If you’re in your 40’s, 50’s and beyond and find yourself single, you’ll have noticed a fair few things may have changed. The last time you were single – perhaps in your late teens or twenties, depending on when you settled down, there was no texting, and online dating was still a little taboo and seen as really ‘sad’.
If you did have a date, dating would be arranged in person, with a full agenda, and you would turn up as both fully planned. Perhaps a phone call to the landline was carried out the night before to confirm…
But in today’s world, it’s far from this. Dating has rapidly changed, so those in their 40’s and 50’s will find that in their new single form, it’s a world of singletons that rely on dating websites to smartphone-friendly applications, where finding ‘love’ is now at your fingertips provided you have wifi connection.
I’m not single. I’m turning 33 next month and am coming up to being with my boyfriend for 4 years. He’s turning 38. I’ll be bluntly honest: we met on a dating app, because quite frankly, I didn’t work with any men (or decent ones) and you just don’t meet people in bars and clubs anymore.
Pretty much every single person, whether in their 20’s or in their 50’s, is on some form of dating website or app, if they are looking to date. If you’re old school and still don’t like the thought of it, then I’m afraid you’re massively living in the dark ages. This is now the norm. There is nothing weird, or sad, or looser-ish about it. Celebrities are on dating websites and apps. I repeat: THIS IS THE NORM.
The 45 year old reading this will know that 10-20 years ago, such platforms were reserved for those who couldn’t find a partner in ‘real’ life, but not now. A recent study found over a third (37 per cent) of Brits met their partners online. And that is only set to rise.
But is it a good thing, this change in dating? How do people in their 40’s and 50’s now adapt?
Online dating and apps can be a fantastic way of connecting with other singles, a place where people can virtually connect without having to invest huge amounts of time or money trying to establish whether they might get on or not.
However, it can also be overwhelming and create a culture of always thinking there’s something better around the corner. Dating is almost too easy. You can chat to someone on a Thursday evening and be out dining with them by 7pm on Friday.
The number of dating websites are in the thousands and continuing to grow all the time. But for those of you 40 and over, genuinely looking to find a decent partner to settle down with, do be cautious. There are sites and apps which promote sugar daddies and one night stands, but don’t actively promote this. Also, some of the popular apps (the swipey ones!) are quite popular for what I like to call ‘date hopping’ – where users will potentially be dating a fair few from the app at a time.
For older men and women, I’d advise a person looking for something serious to invest in a paying site, where the small investment is to guarantee that the type of people using the site is likely to be looking for more than just a bit of fun.
Also, there are dedicated websites to those in their 50’s and onward, such as Over 50s Dating, which ensures you only get to speak with people who are in the same age categories as you. Hopefully, they’ll be looking for the same thing and are dedicated to meeting someone for serious dating or relationships.
To be honest, older dating is a category that is growing, with lots of attention being put into this with dating companies. For example, there is older-dating.com which specialises in those over 40 looking to find ‘the one’.
I spoke with a friend of mine in her late 40’s, who doesn’t want to be named, and asked how she found going back into the dating game. The last time she was single, she was 22:
“I found it strange at first visiting online dating sites and using apps. I made mistakes -always be wary of anyone who doesn’t have a profile picture, and of those who declare their undying love too early on! Plus, it’s easy to trust too easily. Have your wits about you and never give out personal information such as your address, exact place of work. People online are really clever these days…”
“Of course, it’s fun, and out of it, I actually made some new friends which I didn’t expect! Just remember most importantly to enjoy yourself!”
It’s normal to go into dating as an older person and have a few internal fears and concerns – it can be completely overwhelming when you hear single people chat about dating. It is now a world of texting, online dating, social media, apps, hooking up, quick turn around dates, weeks of constant ‘chatting’, swapping photos… it really isn’t the same as the last time you were out there.
But embrace it. The positive is that it is much easier now to meet people – opportunities are out there more than ever before!