ELDER MUSIC: Classical - Various 5
What Do Retired People Do All Day?

Online Dating For Old Folks

IMPORTANT: On Sunday, my main computer crashed. Don't even ask how awful this is going to be for awhile. The low-end laptop I am working on until I am back to full capacity is slow and hard to use so answering email will be spotty if at all. I'm pretty sure I'll be able to post on the usual schedule but please understand if I don't always get it done.

* * *

A reader emailed asking if I would write about online dating for old people. Yikes. I'm completely ignorant of this corner of the internet and given that I profess to deal with all things elder on this blog, that needs some attention.

So, I checked around to see what is available in this regard for people who are older than 50 or 60 or 70 and beyond. With one exception I'll tell you about at the end, the pickings are dismal – even the big guys you've seen advertised on television.

There are two major reasons I could see:

First, none allow access to their website without registration so you cannot see the layout, ease (or not) of use, general sensibility, sample listings, what additional information they might have, or even how the website works without joining.

I am so insulted by this and so not in need of even more spam email that I did not register with any of them.

So I have no information about how the sites operate. (And don't tell me I could sign up with a new, free email account. That should be not necessary to see inside any reputable website.)

Second, all but a handful are free only for limited access and upgrades are pricey, ranging from about $30 a month to $70 a month, with discounts for paying a year in advance.

In fact, I can't even tell you what personal information safety precautions any given dating website uses because I didn't register with any of them. Apparently, however, I am not being paranoid to think about that: there is this warning from the Wikihow page about using online dating sites safely:

”Use paid online dating services. Free online dating services provide a greater opportunity for potentially dangerous individuals. They don't ever have to provide a credit card or other information that identifies them.

There are other smart ways to keep yourself safe from predators, scams, etc. on dating sites and the Stitch website has the best guide I have found.

I'll tell you more about Stitch but first, here is some information and links to more than a dozen of those elder dating websites I know so little about:

Senior People Meet and OurTime are owned by the same company so they are likely to share listings.

eHarmony Seniors and eHarmony Over Sixty may be the same site even though they have slightly different URLs. These are paid websites.

Elite Singles, a paid-membership-only website, claims that 80 percent of their members are college graduates and beyond.

OKCupid, Cupid–Over 70 and Love Again dating sites are owned by the same company and as mentioned above, may share listings.

There are a whole lot more dating sites for old people. Just to be thorough, here are links to a few more of them:

50Plus Club
Just Senior Singles
Silver Singles
SeniorMatch
Plenty of Fish (all ages including elders)
Zoosk (all ages including elders)

And now to Stitch. Before I type another word, you should be aware that I know one of the founders, Marcie Rogo, and I wrote about Stitch three years ago. You'll find that here (scroll down halfway) and there is another story about Marcie here before she launched Stitch.

You're just going to have to take my word for it that even if I didn't know Marcie, I would still believe this is the best dating website for elders. Well, as she explains, it's not quite a dating site, although it can be. As I wrote of Stitch in 2015:

”Companionship is the main idea, finding like-minded people with whom to enjoy mutual interests.

“Maybe you could also find a nice person for a relationship. That is not out of the question but Stitch is first a companionship, not dating, service.”

You can choose the type of relationship you are looking for at registration: friendship or friendship+romance or romance. Here is a FAQ that gives a good overview of Stitch and this is what they say about information safety and privacy:

”No other community does more for the safety of its members than Stitch. Before communicating on Stitch, all our members must perform an identity verification check, which prevents scammers and con-artists from abusing our site or contacting our members.

“This also ensures that all our members are ages 50 and up, keeping the Stitch community peer-to-peer and safe.”

Now. What I would like to hear about from you are your experiences with online dating while old. If you haven't tried it, are your interested? What questions do you have about dating now and about dating websites?


Comments

All I can say is I am SO sorry your computer crashed. It ruins a day and then some.

I signed on to a matchmaking website at the age of 53--within a month (free for me) I met online the person I've been married to for 20 years. Interestingly, he was the man in my life who my dad most approved of. This site was the Tampa Connection (out of Florida)--don't know if it still exists today. My husband did a fair amount of online dating and said it was/is important to actually meet the person and not allow yourself to build up a fantasy of what he/she is like, sight unseen. If the person you're corresponding with is honest in their self-assessment, it's at least as good a way to meet a potential mate as any other, certainly better than in a bar!

