When it comes to dating, whether that be dating in the real world vs online dating platforms like Tinder, navigating its tricky, turbulent waters is just as strenuous in your 20’s, as it is in your 50’s. From F**kpas’s and F**kmas (the F**kboy and F**kgirl equivalent of a Grandpa and Grandma), to Sugar Daddy’s, Sugarmum’s and the ‘Unattainable Silver Bacherlor/Bacherlorette, dating for over 50’s has never been more complex, as you reel terms like ‘breading’, ‘crumbing’ and ‘curving’ off your tongue like it’s common lingo. You might find yourself perplexed at the love rats that you keep fishing out of ‘boning sea’ who just want to ride you all the way to bone town. You might tear your your hair out exasperated at the countless dates that lead nowhere and clock the hours you spent messaging potential dates without fruition. Or you might even reminisce about the days where online dating didn’t exist and the most common way to meet your future boo was in a bar, park or dancing, not swiping left and right on 200 people a day, crying out for someone to hold your hand and give you kisses at night. And while at any age we might be more interested in casual dating than marriage and kids, regardless of what kind of date you are after, it goes without saying that modern dating is a minefield to say the least. But for mature daters, whether that be first time online daters, divorcees, widows or anyone else, dating for over 50’s might be a lot more difficult than you might expect.
Mature Daters Might Care Less About How Old Their Boo Is
As someone who is in her mid 20’s (shocker I know that I am 25 when I look like I am 12), I have always been someone who has never let age be something that has dictated who I am and am not attracted to, having dated people who were older than me in the past, simply because I was attracted to who they were as people. But for many of my peers, choosing to date is often dependent on age, with many friends declaring that they could not date someone who is more than five years older or younger than they are, or friends being attracted to people who are younger than them and not being open to dating people their own age or older. Ironically for me, despite the last few people who I have ‘dated’ or been ‘seeing’ being older than me, my now boyfriend is actually the same age as me (albeit a few months older), but it just goes to show that as a younger, online led generation we seem to be more ‘age specific’ with who we choose to date. This might be because we believe that people who are in a certain age bracket might have different values, or it might be that we simply feel they are at different stages in their life, whatever our reason to choose to date based on age, research has shown that age does not shape the way that we date after our 50’s as much as it did in our 20’s.
For example while it is true that dating websites like Match.com have listed age as being the second most important attribute after the photo, these ‘filter led dating websites’ are catered to a younger demographic who have ‘narrow age specifications’ without much room for leeway. Whereas those who decide to date in their 50’s are far more flexible in their approach to companionship. This might be because age becomes less of a desirable attribute the older you get, as you might be looking for emotional intimacy as opposed to physical chemistry, but it could also be that as we grow older we realize the preciousness of time. Once you get into your fifties and beyond, the actual number of your age becomes less and less significant. Far more important is what shape you are in, how healthy you are, what activities you can do. For example if you are a 65 year old woman, who is fit and active, enjoys having fun and being social, you might not be well suited to the 55 year old who prefers quiet nights in, has health issues and is solitary. In contrast that 65 year old woman might be attracted to (and be well paired with) the 77 year old man who goes cliffdiving, enjoys travelling and whose idea of a perfect weekend is in Spain, swimming and drinking cocktails by the beach. So even though the guy is older, because he is more active and social, he matches the interests and wants of the 65 year old more efficiently. Whereas the 55 year old might be suited to a 50 year old woman who is less active, prefers alone time and enjoys nights in.
They Place Less Emphasis On The Way That Someone Looks
Dating for over 50’s is considerably less likely to be ‘image sourced’, with mature daters caring more about the personality of the person they are dating, than what they look like. Let me tell you something; while personality is very important to me, and is one of the biggest factors that will help me decide as to whether I like someone or not, I would always say that millennial daters like myself, might initially (if we don’t know someone) judge whether we like someone or not based on the way that they look, sometimes not taking the time to get to know someone before we immediately close ourselves up to dating opportunities. After all when we have mediums like Tinder where we can swipe left or right on potential dates, narrowing down our matches based on what we ‘might find attractive’ has never been easier but does not necessarily mean it will help us find the one. And while my boyfriend is both attractive and has a great personality, he also looks quite different to my previous partners, which in my eyes is a good thing, showing that it is important to date outside of ‘what you would consider to be your type on paper’, which is something mature daters buy into too.
