Senior dating: Hard, but not as much as you think.
Because let’s face it: Dating at any age is kind of a pain in the ass — and being over 60 in the dating world could actually have its perks. There’s a reason why post-retirement age could be the happiest time of your life. Golden years, hello?
Yes, there may be fewer potential partners in the dating pool, but if you think about it, that just makes everything less overwhelming. And now that online dating is hot and heavy for the 60+ crowd, it’s easier than ever to track down that special someone.
Let’s start by saying that it’s totally normal to feel hesitant about making the jump to online dating. Finding the best dating site is intimidating at any age — we’ve already done a story on the best dating sites for women, because the choices are overwhelming even for 20 or 30 somethings. That age group does have a few more options, which may be another reason that you’re feeling iffy about online dating if you’re a baby boomer.
However, youth has a disadvantage you may not have considered: Many people in their 20s and 30s just aren’t ready to settle down yet. Developing a crush on someone is more likely to end up in an awkward “situation-ship” rather than a serious relationship (and we all know how fun that is). Dating over 60 means you’re at an age when you know what you want and you’re not afraid to put it all out there. This is the “no bullshitting” age of dating.
As you get older, you realize what’s important to you and what you’re truly looking for. Doesn’t finding love with that mindset sound a hell of a lot easier? EliteSingle’s senior dating blog notes that most older individuals realize that life is just too short to play games, and that older people take dating much more seriously than they did 40 years ago. And while it may be a little weird that this person isn’t your first love, you can take solace in the fact that it could be lasting love. Aw.
Does all this seriousness mean that the excitement from meeting someone new is gone when dating as a senior? Absolutely not. An advice post for seniors on Zoosk says to “be prepared to return to your inner teenager,” because the firsts are just as exciting. You’ll get butterflies, wait for them call and do a happy dance when they do, and first kisses will be just as tingly.
We scoured the internet to find the best dating websites for single seniors. Some websites are for all ages with a senior option, and some sites are specifically for people over 50. And we’ll just tell you now: All of the sites have free memberships, but to get the real in-depth features to find real connections with other mature singles, you’ll want to have a paid account. We’ve noted those price differences, as well as the differences in sign up, navigation simplicity, and the overall relationship tone of the site to help you choose the best one to fit you. (You’ll even get to read some cute success stories along the way.)
eharmony — best for finding a serious, long-term commitment
The gist: eharmony is pretty much the go-to for marriage-minded people looking for a serious commitment (since some other sites cater to those looking for a more casual fling). In 2013, eHarmony ranked first in creating marriages than any other dating site, and is apparently responsible for creating 4% of marriages in the U.S. They’re pretty confident in their matchmaking abilities, too, because they make a guarantee that if you’re not satisfied in three months, they’ll give you another three months for free.
Why it works: eHarmony has an intense compatibility system (29 dimensions, to be exact), with a lengthy quiz that focuses on your long-term success as a couple. There is an option for local dating, however, many of eHarmony’s success stories feature couples who were living states apart before they met. Once you’ve completed your questionnaire, eharmony will provide you with matches so you don’t have to browse profiles. For some, this may not be enough freedom, but for those who aren’t great at choosing partners or have no clue what they need, this may be a breath of fresh air.
eharmony also offers a series of senior dating advice, with topics from how to start dating again after a divorce or death, to tips on what to ask on the first date. One post even mentions that the prime of your life doesn’t even start until 60. eharmony also screens for sex offenders and monitors each user’s activities, making it ones of the safest options available.
The cost: eharmony is one of the priciest of the bunch: A three-month membership goes for $57.95/month, but prices go as low as $26.95/month when you sign up for a year. (As a rule, membership prices get lower the longer your commitment to the site is. Which is fine, because a strong connection probably won’t magically appear in just one month.) There is a free version, but it doesn’t let you communicate with your matches.) Get started here.
Match.com — best for people who want a lot of options
The gist: The mother of all dating sites (it debuted in 1995, five years before eharmony), Match.com is a tried and true option with over 20 years of perfecting the matchmaking process. They’re actually so confident in their skills that they have an “I Met Someone” guarantee, offering six months of use for free if they don’t make love happen for you within your first six months. And it must work to some extent, as they’ve gained the trust of upwards of 35 million unique monthly visitors, which is the highest of all current dating sites. That’s a lot of fish in the sea. If you’re feeling down, remember that your person is out there — you just might need help sorting through millions of people.
