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Dating After Fifty: 7 Things Nobody Tells You About Online Dating

1. Your profile is your first date.
Unlike young daters who rely almost exclusively on their photos to get attention, most mature daters are actually interested in what you have to say about yourself and what you’re looking for. Spend some time and effort on it and think of your profile as your first date.

A few quick pointers:

  • Make your first sentence stand out (first impressions and all).
  • Be specific rather than general (if you like sports, which are your teams? If you garden, what are you growing?)
  • Avoid clichés (walks on the beach, snuggling up with Netflix, romantic dinners)
  • If you need additional help with how to write a great profile, my book has more tips and ideas.

2. You may get lots of initial attention.
Your biggest spike in attention will be in the beginning, after that things usually move a little slower. Finding a good connection online takes time. Many people have pored through the existing profiles and gravitate (or should I say pounce?) towards the new faces.

A few of you will net a lot of fishies, but for most of us out there it’ll take time—so explore all your good matches instead of searching for an unrealistic ideal of perfection.

If you’re looking to reignite the starting fire, switch up your profile photos and bio every once in a while and try as many sites as possible.

3. Mature Daters Tend to Be More Choosy
Most over 50 daters have been through divorce or the death of a spouse. Most aren’t looking to have babies. Most are taken care of financially. The urge to merge may not be as strong as was when we were younger. Some may be hesitant to take on someone else’s life and all baggage.

At this stage of life you may have kids we can’t quite launch, ailing parents, financial burdens, health problems, or sexual dysfunctions. That doesn’t mean we don’t want a special person, but there is more to consider. Relationships at this age may manifest differently (separate homes, long-term dating without marriage) than what you might’ve expected last time you were playing the field. 

4. Beware of Rebounds
Many single people you encounter might just be rebounding, and it’s important to recognize this. They may treat you like the answer to their prayers, but you might end up an emotional sounding board or substitute for the ex their grieving.

Rebounds are a function of time. Watch out for people who are still in the a divorce process, in love with their exes, or are overly critical.

5. Expect any and all reactions from your grown children
My daughter gave me a whole plateful of reactions when I started dating, from encouragement to annoyance at my busy schedule to demands of the contact information of every man I dated. Other times, they want to know everything.

Be sensitive to your children’s reactions and talk to them about your feelings and who you’re dating. But also take your time. Don’t introduce every new person and prepare for any response.

6. Your married friends are useless for dating advice.
People who have been married for a while have no clue what it’s like to be out there. They’re glad they’re not us. They can’t believe we could know after one date that we’re not feeling any chemistry. They’re appalled (and maybe a little jealous) at the sex you’re having.

So find yourself some single friends for all your questions and debriefing.

7. You’re going to feel like a teenager.
No, you won’t get pimples again, but just about everything else happens. Even though you’re a full-fledged grown-up, expect to get nervous and tongue-tied on your first phone call and date. Expect to get butterflies and start acting silly when you start falling for someone. Expect to find yourselves making out on the couch somewhere and questioning when you’re supposed to have sex.

It’s fun to feel like a teenager again, so enjoy it!

No matter what, getting back out there isn’t easy, but it’s part of the process. We all need something and waiting for it to happen to you won’t make it any faster.


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