In 2013, over half of the adults between 50-65 had a social media profile. Today, a more significant number of seniors, and older adults, are using online dating apps and sites to meet new people. Divorced people are significantly more likely to utilize online dating for seniors than those who have never been married or widowed.
One recent study found that men view online dating as a means to jump back into the dating world following the demise of a relationship due to divorce or death.
On the other hand, women use online apps and sites to ease back into dating. Men are usually encouraged to use the sites by their coworkers, while women are typically motivated by family members and friends.
There are both positives and negatives when seniors use online dating sites to find a companion. Here are a few pros and cons to help you decide whether using dating websites to cultivate a new relationship is a good option.
Older people, typically women, often find they have a greater sense of control when online dating, which is why they prefer it to “standard” dating.
Years ago, men typically initiated dating interactions, but online apps made it simpler for women to contact first if they choose. You also get a higher degree of anonymity when dating online. This takes away feelings of vulnerability associated with initially reaching out to someone. Instead of defenseless, women feel more empowered to converse with men.
But, it’s important to note that most of these women who made initial contact may be more proactive and outgoing regarding dating than the average older woman.
Regardless, even women who are more hesitant to make first contact are still heavily empowered when terminating a relationship or maintaining the pace of the online connection.
In addition to women feeling they have more control in initiating and keeping the relationship’s pace, a study found that one primary reason older people (50+) used online dating apps was due to lack of pressure. Since they felt more at ease, it was much simpler to strike up a conversation.
Additionally, they could respond if they wanted to, but it wasn’t necessary. This fact added to their sense of control regarding their dating lives.
2. Access to New People
Due to relocation, retirement, and the death of friends and family members, your social network tends to dwindle later in life.
Years ago, when meeting new people, living nearby, and having the physical capabilities to go out and meet others used to be required. However, that has recently changed.
Transportation, geography, and physical limitations have decreased thanks to online dating. Older adults can now expand their social network to include a broader range of possible dating partners.
When other methods fail, online dating becomes a good option. For example, when attempting to meet new people is unsuccessful through friends, coworkers, or other ways that worked when you were younger (bars, clubs, church, school), online dating offers an additional option.
This may be especially beneficial for divorced seniors who prefer to meet people outside their network who may have been friends with them and their ex-spouse.
Another reason is that women want to expand their network, but they’re uncomfortable dating spouses of late friends.
Even when dating online garners minimal success in finding new relationships, some still view it as the only way to connect with others, which is why they continue using it. It’s a sense of being either online dating or not meeting anyone at all.
Even if a romantic relationship isn’t in the cards, some women have found a good friend in a match, which is one of the most positive aspects of online dating apps.
Some seniors decide that a friendship with a match works out much better than anything romantic. This is especially true for long-distance online daters.
Some feel safer when dating site interaction happens online. For example, online daters can check out a potential partner’s profile to get a general idea of who a person is before initiating contact. They can “Google” an individual using other sources to view the background before deciding to make first contact.
They can share their contact information only when they get to know each other better and feel more comfortable. If you never get to that point with an individual, that’s OK because you haven’t shared personal information.
When you have time to assess the level of risk and evaluate the potential of a relationship, you can reach out to meet in person. Some women feel it would be easier to part ways online if the relationship doesn’t work out, causing less risk of physical retaliation.
5 Tips on Staying Safe While Dating Online
Over 40 million Americans use online dating apps. While most apps help find a good match for you, you should always remain diligent when putting your information out there.
For example, you don’t want to give personal information to someone you barely know too soon. Here are a few other tips to help you remain safe with online dating.
1. Don’t contact suspicious profiles: if you see a profile with barely any photos or no photos, they are a potential scammer. Do not make contact and report it.
2. Check out your date on social media: If you’ve gotten to where you know each others’ social media handles, check them out. Watch for the information they post, and see if you have any friends in common. You want to ensure they’re not “catfishing” you with a fake social media account.
3. Use different a different photo for your profile: That may be the photo you like the most because you look so hot. Still, unfortunately, if that’s the same photo you use for your other social media handles, it’s easy for them to track you down with Google’s reverse image search, and then it’s bye-bye anonymity.
4. Block and report all suspicious profiles: If there is any suspicious activity on a profile, report it quickly. Always trust your instincts if it feels like they are acting inappropriately toward you.
If you need to report someone, you can do so anonymously before or after you’ve matched. For clarification on suspicious activity, check out a few examples below.
- Says they’re from the U.S. but traveling abroad
- Asking for financial assistance
- Pressures you for personal information
- Tells inconsistent stories
- Too romantic and overly complimentary too soon
- Disappears but then reappears under another name
- Uses improper English but claims to have a high level of education
5. Never share personal information early in communication: Never volunteer your personal information, especially to someone you have never met. Don’t share information like:
- your social security number
- bank information
- credit card details
- work or home address
If they ask for any of the above information, cut off communication and report them immediately.
1. Lying or Catfishing
Older men typically look for an attractive and youthful woman to date. However, women are generally less concerned with looks. Instead, they focus on the socioeconomic status, intelligence, occupational success, and communication skills of the men they choose. Unfortunately, online dating for seniors is also subject to embellishments or outright lies.
Of course, people want to appear as attractive as possible to boost their chances of finding a partner. However, this can lead to people catfishing as a means to get more matches.
