Guide-Best Senior Dating Sites

Forbes Magazine

July 12, 2021

https://www.forbes.com/health/healthy-aging/best-senior-dating-sites/

Guide To The Best Senior Dating Sites 2021

By Lambeth HochwaldContributor

Fact CheckedAlena Hall EditorPublished: Jul 9, 2021, 12:17pmOur editors independently produce original content based on thorough research and guidance from the Forbes Health Advisory Board. Commissions we may earn from partner links on this page do not affect our opinions or evaluations.

There’s never been a better time for people over 60 to try online dating. Just take a look at the array of online dating websites tailored to seniors that have emerged in the past few years, and you’ll realize there are more ways to connect with a potential companion than through friends or family.

“If you’re at the end of a long relationship, either due to the death of a partner or a divorce, you can quickly enter this digital sphere, and it’s amazing all the people you can meet,” says Shannon Lundgren, a professional matchmaker in San Francisco.

What Is Senior Dating?

Senior dating is geared to older people who have very different needs—and interests—than younger singles. For example, some seniors might be looking for a potential mate while others may simply be interested in connecting with a companion to attend events, go to dinner or spend evenings at the movies.

“Dating apps present an almost overwhelming opportunity to meet new people,” says Lundgren. “I always tell people that it’s like putting a bunch of fishing lines into a pond. You don’t know which line might bite, but you put it out there. It’s exciting to think about the possibilities.”

Health Benefits of Senior Dating

There’s no denying the importance of companionship. In fact, several studies highlight the benefits relationships can have on a person’s overall health and well-being. Here are a few to consider:

  • You can help your heart. A 2017 newsletter published by the National Institutes of Health suggests strong social ties (like those formed in dating and romantic relationships) may help reduce stress and heart health-related issues.
  • You can live longer. A 2010 study in Annals of Behavioral Medicine confirms the positive power of stable social surroundings, noting specifically that loneliness can lead to increased morbidity and mortality.
  • You’ll help your overall health. The Harvard Second Generation Study reports how happy people are in their relationships has a huge influence on their health and can even help to delay mental and physical decline.

How Does Online Dating Work for Seniors?

Older adults can easily find websites geared toward their specific age group. For example, sites like Silver Singles are reserved for those 50 and up. Other popular senior dating sites include:

  • OurTime (ages 50+)
  • Match
  • OKCupid
  • Tinder
  • Bumble
  • Plenty of Fish
  • Hinge

If you’re interested in joining a senior dating site, you typically register with your email address. In some cases, you’re asked to take an in-depth personality test or set interest filters like “mature dating,” “gay senior dating” or “older women dating.” Then, you’re often asked to upload a photo of yourself.

Once your profile is complete, you start receiving local matches. (Each dating site has its own algorithm geared toward helping you meet potential matches.) When you connect with a match, many websites allow you to message them privately via an online message function.

What to Look for in Senior Dating Sites

Here are some features you can expect from most dating websites designed for older adults.

A Questionnaire

Depending on the site, you may be asked to fill out a questionnaire to help narrow down matches. It might be a fill-in-the-blank survey, or it might be a multiple-choice “quiz” that helps you express what you’re looking for in a partner. Common questions explore your body type, education level, smoking and drinking habits, religious beliefs and practices, hobbies, political views and match preferences, including age range, height, marital status, education and more.

A Detailed Profile

Your profile is your opportunity to showcase your unique personality. Depending on the website, there are different fields users can fill out, such as your interests and preferences in potential companions. Be sure to share details about yourself, but be careful about revealing too much personal information in your profile.

Privacy and Safety Features

Reputable dating websites disclose the steps they’ve taken to keep your data private and keep you safe while you use their service. Look for words like “encryption” (which encodes messages so they can only be read by the sender and recipient), “scam detection” (which detects potential fraud like fake profiles and stolen photos) and “sex offender checks.” Know that not all free dating sites complete criminal background checks on their users.

Cost

The price of meeting a potential match depends on the dating site. For example, Silver Singles offers a free basic membership, but you can upgrade to a premium service that provides unlimited access to all profiles and the ability to create a more detailed profile. Pricing structures differ from site to site.

