Graphic of Cell Phones Depicting Online Dating

Online Dating for the 50+

What to expect when you’re expecting a great dating experience.

As the weather warms up and outdoor activities expand, there’s no better time to check “date more” off your goal list.

If you’re 50 or older, you’ve likely been in a long-term relationship before. The prospect of dating means putting yourself out there, possibly for the first time in years. It can feel daunting to jump back into the dating pool, especially after the isolation and social distancing of the pandemic.

When my 13-year marriage ended in 2009, I found myself with the choice of either finding love through dating apps or traditionally. Meeting someone traditionally was not a practical option. I realized if I wanted to date someone with specific attributes, dating apps could accommodate this goal.

Believe it or not, GenX created online dating 30 years ago (!) with the launch of match.com. Since then, the biggest changes have not only been more app choices and new dating lingo, but how we interact online. 

Dating Safety Tips

The best online dating experiences happen when we feel safe. Here are a few tips to avoid scammers and have a positive experience:

  • Meet virtually first. Many apps offer virtual platform to connect without exchanging personal information.
  • Do not share personal Information, including your location, onscreen. Scams most often happen BEFORE meeting in person.
  • Research/confirm the potential match on other apps. Check Facebook or LinkedIn to see who you have in common.
  • Always meet in a public, high-traffic location, and always give your date details to trusted friends. Never share pictures of your children.
Have a positive attitude about dating.

Your attitude depends on how well you know yourself, your intentions, and any preconceived beliefs about dating. Dating doesn’t have to feel like a chore if you can approach it as an opportunity to learn more about yourself and maybe even network. If you’ve experienced a significant life event, such as the loss of a loved one, relocation, or illness, it’s essential to take the time to heal before jumping into another relationship.

Use the right photos for your dating profile.

Make sure your lead picture is from the shoulders or waist up so your face is clearly visible. Share recent pictures of yourself — no more than two years old. Limit group shots, sunglasses, and masks to avoid forcing potential matches to decipher who you are. It’s okay to use filters but remember you may eventually meet in person and don’t want to be labeled a catfish.

Create engaging and informative profile content.

You don’t have to write a biography about yourself but try to include some personal content. It’s also okay to simply write a list of things you enjoy.

  • State explicitly what you’re seeking, such as a long-term relationship or an activity companion. And yes, if you’re looking for something casual – AKA, friends with benefits — that’s an option, too. In my profile, I make it clear I prefer to connect by telephone or video within two weeks.
  • Address the items you want to attract in your life, not the things you don’t. Instead of saying, “No drama,” say, “I’ve done the work on myself and am seeking the same,” or, “Happy person seeking the same.”
  • Don’t limit yourself to a preconceived list of qualities. Saying things like, “You: fit and sassy” limits your potential matches. If you need to list your dealbreakers, soften the delivery: “I’m not open to a long-distance relationship,” or, “I exercise a lot and would like a partner to join me.”
Final Online Dating Tips for the Over 50 Crowd

You cannot schedule love. There’s never a “best time.” Don’t let being new to dating or dating fears stop you from trying it. Every year, I get closer to surrounding myself with the kinds of dates that will lead to a life partnership. I know you can too!

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