Why Online Dating is Perfect for Middle-Aged and Older Adults
News Flash: You may be as surprised as we were to learn that the fastest-growing demographic who uses online dating are those older adults between the ages of 55-to 64 years old, which has at least doubled from 2013 to the present.
Yup, baby boomers, those born between 1946 and 1964, comprise about 29% of the U.S. population, which translates to about 75 million boomers out there; many looking for a new love of their life, or just simple companionship.
It used to be that online dating was strictly for the younger generation, since many older folks weren’t initially comfortable or familiar with computer technology, but all that has completely changed. It's a rare older individual who doesn't own and use a computer regularly, for at least email and or Google searches, or have a Facebook account to keep up with faraway loved ones. If you've never checked out an online dating site, there are a few compelling reasons why now may be the time to start.
Top 4 Reasons Why You Should be Dating Online
- Time and Energy
Economic challenges, as well as the need to maintain health insurance have had an impact on many older adult's decisions to postpone retirement, or have even caused them to return to the workplace after retirement. This translates to having less time and energy to devote to the kind of in-person social activities where you would typically meet other singles. It makes sense to explore the local dating pool from the comfort of your own home, at your own pace, and in private.
2. Open up new dating opportunities
If you live in a smaller town, or work from home, you may need to widen those dating horizons. Online dating can offer the possibility of meeting someone special in the next town or county who you would never had had the chance to meet up with otherwise. Dating websites offer advanced search features which let you specify distance, as well as countless other preferences, ranging from languages spoken, income and education level, smoker and non-smoker, etc. Online dating also offers the chance to take control of your destiny, instead of being beholden to friends and family to set you up with someone they think you'd get along well with, since often the only thing you have in common is the fact that the matchmaker knows both of you.
3. Fine-tuning the second time around
After a divorce or the death of a spouse, older singles tend to be more savvy than Generation X'ers when it comes to knowing what they want in a partner or companion. Being older offers the advantage of hindsight and perspective, and you can darn sure that if your last marriage was less than wonderful, you're going to be much more particular about what you are looking for. Last partner preferred to stay in and watch TV every weekend? Now's your chance to state your preference for someone who loves getting out and getting active.
For those who are beginning to date again after the loss of a spouse, you can take things as slowly as you like, while testing the waters. Put out your preference for just developing a friendship first, to make sure you're moving at your own pace. If you're ready, and it's the right person, you'll know.
3. Focus more on the important stuff
Older daters have more clarity about what is really important to them. While appearances are still important, they become just a factor, instead of the main attraction. Usually we realize that although looks fade, a person's character is really what matters most, and more value is placed on companionship and compatibility than specific characteristics.
A well kept secret?
Although lots of older adults are meeting people through online dating, they also tend to keep this little fact more to themselves than those in their 20's and 30's, where it is totally the norm to be meeting people online rather than in bars or clubs. We've had some readers tell us that they are hesitant to confess to their friends or family that they're going out with someone from Match or eHarmony for fear that they'll be judged, or will worry about them.
It's a safe bet that many of the friends and relatives whom you may be hesitant to confide in are online daters themselves.
Louise K, 56, a teacher from Delaware, wrote us the following:
I have to admit that I was afraid to tell my daughter and my sister about signing up on eHarmony, mostly because I was sure they would think I was ridiculous and that online dating wasn't safe. My sister laughed and told me that she had wanted to sign up for an online dating site as well, but didn't know which one to choose! My 29 year-old daughter offered to help me tune up my profile after I agreed to let her see it, and confessed that she had registered on OKCupid herself! We all got a good laugh and now share our dating adventures with each other.