Communication and Connecting

Once you’ve set up your profile and uploaded a photo, you can begin connecting with potential matches. The options for how to do so are broad, but they often include messaging on the app or website itself, as well as an option for audio and video calls.

The Site’s Network

Before joining a site, do some quick research. Most websites will publicly list their number of active members, and they should be able to share the process by which they match you with singles in your local community.

Additional Perks

Along with matching you with potential partners, some sites offer bonus services like a professional matchmaker who can find matches for you, a dating concierge who can help you plan dates and invitations to member-only events. However, there may be an extra cost associated with these add-ons.

Look Out for Dating Scams

Unfortunately, there are some common, widely-reported senior dating scams out there, says Paul Bischoff, a consumer privacy expert at Comparitech, a cybersecurity information website. They tend to begin with “love bombing,” where a scammer showers you with affection. Once they have you hooked, they may begin asking you for money or personal information you shouldn’t share.

“Seniors are particularly vulnerable to these scams since they tend to have money and good credit, making them lucrative targets,” says Bischoff. “They tend to be socially isolated and thus less likely to report the crime or ask a close friend or loved one for help.”

Watch out for red flags, including:

  • Being asked for money.
  • Being informed by the person of their financial hardships.
  • Being asked to share a compromising photo.
  • Being told to invest in a get-rich-quick scheme.

Tips for Safe Dating

Have fun on your senior dating journey, but keep safety in mind as well. No matter how nice a person sounds online, remember you’re corresponding with a stranger until you meet in person and get to know them better. Here’s a handful of pro tips to keep you safe as you match.

  • Join a reputable dating site. Before you sign up for any dating website, ask your friends for recommendations and listen closely to their feedback. You can check the Better Business Bureau to see if they’re accredited and whether they have any complaints filed against them, says Lundgren. “It’s always smart to make sure a website is secure so your information isn’t vulnerable. You can look in your browser for a lock icon. If you see a message that says your information isn’t private/secure don’t enter your personal information.”

Don’t give out extra personal information. It’s important to protect your anonymity, Lundgren says. Avoid sharing your last name, town or city, where you work, specific details about you (like volunteer or alumni organizations you’re involved in) and your email address and phone number. “Don’t forget—you don’t want to share your kids’ names, either,” says Lundgren. “It’s very important to protect your family’s identity as well.”

Prepare for the first conversation. When you keep communication limited to the app or website, you create a clear record of all of your communications, which is helpful in the event that you need to report an issue, says Amber Artis, a certified matchmaker and relationship expert and CEO of Select Date Society. If you’re ready to speak on the phone, consider using Skype or create a separate email address just for dating that doesn’t show your full name. Connecting with a potential date in a safe way also helps you confirm the person isn’t using fake photos or information about themselves.

Upscale Dating

Tell friends and family members when you’re going on a date. Always inform a close friend, colleague or family member when you’re meeting someone new, says Artis. “Share your location with them on your phone, and check in with them before, during and after the date,” she says.

Always meet in public. It doesn’t matter how comfortable you are with a person or how much chemistry you have—it’s very important to meet in public, especially initially, says Artis. “Do not go to their home or invite them to yours until you know them really well,” she says. “This means you should have several in-person dates in a public place first.”

Never send anyone money. Anyone asking for money or claiming to be experiencing financial issues raises a giant red flag, says Artis. This happens often, and the majority of romance scam victims are women over the age of 50, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation. “This person is likely trying to scam you,” she says. “I urge everyone to use their best judgment and listen to their instincts. If you have a gut feeling that this person isn’t legit, heed your inner voice.”

Sources

Do Social Ties Affect Our Health? National Institutes of Health. Accessed 6/30/21.

Hawkley L, Cacioppo J.Loneliness Matters: A Theoretical and Empirical Review of Consequences and MechanismsAnn Behav Med. 2010;40(2):10.1007.

Happiness and Overall HealthHarvard Second Generation Study. Accessed 6/30/21.

Romance ScamsFederal Bureau of Investigation. Accessed 6/30/2021.