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
One of the biggest online dating websites, Match is great for all ages. You can be specific and find matches using the criteria search, browse through members' profiles, or opt for 'zen mode', which means you’ll only be contacted by those who meet your criteria.
“It’s important that any platform you use has enough potential matches so you can attract a broad dating pool. Over 1.6 million people have already met their partners on Match, and this is a great dating app for people living in regional areas,” says Hayley Quinn, a dating coach specialising in helping people be more confident and improving their communication skills.
More than two million people have found love through eharmony online and via the app version. The site proudly claims it’s certified as the 'No.1 trusted dating site' and, on the whole, it’s great for those looking for something long-term. The general user base is slightly older and geared towards facilitating serious partnerships.
Anyone who signs up for eharmony needs to fill in an in-depth questionnaire to determine their personality traits, then the eharmony team sends compatible matches daily based on your profile, eliminating the need to trawl through masses of members at all. If you're not a fan of the Tinder way of doing things, where you swipe through potential matches at your leisure, eharmony could be the way forward.
If you'd rather exclusively focus on finding someone your age, try Ourtime. This dating site is all about helping over 50s find someone they want to spend most (or all) of their time with. The main premise is about matching people who have similar interests. As your 50s are a period of life where you might have a bit more freedom - if your kids have grown up or your career has steadied, for example - you might find you have the energy to do more, that you're thriving and keen to explore, travel, cook, read, learn, and do so many things. Ourtime is all about helping you find someone who also loves to do those things to share this important time with.
Hinge is a dating app that you can download onto your phone from the App Store. While many traditional apps like Tinder are focused on appearances, Hinge focuses on personality and offers users the chance to personalise their profile with unique conversation starters and fun anecdotes, as well as pictures. It's perfect for a rebound relationship or something more serious.
Appearance is important for many people - you've got to be attracted to a potential partner after all - but Hinge encourages users to showcase their personality on the app. Instead of 'liking' someone based on looks, you'll be encouraged to 'like' someone's answer to a question, a voice note on their profile, or an interesting photo. Once you've sent them a 'like' on one of these features, you can start a conversation with them with the feature as the starting point. It's the perfect conversation starter and a sure-fire way to avoid any standard 'how are you' introductions.
Naturally Dating is here to help you meet people the old-fashioned way by skipping out on the online swiping step and taking you straight to meeting in person. If you've ever taken part in speed dating and enjoyed it, this could be the app for you. Plus, along with harmony, it's another great choice for those not interested in the Tinder way of doing things.
The events take place across the UK and you can meet lots of people in one go to tell who you have chemistry and who you think you could build a proper connection with. With speed dating events tailored to different age categories, this is the perfect platform to try and meet someone in person from your same age group. However, if you're interested in meeting people from a different age group, you can advise Naturally Dating and they'll help you to meet someone from that age bracket. With mini dates that last four to five minutes, it's a lot easier to see who you can forge a connection with than it would be online.
Silver Singles is one of the best dating sites for over 50 as, much like Ourtime, it's exclusively designed for people in this age group to meet someone. While many dating sites show you profiles of people who live nearby, SilverSingles matches people up based on their compatibility. New sign-ups complete a questionnaire that assesses preferences, personality, and lifestyle in great detail, which allows the site's matching algorithm to make intelligent pairings, giving users a better match. This set-up is designed to take the stress out of matchmaking and, as your photos can only be viewed by paying members, more privacy.
It's easy to use and will match you up with people based on your compatibility as well, rather than your general life interests, appearance, or other factors.
If you're feeling a bit shy about putting yourself out there, not good at striking up a conversation, or simply don't trust your taste in partners, Wingman is for you. It's not a dating site, but an app. You'll need to have a smartphone that has access to an app store, like an iPhone, but Wingman has one fun feature that makes it worth the download. Wingman lets you choose a trusted friend - otherwise known as 'wingman' - or even a circle of friends to manage the search for you and take the stress out of the dating experience.
"Wingman is a dating app that lets friends and family do most of the work, creating a profile and making introductions rather than having to do it yourself," says Tina Wilson, a relationship expert who specialises in the tech and dating worlds, and the founder of Wingman. "It’s not easy being single, at any age, and if you are out of the dating game, your confidence can be lacking, so having a friend to help you is less terrifying."
Are you a farmer? Do you live in the countryside? Or do you enjoy long walks with your dog? This dating site could be the perfect one for you. Aimed at those in the countryside, Muddy Matches is the dating site for anyone who lives more of a rural lifestyle. It can help you find someone who loves the great outdoors as much as you if that's what you're after. The number of users on the platform is relatively small compared to others like Match and eharmony, but this is to be expected on a niche dating site.
If you're new to an area or struggling to make friends in a rural area, Muddy Matches has a fantastic feature where you can specify that you're looking for friendship instead of a relationship. With 200,000 members across the UK and Ireland aged from 18 to 80, the vast majority of which are seeking serious commitment from a partner, you can meet people in whatever age bracket you're looking for.
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.
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.
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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.
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