Dating when you’re 40 or older can be intimidating — unlike when you’re in your 20s or 30s, you can’t assume everyone your age is single and looking. If you’ve found yourself “on the market” again, it’s important to remember that around half of marriages end in divorce in the UK, so the dating pool isn’t as small as you might think.
Meeting people organically out in public still happens, but sometimes it’s easier and less intimidating to meet people online. It’s a comfort in knowing that the people you find on dating apps are single (hopefully) and looking for a romantic relationship, so at least you’re both on the same page.
How to start dating again at 40
The first step is just acknowledging that you’re ready. From there, decide how/where you want to try to meet people. You’ll also want to be direct with what you’re looking for. Serious relationship? Casual hookup? Friendship that might lead to more? Whatever it is, be upfront because you don’t want to fall for someone only to realise you aren’t looking for the same thing.
We spoke to Jennifer Frazier, a 46-year-old who met someone awesome on Match. They went on a few dates and it was going well, but he was interested in dating a lot of women at the same time, and though Frazier really liked him, she realised that kind of a relationship wasn’t for her.
Dating in your 40s, 50s, 60s, or older can feel lonely when all your friends are married or in relationships. If you want to find a community of people experiencing the same things as you, we recommend visiting the subreddit r/datingoverforty — it’s full of people sharing stories of success, heartbreak, bad dates, good dates, and more.
Problems you might run into when dating over 40
While Frazier says the stigma around dating sites with the over 40 crowd is mostly gone, she doesn’t think a lot of single men in her area are using these sites, so she’s experiencing fewer options. She also thinks location plays a big part in how successful dating apps will be for a person, which we agree with.
“I love the idea of Bumble because it gives women the power to send the first message,” Frazier says. “There were only about four men in my age range within 25 miles, though, so that was disappointing.”
Frazier also says having a family can get in the way of dating, because you might have kids to take care of and taking time off from parent duty isn’t always easy.
“It’s hard to find a night off from cooking, driving kids, and all the other things we are responsible for,” she says. “I have faced pressure from men I have not even met who are being demanding of my time. I have enough demands without adding to it.” If someone is being demanding of your time and pushing to meet up right away, we want to remind you that it’s OK to say no.
Like every other age range, people over 40 are looking for all types of relationships. According to a desirability survey conducted by eharmony, 70% of people are looking for a serious relationship rather than a casual one. However, it’s often the case that older daters are actually looking for something more relaxed. Like we said, know what you want and be upfront about it.
Do dating apps really work?
While Frazier hasn’t had the most success with dating apps, she does know a lot of people who have — her sister-in-law met her boyfriend on Tinder.
According to Pew Research Centre, 57% of online daters describe their overall experience as positive. A lot of factors add up to whether online dating will be successful for you. Some apps use super in-depth compatibility quizzes that lead to really specific matches, whilst others just present you with a bunch of singles in your area within your specified age range. Both methods have their perks.
One thing to remember is to have patience. Finding a partner who ticks all (or most) of your boxes doesn’t happen overnight. You will most likely go through some duds and have some bad dates, but hopefully that will lead you to a healthy and happy relationship.
Which dating site is best for singles over 40?
The best dating site varies depending on what you’re looking for. If you want something serious, Match’s 25 years of experience will help you find someone compatible who is also looking for a serious relationship. eharmony also specialises in serious relationships, but the site is really for people who want to marry their next partner, so it’s taking serious to the highest level.
Casual daters and people who don’t want to jump into anything too serious just yet should utilise Tinder, Hinge, or Bumble. There really is a dating site for everybody, but it just might take some time to find the one that strikes gold for you.
These are the best dating sites for people over 40.
Large user base • Intelligent algorithm • More serious matches
Pricey • Sifting through potential matches can be time-consuming
Though memberships are on the pricier side, you’re more likely to find someone who’s serious about dating.
MatchMatch’s 25 years in the game means its algorithm is one of the best.
