profile with only one photo or no photo at all.

Photo of woman looking in mirror

Doll yourself up and have a friend take a good portrait of you to use as your main profile photo.

Rather than writing a novel revealing everything about yourself, I suggest limiting your description of yourself to 125 words, and show what your life is like by posting photos highlighting your passions and what makes you unique.

Some good photo ideas include a close up of you as the main photo, an action shot, such as one of you hiking, boating, or on a recent vacation, a photo of your pet if you have a precious puppy, and one family picture. Showing that you’re close to your family is important if you anticipate blending families when you embark on a new relationship online.

Avoid adding too many group photos. They can be confusing. Your date will want to instantly identify you when you finally meet.

5. Don’t Play the Comparison Game

When you’re dating over 50, you may have already experienced that one great love, and it’s easy to think you’ll find a replacement for your previous partner or spouse.

However, looking for a carbon copy of someone is unrealistic and won’t help you relive your past. Instead, it will feel like a ghost is tagging along on your date preventing you from moving forward. The result will be a complicated love triangle, and you’re looking for a duo, not a trio.

It’s not fair to the new person you’ve just met online who finds himself or herself in the hot seat. You are meeting someone completely different from your former partner, and that’s OK. It’s an opportunity to start with a clean palette.

Keep in mind that you’re not erasing your happy memories with your previous spouse or partner, but instead you’re adding a complementary relationship for your journey.

6. Talk About the Life Lessons You’ve Learned

By the time you hit 50, you’ve probably traveled throughout the United States and visited other countries. Sharing your stories is appealing and relatable. List some of your favorite trips, and include those on your bucket list as possible destinations to travel to with your new romantic partner.

Photo of Tortilla Flat

Have you driven across country? Have you been to Europe? Mention that in your profile as well as what you learned on those trips.

Did you take a cooking class at Le Cordon Bleu? Add that to your dating profile, and mention the decadent dish you learned to whip up in the kitchen.

It’s fun reminiscing about your dream vacation, so the more specific you can get, the easier it will be to create an instant icebreaker with someone who will share their favorite trips with you.

7. Make the First Move

Gone are the days where women played the waiting game and acted coy during the online dating process. I encourage both men and women over 50 to make the first move and contact someone whose profile piques your interest.

This doesn’t mean a woman takes on the male energy and always picks up the tab. By taking the lead and reaching out first, you’re giving your potential date the chance to visit your profile and ultimately match with you. It’s a crowded playing field, and people get flattered when they see your email in their inbox.

8. Go on a Virtual Date

Before you meet, go on a pre-date. That means hopping on the phone for a quick 20-minute chat or going on a virtual date to get a sense of how you click. Going on a video date using Zoom, FaceTime, or an in-app video feature will allow you to “see” your date even with the ongoing pandemic before you meet in person.

Photo of a video date

Video dating is a safe way to test out chemistry.

A 2020 Match Singles in America study showed that 20% of singles surveyed have gone on a video date, and 68% of respondents said they used video dating to determine whether they wanted to meet in person.

Some of the most popular video date ideas include virtual drinks, playing a game together, such as online Scrabble, or working out together.

9. Take a Few Precautions

While most people online are sincerely looking for love and companionship, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention dating safety. Many singles over 50 are trying online dating for the first time after being in a long relationship. If you’ve been out of the dating world for a long time, the rules have changed.

Try to avoid talking about money, posting photos of fancy cars and expensive items, and remember to always meet in a public place.

If for any reason, someone online asks you to open your wallet before you’ve met, run away from their sob story. All of us in the dating industry take dating safety seriously and encourage you to report any suspicious profiles to the apps to investigate.

Online Dating Gives You Plenty of Opportunities for Love

Online dating provides a whole new wide world of options for singles over 50. Boomers are generally very active and live longer than the generation before them, and they often have more time to date and explore new hobbies and activities. Your chance to find love again is only a click or swipe away.

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