Are you an older adult who is single and would like to jump back into the world of dating? If so, you’re not alone! Many older adults are interested in dating and forming connections with others, but many are also unsure about how to go about dating as an older person. Some may think that dating is just for young people, and fear that they will have difficulty keeping up with new trends in the dating scene. Others may be divorced or widowed, and may find themselves alone after many years in a relationship or want to meet a romantic partner after some time alone. Some may be looking for different aspects of a relationship as an older adult than they did when they were younger. Dating can seem overwhelming, but there are many resources and tips that can help make dating as an older adult a fun and fulfilling process.
1. Relationship Networking. Many older adults meet romantic partners by “relationship networking,” and letting friends, family members, and others know that they are interested in dating. Friends and family members may be able to help connect you to other single older adults who they think that you may enjoy getting to know. You may also be able to meet people through neighborhood organizations, volunteering, or through shared interests, such as a book club or a hiking group.
2. Online Dating. Dating websites and apps like Tinder and eHarmony have become popular parts of 21st Century American society, but they aren’t just for young people! Many older adults are utilizing dating websites and apps to meet others. Fourteen percent of all eHarmony users are over the age of 55. The dating websites OurTime and Stitch were created specifically for people over the age of 50 to meet many different types of companions, from romantic partners to travel companions to friends and interest groups. Online dating can be a convenient way for older adults to connect with romantic partners and other companions. Some apps, such as Tinder and Stitch, are free, while others, such as eHarmony, cost a fee to use. The AARP has a free online resource to help older adults who are interested in dating, with helpful tips about how to meet people, navigating the world of online dating, and planning a first date.
As in all forms of dating, safety is very important when online dating. Do not feel like you need to meet someone in person after only having short conversations with them. It is wise to meet in a public place on a first date, such as a restaurant or a coffee shop. You should let a friend or family member know when and where you are going and the name of the person you are meeting, and if you have a cell phone, have it turned on and with you during your date. Older adults should also be aware of warning signs that someone may be trying to take advantage of them, such as asking inappropriate questions about money, or making statements that make the person feel uncomfortable.
3. Marriage isn’t always the goal. Many older adults may not consider marriage to be the end goal of a relationship. They may simply be seeking love and companionship. A growing phenomenon among older adults called “living alone together” involves both partners maintaining their own homes, social circles, finances, and other activities while still being in a loving and committed relationship. There are many different ways to love others and to be together as you age, and marriage may or may not be the best fit for every older adult who is looking to date.
AARP (n.d.). Ready to Date. Retrieved from https://www.aarp.org/home-family/dating/ready-to-date/?intcmp=AE-HF-DATG-TERTNAV-READD
Friedman, S. (2019). Dating for seniors: Not like dating decades ago. Philadelphia Corporation for Aging. Retrieved from http://www.pcacares.org/blog/dating-for-seniors-romance-is-beneficial-for-healthy-aging/?utm_source=Milestones+e-news+from+PCA&utm_campaign=6228591a82-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2017_09_11_COPY_01&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_8fa93d938e-6228591a82-58277125
OurTime (n.d.). Tips for Meeting Offline. Retrieved from https://www.ourtime.com/
Ray, M. (2015). Getting Flirty After 50: A Guide to Dating as an Older Adult. Sunrise Senior Living. Retrieved from https://www.sunriseseniorliving.com/blog/february-2015/getting-flirty-after-50-a-guide-to-dating-as-an-older-adult.aspx