Four senior couples dancing outside with American flags in the background.

Dating and Finding Love as a Senior

Today’s seniors are living longer and healthier and this means that older single adults are getting back into the dating world. Marriage may be a goal. But most often, seniors report that they are seeking companionship, friendship and a person with whom to share and celebrate life. And if they’re lucky, they may even fall in love again. 

In an interview with author Joan Didion, whose memoir about her husband's death, The Year of Magical Thinking, the interviewer asked her directly, "Do you want to marry again?" And Joan, in her 70s, said, “Oh, no, not marry, but I would love to fall in love again!" 

It probably goes without saying that, in many ways, dating is different after age 60. For one thing, many older adults aren't in contact with lots of new people like they were in college. So, more initiative is often required in seeking out a new relationship. To add to the pressure, many seniors say they feel out of practice…as in, “My last date was 40 years ago!”

So how do you get back into the dating game after age 60? For many, the answer is online.

Online Dating is Not Just for Kids

Online dating may seem like it’s geared towards the younger crowd, but that’s far from accurate. In fact, adults over 60 are the fastest growing segment in online dating. And 60+ singles seem to be looking for authentic companionship more than just a “trophy date.” 

The most popular dating sites have made creating a profile and navigating the website very easy. “Pay for play” sites such as Senior Match, Elite Singles and Our Time enable you to connect with eligible seniors in your area. Sites such as Plenty of Fish are popular and free.

Tips for Online Dating as a Senior

If you decide to explore online dating, here are some things to consider before giving it a whirl:

  • Be sure you’re ready. You need to feel reasonably happy, self-confident and be up for an adventure. 

  • Enlist your friends. Get an objective eye when you're choosing a picture and filling out a profile form that tells potential dates who you are. 

  • Avoid clichés in your profile. So many people say they "like long walks on the beach" or "enjoy fine restaurants and travel." Make sure your profile expresses the goals, values and lifestyle choices that make you distinct.

  • Don't limit your options. A long list of requirements in a partner will limit your possibilities. So only put seriously disqualifying or absolutely necessary things on that list. 

  • Stay safe. If you decide to meet with someone you find online, be sure to select a public place such as a coffee shop. Get the background on someone before you invite him/her into your home or meet somewhere private.

  • Take your time.  It takes time to be sure that someone is who they say they are— and that they’re being honest about their intentions.  So go slow!

  • Be resilient. It can take many, many coffee shop dates before you find someone who is right for you. 

Still, many seniors find online dating worth it. Richard, a 71-year-old widower claims that “If you think of these dates as an opportunity to expand your social life, you can enjoy the conversation and coffee — even if the person has no long-term prospects. And, if you stick it out and keep trying, you may eventually find that very special someone.”