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Online dating is absolutely a must for any single man or woman over 50. Over the years, the industry has adapted to the needs of senior singles. Online dating is no longer just for singles in their 20s, 30s, and 40s.
You have a variety of dating sites and apps to choose from and a nearly endless number of people to meet. However, you’ll want to know a few things before jumping in head first. Here are 10 tips for online dating if you’re 50 or older.
If you want to have the most efficient and exciting online dating experience, I suggest you vet a few sites and apps to see if they meet your needs before deciding on one or two to join. Take a few minutes to see which platforms are available in your area, and check out the profiles on the homepage to see if the singles seem like they’re your type.
Take note if the users seem to be active. You want to join sites and apps that have users who will engage with you. You don’t want to have to deal with profiles that have been abandoned by their creators.
Most mainstream dating sites and apps, like Match and Elite Singles, can cater to over-50 singles, but I also recommend choosing a niche dating site or app (i.e. a site that’s specifically for Christian singles). You want to mix things up. The point of online dating is to meet as many people as you can. If you find that you don’t like a site or app, you can cancel the membership and try a new platform. No harm; no foul.
Before you rapidly post a profile, think about your dating goals and what you want to say in your profile. The main reason you want to prepare is because many dating sites and apps will prominently feature your profile on the homepage in some manner because it’s brand new. You don’t want to waste that advantage with a lackluster profile.
Make sure you have a collection of high-quality and varied photos (e.g., photos of your face, body, and activities you enjoy participating in). People who’ve read my book know I insist on using a professional photographer at least for your main profile photo. Of course, if you’re not serious about finding a relationship and only want to test the waters, informal photos are just fine. Just know that leading with those photos can send a message to your fellow singles that you’re not interested in finding love. Don’t be surprised if the messages you get are from non-relationship seeking singles.
When writing your profile, aim for a few paragraphs (about 200 to 300 words). Too short and your profile just disappears into a sea of vague descriptions. If your profile is too long (longer than 500 words), it starts to sound like a college application essay, and you’ll lose people’s interest. Within this text, you’ll want to talk about your personality as well as at least three of your favorite hobbies.
Specifically for gentlemen, please refrain from assuming that women put an emphasis on physical attraction before emotional attraction the way most men do. Don’t just post three sentences and a few photos with the phrase “If you’re interested, hit me up.” Yes, women can care more about the initial physical attraction. However, real attraction for women often starts with who a man is (i.e. his interests and how she thinks he might treat her).
Weave in some examples of how you’ll treat her: “I’m still a bit of an old-school gentleman. You won’t have to wait. I always get the door for a lady.” Little tidbits like that.
If you’ve turned 50 and are looking for love, I recommend that you refrain from seeking out younger singles. That includes not joining dating sites and apps that are geared toward men and women in their 20s and 30s (i.e. Bumble). I often hear single men who are 50 complain that they’re not finding quality single women over 45. When I press a little, I discover they’re still looking for love on dating apps geared toward women more than 10 years younger than they are.
Delete those profiles, and get with the program. If you really want marriage or a life partner with love at the core, then use the dating sites and singles apps for your age demographic. If you’re 53 years old or older and some of your dates are still in their mid-to-late 40s, you might need to join both Match and OurTime.
Since the drive to procreate often diminishes after people get older, the dating process can be slower than when you were 28 and looking for someone with whom to have children. The pace is different now, so try not to compare your dating pursuits to what they were like when you were younger.
You will likely need to work the online dating scene for a year or so to bear the fruit you seek of a long-term relationship. Plan accordingly. Sure, most of us know an amazing senior couple who met during a Free Communication Weekend on eharmony and married six months later, but they’re a rarity. Don’t put that pressure on yourself.
This does mean, however, that you need to make more of an effort to get things moving, keep things going, and get to the first date. Don’t wait for someone to message you — try to make the first move yourself.
Most of us have heard stories of senior singles finding each other from across the country or across the world, but those are the exception. There can be plenty of wonderful people to meet within a more manageable distance.