You can expect that people on the site are going to be pretty serious about finding a partner considering Match subscriptions aren’t cheap. Generally, people aren’t going to be paying big to just mess around and not take it seriously.
Your profile can have up to 26 photos and you’re able to select preferences for the type of person you’re looking for. Write a bio, answer some questions about yourself, and select qualities you want (or don’t want) in a partner and specify how important they are. Setting up your profile takes a little bit of time, but it’s not some horribly lengthy process.
Match shows you one profile at a time and you decide if you want to match with them or skip. You are presented with actual information about the person, so matching is less based on looks and involves more thought about personality. Match recognises your matching patterns and uses them to give you even better potential partners the more you use the site. Communication takes place over Match’s privacy-centric messaging system until you decide you want to give out personal information.
If you don’t find someone within six months, Match will give you six months for free. That’s how much the service believes in its match-making abilities.
High success rate • Detailed compatibility quiz
Lengthy sign-up process • Have to pay to message people
It will take you a minute to get started, but the compatibility quiz will likely yield promising results.
eharmonyeharmony’s in-depth compatibility quiz will help you find personalised matches who are ready for a committed relationship.
When you sign up for the site you’ll have to take a compatibility quiz that is honestly quite a big deal. It consists of 80 questions and takes about 20 minutes to complete. It will hopefully lead to really personalised and compatible matches, though.
eharmony does have a more conservative background and used to only allow heterosexual couples. Now you can select same-sex matching and you won’t be bombarded with questions about your spirituality, though there is a chance for you to select your religious alignment. Unfortunately, you can only choose one gender you’re interested in, so there’s still some room for improvement on the inclusivity front.
The free version of eharmony lets you receive and view matches, see compatibility details, send smiles and icebreakers, and favourite your matches. If you want to send custom messages and see everyone who’s viewed your profile, you’ll have to purchase a membership.
Shows who liked you • Follows up about dates to give you better recommendations • People on the app are looking for more than a hookup
Might not be successful for all age groups • Have to go through matches one by one
If you’re sick of hookup apps but aren’t looking for something as serious as eharmony, Hinge is a happy medium.
HingeDesigned to be deleted, Hinge uses prompts and personal information to help you find a successful relationship.
Hinge profiles utilise prompts and personal information so you can get a holistic feel for who people are. Matches begin with someone liking or commenting on a specific part of your profile, so conversation is easier to get started.
The app learns who you like and follows up to see how dates went in order to provide better recommendations in the future. Hinge prides itself on being a dating app that’s “designed to be deleted.” That means the creators want to get you off the app and into a happy, healthy relationship.
With the free version you can send 10 likes per day. Because the number is limited, you have to be more thoughtful about who you like if you’re not paying, which will hopefully lead to more compatible matches. You will see when someone has liked you, so you aren’t left guessing or wondering.
Age-specific community • Personality test to find compatible matches • Robust desktop site and mobile app
Not for everyone over 40 • Free membership is basically worthless • Premium memberships are pricey • Only three to seven matches per day
An in-depth personality test and a minimum age requirement will help you find a great match in your age range.
SilverSinglesWith a minimum age requirement of 50, SilverSingles caters to a more mature crowd.
This site is great because of its age requirements. You’ll be in a community of people your age who will hopefully be at your maturity level. After signing up, you’ll take a personality test that will be used to match you with compatible singles. The app shows you three to seven new matches every day.
The personality test is a bit lengthy and will take some time to fill out, but that gives SilverSingles more ammo to find you someone who is truly compatible. You’re able to select that you’re looking for a same-sex match, but if you’re interested in both men and women, you can’t choose to get matches from both genders.
More mature user base • Multiple compatibility algorithms • Different filtering options
Limited number of matches per day • Pricey
EliteSingles utilises a bunch of algorithms to find you a professional match that you can connect with intellectually.
EliteSinglesEliteSingles caters to a more mature audience with the majority of users over 30 with some level of higher education.