Many tend to lie about their age, health status, weight, and even their pictures. Some people attempt to paint themselves as younger to balance their actual age.
For example, some women avoid listing hobbies in their profile associated with being mature (bingo, knitting). On the other hand, some men tend to lie about their marital status or the kind of relationship they desire to attract more women to have sex with.
For example, he may say he’s looking for a long-term relationship, which is what most older women are looking for at this point in their lives.
But, in reality, he’s looking to hook up, but he can’t state that in his profile because it can chase quality older women away.
Scammers try to get potential dating partners into relationships to get money from them in the future. Because it’s so easy to woo someone with misrepresentation, it makes it difficult to get to know someone until you meet face-to-face, and these meetings are considered risky, so beware. Sadly, the elderly and disabled are at high risk for scammers.
2. Lack of Success
While some seniors meet people online and have a long-lasting romantic (or friendly) relationship, unfortunately, most people are unsuccessful.
Several cited reasons for the lack of success include not being able to match with anyone “worthy” of dating, dates not showing up for face-to-face meetings, and the lack of responses to messages and dates.
Sometimes individuals feel that when they finally meet face-to-face, the match isn’t attractive enough because of aging or embellishments in their profile. In other words, they expected one thing and got another. Then, when some have great online chemistry and meet in person, the sparks are no longer there.
After a while, the lack of new profiles and the superficial and impersonal nature of online dating becomes apparent. Then why do it?
There are successes with senior online dating, and realizing this is enough to give hope for many older people to keep trying.
3. Negative Experience
You may have negative experiences with any dating app, so senior dating apps are no different. Also, just as with meeting people face-to-face, there is always a chance for adverse incidents with online dating.
According to a recent internet study of adults who used online dating apps, a whopping 43% of women reported being contacted by an individual who made them feel uncomfortable or harassed.
Older adults have reported feelings the following ways by the people they met online: uncomfortable, scared, stalked, threatened and/or abused (verbally, physically, sexually).
When they go on in-person dates with people they meet online, most women prefer to drive themselves. This makes them feel like they aren’t trapped or can escape a harmful situation if needed.
Older adults need to be vigilant when it comes to dating because of the higher risk of dating and intimate partner violence, including threats, physical harm, and financial exploitation
4. The Effort
It requires much time and effort when you actively date, whether online or in person. Additionally, the competitiveness of online dating requires that you
- constantly update your profile
- get yourself together for in-person dating
- regularly respond to matches
5. Unwanted Messages of a Sexual Nature
While older adults aren’t necessarily against sexual contact, some matches send sexually explicit messages too soon after the initial correspondence.
This can make the recipient uncomfortable. While these messages were quite uneasy, people reported them more as unwanted than threatening.
How to Make Your Profile Stand Out
Congratulations! You’ve decided to sign up for a senior online dating app. This is a big decision because this is the first time you’ve used one. Everything is going great until the app prompts you to create your online profile. That’s when it gets real.
Creating an online profile for a dating app is more manageable than it seems. Don’t worry. Here are a few tips to help you make an irresistible and dazzling profile.
Ask For Help
If this is super out of your league, don’t hesitate to ask for assistance. Many sites have online help, plus you can ask friends. They can point out your best qualities if you don’t recognize them.
List Those Hobbies and Interests You Can Do with Others
People want to know what you like doing and how to do those same activities with you.
So, while it’s OK to list solo hobbies like writing, reading, or knitting, you also want to include activities like hiking, playing board games, or walking on the beach. These types of joint activities allow a potential date to see how they can fit into your lifestyle.
Forget the Typical Responses
Yes, you may like watching the sunset, but also add those unique and bizarre activities that are great conversation starters. Someone will be interested to know that you’re a bodybuilder or a glass blower.
Don’t Be Negative
Avoid using negative language when referring to certain areas of your life. You may hate your job and despise your boss even more, but you don’t want to spend time telling the world this information. Think about it; would you like to date someone you perceive as a constant whiner and complainer?
Like attracts like, so if you want a positive person, you must be optimistic. Try to put your best foot forward by talking about those things you enjoy and the things that interest you. If you can’t say anything positive about a subject, stay off that subject altogether.
Choose Interesting Pictures
People want to see what you look like, so one posing picture is fine. However, you also want to include images that showcase your personality, which are the pictures where you’re doing an activity–like hiking, yoga, parasailing, and traveling. You’ll receive more responses because you’re telling more about your personality without actually telling.
Let’s Be Honest
You may be tempted to exaggerate certain parts of yourself and your life–like your income, career, or life experiences–because you want to attract others. However, the truth will eventually come out.
If you click, you’ll want to have a face-to-face meeting. How will it feel if your date is expecting a tall fashion model and you’re not? Be proud of who you are. Confidence is a sexy quality to have, so own it.
Update Your Profile Regularly
You may think once you create your profile, you’re done, but that’s hardly the case. Things in your life are going to change. You could lose weight or change your hair color and style, so it’s good to keep an updated profile to showcase those changes.
Not just physically, you may also change jobs or relocate to a new area. Are you trying a new hobby or even just considering one? These are things to keep updates so you can continue getting new matches.
There are several pros and cons to online dating for seniors. Make a list of each; if the pros outweigh the cons, consider trying it.
However, if online dating apps aren’t your thing, skip it. Or, do a bit more research until you feel comfortable enough to get out there and potentially meet your perfect match! Stay safe and have fun.