Be sure and see the movie The Book Club for some a hilarious scenes about online dating.
Candice Bergen is great!

My experience from 20 years ago is that the men on those dating sites may seem very nice, but if you don't end up in bed with them at the end of the evening, you won't hear from them again. And most seem to be looking for younger women. At my age, that would mean most of them are looking for a nurse, and I'm not interested. A nice neighbor, sure. But that's it. No more wondering what's behind the screen with guys online.

I've done two or three online dating services, paid and free. I've always been considered an attractive woman, and I have a variety of interests, some talents, I love conversation, and I have a good sense of humor.

I have never had any luck with any of them. Almost all these men want someone much younger.

(I still look attractive, I'm told--I get compliments on my appearance. And--I once had an off-the-cuff conversation with an elderly guy in a supermarket checkout line, a fun exchange, and them subject of conversations with strangers came up while we waited in line. And he said, "I mean . . . who would hit on YOU??" It shouldn't have bothered me--the mere comment itself disqualifies him as anyone to be taken seriously--but of course it did.)

I've met men who refused to tip at the coffee shop where we met, who attacked my conversational style on a first meeting, who barely kept up a conversation, and who obviously both (1) wanted someone much younger and (2) wanted a nurse, because he had cancer.

It's a good thing my libido isn't stronger.

I found the love of my life at 65 years on a dating site that used to be on Google. We had 7 wondrous years together.
Now at age 78, I have no desire to look because I'd probably end up with an old man to take care of!! LOL

Sorry about that crash! I have zero experience with on-line dating, and intend to remain in that state of ignorance. First of all, I was never that crazy about dating when younger, I can remember being on many a date and just dying to get home to a good book, a cup of tea, and, in those days, a bit of smoke. Plus, most men my age (75) are too sexist. I would love a companion, a close friend, but the only men with whom I've ever succeeded in being friends were friends' husbands.......the ones who were righteous. And $70 per month to look for a date, at this age????? Oh, no, no no. No way.

Widowed in late 50's. At 63 tried "Our Time" I always waited for a man to contact me through the website. That old "nice girls don't chase men" philosophy was still rumbling around in my brain.
Had some dates - with some nice men and some total jerks - but never met anyone even close that I wanted to spend the rest of my life with that's for sure. Got a lot of funny stories though to share with girlfriends but that was about it.
Then one day (close to the time that my paid subscription was due to expire) just scrolling through the male profiles, on impulse I sent one that sounded pretty normal, a brief message.
He answered me within 10 minutes. We clicked almost immediately.
He is 9 months younger than me and we have been very happily living together for the past 5 years. I feel incredibly blessed and so does he.
Neither of us wants to get married at this point and for what purpose?
Its so strange because he was the first and only man I ever contacted and we found out we were extremely compatible within a couple of months.
I will say we are both financially independent and in fairly good health.
He told me stories about women he went out with that were looking for a "paycheck", drank too much, wanted to go to only the best places for dinner, looking for a free handyman or car mechanic, and would cancel dates on short notice to babysit their grandchildren.
So I guess their is always another viewpoint.
Its scary to put yourself out there and online date but I'm glad that I did. Having said that if I hadn't met him I most likely would have retired from the process and life would have been pretty darn good either way.

I’ve never seriously considered a dating site. The only relationship in which I would have been interested in after my husband died would simply have been for a friend and companion living in my locale, whatever gender, but with similar interests for activities and various type travel trips. But I never met individuals with such similar intent.

Guess this is a tangential issue, but final decade when my husband still living, any social life deteriorated as practically all of my long time friends had gradually either moved away, died, or both with even those, continuing to die. For the first time in my life establishing new friends for socializing outside of mutual interest groups where we met, just didn’t occur. For those few I encountered that group was their only outing, they had caregiver obligations, or had a full complement of contacts in their long time social group. I learned from other bloggers that many widows, especially, had the same experience, so I wasn’t the exception. Widowers seemed not to have that issue as much, instead they complained of too much attention from widows pursuing them.

Moving into a new location where others had gone through a similar experience, or were new, too, would likely have offered more potential new buddies — perhaps an ideal time to move into a retirement community, but I’ve been dedicated to living in place in my home. All new neighbors, much younger, no contemporaries, but friendly.