For example, a woman who is in her sixties might be a widow, who lost her husband four years ago and has been encouraged to give online dating a go, because her dearly departed hubby, wouldn’t have wanted his sweet Nelly to be on her own for the rest of her life without him. So she signs up to an Older Dating site that is catered to those who are over 50, and scrolls through the messages from potential suitors, who are equally looking for companionship. Instead of websites like Tinder, whose very sole function is to ‘swipe through photos’ to categorize who you find ‘attractive or not’ to score potential matches, she chooses a mature dating site that categorizes matches based on personality, because after the death of her husband, she is not looking for another soulmate-in both looks and personality- but looking for someone who she can enjoy the rest of the time that she has left, with laughter and sparkle.
Maybe this is because older adults are wise enough to know that looks have very little to do with whether someone is going to be a kind, loving and caring companion. Maybe it’s because the physical nature of attractiveness changes when you get older, or maybe they know that being “hot and sexy” is more a function of your personality than how you look.Whatever the reason, most older adults will tell you that how someone looks is doesn’t matter much in their search to find a companion. After all there is nothing more attractive to me than someone who is kind, funny and has a great personality, so regardless of whether they are my type or not, if they can make me laugh, then chances are they might score a home run.
Not All Mature Daters Are Looking For Love And Marriage
While we might look at mature daters as a ‘dating group’ who want love, companionship and marriage, just like the younger generation, dating for over 50’s can sometimes mean looking for a bit of ‘bump and grind’, especially for those who may have come out of marriages and long term relationships. After all, when you have been with someone for over ten years only for the relationship to come to a halt, the last thing that you may be looking for is something serious. So whether that be looking for a one night stand, giving casual dating a go or trying something new, regardless of age we all have different perspectives on what we want from dating. For some mature daters they might be looking for someone new to settle down with, although it might not always be because they want to find love or a soulmate as they might have wanted to find when they were younger. Instead it might be about finding companionship with a fellow partner who they can share laughs and affection with, even if it is isn’t necessarily governed by love. Whether they seek to find someone who they can share their favourite activities with such as hiking, or simply a warm friendly face that they can wake up to in the morning, these companionship buddies might flourish into love based relationships later down the line, but there is no harm in finding a partner that you can have fun with too.
It’s always fun to have attraction, romance, and flirting. For many people at this stage, that is enough. For others, it’s more. There is an entire spectrum of dating that goes far beyond the marriage-oriented online dating services available today
Dating For Over 50’s Online Is Harder Than It Is In Your 20’s
Remember when ‘Twitter’ was a word used to describe a songbird, when Bumble was slang for Bumble Bee and Tinder didn’t even exist? Well for mature daters, the concept of ‘online dating’ is often alien, as in the past the only way to meet your future partner was through real life interactions, whether that be through bars, work, at socials or anything else. Now we navigate potential matches through online match making services that are often categorized by looks and age as opposed to personality and chemistry, which is often difficult to ascertain over the phone. Which makes dating for over 50’s even harder then it is for millenials because not only do your ‘real life dating pools’ become more limited as our hobbies and interests change, but the way that you interact with potential matches is often through social media, which might seem a little baffling for an older generation. Hell I am 25 and dating apps still confuse the hell out of me. I mean why would I get turned on by you sending me your pee wee? Gross. I like dick but in me, not on my phone. What’s the use of that?
For mature daters, online dating is vastly different to how they might have dated in their 20’s and bad experiences might deter them from putting their name out there, for fear of shame and ridicule. And it is easy to see why, we live in a culture that is looks obsessed, something which dating gentrification is clearly conditioned by, meaning that apps, even when they are catered to the over 50’s are still based around the needs of younger generations who critics might argue care a lot about age, about appearances, about filtering out potential matches based on arbitrary criteria, who are happy to spend inordinate amounts of time online, browsing and scrutinizing potential matches.The online dating sites which market themselves as being for 55 and older are simply re-branded versions of dating sites for younger adults. None of them recognize that there are fundamental differences in what matters to older adults and what they’re looking for. This might lead mature daters to see online dating in a negative light and conclude that it is not a positive experience, which arguably means we should do more to create an inclusive online space and surround the stigma surrounding age in the online dating world. After all, are we not all worthy of love?
What Are Your Thoughts On Mature Dating? Did You Know Any Of These Facts?
Please note this is a collaborative post but all thoughts are my own and are not affected by monetary compensation.