Meryl Streep and Diane Keaton may make senior dating look easy in the movies, but many older adults find the process to be much more daunting than what's presented by A-list celebrities. You may not be running into Mr. Right in the university library, but that doesn't mean your dating life has to remain at a standstill during your senior years.
Whether you're exploring Internet and app dating options or you're getting set up with a stranger, dating doesn't need to be a struggle. If you're embarking on this adventure for the first time in several years - or decades - don't stress. There are a few ways to ease yourself back into the dating world.
Learn to love yourself
Before you can start searching for a significant other, you need to know (and love) yourself. This may seem like common sense, but often adults plunge back into the dating scene before they're ready, whether they've recently become single or they are no longer happy on their own. If you're feeling particularly weary about dating, take steps to improve your self confidence. This may include speaking with a relative who makes you feel particularly beautiful or revamping some part of your physical appearance, which could include a new haircut or clothing.
"The beginning of your post-50 dating experience can start with simply telling friends that you're looking."
Explore your options
Sometimes, the beginning of your post-50 dating experience can start with simply telling your friends that you're single and ready to mingle. Whether you're living in a retirement community surrounded by adults who are the same age or you're residing with your children, letting other people around you know that you're looking to date allows those who you love and trust to start thinking about fellow single seniors who may be interested. Think of it as relationship networking.
Technologically savvy seniors can, of course, explore the world of online dating. Over the past several years, many sites have popped up to help older adults dip back into the dating world, offering pages and features specific to the over-50 crowd. These senior sites have seen greater adoption in the past five or so years, establishing credibility among older adults and community members alike.
- AARP Dating: This site allows adults to craft their own personality profiles, then post creative date ideas they'd enjoy sharing with another person. Visiting seniors can sift through potential dates, contact prospects and set up official hangouts.
- eHarmony: Did you know that more than 14 percent of all eHarmony users are over the age of 55? This site may cost a little more money upfront, but there's a reason - the site itself is responsible for 4 percent of all marriages in the U.S.
Internet sites aren't the only places to find potential mates. App dating has increased exponentially recently, with companies like Tinder and Hinge reporting huge success in the U.S. Seniors who want to use mobile apps should look into the following for best results.
- Hinge: Think of Hinge as your way to digitally meet single friends of your friends without having to deal with awkward face-to-face introductions. The site searches which of your Facebook friends' connections are searching, allowing you to access a wide range of potential matches.
- Stitch: Made specifically for seniors, Stitch is a mobile dating app that pairs single older adults and allows them the companionship they are searching for. The site couples local people based on mutual interests and shared desires, taking the stress out of senior dating.
Review the rules of online dating
Whether you're connecting with someone on eHarmony or Stitch, it's important to remember the basics of dating a digital stranger. Experts recommend that you speak with a person before setting up a face-to-face meeting, whether you talk over text or on the telephone. But when it comes to seeing the person for the first time, there are a few hard, fast rules to remember to ensure overall safety.
First, never set a date unless you're certain the person is who he or she says. You may want to look at his or her social profiles on sites like Facebook or hold an extensive conversation first. If you ever start to feel concerned about the person, cease contact immediately and report him or her to the site.
Second, pick a public place for your first meeting. This can be a coffee shop, a lively restaurant or a local bookstore. Always tell a friend where and when your date is so he or she can catch up with you later if necessary.