Have you read one too many horror stories about dating after 60, so that you don’t want to even try it?
Or have you tried and given up because it didn’t work for you?
I can tell you that my own dating career had highs and lows, but was overall a good experience for me, that resulted in two successful love relationships.
One of them is still going strong.
I’ve written about this in How Dating at 60 Led Me To Find True Love Twice.
For many of us over 60, we’re at a point in our lives where we’re hoping to find serenity and harmony with someone special.
Maybe we’ve finally gotten out of a toxic marriage or long term relationship.
Maybe we were abruptly dumped by someone, but now coming to understand that it was a good thing.
Or maybe we’re widowed – we lost the love of our lives – but are now willing to see if someone else special is out there.
Click on any link below to go directly to that section:
Challenges of Dating After 60
So, here we are in the third act of our lives, ready to welcome someone new into our lives, but we may have to deal with a number of challenging things . . . just because we’re over 60.
The challenges include:
- Health issues
- Money problems
- Hands-on or live-in grandparenting/parenting
- Women’s body image issues
- The older man/younger women syndrome
Another challenge for those looking for a relationship that includes physical intimacy:
Reported cases of sexually transmitted diseases (STD’s) for people 55 and up are rising by a shocking amount.
The STD chart below from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows a whopping 1,113% increase from 2000 to 2020 for syphilis. Gonorrhea had an increase of 414% over the same time frame.
It’s always been wise to be cautious about unprotected sex. Yet the evidence shows that plenty of men and women are dispensing with caution as they start dating again.
Play it safe and get a checkup before you plan to be sexually active. And have a prevention conversation with your partner.
Some of the Great Things About Dating After 60
But there are also some great things happening these days with dating at any age.
Cosmo outlined a few things that may convince you to get into (or get back into) dating:
“For those over sixty, dating today is much different than when we were twenty.
Nevertheless, people are still people. They have the same desires and motivations driving them as they did forty years ago. Human nature doesn’t change.
The biggest changes are that we have an incredible array of tools available to help us find the right partner. Among them are:
• Dating apps
• Dating websites (like this one)
• Social media channels, pages, and groups
These open up a vast pool of prospective dates that were never available to us through personal social circles alone.
Sure, there’s a learning curve to everything. But in our experience, it’s well worth the effort.”
The Good Ways We’re Different Now From When We Were Young
Cosmo wrote that we now have more of a sense of freedom:
“When I first considered online dating, I had already decided that if I remained single for the rest of my life, I’d still be perfectly happy. Sure, I felt it would be nice to find a woman with whom to share those years, but I was OK if I didn’t. I wasn’t attached to the outcome.
It took me years to learn to detach from expected outcomes, but it gave me a serenity and sense of freedom I never had when young. The fact is that I will lose things I have, and I won’t get all the things I want.
But I’ve also learned that the unexpected outcomes quite often surpass anything that I could have imagined. One of those unexpected outcomes arrived in the form of my own true love and partner, Daisy.”
Susan Avery Stewart Ph.D., who writes about the gift of aging, said:
“Long years bring a rich store of experiences from which we can learn the art of living, so long as our minds, eyes, and ears stay open, and our hearts remain teachable. Reflecting on our experience, over time, enables us to see more clearly and deeply into life as it is, rather than through the filter of our unexamined opinions, desires, and expectations about how things should be.
From the perspective afforded by decades of living, we recognize that the human journey is far more complex, paradoxical, and unpredictable than it may once have seemed. We learn that there are multiple ways of viewing situations, that we do not always know what is right or best, and that actions may not always have the desired effect. Whereas it may once have seemed fairly simple to distinguish good from bad experiences, with age we come to appreciate the many shades of gray and the wide array of paradoxes and puzzlements that are the stuff of life.”
Fascinating Facts About Dating After 60
Here are some things you may not know about mature dating:
✔️ Men have an advantage in their search for love at 65 years old and up. 31.4% of the male population are single, while 57.2% of women are single. Plus, the female population compared to men grows with age since men tend to die younger.
