Dating after divorce or even dating after your widowed can seem like an impossible task. I’m going to share my guide to dating after your suddenly single again that I share with my private clients.
Let’s face it life happens and you find yourself single again. Maybe you’re newly divorced or a widower …or maybe you just waited till later in life to look for a partner. Dating after divorce or dating after widowed, or even just newly single used to be a huge challenge.
You had a few options, like asking friends for help, going to church, or finding someone at work. None of these was the most efficient way to find a new partner. Your friends usually were all married or didn’t have any single friends. Going to church is a viable option but the options are usually limited …Unless you belong to a megachurch. Trying to find someone you work with can be doubly challenging because just saying to wrong thing can make you end up in front of the HR department.
I know you’ve heard of online dating, but you might not know how tech-friendly it’s become, especially to daters over 50. I’m going to give you a step by step guide to dating after divorce or dating after widowed that will make your life a lot easier.
Even if you’re a senior you still have a lot of options and ways to find dates and partners that will make your life more fulfilling.
Table of Contents:
- The Baby Boomer Generation is Looking for Love and They’re Looking Online!
- A Winning Profile is Key to Success
- The Photos
- The Written Profile
- What Senior Daters, Widowers and Divorcees are Looking For
- Make Sure You’re Ready
- 2. Be Tech Ready
- Choose a Dating Site
- Create Your Profile
- Be Safe
- Have Fun
- Have the Right Mindset
- About the Author:
One in five people in serious relationships met their partner on an online dating site. Rather than being the last resort of desperate daters as some people used to think, online dating sites are frequently the first place today’s daters go when they’re looking for love. Career travel, busy work schedules, job relocations, single-parent responsibilities and the hectic pace of modern life don’t leave much time or create many opportunities to meet other people socially, much less find someone you might be interested in dating.
Online dating sites jump-start the dating process by bringing together people who are actively searching for someone to date. Dating headshots and dating profiles allow daters to prescreen potential dates to find other people that appeal to them and share their interests. With so many people using online dating sites today, the tricky part isn’t finding someone special; it’s making things work when you meet so many people and some of them might be the love of your life.
Statistically, most divorces and widowers occur in the 40s and 50s at least. Dating after divorce or dating after widowed can be difficult, so following the right dating tips is crucial. CNN.com has given tips to people referred to as “gray divorcees.” Gray divorcees are people who have divorced after the age of 50. The news outlet offered online dating tips for people who may have made their last foray into the dating world at a time when dating was much more formal.
While divorce or death of a spouse may have left many Baby Boomers (now 78 million strong) without a partner, they’re still interested in looking for love …and they’re looking online in record numbers.
Senior daters, dating after divorce, as well as, and widowed daters have followed their younger counterparts onto online dating websites, often encouraged by their children or friends. Online dating among the post-60 crowd has become so common that a number of online dating websites are now devoted exclusively to older daters. Even so, most senior daters experience a bit of culture shock when they take their first steps into the world of cyber-dating.
So, how do you get back into dating when you’re over 50 or you’re newly divorced or you’re ready to get back into the dating world after a tragedy? Not all people cruising online dating sites are over-worked, young professionals with little time or opportunity to meet people. A fair number of senior daters who left their 20s behind decades ago are getting back into the dating game just like you.
Though they quickly learn that the dating game has changed significantly since they last knocked on a door with a bouquet of flowers in hand. Many daters are more knowledgeable than younger daters about what they’re looking for in a companion and a bit more set in their ways. But, they tend to make some common mistakes when creating their online dating profile and dating headshot.
So, how do you get started when you decide to give it another shot and start dating over 50 or now that you’re single again? You’ve got a couple of choices available to you. First, you increase your odds and options by joining several online dating sites. You can do a mainstream dating site like Match.com or eHarmony and then add a few niche or specialized sites like Silver Singles or Our Time. This will give you many options to choose from.
Remember that online dating is not a magic bullet. You have to realize that these platforms will show you many possibilities, and you need to be very picky about whom you’re going to contact or maintain contact with. You don’t want to waste your time. Online dating is ruthlessly efficient, so don’t think that you need to be “polite” and respond to every person that tries to contact you. You have to look at their profile and see if you are remotely attracted and then make a decision.
There are 4 main parts to most online dating platforms that you need to complete to be successful.
- Personality Test: Every site has a variation of a personality test that is designed to help the computer figure you out. It uses this information to match you to the appropriate person according to what each of you is looking for in a date.
- Personal Information: This includes where you live, contact information (which they do not share with anyone else, only you can share that information), where you live, education level, and income range.
- Photos: A primary profile photo will be used as your thumbnail in search results. Other photos should display your lifestyle so that people get a sense of who you are.
- Your written profile: A few paragraphs that will be visible to others once they click on your photo.
