Aah… the bloom of new love.
There’s nothing like it. Everything is more vibrant — more exciting. For many, life never feels “right” without a significant other in it.
My mother, in a moment of brutal honesty, once said she’d be married to my dad or she’d be married to someone else — but she WOULD be married. And she was, through three husbands, until her soul-mate third husband died…
Then she changed her mind. At 77 years old she suddenly found joy in independence and spent the last 12 years of her life with no interest whatsoever of remarrying.
Others never change their minds — and find life just somehow “less” without a spouse.
Should you want a spouse/lover in your life?
If you’re a man, the answer is almost always “Yes.” Major study after major study has found married men live substantially longer than single men, divorced, or widowed men. Married men also report being happier.
Women differ — some desperately want it and others don’t. Marriage doesn’t seem to affect how long women live, and while some studies show marriage makes women happier — more studies show single women being happier.
Here’s part of the abstract from a study by Chipperfield and Havens in the May 2001 issue of Journals of Gerontology:
“…using data from a large-scale, longitudinal study we assessed life satisfaction as measured in 1983 and 1990 among 2,180 men and women between the ages of 67 and 102. … Among those individuals whose marital status remained stable over the 7 years, women’s life satisfaction declined and men’s remained constant. Among those who experienced a transition—in particular, the loss of a spouse—a decline in life satisfaction was found for both men and women, decline being more predominant for men. In addition, men’s life satisfaction increased over the 7-year period if they gained a spouse, whereas the same was not true for women.”
Off-line methods of finding a senior mate
The best advice for finding a mate without going to online dating services is:
- Ask your friends if they know anyone
- Join clubs/groups that interest you. If you don’t find someone — at least you’ll enjoy attending the club/group. And if you do find someone — at least you’ll have something in common.
These might work well in a larger city, or anywhere if you’re a man. But if you live in a smaller area, or are a woman, you’ll be very lucky if they work. At age 70+, there are 75 men for every 100 women. The only good news is that this has risen from where it was in the 1980s — then 62 males per 100 females.
Online dating for seniors
If you decide to put your romantic future into the hands of a dating service, just know you’re joining the Wild West. I’ve never seen an industry with such obviously bogus membership numbers, guesses instead of facts, and prices that change frequently. Reviews for them are all over the place — which the sites can, of course, blame on the participants (not appealing enough!) instead of their services.
The good about online services:
The number one good about them is their numbers. Nowhere else can you find so many dating options. And know that each person on the sites is, like you, looking for connections.
If you use one of the three big sites that are more senior-friendly (Our Time, Elite Singles, and Silver Singles), you will find people your age — or at least people open to dating people your age.
And nowhere else can you find such niches! If you can’t imagine liking a spouse who isn’t as into science fiction as you are — TrekPassions.com is for you. Only want to marry a farmer? Try FarmersOnly.com. Naturally there are sites based on your sexual orientation or religion.
Check out this link from Today.com to find 26 “wild and crazy” niche dating sites — including one for people who only want to date someone who is in jail(!) And they list sites for people who are HIV positive or have other diseases.
The bad — and ugly! — about online services
Before online dating, you just had to worry about married men pretending to be single. With online dating services, you still have to worry about that — as well as scammers (male or female) who want to steal your money. And men looking for victims. These sites also attract people who are hiding being HIV positive or carrying other sexual diseases.
Ways to protect yourself include:
- If the person you are falling for but have never met asks you for money — for any reason — drop them immediately. It is always a scam.
- Google them
- Never give a land-line phone number (as they may be able to get your address from it)
- For your first in-person meeting(s):
- Meet only in a public place where you will stay (e.g., a coffee shop or a museum)
- If you’re a woman, make sure of your transportation when you leave. Drive yourself — but only if you will be able to park in a crowded, well-lit area. Or call a cab (or Uber) from your location to pick you up. Don’t take a bus as it can can be easily followed. And never let him walk you anywhere.
- Use condoms and dental dams(!) Half of all HIV-positive people in the USA are over 50. And rates for other STDs (Sexually Transmitted Diseases) have been rising rapidly for seniors since 2012, and are up 20% in 2016 over 2015!
- If you don’t know where you’d go or who to ask about sex protection — or about sex toys — try out the discrete and friendly-to-all-genders Smitten Kitten.
The big 3 dating services for seniors
In trying to review these three sites, I found totally contradictory information about them from different review sites. The biggest concern is what percent of their members are actually seniors(!) Our Time doesn’t give this information, Silver Singles looks like just 25% of their members are over 55, and Elite Singles says 1/3 of their members are 50+. Getting reliable cost information was also difficult — in some cases impossible.
Silver Singles (see review at 10BestOnline.com):
- Claim 85K “visitors” per month (not members)
- It looks like only 25% of their members are over 55(!)
- 59% female, 8% black, 7% hispanic, 2% asian
- Costs as of 9/2020: $28/mo. (12 months) up to $50/month (3 months)
- Note: this is the only site that publishes their costs to see BEFORE you go through the sign-up process!
Our Time (see review at DatingSitesReviews.com):
- One review site says they have 1.5 million members — another says 21.5 million!
- This is the only one of these three sites that does not give you a personality test. So you may wonder at how “compatible” their matches will be.
- Has the lowest costs of these three (as of 9/2020): $30 (or $38) for one month, $70 for 3 months, or $90 (or $108 — can’t tell which!) for 6 months
Elite Singles (see review at Mashable.com)
- Site targets college-educated professionals.
- Claims 1/3 of members are 50+
- Claims they get 381,000 new members a month — which would be 127,000 at 50+
- One site says they have 13 million members. If 1/3 over 50+, that would be just over 4 million.
- Claim 82% have college degrees
- Prices are highest of the three.
What about free dating sites?
The biggest problem with them is that they can attract people who don’t want to leave behind any trace of themselves. While a credit card doesn’t prove someone is who s/he says they are — it’s at least one form of identification that has to be real. So someone who has been on a paid site for at least 2 months has a credit card that works, and that hasn’t been reported stolen(!)
What should you try?
If you’re a senior man on a tight budget and just looking for some fun dates, you might try some of the free dating sites (although you, too, can be targeted for robbery or financial scams). All men should definitely try a niche site or two — just to see if you can find someone with your specific interests. But if you’re looking for a relationship, with a woman near you, you will probably find a higher quality and quantity of women on one of the three big sites listed above.
If you’re a senior woman, try any niche site that fits any obsession you have. And try one of the big three listed above. And know you will probably have to contact the men to get attention. Posting your picture and bio and then sitting back and waiting to get contacted probably won’t work — unless you look amazing.
IMPORTANT: Regardless of your gender, make sure you do a zoom meeting once you have exchanged a few notes and feel there is mutual interest. If you correspond for very long without that — it’s too easy to fall for a fantasy that you either invented about them or one they encouraged you to invent. You need to see if there’s chemistry early. (And it is another step in protecting yourself from love scammers.)