Senior Dating Tips For The Young At Heart

Updated September 12, 2023by Regain Editorial Team

Dating is often considered a young person's game. Though finding love later in life happens every day, negative stereotypes and unfavorable statistics exist. They may tell us that getting married after 30 is unlikely and that dating after 40 and finding a life partner is even more improbable. 

These pessimistic cultural outlooks can make dating when you're older harder than it has to be. Our own ticking clocks, nagging family members, and busy lives are among the factors that can push people in one of two directions when it comes to dating. They either treat dating like a job interview, constantly critiquing or pressuring their dates (and themselves) or avoid dating altogether. So, what does this mean for those over 50 but still young at heart? First, you might want to forget the naysayers and embrace the fact that the dating world has no age limit.  At the same time, it may be helpful to equip yourself with tips that will help you meet someone new and embrace every romantic connection you encounter from here on out.

Dating As A Senior Tip #1: It's Not About Numbers But Knowing Yourself

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Dating Again Is Possible

The dating world isn't just for millennials, but there's something you may need to know: dating after 50 is different. But that may not necessarily be a bad thing. For one, young people tend to be age-prejudiced, while those looking to date after 55 might be a lot more flexible with numbers. A 45 year-old courting a 20 year-old might turn heads, but a relationship between someone in their late 50s and someone in their 70s may be more acceptable.

Instead of focusing on the person's actual age, you might be better off narrowing your focus to similarities in physical health and the type of activities they enjoy. If you're very active and enjoy going on hikes and traveling, you may want to look for a potential partner interested in being outdoors and going on trips. If you're a homebody who prefers to stay in with a glass of wine and a good book, physical activity (or lack thereof) may not be on the top of your list. Perhaps the key is knowing yourself and finding a complementary partner. If you're not sure where to start, consider creating a soulmate wish list to highlight the attributes that are important to you.

Dating As A Senior Tip #2: Focus On The Physical

Another thing that may deter some senior daters from finding love is concern about their appearance. Looks may matter to some people, but research shows that for those over 55, appearance takes a lower priority than common interests and activities. Still, most everyone wants to feel their best while jumping back into the dating game. You can boost your dating confidence and desirability with the following tips:

  • Improve Your Physical Health Through Exercise. Like dating, exercise isn't just for young adults. Getting fit may help you feel better about yourself and improve your dating prospects. You might even meet someone at the gym while you're working on your fitness. A health club could be a good place to strengthen social bonds and work your way out of your shell if you usually shy away from social activities.
  • Update Your Wardrobe. If you're unsure what styles, colors, and fit will work best for your body, you might consider asking someone. If you have a friend or family member (possibly someone of a younger generation) who has a good sense of style, you could take them shopping with you. Alternatively, you might find a helpful department store employee and ask for assistance. It may be beneficial to remember that you don't have to make drastic changes (unless you want to). Having a few solid, modern articles of clothing can make your dating confidence soar.
  • Revamp Your Hair And Makeup. If you're embracing a new look as far as fashion goes, you might want to take it a step further and change up your hair and make-up. A fresh cut may be all it takes to embrace dating head-on for some. Others may want to consult a stylist for a color, style, or both. Many department stores offer free makeovers, so, if you're wanting to try some new makeup brands but don't know where to begin, consider heading to the nearest makeup counter.

Dating As A Senior Tip #3: Improve Your Outlook

Many senior daters find that once they have a good idea of what they are looking for and have spent some time improving their physical appearance, dating becomes easier. For others, there may be psychological hurdles that prevent them from embracing the dating scene and possibly finding love. For one, if you're over the age of 55, you may have been married before or been in serious relationships. Past hurts, losses, and concerns over children's feelings about dating again can all be challenges.

If you aren't sure if you're ready to date or have concerns about what the world has to offer as far as love goes, you aren't alone. In fact, this is one of the unique issues that arise with dating when you're older. Instead of ignoring or tackling these feelings alone, you might consider sharing your fears and doubts with a professional. 

Dating As A Senior Tip #4: Put Yourself Out There

Getty/AnnaStills

One question many seniors have about dating is, "Where will I meet someone?" Surely, it won't happen from the comfort of your couch unless you're dating online. If you're not sure where to meet quality partners, consider the following:

  • Find Old Friends. Many people find love with people they knew in their youth. This was the case for long-lost sweethearts Marcella and Johnny Vick. They dated in the year 1950 but drifted apart, going on to marry other people and have children. After both of their spouses passed away, the former couple reconnected at a local reunion. In 2014, they married after 63 years apart. If you can't find any places in your area to reconnect, try social media. People of all ages are rekindling friendships (and more) with people they haven't seen in years through Facebook and other social media platforms.
  • Join Senior Dating Groups. Once you're on social media, you can check out some of the senior dating groups found on Facebook. Search 'senior date' in the search bar, and hundreds of different groups may come up. As with other forms of online dating, you should always be cautious with meeting people online. Still, senior dating groups can be a good way to meet new people in your area or even across the country.
  • Try New Activities. The bingo hall, ballroom dancing events, gardening clubs, senior travel groups, fitness classes, church groups, book clubs, and volunteering events can all be good places to meet someone new. If none of these options interest you, think about your interests and see if any local clubs/groups support the same hobbies.

