Does Online Dating Work if You're Middle-Aged?

November 20, 2020
Online Dating For Middle Aged

A lot of the digital aspect of Internet dating feels like it's aimed at a younger generation - with the prevalence of video chats, location tracking and swipe games.

However, it would be a massive disservice to the sector to think that it doesn't cater to older singles. 

In fact, seniors and middle-aged singles make up a considerable proportion of the dating network, with separations, divorces and bereavements being far more likely in the 50+ crowd than for men and women in their 20s.

  • So - how do you get started?
  • Which dating site is best for golden oldies?
  • And how on earth do we quantify 'senior' or 'middle-aged' anyway?

Dating Later in Life - Getting Back on the Bike

The first thing to point out is that online dating isn't difficult. Platforms and sites might look unique to their branding, but the premise and goal are always the same.

Don't be put off by a misconception that online dating isn't for you - because it is for everyone who wants to find a partner, and doesn't have a ready-made matchmaking date waiting in the wings.

I'd recommend reading some reviews, choosing maybe one or two sites that you feel comfortable with, and having a browse to check out how it all works.

Yes, there might be terminology and acronyms that weren't the norm last time you went on a first date; but it's designed to be user-friendly, so give it an hour or so, and I'll bet you've mastered site navigation!

Here are a few things to consider before you start sending out Winks or posting your profile:

  • Do you feel ready to date? If you're lonely, bored, single - whatever the reason, think about whether you want a romantic connection, something serious, or just to have a bit of a laugh to brighten up your evenings.
  • What sort of dating site does that mean you're best off joining? Beware hookup sites or anything offering unlimited free usage (that way lies poor quality suggestions, more pop-up ads than you can shake a stick at, and more often than not, a big army of bots waiting to convince you to pass over your credit card details!).
  • Are you open to trying online dating? A lot of people might date through mutual connections, social groups, friendships etc. - and there is nothing wrong with playing the waiting game and seeing who is about.

If you do decide that online dating is your best bet, or you're looking to meet someone quickly without waiting for the next birthday party to make your move, go for it.

I ask this because I believe you have to be all in for it to work! Half-hearted profiles, slight cynicism and suspicion that every single who messages you is a spammer do not make for a great dating experience.

Finding Your Online Dating Tribe

The next thing; defining the site that is best for you.

I often have a little giggle at the disparity between 'senior dating' sites - not because they are doing anything wrong, but because they have wildly different ideas about what being senior means!

Again, it's well worth reading some independent reviews or having a look around before joining the first site you bump into. Because if you're a vibrant 50-year old looking for a date to go on wild adventures with, the last thing you want is to end up in a chat room of retirees wanting to discuss their pottery habits.

Likewise, if you're, say, over 70, signing up to a dating platform for single parents who all tend to be in their 30s or 40s is going to be a big fat waste of your time.

  • Most senior dating sites are aimed at users over 50. 
  • That isn't a golden rule - some stipulate members should be over 55, over 60 - you name it.
  • Middle-aged doesn't really mean anything these days, so I'd go right ahead and ignore it!

Here are a few things you can do to make sure you're getting the right matches, with the right age group, in the right area:

  • Choose a dating site that caters specifically to your age group. I've mentioned a few categories here, but it's a million miles better to spend your time connecting with people likely to fit your dating needs than to join a generic site where a tiny percentage of singles would match with you.
  • Set age parameters on your profile. This is entirely personal (I happen to prefer an older guy myself!) - and you should set your age search terms based on whom you'd like to meet. Be realistic, though!
  • Don't be put off because a site uses a name you don't like. I'm the first to say that some excellent matchmaking platforms have terrible names - judge on the service, quality of membership, likelihood that you'll meet an authentic date - not on the website name.

How Can I Find a Date Past Retirement?

The 'rules' for online dating don't change at any age, and we all know that two people within the same demographic might have dramatically different passions and interests!

You should always:

  • Research dating sites before signing up - independent rankings are the best way to get a realistic idea of what you're signing up for.
  • Take time over your profile and any personality questionnaires. It feels a little laborious, but that's how a dating service matches you with compatible guys or girls.
  • Get to know the games, functions, messaging options. Most dating sites offer search functions, like games or browsing tools, and you're far more likely to meet someone by using those features than waiting for a match recommendation to pop into your inbox.

Remember that not all dating sites are the same; so if you've tried one before and not found it at all useful, don't be disheartened.

We'd recommend trying a niche platform that offers more specialist dating services targeted at your relationship aspirations - and they are a better choice than a huge generic dating platform if you're looking for a specific type of partner.

Finally - don't be shy about playing the game!

The majority of dating sites offer a free membership option, so if you're in any doubt, why not hedge your bets and join two or three - and see which one takes you places!

Lauren Edwards-Fowle
Lauren is a freelance writer passionate about how we develop rewarding experiences, and overcoming the barriers we face to living our best lives. Lauren writes regularly about the modern world of dating, relationships, parenthood, and social dynamics.