Looking for love can be intimidating and challenging at any age, but senior dating may feel like it has even more obstacles.
Senior singles might begin their search for romance after a divorce or becoming widowed. Many wishing to test the water might find that love and dating are much different.
Older adults now have a myriad of options, thanks to online dating, but they might find themselves dealing with a big learning curve.
For the most part, senior dating is a new experience for single Baby Boomers. Because of increased life expectancies, late-in-life dating is a relatively new precedent for aging adults.
And while older people are interested in finding romantic partnerships, some may still feel the stigma against discussing love and intimacy, which can make dating even more challenging.
But, there are many positives for older adults searching for love. Longer life spans also mean a larger dating pool.
According to the Pew Research Center, the divorce rate among those older than 50 has doubled since the 1990s.
Also, apps and websites create more possibilities for adults to connect and meet one another. Pew also found that from 2013 to 2015, the percentage of seniors aged 55-64 using online dating services rose from 6% to 12%.
And speaking of stigmas, fewer people view senior dating negatively, which relieves some of the pressure or embarrassment some might feel.
Before Deciding to Date
There are several things to think about when deciding whether it’s time to step into the dating scene again. Perhaps the most crucial factor, however, is figuring out if you are ready.
Those who are recently divorced or experienced the loss of a spouse must reflect whether they are emotionally able to find someone new.
There’s no fixed range for how long older adults should wait before looking for love again, and everyone is different.
Once you know that you’re ready, the next step is considering the type of relationship you want. For example, do you want to remarry? Or do you prefer something casual?
AARP’s senior dating checklist has more questions to ask yourself before you begin dating again.
Tips for Senior Dating
One of the best ways for older adults to successfully navigate the modern dating scene is being deliberate about what (or who) you’re looking for.
For those who have the time and are serious about finding the right partner, intentionally treat the search like a part-time job.
Apps and Websites for Senior Dating
There are dozens of online dating services where older adults can find their perfect match. Many of these sites use algorithms to find compatible partners, often with great success.
Of course, you must verify any service before moving forward. Any dating site should include contact information, including e-mail, street address, and phone number.
Additionally, make sure that the site in question won’t sell your information to a third party. And, if you sign up for auto-pay and end up canceling your subscription, monitor bank statements carefully for recurring payments.
First, find supportive friends (or even your adult children) to assist you with online dating and to set up your profile.
Make a stellar first impression with a high-quality photo of yourself that you love, and avoid using cliches in your description.
Here are some popular dating services for seniors:
Online senior dating can feel less overwhelming when EHarmony’s Compatibility Matching System automatically tapers the number of profiles to fit the information you provide.
The matching service emails you other profiles that fit your criteria the best. Additionally, EHarmony has dedicated senior dating services to make things even easier.
Depending on the plan, subscriptions cost between $20 to $40 per month.
Match developed in 1995 and became the first service for online dating. Setting up a profile is easy, and users can edit theirs later with more information.
Browsing is user-friendly, so older adults who are unfamiliar with the Internet should have an easy time looking for matches.
Viewing profiles is free, but connecting other people does cost. Subscriptions usually range between $14 to $18.
Our Time is senior dating services specifically for those 50 and older. Developed by Match, Our Time offers a free basic membership that lets users search profiles and receive suggestions.
Six-month memberships cost $12 per month and let users send and receive e-mails and even use chat rooms.
Older adults will find that Our Time is great for finding any relationship, whether it’s romantic or platonic.
Our Time automatically shares user profiles on Senior People Meet and Seniors Meet.
Similar to Our Time, Silver Singles offers dating services for those 50 and older. After signing up, users take a free personality test that will then match with similar profiles.
Silver Singles is free for a basic membership and $35 per month for six months to access premium services.
Online Dating Safety
Older adults should practice caution as they familiarize themselves with senior dating, especially when interacting with strangers online.
Always trust your intuition. If something feels off, don’t ignore that feeling. Use chat rooms and other messaging options to get to know someone, and don’t rush into things.
Don’t feel guilty for questioning (to a degree) what you hear. Catfishing is becoming more common, and not everyone will be who they claim they are.
The next step after talking to someone online is chatting on your cell phone. Don’t give out your address or home phone number before establishing trust.
When you do meet in person, always make sure the first few interactions are in public areas. Let someone know where you are going and who you are seeing.
Also, keep your phone on you and avoid drinking alcohol (or at least drink very little). You want to make sure your judgment is 100% intact.
Lastly, don’t feel pressured to get in the car with your date until you know who they really are. Drive yourself, order rideshare, or have another ride planned so you know exactly how and when you’ll leave.