Dating As A Senior Tip #5: Set Realistic Expectations

Another senior dating tip may have less to do with you and more to do with the world you're living in. The dating scene today might be much different than the one you encountered in your youth or even 10 or 15 years ago. Not every date will lead to marriage, and dating opportunities may not be traditional.

For one, dating is happening online. If you're tech-savvy, this might not be an issue. Still, these platforms may be built to meet young adults' needs, not the young at heart. Even those online dating sites that market themselves towards an older age group don't always do the best job catering to the specific needs of individuals looking for love later in life.

Then there's also the added risk of being 'catfished,' or taken advantage of by someone falsely representing themselves online. To avoid this, you might want to remember that if it seems too good to be true, it probably is.

That doesn’t mean you can't try online dating.  The 50+ age group is the fastest-growing demographic on Match.com, and they make up around 20 percent of the site's users. Still, you might want to enlist the help of a trusted friend or family member when creating your profile. For the best results, consider adding a recent picture and keeping things honest (i.e., no lying about age, height, weight, etc.).

Dating As A Senior Tip #6: Know How To Turn A 1st Date Into A 2nd

Dating, as a senior or otherwise, should be fun. You may not want to put too much pressure on yourself or the other person. Instead, consider focusing on having interesting and exciting experiences.  If it leads to more, great. If not, you can keep having fun or work on building a stronger connection with someone else. Not every first date will lead to a second one, but there are some ways you can increase the chance if that's something you want.

Getty/Jordi Salas
Dating Again Is Possible
  1. Plan An Interesting Date. Great dates start with planning. Restaurants and the movie theater are go-to date spots, but they may not be the most creative. Other options could include the beach, concerts, museums, art galleries, public parks, dance lessons, paint and sip events, bingo, and wine tasting. Making sure that your first time out suits your date's interests might help earn you a second date.
  2. Avoid Touchy Topics. When returning to the dating game, it could be just as important to know what not to do. Although you want to be yourself on a date and come off as open and honest, some topics may be best discussed later on. Talking point "no-gos" include:
    • Your Ex Or Past Marriage(s). Make sure your date is your focus, not a ghost from the past. If your date asks specific questions like how long you have been divorced/widowed, it's okay to answer. But you may want to avoid bringing up the past yourself or dwelling on the topic.
    • Family, Medical, Or Money Issues. The fact that you're dating again might be an issue for your children. Plus, living on a pension or with a chronic disease can be hard. However, these may not be the best issues to bond over on a first date. Complaining about families and bringing up money issues could fall into the “too much information” category.
    • Political And Religious Issues. Politics and religion are topics that can ruin a date faster than most others. Having similar religions and political beliefs can make a strong connection, but these topics may not be first-date appropriate.

There may be plenty of topics that are fair game on a first date, though. Specific suggestions include passions and dreams, your bucket list, and things that make you laugh. As long as the topics are positive and you're listening more than you talk, the conversation should go well.

  1. Embrace These "Senior Date Do's." Now that you know what not to do on a first date, you may be wise to hone in on the things that could make your first date successful.

    • Dress Comfortably And Smart. You may want to pull out some of the new pieces that you purchased when preparing to date again. But it might also be advisable to wear appropriate attire for the particular date you're going on. On a hiking trip, heels could be a disaster, for instance, as could a suit for a stroll down the beach.
    • Look For Red Flags. If your date is throwing out red flags during dinner, or something doesn't seem right with their backstory, consider moving on to a different suitor. Dating at an older age can be difficult, but it doesn't need to be desperate. If your date doesn't seem like a good fit or you're not having fun, you may want to trust your gut.
    • Be Confident And Show Your Date That You're Interested. If you've enjoyed yourself and you want to go on a second date, you might consider saying so. You might find that your date is feeling the same way. Confidence and the ability to go after what you want can be attractive qualities.
    • Don't Rush Into Intimacy. Sex on the first date isn't unheard of, but it can be risky. For many people, rushing into intimacy too soon can stifle growing feelings and end a would-be relationship before it even begins. It can also be dangerous since HIV and other STDs are rapidly spreading in all age groups, including those over 50. Instead of focusing on the physical/sexual aspects, you might want to take your time to get to know your date on a deeper level.

If you still feel hesitant about dating again, you might want to consider speaking to a professional relationship counselor. These types of counselors work with individuals as well as couples and can help you prepare for the challenges and opportunities dating presents. 

Seniors may experience certain barriers to traditional counseling, though. For example, you may have a medical condition that prevents you from driving, or your schedule may already be packed with doctors’ appointments. Online counseling may present a more feasible alternative. With online counseling, you can access counseling right from home, so no commute is required. It can also be more flexible since appointments are available around the clock. 

This type of counseling is just as legitimate and effective as in-person counseling, too. A recent study confirmed that counseling delivered via videoconferencing was associated with positive outcomes not just for individuals, but for couples and families as well. 

Takeaway

Dating at any age can be challenging and even overwhelming, but it can also be exciting and energizing. Through self-reflection, by focusing on improving your physical health and image, setting realistic expectations, and getting some professional help if you need it, you'll be ready to date again. Get started with Regain today and put your best foot into the dating pool. 

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