Now you can see how your primary profile photo is key to success. It’s like the gatekeeper. If nobody finds your primary profile photo appealing, then they aren’t going to read your profile and they will never contact you. Your photo is the single most important piece of your online profile so don’t use and old photo or a group photo and certainly not one with your ex
That brings us to the next important tip. You’ve got to create a winning profile photo. This means your profile photos need to be on target if you’re going to get the most out of your online dating experience. The reality is that you’re only going to have a few seconds to capture the attention of your perfect date. If you don’t, then someone else is going to be dating your boyfriend/girlfriend. It really is all about the “first impression” since the online dating sites show you row after row after row of people who may be a good match for you.
Online dating is very efficient, but you need to know how to make it work for you. A well-crafted online dating profile photo is the most important thing you can have to increase your chances of getting the attention of Mr. or Ms. Right.
Let’s face it, a selfie is just not going to be the look you’re going for, and it’s never as good as you think it is. Plus, it sends the wrong message. Either you don’t have any friends that will help you out and take a few photos of you, or you’re not all that serious about it and don’t really care. Either way, the message is going to turn off most people and they will skip right past you.
There are certain aspects of the perfect online dating profile photo that captures someone’s attention, express yourself, and make you look great doing it. Let’s face it, online dating is all about marketing yourself, so you don’t lose out on dates and your online dating photo is the key factor to marketing yourself effectively
It’s OK to open up a bit and share your likes and dislikes. You don’t need to go overboard and scare people away, but if you have a big pet peeve, then you can share that so you don’t waste your time or others’ time. One big example of this is smoking. If you’re not a smoker and don’t like being around smokers, then this is probably something you want to mention. If you really like going out on the town and exploring new restaurants or traveling the world, then you should talk about that too. You wouldn’t want to connect with someone who’s more of a “homebody” and prefers staying in and watching Netflix.
You don’t need to make your written profile a laundry list of likes and dislikes. However, there is a strategy for writing a good online dating profile. Your goal is to be clear about what you’re seeking. You want to create an opportunity for interested people to communicate with you by asking a question or telling a story. Maybe try to add a bit of humor to engage with other interested parties.
Online dating experts say that those over 50, divorcees and widowers too often limit their dating options by creating an online dating profile that is too narrow in scope. Dating sites recommend that you include some information in your online dating profile about the type of person you’re looking for.
The matching process requires that daters provide some identifying parameters. However, placing too many restrictions on the type of person you want to date can prohibit matches and result in a frustratingly empty inbox. Limits on where someone lives and particularly health issues they may have are the two restrictions that most limit dating matches for senior daters. Many mature daters profit from an expert style makeover or expert help rewriting their online dating profile to be successful.
The point of the written profile is that it is a unique opportunity to connect with other interested individuals. It helps to create enough interest that they will want to start a conversation with you and explore the possibilities. It’s not the last step in the process of getting a date, but rather the follow up to your profile picture. Both help open the door to a new relationship.
Death of a spouse, divorce, or their workaholic ways may have left many Boomers single as they head into their Golden Years. but, they’re still as active, energetic, and as interested in love as they were back in the ’60s when everything was groovy. For Boomers, 60 is the new 40! Online dating has become so popular that online dating sites have begun popping up to cater specifically to older adults. Older daters are looking to connect with people who share their experiences and interests. Specialized dating sites make that easy.
Sociologists say senior daters are looking for different qualities in a date than their younger counterparts. Where younger daters place major emphasis on appearance, older daters are more interested in health and financial independence. For daters nearing or past retirement, looks are important, but qualities that are more likely to impact lifestyle and quality of life take precedence.
Older male daters are looking for women who are financially self-sufficient. Financial security is somewhat less important to older female daters, many of whom are already financially comfortable. Women are most concerned about health issues; they’re not interested in becoming someone’s full-time caregiver. Thus, while the focus may have shifted slightly for senior daters, the process is exactly the same.
Dating sites have had a profound effect on relationships. They’ve opened up possibilities to meet people that you never would have come across previously. However, there is a technique for creating the perfect online dating profile if you want to get the most out of your new online dating adventure.
The same holds true for dating after divorce or dating after widowed. Your focus is not the same as much younger daters. You are experienced enough to know how relationships work and how they can be challenging. You might want to find someone that has shared many of the same experience as you and has a realistic approach to relationships and the hard work they entail.
Your transition into the world of dating after divorce or when you’re ready to move on, and many years of being married, can be a big step. Make sure you are ready. Make sure the ones closest to you understand and can accept that you are interested in new relationships and no longer wish to be alone.
If you have children, even grown children this may also be an adjustment for your children.
If you haven’t dated since before you became a parent, your children may be skeptical. One expert gave the parents of adult children the same advice that is often given to the parents of young children:
“Many gray divorcees have older children who can’t — or don’t want to — picture their parents on dates. When and how to break the news depends on the age and maturity level of the children. ‘Don’t tell the children until it becomes significant,’ Praver [a clinical psychologist] advises.”
More experienced daters also have to think about what to call a significant other. Of course, this is a minor concern since finding and connecting with someone is really the major hurdle.
