Dating is a minefield, there’s no two ways about it. From ghosting to first date nerves, there isn’t a single person out there who doesn’t have a horror story. So it’s not that helpful when people make age-related comments that add to the melee that is single life. Read on for our over 50s dating advice.

Last year French writer Yann Moix triggered a storm with his controversial stance, outlined in an interview with Marie Claire magazine, that he found women over 50 ‘too old’ to love. While he also offered the caveat that many women wouldn’t want him either (Moix, a novelist and film director, is 50), he said: “The body of a 25-year-old woman is extraordinary. The body of a woman of 50 is not extraordinary at all.”


But it just isn’t true, say experts. Dennie Smith is 57 and runs dating agency Old Style Dating. She says: “That’s really rude and just not true. [In many cases] older women are looking after their bodies more than younger women.”

Smith added that she has many clients who are 50 and over, the majority of whom are “all having good sex”. But if you want to date and you’re over 50, how to start? Smith and others dating experts share their advice.

Over 50s dating advice

Make sure you’re ready to date

Over 50s dating

Following a divorce, for example, many men and women in their 50s are left full of anxiety about heading back into the dating world.

“What divorced people often feel is they’re hurt, or their self-esteem or self-confidence has taken a big tumble and it might be tempting to launch yourself back into the dating world straightaway,” says dating expert Jo Hemmings, an ambassador for Ourtime – the dating service from the Match group dedicated to singles over 50. “But sometimes, you might need a bit of time before you get out there. Or you might need a niche dating site like Ourtime, because it feels a bit less scary than going on one of the bigger, more generic sites.”

Hemmings also adds it might help to ask someone else’s opinion of whether you’re ready to date, if you’re in doubt.

She says: “Either speak to a trusted friend and get their advice, or book a session with a dating coach because they’re impartial and will give you advice to get you started again.”

Give it a go

Over 50s dating

“I can understand it’s scary, and the first time for some, but if you don’t try, you don’t know,” says Smith. “Yes, we are independent in our 50s, but you still want company.”

Find a decent agency or app

“If you go with a respectful agency, you should be able to avoid getting rude pictures,” says Smith. “Yes, there are lots of free apps, but you’re exposed to all sorts of things…” There are many to choose from, including Smith’s agency, but you could also try Lumen, an app aimed at those over 50.

Over 50s dating

Ezgi Ceren, dating expert at Once says: “Do not be afraid to trust in technology that is available to make your dating life easier. Don’t invest your time in dates that are not going to go anywhere – be honest and upfront with your date about what you are looking for, and if they have other ideas, do not be afraid to move on.

“It’s important to take your time finding someone who is right for you, so that you enter a meaningful relationship that is much more likely to stand the test of time.

Have a friend help you with your online profile

Over 50s dating

If you’re trying online dating, Hemmings says what tends to be very hard for a lot of people is having to blow our own trumpet. So, she suggests turning to a trusted friend again and asking them to evaluate you.

“Asking, ‘What are my qualities as a friend?’, ‘What do you like about me?’ helps shape what you can say about yourself, because someone else has said it about you,” says Hemmings.

And when it comes to photos, it’s really important to pick the right one, as “it’s your biggest selling point”.

“It’s going to be your first photo, your main one, that people are going to look at, and they probably won’t look at much else if they’re not interested,” she says. “Make it a smiley, nice, recent, relaxed photo. You don’t have to have professional photos – but you could do.”

Be open to new possibilities

Over 50s dating
(Dragan Grkic/Thinkstock)

This is something Hemmings thinks is very important for people over 50 who are getting back into dating – especially when it comes to having a ‘type’.

“Your type from when you dated back in your 20s and 30s, will have probably changed.” she says. “Taking a bit of time out to work out that you might be attracted to different sorts of people these days, is worth [it].”

Have a phone call with your date before meeting them

“The world of online and app dating is all very new still, and I think voice is still a really important aspect of chemistry,” says Hemmings. “For a lot of younger people, they meet up after a few texts. Whereas to me, what’s very important is having, not a long chat on the phone, but at least a brief chat with somebody. You get a lot of warmth, humour, character and [an idea of] potential compatibility from somebody’s voice.”

And, Hemmings adds, this can help with nerves before a date too. “It helps with some of that anxiety, because at least you feel you’ve got to know them a little bit.”

Plan a ‘finite date’

Over 50s dating

To help with first date nerves, Hemmings recommends meeting someone for an hour, or an hour and a half, and saying you have plans to get to afterwards – whether you actually have or not.

“If you do want to see each other again, that’s great, and if you do want to carry on with the date, you can ‘cancel’ whatever you were going to do,” she says. “But at least when you know it’s got a beginning and an end, it does make you feel less anxious.”

And a practical tip for when you’re actually on the date? Watch your alcohol intake.

“It’s very tempting to drink a lot when you’re a bit nervous,” says Hemmings. “For every glass of wine, have a glass of water, because it slows you down a bit.”

Don’t write people off too quickly

Over 50s dating

When it comes to chemistry, Hemmings says, we often expect it to be an instant thing – butterflies and feeling overwhelmed. But as we get older, it can be a slower burn than when we dated as a younger person.

“I think you would recognise on a first date when someone perhaps definitely isn’t for you,” she explains, “but it might take a couple of dates to know that it is someone you’d fancy and then get to know better. Giving yourself that opportunity of not writing people off too quickly, is also important.

“When you get to 50-plus, you’re expecting that ‘wow’ thing to happen, as it might have done when you were younger, but it tends to happen less often.

“Things can take a little while to develop.”

Decide the non-negotiable things you’re looking for

“Think about three really important, non-negotiable qualities that you’re looking for in a partner,” suggests Hemmings. “That might be sense of humour, somebody who enjoys sport, someone who’s adventurous – those kind of things matter.

“Then, put the rest to one side and be open minded about it.”

Be prepared to compromise on less important aspects. Jacqui Wright is in her 60s, and through experience has become something of an expert in dating for those over 50. She says: “Don’t take it too seriously, and you have to realise the goal posts have changed. Be prepared to compromise on some level.”

Practice makes perfect

Over 50s dating

While it’s possible the next person you meet could be the next great love of your life, it’s unlikely. But you can learn from each date you go on.

“It’s like anything we do – the more you do, the better you get at it. So rather than think of the negative, like, ‘It didn’t work out’, think ,’Why didn’t it work out?’ ‘Did it make me feel good?’ And use that to make it better the next time.”

And, Hemmings says, this can especially be true if your dating skills are a bit rusty.

“If you haven’t been on a date in, say, 20 years, actually the best way to get good at dating is to date. So if you look at it as almost practise sessions before you meet the right person, it means your mind is in a better place, you’re more likely to have fun, and you’re not quite so anxious about having to make it work with the first person you meet on your first date.”

Ghosting is a no-no at any age

It’s something you might associate with time-poor phone-addicted 20-somethings, but ghosting is common at any age when you’re dating, and is the biggest no-no, says Smith. “The rules apply at any age – it’s polite to reply if you’re sent a message. Be honest with your photo, and completely be yourself on your profile,” she advises.

Watch out for scammers

“It’s easy to get scammed as an older dater. Many scammers use profiles that say they’re peace keepers in Syria, army generals or doctors, [and usually say they are] widowed with a young child and looking to relocate to England,” advises Wright.



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