It’s only natural to feel some trepidation about diving back into the dating pool after the age of 50. After all, things have changed a lot with the internet. Now, getting back out there doesn’t mean the bar and club scene (thankfully), but you do need to be savvy about websites and Apps.
The first thing you’ll need to do on any site is to create a profile. Whatever you may think about beauty being only skin deep, your photo is absolutely crucial in finding you a potential partner. Kate Taylor, Dating Expert at Ourtime the over 50s dating platform advises choosing a recent photo that looks good on a small screen, like a smiling close-up, because lots of people will be browsing your profile on their phones. “Choose three photos,” she continues, “one headshot, one full-length photo and one of you engaged in any kind of interesting activity – like playing an instrument, cuddling a pet, jumping out of a plane or skiing.” The latter will be a conversation starter.
It’s worth making an effort to do your hair and make-up and to wear some nice clothes. You could even have your photo taken after having your hair done in a salon. And remember Goldster A list make-up artist Lee Pycroft’s advice that black (or brown) mascara and brightening concealer go a very long way in perfecting the over 50 face.
Obviously, the written part of your profile is also important. Kate suggests “Light, intriguing, friendly and engaging – but nothing about your ex, wanting a serious relationship or hating being single etc” Try to avoid cliches as well – liking a glass of red wine by a roaring log fire in a cosy pub - will not make you stand out from the crowd. Don’t be afraid to be yourself and if that is quirky then so be it! Someone out there may well love it.
One thing that a lot of older women wonder is if men the same age are just looking for a younger partner. Kate says that this is where specialised platforms like Ourtime come in because most of the men on there are looking for women of a similar vintage.
It’s also worth bearing in mind that to-ing and fro-ing with long messages before the date can be a distraction where you’re building castles in the air, just fantasising about the other person. The only real way to know if there is chemistry and profound connection or not is to meet in person and generally the sooner the better.
Which leads to first-date etiquette. “Keep the conversation light, polite and fun,” urges Kate, “Nothing too heavy. There’s plenty of time to row about Brexit later on! Research consistently shows that first date conversations about hot topics actually alienate potential couples.”
And don’t feel pressured to jump into bed with anyone! Unless you feel absolutely comfortable with it. Having said this Kate observes that “Ourtime did an eye-opening survey a couple of years ago that found daters over 50 are actually happier to get into bed earlier than people in their 30s.” You’ll know if you’ve met ‘the one’ Kate confirms “Because you’ll stop looking for anyone else.”
Last, but not least, dating can be a lot of fun at any age, but you should have your eyes open to scams. “Keep all your messaging on the online dating website until you’ve met face to face.” Advises Kate, “Scammers will try to lure you away from the dating platform (saying their membership is expiring) but don’t. Keep messaging on the site, so if you start to feel suspicious you can report your concerns straight away.” Another tip is to beware of anyone coming on too strong. “Dating scammers come on very strong,” confirms Kate, “One minute you’re strangers, the next they’re in love. Yes, you are adorable but real feelings take time to grow. Be cynical (not just flattered) if someone declares love within days of contacting you.” Obviously, serious alarm bells should be ringing if anyone wants to know how much is in your savings account or asks you to send them money, however genuine they seem.
Remember with online dating, nothing ventured, nothing gained. It’s worth dipping a toe in the pool. You may find the water is surprisingly warm!