To begin, you’ll take a personality test and then you’ll start receiving three to seven daily matches based on your test and preferences you set yourself. You even have the option to filter by profession if that’s important to you. EliteSingles has a few different ways to find potential matches to make sure you’re truly able to find someone you’ll click with.
This is one of the pricier dating sites out there, but on the bright side, you can bet that the people who are paying for the service are pretty damn serious about finding a relationship. Fake and scam accounts are super minimal as EliteSingles manually verifies every profile with a fraud detection system.
EliteSingles does have a slight air of arrogance about it with such a heavy focus of the number of users with a Bachelor’s Degree or higher — or as EliteSingles puts it “above average education.” If finding someone educated with a good career is a top priority for you, though, this is where you’ll find the most concentrated population of that demographic.
Not just for hookups • Large user base • Easy to use
Might get unsolicited messages • No real matchmaking algorithm • Paid plans more expensive for users over 30
Tinder is known for being a hookup app, but you can also find meaningful relationships with it.
TinderTinder is the original swiping app, helping you find potential relationships or casual hookups.
Tinder boasts that it sparks more than 26 million matches per day. It’s the original swiping app, showing you profiles that you can either swipe right to like or left to pass. If you and another user both swipe right on each other, it’s a match and you’re free to message each other.
Profiles are pretty basic with just some photos and a bio, so it’s easy to see why Tinder isn’t immediately recognised as a serious relationship matchmaker. That said, it’s definitely still possible to find people who aren’t just looking to hook up. It’s also pretty easy to find someone who is looking to hook up if that’s what you’re looking for. Do what you want and live your life.
The app has two paid tiers: Tinder Plus and Tinder Gold. Plus gives you unlimited likes, five super likes a day, one boost a month, removes ads, and lets you backtrack on your last swipe if you accidentally swiped left on someone you were interested in. Tinder Gold has all of these features plus you can see who likes you before you have to swipe on them and you get top picks every day from your most swipe-worthy potential matches.
The disappointing thing about Tinder is that these premium features cost more for users over 30.
Women make the first move • Matches expire to encourage quick responses • Backtrack feature for accidental swipes
No real compatibility algorithm • 24-hour time limit could be a negative
Bumble’s setup is conducive to getting conversations started instead of letting matches sit idle for weeks.
BumbleWomen have to make the first move on Bumble and only have 24 hours to message a match.
Bumble has a pretty laid back environment and profiles feature a quippy bio that you write. You won’t have to take a super long compatibility quiz to get started.
Both people will have to swipe right on each other for it to be a match, and from there, the woman (in straight pairings) will have to initiate things. Matches expire after 24 hours, which is supposed to encourage people to actually start conversations instead of just sitting on a queue full of people waiting.
Other than the fact the women have to make the first move, Bumble is a pretty close mock of Tinder. You upload photos and write a bio, see profiles of potential matches in your area, and swipe right if you’re interested and left if you’re not.
Bumble also has services for finding friends and professional connections in addition to its dating function. You can build all sorts of relationships with Bumble. You came here for dating, though, so we won’t get too into these parts of the app.
Easy to find like-minded daters • LGBTQ-friendly
Fewer members than names like Match and eharmony • Pricey
You don’t have as many potential matches compared to some other sites, but Guardian Soulmates makes it easy to find someone with similar values to you.
Guardian SoulmatesGuardian Soulmates makes it easy to find someone with similar values to you.
The site makes it easy to find someone with similar values to you, thanks to a clever feature called ‘Find a Soulmate’ that gives you a list of potential “soulmates” based on criteria you set. You can select just how important these aspects are to you, and if they are important to other members, you will be matched up. This is great for older daters who don’t have the time to mess around with people that aren’t suited to them.
The fact that matches are based on both your preferences and how well you fit the preferences of other users means that you should be able avoid unpleasant encounters, and focus on dates with like-minded individuals.
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