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Online Dating for the Over-50 Crowd: What to Expect

If you’re over 50 and just getting back into the dating game, it’s probably quite a daunting prospect. Meeting people is both easier and more difficult than it used to be. It’s more difficult because so many people are busy and geographically scattered, with fewer tightly-knit communities. And it’s easier with the advent of online dating.

When it first got started, online dating had a dubious reputation—but now it’s a perfectly acceptable way to meet new people. Still, online dating can be a scary idea for seniors. Here are a few things to expect.

Expect to have a lot of sites to choose from

There are a plethora of online dating sites out there, from very general sites to those catering to niche markets such as Jewish, Christian, or over-50 users.

There are pros and cons to going with a niche dating site—it can limit your choices, and keep you from meeting someone who may not be in a certain category but who may be perfect for you. On the other hand, some people know exactly what they want in a relationship and feel comfortable narrowing the field down to a more manageable level. Check out online message boards, read reviews, and if possible try several different dating sites to get a sense of what you’re most comfortable with. Also, check with others in your neighborhood or senior living facility to see which worked best for them.

Elder Hands

Dating after 50 can be daunting—but it can also be a lot of fun. Use common sense, keep an open mind, and don’t get discouraged.

Expect to put up a picture

Some seniors are reluctant to post photos for privacy reasons—as well as unfamiliarity with the web. On online dating sites, however, most people won’t respond to you if they can’t see what you look like. Choose a flattering photo that’s recent and honest about what you look like—don’t try to hide anything.

Expect to keep personal information private

A picture is expected—but posting your phone number and address is a bad idea. If you’re using a pay site, expect your credit card information to be safe with the company—most online companies have strong safeguards for online purchases. But don’t provide personal information such as your real name, phone number, place of work, and so on in your profile.

Expect to meet a lot of people with baggage

The older you are, the more life experience you have. Most people you meet will have already been married and divorced; many will have kids or even grandkids. Keep an open mind about meeting people who may not look perfect on paper—you never know who might turn out to be perfect in practice.

Expect to get—and send—a lot of emails. In general, women get contacted first a lot more than men do on online dating sites. If you’re not getting the emails you want, be proactive—send an email to someone who catches your eye. Make it thoughtful, and be sure to reference things you have in common according to your profiles.

Expect rejection

Of course, the more you put yourself out there, the more you’ll experience people not responding to your emails or turning you down for dates. That’s a perfectly normal part of the process. Think of it as cycling through the frogs before you meet your prince or princess.

Expect to hold off on being exclusive—for a little while

Ideally, if you’re really focused on meeting someone, you should go on as many dates as possible. You may find yourself dating several different people at once, and that’s OK, too—it’s how you get to know who you like and who you want to get to know better. Once you meet someone you’re crazy about, you’ll know it’s time to stop dating online and start building a relationship.

Dating after 50 can be daunting—but it can also be a lot of fun. Use common sense, keep an open mind, and don’t get discouraged. The right one will come along eventually—and in the meantime, enjoy the process of dating.