I soon didn’t want to bother seeking contemporary or younger/older friends , preferring to expend that time and energy otherwise, so allowed select blogging to partially substitute for some socialization.

I might consider attending local group of elders for simple friend/companionship socialization, as opposed to “dating” per se, especially in view of how some might interpret the intent of that term. But I'm not really interested in a gathering whose primary focus is of a more serious nature to get a romantic partner for permanency or other.

Must wonder at my age now, would either person want to take on the likelihood of having to become a caregiver for the other? Probably we each would have some plans for our future needs and seems wise to leave those in tact, otherwise life could become unduly complicated.

That said, one of my few living relatives who had been a long time caregiver for husband until he died did develop serious relationships. She moved into an Assisted Living environment, then in her late 80’s-early 90’s did establish romantic relationships with two successive men. They expected to wed, but each man died first.

Marriage has never been on my agenda, even when I met my husband. These many years later I’ve lessened my interests for some activities, or any expectations of meeting even an in-person friend or two for the trusting, personal, confidential type friendship I only ever shared with but a few. I’m quite comfortable with this status quo, but then life usually offers the ideal we might like for no more than occasional periods of our lives, seems to me.


My therapist decided I needed a man in my life and although I had been there, done that, and was now (I thought) quite happy without, I thought o.k. let's see what happens. 70 year olds were interested in 30/40 year olds; 80 year olds in 50 to 60 year olds (in good physical shape) hmmm I wonder why. I told my lovely therapist who had helped me a lot that the thought of a large alien presence (not one of my sons) stomping around my house or around me could not arouse enthusiasm so I closed it off and let it be. Not to mention what it would do to the cat.

However, Stitch sounds much more appropriate. I moved up here about 8 years ago and have some lovely new friends, but would really like to widen the circle - and this looks as tho' it would work.

But then again, it might not. And that will be fine. I am a contented (most of the time) person and your blog keeps me sane. BTW, no need for the therapist anymore tho' I do miss her.
o/

I've been married for a long time now and hope to never have the need for online dating, but should I ever find myself single again, I'd go for it, at least from today's age and frame of mind perspective. Not unrelated, I've often wondered what life would be like if us old people maintained the same levels of hormones as in our youth, and maintained similar sex drive? There'd be some wild elder dating sites. Silly thought, however, because we've all reached that romantic glide path where comfort, companionship, and maybe some scheduled hanky panky is all we need (in what ever form that might be!).

Although I have been married 3 times (no children), I am well past the dating stage even at 70. I DO really worry about the social isolation part of growing older. My wife of 30 years is 11 years younger than me and very gregarious. As long as she exists in my life, my social needs will be met, familial and otherwise!

On another thought, computer crashing is a horrible experience especially for elder folks. I harken back to the Commodore 64 and find each new computer experience a challenge. When I bought the Windows Home Premium 7 from Dell (the works) I thought I was done. Now I am maneuvering through Windows 10. Technology is a hassle now, it wasn't so in 1967.

I'm sorry about your computer crashing. Just the thought makes me panic a little.
I love these comments. I only talk to one friend that is in the same situation I am & I need to hear from others occasionally if only by reading comments.
When my husband died 10 years ago I started filling out the questionnaire for the free part of a dating site, but never finished. I almost instantly realized that I wouldn't date anyone who would respond to my profile.

I am 70 and married. If my husband died, I really doubt if I would have any interest in meeting someone. However, you just never know. Diane Rehm remarried after her husband died.

My experience was 23 1/2 years ago answering singles add in the local newspaper....it was a time when on-line dating sites were just getting started. After a 6 month time period of meeting men one time for a coffee, I was ready to give up - but, I got a keeper with the last ad I answered.

I am soon to be 79, and he is 78. We will be married 22 years in October, and it's the 3rd marriage for both of us. Neither of us wanted to support our partner, and we have always kept our monies separate except for a joint account for essentials.

We both agree that we are happier married, neither of us wanted to grow old alone. Yes, one or the other of us will need to provide care for the other one at some point but that hasn't happened yet. Except when my husband had quadruple heart by-pass surgery I gave up my activities to be at home with him for 6 months while he recovered - just glad he recovered. It was touch and go when he had a cardiac arrest and was in a coma. I found him collapsed and had to give him CPR. That was 5 years ago and he is doing well because of our diet and his dedication to his exercise regime...

