Senior Dating: How to Meet the Love of Your Life
One of the most natural things in life is to want a companion: someone with whom to share life’s ups and downs or maybe just dinner on Saturday night. Dating over 50 can seem daunting and overwhelming, but all it takes to get started is some soul searching and a little motivation to put yourself out there.
Before you start dating, decide whether you are emotionally ready. Have you just experienced a divorce or the loss of a spouse? There is no set timeline when it comes to working through your emotions. Your timeline may differ from those of your friends, so don’t feel pressured to start dating when you’re not ready.
Once you’re ready, make a list of your dating goals. You may want to get married again, or you may simply want somebody to go to the movies with. Everybody is different, and knowing what you want will help you find the right person without unnecessarily spending anyone’s time.
Dating is no longer just for young people. It’ll be much more comfortable now than when you were a teenager. You’re wiser, with more robust social skills, and a better grasp of what you want. This guide will help you find that special someone and take your dating life to the next level.
11 Tips: Dating Over 50
1. Start Close to Home
When you embark on the quest for love, I recommend you start within your local community. If you feel comfortable, let people you trust know you’re interested in dating and what your goals are. Your friends and family know you best and may be able to connect you with like-minded people. Meeting someone through mutual connections is not only safer, but it provides some common ground to stand on. Since you both know the same people, there is a built-in icebreaker to help you settle into a first date.
If you don’t feel comfortable talking to your loved ones about your dating life, don’t be afraid to look for love in your frequent haunts. A local cafe, restaurant, or other watering hole offers plenty of opportunities to strike up conversations. Even if you don’t find love, you may find a lasting friendship while waiting for your bagel order.
2. Join Groups That Interest You
Looking for love is also a great way to expand your horizons. There are local groups available for everything—from bird-watching to chess or even yoga. While it can be daunting to join a group where other members already know each other, it can be rewarding to push a little past your comfort zone. These groups are open to members and enthusiastic about the group’s purpose. No matter what, you’re sure to find someone who shares your interests and passions.
For example, I know an older female who joined a gardening group in a town she just moved to. She is typically a reserved and shy person but passionate about her orchids. It didn’t take her long to open up when it came to offering gardening tips and tricks. She ended up meeting her future partner in this group while bonding over fertilizers.
You can find local groups online or on neighborhood bulletin boards. If you have social media, many groups organize events through Facebook. Investigating these opportunities online is a reliable way to figure out if a group or event interests you.
3. Senior Meetup Groups
There are often senior meetup groups in communities that allow older adults to connect while engaging in fun or otherwise enriching activities. There are senior meetup groups for bicycling, photography, traveling, and many other interests.
While some senior meetup groups are hobby-specific, some are designated for single seniors. These groups organize events such as game nights, movie nights, happy hours, dancing, and other fun activities. It’s a great way to relax and mingle with a lot of potential partners as opposed to being stuck on a date with one person, something that strikes many as stressful.
These groups are easy to find online through social media or websites like Meetup that make it easy to join groups and see their events. You can also ask a friend or look for events at your local community center.
4. Take Up a Hobby
Engaging in hobbies or interests is another natural avenue to meeting somebody. If you love the arts or literature, join a book club or take up pottery. Take up singing, fishing, writing, or even become a sommelier. Indulging in your own interests and passions may just help you find a kindred spirit along the way. You never know who may be sitting next to you at a book club.
Even if you don’t meet anybody: you’ll be happy you got out of the house. Studies show that engaging in a hobby is associated with lower blood pressure, smaller waistlines, and a higher sense of general wellbeing.
5. Take Classes
Local college courses are often offered at a discount for seniors. Lifelong learning is fulfilling and may connect you to individuals and groups that share the same intellectual interests. Getting in touch with your sense of intellectualism may just give you the confidence you need to ask someone in your astronomy class to go stargazing.
There are endless courses to choose from if you are looking to expand your mind. Classes in cooking, foreign language, painting, memoir writing, tai chi, or even bowling allow you to have fun, feel better about yourself, and connect with a wide variety of people.
Everyone has causes that are important to them. Volunteering your time is personally meaningful and works to broaden your social network in a way that contributes to the community. Your knowledge and lived experience can benefit the world in a myriad of ways.
If this is something that’s crossed your mind, then you’re not alone. Between 2008 and 2010, people 55 and over contributed more than three billion hours of volunteer service. If you’re a civic-minded person, volunteering is a great way to meet people with the same values you do.
Pro Tip: You can find local volunteer opportunities on dedicated search engines like VolunteerMatch.
