Hey senior singles! It’s time to get back out there! Yes, we’re talking about getting back in the dating pool again. Oh come on, we hear you groaning out there, but trust us, looking for love can be fun, and there are actually a lot of benefits to dating as an older adult. For example, you can increase your social network and get more involved in social activities, which can improve your overall life satisfaction. Not only that, but if you have someone that makes you feel, well, special and important to them, you could even live longer. All that, and dinner and a movie, too!
But you might be wondering how likely it even is to find love when you’re older, and what older men or women (whatever your preference) are even looking for in someone to date. Wonder no longer, we’ve got all the help you need!
Can You Find Love When You’re “Of a Certain Age?”
If you’re single, you’re in good company: more than one-third of Baby Boomers aren’t currently married. Not only has your generation had higher rates of separation and divorce than earlier generations, but you’ve also had lower rates of getting married in the first place. So more and more of you are getting divorced, and you’re also living longer, meaning there are a lot more of you out there looking for another chance at love.
But that doesn’t mean that dating is going to be like shooting fish in a barrel, unfortunately. Many older adults are unsure where to even begin getting back out there, and many feel like the odds are stacked against them. And to be honest, there are studies that seem to point to the difficulties of finding love after, say, age 60. For example, a study from the University of Bath in the U.K. shows that the odds of finding love after 60 are 1 in 562! Pretty depressing.
Ah, but that study also points out that that dizzying number is only your odds if you leave everything to fate. The researchers also found that if you socialize and make an effort to connect with others, you significantly increase your odds of finding love after 60.
Ok, so there are a lot of single older adults out there, and science has basically given us the formula for increasing your odds of finding and connecting with them…so where should you start? First, start with yourself and consider that you should:
- Know what you’re looking for – Be honest with yourself (and any potential partners) about what you’re really looking for. Is it a sexual relationship, companionship, an occasional date for the movies, or a long-term partnership? You don’t have to be 100% sure exactly where every relationship is going to end up, but having a good idea of what you would ideally want can help you find the right person for you.
- Accept yourself as you are – This is a big one! Before you can offer someone else love, kindness, and compassion you have to offer it to yourself! Loving yourself and offering yourself compassion also means working to feel good in your own skin, and having a positive body image, which is something that older adults can struggle with. But trust us, a little work on this can go a long way!
You’ve done some introspection, so now it’s time to start looking, and you’ve got plenty of options!
Where to Look
Finding older adults to date doesn’t have to feel impossible, you just have to know how to go about meeting people, and where to look. Take a look at the following ideas, and see what feels right and comfortable to you:
- Expand your social network – Talk to your friends and family, and see if you can make connections with their friends, family, and acquaintances.
- Get physical – Try joining a gym, local hiking group, or sports league – you never know who you might meet!
- Think of the possibilities – Don’t discount meeting people at the places you go to often, like the park, grocery store, or your favorite bar.
- Get involved – Have you been wanting to get back into painting, learn a new language, or pursue another hobby? Take a class, or join a group that will allow you to meet people with similar interests.
- Head online – Think online dating isn’t for you? We suggest you give it a try – you don’t have to commit to anything, and can always delete your accounts if you’re really not into it. But really, there’s nowhere else where there are so many singles of all ages looking to meet people, just like you!
You have some idea of where to look, but now you might have a more difficult question: what is it that people your age are looking for out there?
For the Ladies: What Are Older Men Looking For?
Sorry, ladies, the unfortunate fact is that you have one thing working against you: the numbers. There are just more single older women than there are single older men out there, mostly because women tend to live longer. The data tells us that for 50-year-olds the ratio is close to 1-to-1; for 70-year-olds there are only 89 males per 100 females, and in the very oldest age bracket (100-year-olds) there are only 25 men per 100 women.
But with that being said, the good news is that the men who are out there are looking for you, and it turns out that they’re looking for relationships. In fact, what they’re looking for might surprise you! Here’s a look at what older men want, according to research done by the dating site Single and Mature:
- They want to feel needed – The consensus of men online say that they want to be a part of your life, and to feel like they’re actively contributing to your life and wellbeing. Not that they don’t appreciate independence, but they do want to feel useful!
- They also want a woman who has her own thing – Yes, older men also want to know that their partner has things going on in her life, and love to see women being happy doing what they love to do and do best.
- They are more interested in relationships than are younger men – We tend to think of younger men as being more interested in having fun than in building a relationship, but whatever the truth to that, it seems not to be true for older men. Older men also tend to be interested in sex that goes hand-in-hand with emotion, and don’t want to feel like they’re being used for sex.
- They want some romance in their lives – Turns out older men are not as grumpy and routine-oriented as we thought! Men in their 50s are actually more interested in “romance” than men in their 20s and 30s; in fact, they typically outscore women on the ‘Romantic Beliefs Scale’, a study comparing gender role-orientation and gender attitudes towards romance.
- They value intelligence – There’s nothing better than a partner who you have good conversations with, as well as who you can rely on to be a contributing partner who knows their stuff when it comes to life, so older men wisely value wise older women!
- They also want some fun! – It doesn’t all have to be so serious – in fact, most older men cite a sense of humor as an important factor when it comes to the characteristics they’re looking for in a woman.
- They want someone with similar values – It’s not about having to agree on everything; instead, older men are looking for women who share the same core principles.
- They want someone who knows how to be herself – There’s nothing more attractive than someone of any gender who is comfortable with who they are, and who can show their true self without reservation.
For the Men: What Are Older Women Looking For?
It feels like we hear a lot more about what men are looking for in a woman than what women are looking for in a man, especially when it comes to older adults (probably because there are fewer men than women out there!), but we want to change that. So men, sit up and pay attention – here’s what all those awesome older women out there are looking for – and this, too, might be surprising, especially if you’re a little, shall we say, old-fashioned in your views of what women are interested in.
In addition to wanting those positive qualities laid out above, like intelligence, sense of humor, a strong sense of self, etc, older women are actually more likely to want to date as a way to enhance the lives they already have, not to dominate their lives. A lot of older women have spent a lifetime building strong friendships and have a lot of companionship in their lives already. That means they often are looking for someone to give them what they don’t already have in their lives, namely:
- A romantic and sexual partner, and someone to cuddle with
- Someone to participate in more couples-oriented activities that they might not want to do with women friends
- Someone who sees them as a woman, and not just as a grandmother or a widow
- Someone who respects her independence, and is willing to take thoughts of things like marriage and living together very slowly
- Someone who is truly looking for companionship, and not simply looking for someone to take care of them as they grow old
Older women are also more likely to look for multiple partners that can each fulfill a different need, like a movie-night partner and a traveling or hiking companion. And they are DEFINITELY not looking for any drama in their lives!
So we’ve armed you with the knowledge: the who, what, where, why, and how of dating in your later years. Do with it what you will: we hope you will use it to get out there and have fun! Just remember to relax, be yourself, and know that you are whole all by yourself – it’s just nice sometimes to add a second person into the mix to make things a little more enjoyable.