Just looked her up - didn't know who Diane Rehm is....though I listen to NPR all the time.
Her story is so romantic - I enjoyed reading about this second chance for love for the 81 year old bride and the 78 year old husband....

Reading the responses here, I think of the parallels with high school when some classmates always were paired, some wanted to be part of a couple but werent, and others wanted to be without a commitment to another person. Guess we each have different preferences in that regard for whatever the reasons. .

I tried online dating in my 40s inspired by an older neighbor with grown children who met and married her 2d husband online, but all the dates I had went nowhere. I failed to have real fun, make any human connection, feel chemistry, land someone with a great sense of humor, etc. Most dates had lied about age, career, marital status, and didn't look like their photos. So I turned my attention to building a family and became a contented, harried, single-by-choice working mother of two, now 25 and 18, both June 2018 grads, one w/ BA & BS degree, youngest headed to college in Sept. Wow. Time to reengineer my life--again!

I recommend Jane Ruska's dating memoir, "A Round-Heeled Woman: My Late-Life Adventures in Sex and Romance," based on her 1999 ad in the NY Review of Books: "Before I turn 67, next March, I would like to have a lot of sex with a man I like. If you want to talk first, Trollope works for me."

This 2003 best-seller got Ruska (1933-2017) on Oprah & Charlie Rose shows and was adapted for the stage in US and London starring Sharon Gless (Cagney of 1980s TV "Cagney & Lacey"). Jane Prowse adapted the memoir right after directing the 2003 British TV series about sex, "Between the Sheets" starring Brenda Bethyn, who today stars in the TV series "Vera" as Detective Chief Inspector Vera Stanhope.

Prowse on the challenge of the stage adaptation: "It was important not to sidestep the sex, obviously, because what's wonderful about the book is her great candid quality about talking about sex and people's needs and desires and what actually went on. On the other hand, I knew we weren't doing pornography here, and we didn't want to do anything ... remotely like live sex onstage. I knew humor was absolutely the key, because she uses that in the book. I had to find a theatrical way to be cheeky and fun with the sex, which is exactly what I did."

Off to the library with you for some laughs!

I am SO sorry to hear about your computer. Mine quit on June 11th (followed a week later by my printer) and it took over 2 weeks to get a diagnosis of "hard drive crash" and get it replaced. "Most" of my data was recovered, but I'm still looking for some of it. And my computer isn't even a work necessity anymore like yours is. Many of us are so dependent on technology now--it's scary.

I'm one of the fortunate ones to be happily married for 40+ years to Spouse #3. However, since he's 88 and I'm 81, there will be an expiration date in the future. I strongly doubt that I would ever try an online dating service. I don't think I'll want to hang around indefinitely if my husband predeceases me, and I'd never find anyone like him again anyway, so why bother?

"Not to mention what it would do to the cat."

Odette, I love that line!

You made me laugh so hard!

Never tried online dating. I have a sweetheart husband.

Two female acquaintances online dated, found husbands, both ended up divorced.

One moved from Montreal to Florida where her online dude lived. Turned out they had nothing in common. He was glued to his computer, also a hoarder, had 17 maxed out credit cards and lived to eat at Chinese buffets.

Oh, he also forgot on purpose to disclose he was a recovering alcoholic.

Sounds good so far?

She had one H of a time getting the long distance divorce.

There are swamp deep more details to this saga.

Be careful with your heart, soul and finances.

After I left the convent in 1982, I answered a few ads in the Personals section of our Seattle newspaper. I met a guy I liked, went out a few times, THEN he told me that he had lied about being divorced and was separated and wanted to get back with wife and kids! Jerk!

That was my last attempt that time round.

After my divorce 26 years later, I tried again, but no one was interested in a 62 year old woman with an adopted 9 year old boy. I eventually met Dave when we sat next to each other on a United flight to Phoenix. Happily together nine years now.

I remember Jane Ruska. She recently passed away. Interesting obit.

My fiance died 18 years ago. My father died the year before and my mother suffered from frail health and needed more care. She passed away 10 years ago. I would like to date again. I'm now 63. I would check out Stitch? I'm basically interested in companionship, not marriage.

Right now I'm interesting in selling & moving. I'm grappling with where and how to live.

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