Local museums, parks, and groups often have volunteer opportunities utilizing a variety of skills. You may be interested in mentoring young people. You may care for the environment and want to build or maintain hiking trails or parks. No matter what your cause, volunteerism provides a greater purpose to donate your time and resources to.
7. Get a Part-Time Job
According to a study by the Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies, a majority of adults plan to work after retirement not only to earn extra money but to stay engaged and healthy as they age. The same study cited 41 percent of retired adults plan to work part-time.
There are many part-time opportunities that utilize a variety of skill sets. Many seniors with a knack for numbers can find part-time work as a bookkeeper handling accounting for small businesses. Other older adults find part-time administrative work as office managers, paralegals, and assistants. These positions allow you to spend a lot of time with people from all walks of life. It’s only natural to meet someone remarkable while working so closely with them.
8. Online Dating
Older people are one of the fastest-growing demographics in online dating. 32% of people over 50 say they have used an online dating website or app before. There are even dating sites specifically designed for older adults. Online dating is a helpful tool as it prompts users to specify their dating goals and preferred traits in a potential partner. Creating an online dating profile is a fun and engaging way to help you determine what exactly you’re looking for.
Once you have signed up, you create a profile complete with a picture, information about your hobbies and interests, and what you’re looking for in a partner. You can then browse “matches” or other people who like your profile from the comfort of your own home. Once you message someone you like, you can get to know them by chatting through the website or talking on the phone before you agree to an in-person date.
Pro Tip: Photographs make a huge difference in your online dating profile! Choose a recent, flattering, and clear photo that reflects your interests.
Some services, like eHarmony and SilverSingles, use sophisticated algorithms that help you find that special someone. Some dating services cost money, and others are free. Online dating is a great option for people who want to meet someone outside their social circle. No matter what service you use, it’s important to be cautious when talking to strangers on the internet. Online dating services have come a long way in making sure users are legitimate, but you should still be safe. Do not give over any personal data, especially financial information, to somebody you don’t know and always have the first in-person date at a public location.
9. Speed Dating
Speed dating is a relatively new method that allows singles to meet a large group of potential partners in a short period of time. These short “dates” can last anywhere from 90 seconds to five minutes, after which a new participant takes their seat for your next short date.
This is a much less time-consuming method of dating than going on multiple blind dates. Since the dates are so short, this is a great way to have fun and practice your social skills so when you do meet a possible connection, you can present your best side.
Speed dating can take place in public, like a coffee shop or bar, or it can take place online, and there are often senior-specific speed dating events. You can find events by searching online or checking local event listings.
10. Singles Cruises
Anyone who’s ever seen episodes of The Love Boat knows what a cruise can lead to. In addition to a possible love connection, travel can be relaxing and rewarding.
You may choose a cruise for the destination, its theme, or the activities offered aboard. Some cruises are oriented around live entertainment, while others offer cooking classes. If you work with a travel agency, you can often find singles cruises for people over 50 that offer special activities and excursions for the group so you can get to know someone while enjoying fun in the sun.
Pro Tip: Health or mobility issues shouldn’t stop you from enjoying a cruise. Before you make the reservation, just be sure that the ship’s staff can accommodate your needs.
11. Transition to a Retirement Community
Much like the cruise ship option, there are many types of retirement communities available. Over 70% of people see moving into a retirement community as an opportunity to make new friends.
Retirement communities often have events and activities that foster an inclusive community. That way you can get to know people over bingo or a water aerobics class. These activities can help you practice your social skills. Every time you go out and talk to someone, you’re taking a step in the right direction.
Regardless of the type of relationship you want, whether romantic or platonic, making an effort will make you feel that much more alive.
Senior Dating Frequently Asked Questions
- How do I find a local interest group to join?
Most local groups have some sort of online presence, whether that be a social media page or a website. Otherwise, your local community center or coffee shop likely has a bulletin board advertising groups and classes.
- How do I start a conversation on the first date?
There are lots of ways to break the ice. You may ask them about their interests, hobbies, family, or favorite restaurants around town. People love talking about themselves, so don’t be afraid to ask questions!
- How important is chemistry?
It depends on what you’re looking for. Before you start dating, sit down and think about your goals. Whether you want a long-term, committed relationship or if you’re just looking to have fun will help determine how important it is that sparks fly on the first date.
- How do I let someone down easy?
When you’re dating, it’s natural that you will go out with some people you aren’t compatible with. If you find yourself in a position to reject somebody, treat them with respect. It may be hard, but be honest. This provides both parties with closure.
- Do I need to pay for online dating?
Some online dating services are free, and some cost money. Typically, people looking to spend money on dating services are serious about settling down with somebody, while more casual users opt for the free service. Be clear about your expectations before paying for any online subscription.