Best dating sites for over 50 - whether you want a serious relationship or a short-term fling

These are the best dating sites for over 50, whether you want a long-term relationship or a fling, as approved by the experts

A selection of the best dating sites for over 50
(Image credit: OurTime, eHarmoney, Silver Singles)

If you're ready to start dating, one of the best dating sites for over 50 can help you take a step back in the dating pond at your own pace. You can meet like-minded people in a similar situation, without being set up with a friend of a friend and having to go on awkward blind dates. 

Many people see the best relationship apps and dating sites as platforms exclusively for a younger audience - but research has found that's far from the case. According to a Forbes Health Survey, individuals aged between 43 and 58 have found the most success with online dating, with 72% saying that meeting on a dating app led to a romantic relationship. 

It's just important you know what you're looking for before you sign up, so you opt for the right one that offers what you want. From more serious dating sites suitable for those looking for long-term committed relationships to the best sex apps that can hook you up with a fling, there's something out there for every interest. 

Best dating sites for over 50

How do I know if dating sites for over 50 are right for me? 

In the world of modern dating, dating sites and apps are normal to use - across all age ranges. However, much like anything else when it comes to dating, they won't be for everyone. "It all depends on what you are looking for in a relationship and how much effort you want to put in, so firstly ask yourself what you are looking for and then you can choose," says Wilson. 

"When choosing the right dating site for you, start by deciding what you want the outcome of your experience to be. If you want casual, choose a hookup site. If you want serious, then choose that. Don’t use a serious long-term type platform if you are just looking for a hookup. It will get messy and is misleading. Make it clear what you are looking for and there is likely someone out there wanting the same."

A new phenomenon called dating burnout is also common for those who use these kinds of sites and apps regularly, so it's important to monitor how much time you're spending on them and temper your expectations of platforms you haven't used before.

How we chose the best dating apps for over 50

We spoke to the experts to determine what makes a good dating app and asked them about the features to look out for. They recommended a range of apps for us to consider and highlighted why they thought they were the best. 

We also considered the following factors when curating our list of the best dating apps for over 50: 

  • How easy was the site to use? Dating is hard enough - having a confusing and disorientating dating site or app is the last thing anyone needs. We had a scroll through all the dating apps on our list to make sure they were accessible to the average user with a simple interface and clear instructions. 
  • Was the app free or was there a subscription fee? Most of the best sites on our list do require some kind of subscription to open up the full benefits of the app, but we also thought it was important to highlight the free ones for those who want to dip their toe into the dating pond without a cost attached. 
  • Was the app focused on short-term flings or longer-term relationships? We chose a selection of apps but mainly opted for those facilitating longer-term relationships as this opens up the opportunity for shorter-term flings in the process. 
  • Dating app or site? The majority of the best dating sites for over 50 are available via an app but we made sure there were multiple ways to access the platform as we felt it was important to recognize that not everyone will have a top-tier smartphone like an iPhone - or want to use their phone for this purpose.

How to get back into the dating pool after 50

Knowing how to create conversation, how to flirt, and what to do if you're nervous when talking to someone new are all factors to consider when getting back into the dating pool, no matter what age you are. To help out, dating coach Wilson has provided some of her top tips for dating online for those who are in their 50s:

  • Don't overthink it, just do it: "There is no perfect introduction but do start the conversation with something casual and simple, something that shows you’ve read their profile or looked at their photos. The worst thing you can do is ‘hey’ as it's so low effort, it's generally ignored," she says. 
  • Don't feel you have to immediately flirt if you don't want to: If you're not comfortable flirting with your match from the start, don't feel like you have to. You can save that for when you meet up and get talking if you decide you're attracted to your match, reassures Wilson. "Don’t put pressure on yourself to be ‘jazz hands’ and to say exactly the right thing, just be yourself."
  • Talk about what you know: "Use a reference that's in the news or the weather if you don't know what to start talking about. It sounds cheesy but we do it in real life every day, so this shouldn't be any different." 
  • It's okay to be nervous: "Flirting and dating at any age can be a nerve-wracking experience," says Wilson. "No matter your age, always go into it with an open mind and a sense of fun. You are supposed to be enjoying yourself not everyone you meet will be a potential partner so don’t get hung up on how many swipes or dates it takes."
  • Try to avoid drinking too much alcohol, if you decide to drink: "Don't drink too much on your first date if you can avoid it," she says. "Even though nerves can kick in on a date, the worst thing to do is drown them out with alcohol. Reassure yourself that the nerves will pass and the more you do it, the easier it will become." Sober dating is more popular these days anyway and you can try one of the best alternatives to alcohol if you're looking for an idea of what to drink at the bar.