For example, if you’re based in San Francisco, you can expand your search to include Sacramento, Redding, Gilroy, and the Monterrey area. If business or friends and family take you to Southern California with any regularity, then expand your search to that area, too. Ditto to SoCal residents who fly up to Northern California at least once a quarter. A regular commuter flight is almost like driving there.
Just keep things realistic. It’s best to keep your search to something where the two of you could easily drive to meet each other every weekend. Midweek dates might be more challenging, and you may have to meet halfway for the first few months of dating. Unless you’re fine with moving hundreds of miles away, don’t jump too quickly to searching beyond a reasonable drive for you. How will you realistically date someone? Long-distance relationships can work, but I don’t recommend starting there.
Not everyone is great at making small talk, especially via emails and texts. Some people can barely come up with a few questions to break the ice in the first message. What can be helpful is really taking the time to read someone’s profile, pick up on his or her interests, and inquire further. This keeps the message exchange moving.
This is another reason to keep your dating bio shorter than a college entrance essay. You need to leave something for potential dates to ask you about. Drop some conversation-starting breadcrumbs in the body text of your profile, which will prompt potential dates to send you messages and ask you questions. This is especially helpful if you’re nervous about sending the first message.
It’s often around the third or fourth message that people can get caught in the doldrums. If you don’t keep asking questions and sharing some information about yourself, then your potential date doesn’t have a reason to respond. Don’t just answer your potential date’s questions in your message without giving him or her a reason to respond.
If you haven’t gotten a response from a match in a day or two, revisit his or her profile and find two things you could inquire about. “Hi, Jon! I see you like reading mysteries. Who are your two favorite authors, and what do you like most about their books?” See, you asked about something he really enjoys, and he’s more likely to respond.
I hear from both senior men and women that they don’t want to waste their time and money on dates that don’t result in lasting love. Sometimes they spend too much time in the messaging phase trying to weed out people they wouldn’t marry. I’ve also heard of singles having multiple phone conversations before meeting for the first coffee or lunch date.
For goodness sake’s, it’s a date. It’s coffee and a pastry. It’s fizzy water and an appetizer. It’s not dinner for two overlooking the Seine River for five hours. You two are still complete strangers. I say please don’t waste your time bonding over the phone with someone with whom you may have absolutely no in-person chemistry. Exchange a handful of messages demonstrating interest and the ability to engage in small talk, and then meet up.
I also recommend waiting to Google your date and search for their social media profiles until after about three dates when it’s clear that you both are interested in each other or not. Remember to keep the goal of online dating in mind: to meet a number of lovely people you’re not readily meeting with your current lifestyle. Don’t weed potential dates out so much that you’re not actively dating.
Do aim to get to the first date, and remember that, by meeting more interesting, new people, you’re keeping your social muscles toned. Plus, dates who are great people but just not a match for you can be woven into your extended social circle.
Unlike what I recommend to singles under 50, I suggest that you meet your first dates for coffee or lunch, not drinks after work. It can take the pressure off you two.
Maybe you meet and you find that there just aren’t any sparks. That really is the goal of the first date. It’s just to vet for in-person chemistry before you two give your hearts away on a fantasy — only to be surprised when you realize that you don’t curl each other’s toes. Remember, it’s OK to make new friends.
Keep breaking the ice with new people online, and mix in some different dating sites and apps to keep things varied and moving. Keep messaging and small talking with people, and get to the first date. Then choose to date them, weave them into your social circle, or bless them on their way. It’s the law of physics applied. If you remain passive, you’ll stay exactly where you are. Once you get things moving, then you’ll be dating and well on your way to finding love.
Taking the proactive approach in your dating life is a whole lot more fun. You’ll get out of the house and have a terrific social life while looking for a lifelong love. When you’re enjoying life, smiling, and happy, you’re magnetically attractive wherever you go. With that kind of inner and outer sparkle, you’ll be attracting your life partner sooner than you think.