✔️ Our social network of friends and family shrinks later in life. Finding dates in that shrinking pool of prospects makes online dating tools all the more important.
✔️ Dating app eharmony (our readers’ favorite dating site) says that for men and women over sixty, online dating use has doubled since 2013.
✔️ Of those re-entering the dating scene, 63% report dating is better later in life.
✔️ A survey by Today about dating after 50 found that 60% of daters feel they make better decisions about compatibility now than when younger.
How To Make Dating After 60 Work for You
If you’re thinking about seriously dating, or you’ve been dating unsuccessfully, start (or re-start) by creating a dating game plan.
Before you get serious about anyone, you need to know your deal-breakers and what kind of person your ideal partner will be, among other things.
Don’t wait until you’ve fallen in love with, say, a smoker, to realize you could never be in a long term relationship with one.
Then, if you want to improve your chances of finding true love or a companion . . . or even just fun casual dates, try a mix of online dating and meeting offline (or traditional dating):
The best online dating sites are typically the ones with the most members. Obviously, they provide a bigger pool of people and more opportunities to find the right person for you.
But the smaller niche sites that cater to specific kinds or groups of people may work better for you. There’s something to be said for narrowing your search to people who more closely fit criteria that are especially important to you, like religion.
Don’t limit yourself to just one dating site. We found that belonging to 3 or 4 of them at the same time worked well.
Many of these sites let you join for free, so you can jump in and look around. But you may need to pay to be able to connect with people and receive messages from members interested in you.
One of the many benefits of online dating is video dating. It’s one of the positive outcomes of the pandemic.
You can ease the anxiety of first dates by doing them online using the dating apps’ video dating features.
In fact, in a study 72% of Boomers said they would be more comfortable if they video chatted before the first date.
Traditional Dating: Meeting Offline, The Old Fashioned Way
First, think of all the people you know (family, friends, co-workers, hair stylist, dentist, etc.) and reach out to any of them you’re comfortable asking for referrals to eligible men or women. These may lead to dreaded blind dates, but worth doing.
But don’t stop there. Get out and make an effort to meet people on your own.
You’ve probably heard stories about people who went on dates with people they met at the grocery store. Some dating experts advise hanging around the produce section and hitting on solo shoppers who look single.
It can work, I suppose, but you’ll be investing a lot of time in something that probably has a low rate of success.
Others suggest that women go to gyms or sports-related stores or other public places frequented by men.
Again, this may work, but for me, doing things that I don’t enjoy would make dating a total drag. It’s hard enough as it is.
Better still, get involved with activities you enjoy and/or at organizations that are meaningful to you. If you happen to meet someone, that’s great. If not, you’ll be having fun.
According to an article on DumbLittleMan.com, good options from their list of ways to find a date offline include:
- Social/singles groups – look for them in the newspaper or start your own
- “Local Happenings” section of your local papers
- Dog/pet parks
- Bars – maybe not the best place, but it may work
- Adult education classes
- Shopping in the opposite sex’s department
- Bookstores and libraries
- Trade shows, conventions, specialty sales and auctions of interest to you
- After hours shopping at grocery and hardware stores
- Art galleries and museums
- Professional organizations
- Health clubs
- Local sports teams or leagues
Cosmo put together an extensive list of 44 Places Where You Can Meet Singles Over 60.
More Tips for Dating After 60 Success
Here are a few things I learned through my own dating experiences. I hope they help you avoid some of the mistakes I made, and move into a happy, healthy relationship sooner:
- Set your dating game plan and stick to it.
- Do your best to calm your first date jitters.
- Don’t jump back into dating too quickly after a bad break-up.
- The notion that there’s only one person out there who’s right for you is a myth.
- Be realistic with your expectations.
- The more you date, the better you get at it.
- Anything goes, as long as you both sincerely agree to it.
- Online dating is one of the best ways to date a wide variety of potential partners.