As we say goodbye to Valentine’s Day, you may have love and romance on your mind — specifically, how to find it for yourself.
You’re not alone.
Nearly 20 million people aged 65 and older are single, accounting for nearly 20 percent of all single people 18 and older.
Perhaps you’re ready to reenter the dating world after a divorce or the death of a spouse. Maybe you’ve enjoyed a lifetime of singlehood and you’re finally at a point in your life where you feel ready to settle down.
While you might think of dating as a young person’s game, nothing could be further from the truth: Senior dating is easier and more fun than ever before. The same options that are available to your kids and grandkids are available to you—you just need to find what works for your own personal needs and desires. Here are a few tips to help you design your ideal dating life for your golden years:
Know what you want out of a relationship (and know you’re not limited)
You may well have grown up in an era where certain things were expected of you out of a romantic relationship…
Marriage, house, kids, steady job, saving for college, saving for retirement, etc.
Maybe the last time you went out on a date, this was the exact trajectory you ended up following. And you loved it!
But maybe now, at this stage in your life, you’re ready for something new.
More and more, seniors are choosing “living apart together” (LAT), a term used to describe the growing number of older adults partnered in committed, romantic relationships that decide not to live together or marry their partner. While they spend a lot of time with each other, they choose to maintain their own household for personal and financial reasons.
Something like this may or may not be right for you. This point is: There’s no right or wrong way to have a consensually committed relationship. Decide what works for you.
Get physical (if you want to)
This might feel like a taboo subject, but the fact is, sex is considered a vital part of romance — and life — for many people at any age.
Not to mention, it’s literally good for you.
For example, according to one 2020 study, intimacy promotes healthy aging, including better mental health outcomes.
Alternatively, maybe you aren’t interested in intimacy so much as you are companionship — that’s fine, too. Close human bonds are a key to aging well and are worth seeking out.
Whatever it is that intimacy looks like to you, honor that.
(By the way, here’s a more thorough deep-dive on the topic of safe sex for seniors.)
Go digital – not every dating app is for your kids
When you think of online dating apps, you might conjure up the horror stories you’ve heard from your kids and grandkids about apps meant more for hooking up with strangers than for finding romance.
But the world of online dating is much larger than you might realize—and expands across generations. According to a 2020 report published by the Pew Research Center, 19 percent of adults ages 50 to 64 say they have used a dating site or app.
And these days, especially as a result of COVID-19, online dating is on the rise across the board. At the start of the pandemic in early March 2020, global online dating was up 82 percent, according to Dating.com.
A major benefit of online dating is that the technology can help seniors to meet people beyond their social circles, or even highlight people in their community that they may not have considered romantically.
The world is full of seniors looking for the exact same kind of relationship you want. You just need to look in the right places. Here are the top sites for online senior dating, according to Mashable (the article itself contains great reviews of each one):
- eharmony— eHarmony is known for its success pairing people in long-term, committed relationships.
- SilverSingles— SilverSingles dating site is specifically for singles over 50 seeking romance and companionship.
- com— Match.com is the largest online dating service worldwide and features a senior-oriented service.
- Elite Singles—Elite Singles matches singles based on their personalities. EliteSingles users tend to be highly educated.
- com— OurTime.com celebrates the journey of pursuing relationships over 50.
Put yourself out there — you’ve got the rest of your life to live!
If you’re among the 75% of seniors who are not looking for a relationship right now, that’s fine — if it’s really because you’re just not interested.
But if you’re among the 30% of seniors who choose not to date because “they feel like they are too old”… well, that’s simply not the case!
With life expectancy on the rise, there’s lots of life to live and there’s no reason to spend the next decades of your life single if you don’t want to.
Your golden years are an opportunity for new relationships that will pass you by if you let them. So, once you know what you want, don’t be afraid to go looking for it.
Dating is an adventure, whether you are in your twenties or your seventies. If you approach it with a positive attitude, you’ll be certain to have a few laughs and hopefully, meet the partner you are looking for along the way.
Be true to yourself
Remember: Dating as a senior means that you are bringing a lifetime of rich experiences to any new relationship. Unlike dating in your twenties, when you might have been looking for someone to build and begin a life with, partnering in your senior years often means sharing your life and your golden years in the way that you choose to. By knowing both what you bring to and what you want from potential courtships, you can approach dating with a positive and confident attitude.