So, what’s it like for singles over 60 and dating today, compared to when we first started dating?
If you’re in your fifties or sixties and just getting back to “playing the field” after a long absence, you might feel like much of the field has moved away!
First, our current personal circumstances are wildly different from those of our youth.
Second, many of today’s tools for dating didn’t exist when we were young. If it feels like a strange new world, rest assured you’re not alone.
But the good news is that the fundamentals of dating over sixty are still the same as when we were much younger. After all, single women and single men still have the same human feelings, needs and desires today that they did decades ago.
How We Used to Date in the 70’s.
Think back to what it was like to date in your high school and college days. There were only a few ways to find prospective dates.
- Friends and family referrals
- Blind dates (set up by well-meaning friends and family)
- Activities. This included work, hobbies, and social events.
- Randomly meeting and connecting with new people in your day-to-day life and otherwise
- Personal Ads
The only real tool we used for dating was the phone. Other than that, we relied on our interpersonal skills when we met someone in person.
Also, some aspects of our culture were different than today.
The biggest difference is there was no “online” as we now know it.
We had just lived through the “free love” sixties. While everyone was aware of STD’s, HIV was unknown.
Birth control was only just legalized for all women, single or married, in 1972. So sex before marriage was no longer the taboo it had been for earlier generations. Nevertheless, most of my contemporaries hid their sexual escapades from family to avoid reproach.
How We Date in the 2020’s
Obviously, the world is much different today than in the 70’s. Yet the single person in their sixties who is returning to dating might be tempted to date using the methods they remember.
If they were a teenager the last time they dated, they might be tempted to date like a teen. It’s human nature to want to stay with what we know.
(Frankly, there is very little behavior of mine I’d want to revisit from before my forties!)
The old-school ways of dating I mentioned above are still available and just as valid.
For example, we can still meet someone through our favorite activities or hobbies. The benefit is that we’re already doing something we like. We’re taking care of ourselves. It’s a bonus if we happen to meet someone.
Today, friends and family are still likely to try to set you up on a blind date.
However, there is plenty of new technology available today to help singles in their dating journey.
- Social networking online is as important as in-person networking.
- Hundreds, maybe thousands, of dating apps are available.
And while all the latest tech might feel overwhelming or frustrating, not using it puts the new dater at a disadvantage. They miss out on a huge pool of potential partners.
Special interest dating sites and apps can help the serious dater find people with the same interests. For example, there are dating sites that cater to the LGBTQ communities. There are sites for every interest including vegetarians, tall people, tattoos, Star Trek and everything imaginable.
A Smart Dating Plan for Singles Over 60
The endless possibilities presented by online dating can be overwhelming and tiring. That’s why it’s so important to use a smart dating plan.
✅ Know yourself and what you really want.
✅ Know what you want in a partner.
✅ Present this information in your online dating profile. The purpose is to attract compatible partners.
✅ Be authentic.
One of the biggest complaints among online dating site users is that the site sends them the wrong kind of matches. Yet the problem is typically related to how the person presents themselves in their profile. Instead of being true to who they are, they mistakenly believe they must present themselves as someone different in order to attract dates. For example, they might say they’re interested in fitness when, in fact, they never work out.
✅ Just as importantly, be proactive.
Once your dating profile is set, and you know what you are looking for in your partner, reach out to potential dates. Start the conversation and see where it leads. Don’t wait.
The most productive way to think about all this new dating technology is as tools in your toolbox. Tools are meant to be used. Yet no tool will help you without your active involvement.
How Often Should I Date?
There is a benefit to dating regularly. Dating coach Nancy Slotnick says in The Mature Dating Game in Harvard Magazine, her more proactive clients aim for a date a week.
“Fewer than that, and you’re not dating enough to work the numbers and to become a little more numb to the rejection factor,” she adds. “People who date often come to realize that it’s not about being ‘undatable,’ it’s about seeing if two pieces of a puzzle fit together.”
Other Differences in Dating Today Compared to the Past
There are a few more lifestyle factors that affect our dating life today that weren’t an issue in our youth.
1 – Health—our own and our potential partners—is a concern. In our twenties and thirties, we felt invincible and most of us were in reasonably good health.
Today, it’s a primary concern. If we’re in good health, we probably want a partner in comparable health who can do the activities we like.
If our health is a problem, our potential partners should know this up front.
2 – There are children and their families to deal with. It’s not uncommon to find families living with a parent (your potential partner.) Or the child (or grandchildren) might be dependent on them for money, babysitting duties, shuttling kids to practice, or other family duties. Are you OK with their situation?
3 – We’re pickier about what we want and can accept. We have a set of habits that’s probably not going to change. Our future partner’s habits must be compatible with ours.
No matter how we meet, there must be fundamental chemistry and compatibility for there to be a long-term relationship.
Dating as a single over sixty is a wonderful opportunity to find a partner. We get to feel young again, but with the advantage of experience and wisdom that only age can bring.
Let us know how your dating adventures are going in the comments below or anonymously share your dating stories.