For many of us fresh out of a divorce, a break-up, widowed, or just coming off a long man-cation, re-entering the dating world can be daunting. The paradigm has shifted since last we romanced, and everything has moved online. Myself, when I was ready to dip my toe back into the dating pool, I was lost. With the help of my children (yes, my children – ugh) I downloaded Tinder. It seemed like everyone was doing it. Plus, it was the only dating app I’d ever heard of.
It was a sh*t show.
I was “matched” with robots, gigolos, and way-too-many way-too-young guys who wanted to “experience” an older woman. I thought all the single men my age must be dead already. I dug out my grandmother’s quilts, took up knitting, and got a cat. It was over for me. I would die alone.
But my kids stepped in again (yes, my kids – ugh), with a well-researched list of dating sites for women 50 and older, and off I went! I soon discovered that online dating is not just a young woman’s domain. The quilts got packed up. I didn’t have time for knitting. I was dating again! (I kept the cat.)
More and more, mature women are turning to dating sites and apps to make connections as many top online dating sites now cater to people over 50. Whether you are looking for a long-term relationship or just some fun, it’s a great way to find people in your demographic looking for the same thing. Understanding the sites helps to hone your search as each has its own approach, and their own pros and cons. For example, if you are simply looking for a good time (aka a “hookup,” aka “Netflix and chill”) then eharmony is not the site for you.
But shopping for a site can be overwhelming. Do a little research before investing your precious time. If a site feels shady (i.e., profiles are too good to be true, asking for too much personal or financial information, etc.) go with your gut. Look for sites that have been around for a while with a proven track record, a decent reputation, and a wide user base; and make sure your finances jive with the cost of membership. You don’t want to find your potential Mr. Right only to have your membership run out before you’ve exchanged phone numbers.
Here comes the tricky part: Where to start looking. The following is a list of reputable, well-established, and successful dating sites. Play around. Try a couple. Hell, try a couple at the same time, you wild woman. In short, have fun!
Many call Match the godmother of dating sites (or at least the 1.6 million people who have met their partners on the site). It’s the oldest dating site with over 25 years of matching; has a wide reach of around 3 million users; and tends to lean towards those looking for a serious relationship. While the site is open to all ages, you can specify your desired age range along with other criteria when you sign up. Plan on spending some time filling out your profile questionnaire as it’s quite comprehensive. It may not be easy-breezy, but it helps hone the search so you don’t get offered time wasters. While Match is free to browse, there is a fee to actually interact. And getting off of Match is like getting out of a contract with the Devil. Be vigilant. You eventually will prevail… hopefully because you’ve found your soulmate.
While also an all-ages site, eharmony claims to be the best dating site for mature singles with one of the largest communities of over-50 daters. Like Match, it attracts singles looking for a life partner. The essence of eharmony is that a successful relationship comes from compatibility. Ergo, it also requires an in-depth, extensive questionnaire along the lines of my college thesis. This aspect turned me off, but I soon discovered that it resulted in more desirable matches almost daily. Basic membership is free, but you’ll need to purchase a “premium membership” in order to access matched profiles and personal messages.
With over 50,000 paying members, Silver Singles is able to match an average of 2000 couples per month. Unlike eharmony and Match, one must be at least fifty to join. Its sole focus is on matching mature singles, offering you just three to five matches per day. It also has a fraud detection system to avoid fake profiles. While the name can be off-putting, don’t let it discourage you. This isn’t “For Grannies Only.” It may cater to the over-50 demographic, but with its comprehensive personality test, you can connect with someone of like mind. So, if you are into riding motorcycles and salsa dancing, you can find him here. The problem is, while it’s free, you have to upgrade to a “premium membership” if you want to actually see the person’s profile pictures.
Even though it is open to all ages, Elite singles is also excellent for over-50 daters. What makes it different from the other sites is that it caters to educated professionals looking for a serious relationship. Most of its users have a college degree and are firmly established professionally. Its thorough questionnaire (over 100 sliding scale questions) creates a super-specific personality profile, recommending three to seven matches per day. Like the rest, it’s free to shop, but they recommend upgrading to one of three membership choices for full access.
This is an over-50 site for those wanting commitment that boasts a large user base and is geared towards matches in your area. It offers local matches first, then allows you to expand your dating pool further and further away. It also has a video chat feature and even organizes events so you can meet your maybe-Mr. Right in person… sometimes all at once! It’s free to sign up and you know the rest…
This one has been around for almost 20 years and is consistently rated one of the top mature dating sites. It doesn’t accept people under the age of 45, but unlike the others, Senior Match doesn’t have a phone app yet. Nevertheless, its platform is easy to use – and for me who is technologically challenged, this is important. What’s cool about Senior Match is that it isn’t limited to dating, offering the ability to seek other forms of connection and companionship – think travel friends, book clubs, etc. The free membership allows you 50 “winks” per day. (Winks are how you let someone know you are interested. If they wink back, then BOOM you’re a match.) But it will cost you to actually speak with him.
So, while these all are considered top dating sites for mature women, they are just a tiny sliver of the pie. There are niche sites, fetish sites, gay sites, and apps that are completely free, start to finish, etc. I met the love of my life on Bumble which is free with no membership fees. (Though not a great app for over-50). And while he broke my heart (Guess he wasn’t the love of my life after all.), I knew there was probably someone else out there even better for me that I could find online as well. Age is not a barrier to love, and with maturity comes wisdom… and skill. Try it! The worst that could happen is you have a little fun. And the best that can happen is Happily Ever After
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