Expert Advice: Why You Should Try Online Dating If You’re Over 60

eharmony’s relationship expert, Rachael Lloyd explains why online dating can be a great choice for anyone over 60.

With the world becoming more and more digital by the day, making meaningful relationships and connecting with people has taken a new and exciting turn. Isn't it wonderful that from the comfort of your home, you could meet the perfect match?

As the relationship expert to one of the UK's leading dating sites, eharmony, I have a first-hand understanding of how online dating can benefit people of every age. And you may be surprised at the rise of over 60-year-olds now using this platform.

So, read on to find out why online dating is an excellent option for anyone over the age of 60 and how you can get involved.

More and more over 60s are using online dating

While the majority of our activity at eharmony comes from people aged 30 plus who are ready for a serious relationship, we also have a good segment of the over 60s – and their presence is set to rise.

This is according to our study with Imperial College London which suggests that while only 12% of those aged 65 to 85 currently use online dating sites, by 2050 almost 80% will do so.

One of the reasons for online dating becoming more popular with those aged 60 and over is that they are seeing how effective it is. In fact, according to a past survey by McCarthy Stone, as more people over the age of 60 are living alone, more of them are subsequently looking for new relationships. What’s more, out of the retirees surveyed, 19% were a member of an online dating service.

Online dating can provide more than romance

The joy of online dating is that it encourages everyone to get offline and go and meet people. It’s social, and even if you don’t find love right away, you’ve got a great opportunity to make new friends.

As well as this, you can get out and socialise together at places like museums, art galleries or parks. Being actively engaged with other people over 60 also helps prevent any creeping sense of isolation that can strike during retirement.

According to McCarthy Stone’s recent survey- which was designed to identify and tackle the causes of loneliness among older people – it was revealed that 53% of the UK's over 65-year-olds often feel lonely. Interestingly though, the results also showed that 11% of over 65-year-olds had joined, or were thinking about joining, online dating websites simply for friendship – again this just shows how much online dating can play a positive part in your life.

The potential for romance is still there

Along with friendship though, romance does still play its part. As our research also suggests that those aged over 60 do yearn for romantic intimacy as much as the younger generations. In other words, getting older doesn’t change our innate need for love.

However, sex is often a lower priority than it is for someone in their 20s or 30s. In fact, our data shows that the importance of sex tends to peak between the ages of 45 and 49.

Instead, when it comes to romantic relationships, our studies and user feedback has shown that those over 60 specifically value stability, someone who’s gentle and kind, and someone with a good sense of humour.

Online dating is safer than you may think

Older generations may worry about the safety of online dating. My advice would be to invest in a reputable and secure dating site like eharmony as we specialise in compatibility-matching.

However, a piece of extra useful online safety advice is to always meet someone new in a public place for a first or even second date. If your date seems dishonest or you feel uncomfortable about them in any way, then you of course have every right to leave.

Only try online dating if you’re ready

Another important piece of advice is to only date when you’re ready – this in particular applies to to anyone coming out of a divorce or bereavement.

If you’re still depressed, heartbroken or grieving a former partner, then you’re not ready to find love. Any baggage you haven’t dealt with could follow you into your next relationship and harm an otherwise promising friendship or romance.

If you’re struggling with any personal issues, I strongly recommend going to see a therapist, or at the very least talking it through honestly and openly with friends until you start to feel better. There is no shame in asking for help.

Take your time when making connections

Savour your online dating experience, it’s not a race. Take it at a comfortable pace and try not to dwell on conversations that don’t work out. There are so many people online nowadays that if you’re patient and focused the chances are that you’ll eventually meet someone special. Luckily, on the eharmony platform, we also have lots of prompts which help conversations flow smoothly.

Also, resist the temptation to focus on the more negative aspects of your history, because no one wants to hear you moaning about your ex or children.

Finally, see your initial ventures with online dating and your first dates as opportunities to get a compelling insight into other people’s lives. After all, you don’t have to decide straightaway whether you want to marry someone or not!

My final top tip for over 60s who want to try online dating

My ultimate tip, is just to be yourself.

Some of the most common concerns for over 60s who are looking to date is that they face a lack of confidence about getting back out there, and potentially in their attractiveness. Remember though that you are truly unique, so feel proud of who you are and what you have to offer.

Don’t succumb to the temptation to shave a few years off your age or put over-filtered pictures of yourself on your dating profile. Authenticity and confidence are very attractive traits.

There are so many mature singles out there looking for love and friendship through online dating. So, what are you waiting for?