As the latest ONS data shows that the UK’s divorce rate is still increasing year on year, more and more Brits will find themselves back on the market later in life and dating again after many years out of the game. While 61% of this age group say they are confident enough to meet potential partners the old-fashioned way – in person, almost half (45%) say they are just as happy finding a partner through online dating.
With 1 in 6 Tinder users in the UK aged 50 plus, there is now a contingent of around 300,000 over 50s searching for love in the digital age. To help this cohort of older singletons navigate the dating market in this tech-savvy world, mobility specialists at Oak Tree Mobility have worked with various dating and relationship experts to compile a range of dating do’s and don’ts for over 55s to consider for their next Tinder match.
What research shows
Past research has shown that a hopeful 59% of singletons aged 50 plus would never give up on finding the right person to spend their lives with, and while the majority (72%) are looking for companionship in their golden years, two in five are still hoping for long term romance in their fifties.
Despite this, a whopping 86% say they would rather continue being single than end up with someone who wasn’t right for them. But what is it that these older daters are looking for in a potential partner?
What are those over 50s looking for in a partner? Three in five single over 50s say that a good sense of humour is the number one thing they look for in a partner, while a third are looking for someone who is in good shape, and ideally someone who has their own teeth. Being well-read, up to speed with current affairs, and not having been married more than twice are all traits that make a partner more alluring past the age of 50.
Financial security was also a key factor, with females over 50s saying this was more important in a potential partner than physical appearance (28% vs 21%). It was also revealed that more than one in ten would only date someone who had already paid off their mortgage.
When it comes to being socially responsible, more than a fifth (21%) of these older singletons would not consider a potential partner who didn’t recycle, 16% are looking for someone who cares passionately about the environment, and 1-in-20 would only date a vegetarian or vegan.
Life coach Monika Kozlowska shares her advice for those looking to make a late entrance to the dating scene: “Believe you deserve it! Our mind believes what we think is true – if deep down you don’t believe you deserve love, you won’t allow yourself to find it.
On overcoming hurdles and any confidence issues when entering the dating world in your 50s, Kozlowska says: “I see too many people focusing on what they’re not bringing to the table rather than what they are. Too many women are worried about their looks and that their skin is no longer the way it was in their twenties. But is this really what matters the most? You bring experience, stories, wisdom, perspective – all these things that you can connect over with the other person.”
Online dating do’s and don’ts
The study concluded that 69% of those polled had had enough of kissing frogs and were ready to find their prince or princess. So, for those looking to dip their toe into the world of online dating for the first time, Oak Tree Mobility have compiled tips from those in the same boat – along with advice from dating experts:
- Send a message. Don’t just “like” a profile; stand out with a message! Keep it respectful and write something personalised to show you’ve paid attention to their profile.
- Set boundaries. Make your intentions clear from the outset; nobody likes to be led on. Be communicative so both parties know they’re on the same page about a budding relationship.
- Be safe. If meeting someone from the internet for the first time, be sure to meet them in a public place and let a friend know where you’re going and who you’re meeting.
- Meet for a drink. Coffee is the top-rated first date activity, with 29% of those over 50s listing this as an ideal first date.
- Keep trying. “Dating in your 50s is a lot better than being in a bad marriage, ” said Reddit user ditto958.
- Copy and paste. Avoid a generic opening message; people can see through it and it looks impersonal.
- Swipe right on every profile. Go for quality over quantity, and save your likes for the right match.
- Flirt over text. Flirting is best done in person; texts can be misinterpreted so until you get to know someone better, go easy on the charm over messages.
- Ghosting. Ghosting refers to “the practice of ending a personal relationship with someone by suddenly and without explanation withdrawing from all communication.” If you’re not feeling the spark with a match, let them know politely rather than leaving them in the dark.
- Give up. “Every ‘not a match’ gets you closer to a catch’, said Reddit user Funny_Haha_1029.
Clarissa Bloom, dating and relationship expert at The Stag Company said: “Don’t fear online dating, it can be daunting, but take it step-by-step, you don’t have to meet anyone unless you absolutely want to.
“Start by making a profile, pick images from the last five years, it can be tempting to choose images from younger points but you need to be open and honest about yourself with a dating profile if you want to find the right person.
“Spend a decent amount of time on your dating profile, consider things that you love to do, or potentially things that you would like to do over the next five years, you might meet someone who wants to share these activities or ideas with you.”
Bloom rejects the idea that you can be ‘too old’ to find the love of your life: “You don’t become too old to have emotions and attractions, nor is your 50s that old. As someone whose mum got married at 68, and who met their partner at 62, I can certainly say love doesn’t have a “sell-by-date”.