Why it works: Unlike eharmony, which chooses your matches for you based on questionnaire results, Match.com has you create a profile that will pop up in other users’ feeds. While Match does suggest five daily matches for you, you’re also free to browse the entire pool of profiles by age range, location, or online status, which makes Match a significantly more social option than eharmony and slightly better for those looking for something casual. This freedom is great for the picky people out there whose idea of hell is a blind date.
Match also has a cool feature called “Missed Opportunity” that uses your location to help you find matches that you’ve crossed paths with in real life. We’d also like to point out that Match sees a 42% spike in registrations between the December 26 and February 14, which makes sense — those cold months leading up to Valentine’s Day can be torturously lonely. But if you were wondering when the best time to sign up is, it’s right now.
The cost: $26.99/month for three months or $20.99/month for a year’s worth of premium. (There is a free version, but it doesn’t let you communicate with other profiles past “winking” — the Match version of Facebook poking). Get started here.
EliteSingles — best for really picky people
The gist: Speaking of being picky, EliteSingles is *the* site for those people who know exactly what they want and who aren’t really interested in casual mingling. You know, the people who wouldn’t be caught dead going on a blind date. The idea here is quality over quantity, as a majority of EliteSingles users are college graduates (67% have a bachelor’s degree or higher) and are looking for other professionals with similar interests.
Why it works: Rather than being thrown into a pool of 5,000 profiles, you’ll be given a limited number of matches picked for you using 29 extremely detailed, professional-level matchmaking algorithms (based on the popular Five Factor Personality Test). Like eharmony, the registration and stuff to fill out is pretty lengthy — however, if you’re trying to find a true commitment that will last, that’s what you want. One cool thing about EliteSingles’ personality test is that they actually show you your own results and allow you to compare them to those of potential matches, showing you how you really stack up. By only making a certain number of matches available, the site forces you to seriously consider whether the people in front of you are a compatible match. There are a few more expansive options like the Wildcard option, which offers a little more variety with 20 or so matches to browse from, but it’s not nearly as overwhelming as having access to the entire database. Because you only view a certain number of individuals per day, the whole “finding love” process could take a little longer — but slow and steady wins the race, right?
There are separate pools based on location, religion, ethnicity, age, and sexual orientation. You can even break it down by profession. For example, if you are or were a teacher, you might only want to date someone who was also a teacher. There’s an option for that. All profiles are verified manually with an upscale Fraud Detection System, so you can be pretty sure that you’re dealing with people who are who they say they are. It’s a place where genuine, ambitious people can go to find like-minded users, and is perfect for people who are tired of being scammed.
The cost: As you could have expected from the fancy-sounding name, EliteSingles is on the more expensive side (but the monthly price drops the longer your subscription is): One month goes for $89.95, a three month subscription drops down to $49.95/month, six months at $39.95/month, and just $24.95/month for an entire year. Get started here.
SilverSingles — best for people hesitant about dating after a divorce
The gist: Dating over 60 means that, more than likely, this is your second or third attempt at love. SilverSingles is here to let you know you’re not alone, and that putting yourself back out there doesn’t have to be scary. Like we said, 50% of marriages in the US end in divorce, so it’s really no surprise that many men and women are finding themselves in the online dating world so late in life.
Why it works: If you read the EliteSingles overview and were psyched about the level of specificity and safety but were looking for a dating site tailored specifically to older individuals, SilverSingles is the sweet spot that combines both A sister site to EliteSingles, SilverSingles uses the same intense compatibility system that EliteSingles does, bringing in the popular big five personality traits to assess five levels of your being: openness to experience, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness, and neuroticism. If you’ve heard of Senior Singles Meet in the past, SilverSingles is that same site with a rebrand — so they’ve actually been working on mastering the five factor model in tandem with senior dating for about two decades. Because SilverSingles wants to ensure that your next relationship lasts, the sign-up process and questionnaires will take some time. AskMen suggests to grab a glass of scotch and sit down for this one. But hey, if having every tiny part of your personality assessed is what it takes to find the happily ever after you’ve been waiting for, an hour of your time is totally worth it.
SilverSingles will only send you five matches a day, and you can’t search through a pool of people — but this will force you to seriously consider if you can see yourself with these people. If you were worried about online dating because of the possible creeps out there, don’t worry: You can hide or block any member you want from seeing your profile, and can report any user who’s acting suspicious or inappropriate. Like EliteSingles, SilverSingles wants their users to know that safety is the number one concern.