Couple having a glass of wine together at a bar, after meeting on a dating sites for over 50

(Image credit: Getty Images)

How to find a relationship on a dating site

While all dating sites can lead to companionship, sex, or marriage, if you're looking for love over 50, or an enduring relationship, Quinn recommends you “prioritise using dating sites that ask detailed user questions as opposed to swiping style apps.”

It's also best to stay away from almost exclusively sex-orientated sites like Adult FriendFinder, where the focus is on hook-ups and learning how to sext, rather than forming and maintaining a committed relationship.

Once you’ve signed up she advises you to “look out for profiles that are complete, and first messages that show the person has read your profile. Weed out any copy-and-paste lines like, 'Hey, great picture, how are you?', in favour of people who comment on something specific. The most valuable way someone shows they’re interested is that they consistently send you high-quality messages that ask sincere questions and show a real desire to get to know you.”

While it's easy to be put off by poor photography, Quinn suggests not judging too soon. “Sometimes people, particularly single men, can be a lot better in real life but are somewhat camera shy with a limited selection of pictures!”

Tuning into one of the best relationship podcasts could also help as many of them talk through the ups and downs, trials and tribulations of dating online.

How to date safely online

Safety is key for anyone dating at any age. "When it comes down to red flags, if it sounds too good to be true, then it probably is," says Wilson. "Trust your gut instinct. If it feels like your date isn’t being honest with you then that is the number one red flag. Make sure that if you do meet up with somebody new you always meet in a public place and have a contingency plan in case it doesn’t feel right. Always tell a friend or relative where you're going too."

Wilson has also shared her top tips to stay safe when dating online:

  • Don't share your personal information: Avoid using your second name on your dating profile and don't part with personal details like your phone number until you're sure the person you are seeing in bona fide - and never before you meet in person.
  • Talk over the phone first: Strike up a friendship first over the phone, make sure you can talk to each other, and wait until you are comfortable with them before the meeting. Otherwise, it could be awkward and uncomfortable. Set the ground rules before the meeting and make sure you both know what the date is about and where the line is drawn.
  • Tell someone where you're going: Tell someone you trust about where you are going and get them to call at a fixed time to make sure everything is ok.
  • Meet somewhere public but discreet: Go somewhere you are familiar and comfortable with to alleviate first-date nerves.
  • Opt for a short meetup on your first date: One to two hours maximum or perhaps for a lunch date or a quick evening drink. This keeps the pressure off but gives you enough time to get an impression of them.
  • Arrive and leave independently: It's safer - and if things don't work out, it's easier for all. And always have an exit strategy handy, just in case. 
  • Check-in with your date after it's over: Keep in mind the first date is about getting to know each other in person and seeing if there is a spark. Speak soon after to let them know how you feel, don't lead them on if you are not keen, but on the same token don't just ignore them.
Debra Waters

Debra Waters is an experienced online editor and lifestyle writer with a focus on health, wellbeing, beauty, food and parenting. Currently, she writes for the websites and Woman&Home and GoodtoKnow, as well as the Woman, Woman’s Own and Woman’s Weekly magazines. 

Previously, Debra was digital food editor at delicious magazine and MSN. She’s written for M&S Food, Great British Chefs, loveFOOD, What to Expect, Everyday Health and Time Out, and has had articles published in The Telegraph and The Big Issue.

With contributions from