Other Place to Find Love
But if online dating is intimidating, not to worry! There are many other real-world places to meet people, such as:
- Community or volunteer groups
- Local classes and events
- Places of worship
- Senior luncheons
- Exercise classes
- Book clubs
- Senior center events and classes
- Travel groups
- Friends of friends
An essential aspect of successful senior dating is stepping out of your comfort zone. Be willing to experience new things and meet new people.
Even if you make a connection, you may still experience some hurdles. Communication is vital for dating at any age, so state your needs and desires upfront (at least within the first few dates).
Being clear about what you want is part of being deliberate and intentional with your search. It will keep you from feeling as if you are wasting your time.
Beware of people who show too much interest in your finances, and don’t take it personally if someone “ghosts” you by not responding or showing up to dates.
For those seniors who feel as if they are really struggling, hiring a dating coach may be an option. Just make sure to check references and backgrounds to verify his or her authenticity.
Of course, patience is necessary. Finding a partner that’s right for each other takes a lot of work. But that doesn’t mean it can’t also be lots of fun.
Remember to Set Boundaries
No matter how much dating has changed since you last tried it, having standards and setting boundaries have not.
Think about what you are comfortable with and establish boundaries with yourself. If your date doesn’t accept or pushes them, it’s best to walk out the door.
Things to Consider Before Marriage
Finding someone you love and care about later in life might cause many to rush straight to marriage.
But there are several factors to consider when dating as an older adult that may not have been present earlier in life.
Think about your estate plan, and remember that your new spouse will receive part of it as an inheritance right.
Re-evaluate your plan to ensure your assets are allocated how you want them to be after you die. This is especially crucial if you’re going to provide for your children from an earlier marriage.
Be honest about your finances, including any arrangements, debts, credit reports, scores, assets, etc.
Consider signing a pre-nuptial agreement. Although no one marries with divorce in mind, a prenup also applies in the event of a spouse’s death.
Lastly, always make sure to talk to your children about dating and marriage. While the final decision is yours, this can be a difficult time, no matter your child’s age.
Similarly, if you or your partner have young children, blending the family can bring many hurdles. Counseling for all parties can ease this sometimes tricky situation.
Adult children may not like your partner, but make sure that they respect him or her as you’ll be spending your life together. Listening to their concerns is an integral part of this decision.
First Date Tips for Older Adults
Once you do meet someone, whether online or real-life, you might experience the same jitters and nervousness you felt when you were younger.
Know that it’s okay to feel those things and that your date probably experiences them, too!
The most important thing to keep in mind is being a good listener. Asking your date plenty of questions shows your interest and lets you gauge the likelihood of a second date.
AARP offers these helpful first date do’s and don’ts for seniors:
- Wear clothes appropriate for the date. Don’t wear a cocktail dress to bowl, and don’t wear a bowling shirt to a nice restaurant.
- Be punctual. Show your date that you respect his or her time by meeting on time. If something unexpected happens, make sure to inform your partner, so they know.
- Stay off your phone.
- Don’t share pictures (at least not yet). If your first meeting leads to more dates, there will be more appropriate times to share photos of your grandkids, pets, etc. The first date is not always the time for this.
- Don’t talk about politics or religion.
- Avoid oversharing. First dates aren’t the time to discuss exes or deceased spouses.
Senior Dating and Intimacy
More older adults are having sex in their 70s and 80s, according to researchers from the University of Manchester.
Intimacy is not unusual among seniors, even during dating. The same study revealed that among 7,000 seniors, 31% of men and 20% of women still show affection with their partners (kissing, hugging, teasing, etc.)
Over half of men and a third of women 70 and older admit they still have sex, with 30% having sex at least two times a month.
Safe sex is paramount at any age. Condoms aren’t only for preventing pregnancy; they’re also for preventing STDs.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found the rate of seniors with STDs rises each year.
The organization’s 2016 report stated that more than 82,000 Americans 45 and older contracted gonorrhea, syphilis, and chlamydia. While these are treatable with antibiotics, they can cause serious health complications if untreated.
Always be honest with your partner and talk about STDs before becoming intimate.
Find Your Happy Ever After
Isolation is one of the leading causes of cognitive and physical decline in older adults. Finding other people to share your interests is the best way to fight loneliness and maintain your mental health.
No matter if you choose to remain single, date, or mary, your happiness matters. You can find joy at any age and enhance your well-being, so you continue living your golden years to the fullest.
When you or a loved one need a little or a lot of in-home care, reach out to MeetCaregivers.
We can match the perfect caregiver to suit your needs. Give us a call at (888) 541-1136, or send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org for more.
For more information and resources about senior health and safety, visit the Blog.