The cost: Sign up for three months for $57.95/month, six months for $34.95/month, and a year for $31.95/month. Get started here.
Zoosk — best for people who don’t know what they want
The gist: If you’re ready to dip your toes into online dating but aren’t quite ready for the big to-do that is eharmony or EliteSingles, Zoosk Seniors could be a great starter option. While some sites mentioned above require hours of question-answering or overwhelming search options, Zoosk is your ticket to a quick, easy experience. Creating a profile is basically instantaneous with three short steps: Upload a photo, enter your location, and answer a few basic “about me” questions like education level, religion, if you have children, etc. and bam — you’re ready to start browsing without a wait. Since it’s so speedy and slightly surface level, Zoosk is pretty perfect for those individuals looking for a casual fling or hook-up. (Of course, there are a ton of more in-depth questions and forms to fill out if you want to get a bit more serious — it’s just nice to know that the quick, no strings attached option is there.)
Why it works: Similar to the way Facebook shows you posts it thinks you will enjoy based on posts you’ve liked or interacted with in the past, Zoosk uses its behavioral SmartPick algorithm to fill your pool with users it thinks you’ll like based on profiles you’ve clicked on in the past. (No, the questionnaire you filled out wasn’t pointless — Zoosk uses your answers to find users with similar answers to give compatible options in the first place.) Zoosk will then ask how you felt about the profiles they recommended: If you liked who they suggested, select yes, and if you’re looking for something different, select no. Zoosk will automatically adapt and use this information the next time it suggests a profile for you to speed up the process and give better recommendations in the future. This is the perfect way to find out if you have a “type.”
Zoosk boasts a seriously low-pressure environment, with clear-cut sections rather than having too many features to count. You’ll only see one profile in front of you at all times, so your eyes (and mind) can chill rather than darting all over the place. Note: Zoosk Senior’s only customer service lies in an FAQ, so there is no contact with human help. If you’re not super tech-savvy, this is something to keep in mind. They do, however, have an advice blog with 20+ pages of online and offline dating advice.
The cost: Zoosk is an extremely affordable option, which is just another reason why it’s ideal for those who aren’t keen on committing to a long, vigorous process. A one-month subscription is $29.95, three months costs $19.98/month, and six months is just $12.49/month — which are impressively low prices compared to others we’ve seen. Like the competitors, Zoosk Seniors has a free option, but it only lets you view other profiles, not contact them. Get started here.
OurTime — best for people looking for multiple types of companionship
The gist: If you’ve been down on your luck recently or are feeling extra lonely, OurTime wants to show you that life can truly start at 50. It’s another site dedicated to singles over 50, but is unique in that it helps users outside the realm of romance. Find pen pals, travel buddies, and other types of casual companionships to help make the most of the golden years. But just because the non-romantic option exists doesn’t mean a serious relationship or marriage isn’t possible here — just check out these adorable success stories.
Why it works: If you were previously scared away from online dating because it seemed too overwhelming, OurTime has the laid back atmosphere you’re looking for. Since it’s targeted toward an older crowd, OurTime is one of the most user-friendly options out there with numerous helpful features. It’s no secret that not everyone is as tech-savvy as 20 and 30-somethings. Sign-up has step-by-step instructions, and users can easily fill out sections on personality traits and interests, upload a photo, and write a “short essay” to help others get to know them. (If you’ve been on Match.com before, OurTime may look familiar — they’re owned by the same people.) Matches will be recommended to you based on your answers, and you can search profiles as well by specifying your preferences. It’s not as complex as some other sites, but sometimes, you just need things to be straightforward. The site was just launched in 2011, as the makers of Match.com wanted to make sure they perfected the dynamics of mature companionship before launching a 50+ site. Basically, you can be sure you’re in good hands.
Chatting can be done via “flirts”, on-site messaging, virtual gifts, or even a live chat when both people are online at the same time. OurTime does a fantastic job at giving users ways to communicate effectively — in ways other than texting all day like the younger crows may prefer. If you’re in need of some advice, OurTime offers tons of over 50 dating tips.
The cost: Not all features (like directly contacting a match) are available with the free membership, but upgrading to a paid plan still won’t break the bank. Get one month for $29.95, three months for $22.99/month, and six months for $17.96/month. Get started here.