As they say, there is plenty of other fish in the sea. Consider this: If there really were only one true love for each person, why do so many people get divorced and why do so many online daters find their perfect match the second time around? With each relationship, you learn more about yourself and what you need from a partner. On your next splash into the dating pool, you’ll be a little wiser and more likely to reel in a better catch! Hence dating after divorce or dating after your widowed is full of possibilities once you’re ready to begin again.
Online dating has evolved from being solely computer-based to becoming an app-based service. Now, mobile dating is where the magic happens. If you want to participate, you need the hardware to do so.
You are a dater now, so you shouldn’t be at home in front of a computer screen. Instead, you should be out experiencing the world and meeting people, while still staying connected with your smartphone.
All you need to do is choose the right dating app to download on your phone!
There are 8,000 online dating sites globally and about 2,500 online dating sites just in the US. According to a 2019 study, almost half of U.S. online users have met or know someone who has met a romantic partner via a dating website or app. By the end of that year, around 77 percent of adult online users reported having gone on a date with someone they had met online
Aside from the “regular” dating sites (eHarmony, Tinder, OkCupid, Match), there are a ton of specialized dating sites to choose from, such as Our Time (for adults over the age of 50), Farmers Only (not for city folk), Alikewise (for book lovers looking) and Gluten-Free Singles (no dough here). So rest assured that when you decide to start dating after divorce or dating after your widowed, you will have many options. I usually suggest that my clients invest in 2 or three dating sites since you never know which one will work best for you. Not all dating sites work the same or attract the same types of people.
You can try a mainstream site and then a few niche sites to figure out which ones you like best. Many dating sites have a free trial period too so you can test things out before you pay.
A tip I use for my clients who are dating after divorce is this. I recommend to clients is to look into your networks. Ask your single friends which sites they prefer and then try a few of the recommended sites. Your friends may know which dating site may be best for you!
First things first: Whatever you put online will exist for all of eternity. Keep this in mind as you build your profile.
Photos are important. According to Match.com’s CEO, you’ll get 15 times more attention than people who didn’t bother to upload a photo. So, find your best high-resolution photo, and keep it classy. Your photo will play a big part in determining the kind of attention you garner.
The next step is your written profile. Before you start writing your profile, get the creative juices flowing by making lists of (1) the most important qualities you are looking for in a date or partner, (2) the qualities you have to offer, and (3) the things you like to do best. Be honest and stick to what’s true today. Don’t list things you might like to do (like hiking if you’re a couch potato).
Start your profile by saying what you’re looking for. Don’t say “fun” if you’re really looking for a partner. List a few qualities you’re looking for and a few you bring to the table. Add a short anecdote about one thing you like to do. Keep your profile short, not more than 300 words. Your profile should be a brief intro, not the story of your life. Leave a few mysteries to be discovered. If your profile doesn’t bring results, consider a professional rewrite to give it some polish.
As for the personal information you provide, be honest. But, do not put your entire life story or anything too personal on your profile. Also, don’t talk about your ex, custody battle, or anything else that might make you appear bitter. You might be upset about your divorce, but this isn’t the venue to highlight it. Frame yourself in a positive light and don’t take yourself too seriously.
Ask for help with your profile. PewResearch shows that 22 percent of online daters have asked a friend to review or help them build their profiles. So don’t be embarrassed to ask. An outside opinion from a trusted source helps showcase the real you.
People on the Internet lie. Some are scammers. Some are more horrible than that. Even if a site vets its users, you need to be careful. Don’t trust everything their profiles say, and do your own research before getting too involved with somebody you meet online.
Other safety rules to follow:
- Create an email account that is only used for dating sites
- Don’t list your home address or phone number
- Protect your personal information
- Meet dates in public places, and let a friend know where you are going
- Trust your instincts
- Never, under any circumstances, send money to anyone you meet online. You’d be surprised how many smart, tech-savvy people get scammed out of money online. Don’t be one of them.
The most important thing to remember, aside from the safety spiel, is that you should have fun with online dating. My favorite divorce dating tip is to let my clients know they can have fun! This is a great opportunity for you to meet new people and to hone your dating skills. While emotionally draining, dating after divorce isn’t the end of the world. Attack this new phase of your life with a positive attitude.
Consider the possibilities. Be adventurous. You are worth it.
As the former CEO of eHarmony said, “you’ve got to go into online dating with the right mindset to be successful.” Yes, it’s true that more people meet online now that in real life and that more relationships start online than anywhere else.
The problem seems to be in people’s expectations. Sometimes (and I’m not saying you have this attitude) but people think that because they are paying for a subscription, that somehow means that they will only be dating supermodels. Sure, if you happen to look like a supermodel then you have a fair chance at dating another supermodel. However, if you’re not confident you could walk into a bar filled with supermodels and then get a date with one then it’s not going to happen online either.
Basically, the most successful online daters and the ones that tend to be the happiest treat online dating like a fun adventure where you try and meet new and interesting people and see if something ”clicks” between you. They have a realistic expectation of the type of person they can attract …maybe, not a 19-year-old swimsuit model …and they are mature enough to know and accept that. The other thing that makes for a successful online dater is not to be too rigid in your requirements. Be open to meeting new and different people if there is even a hint of interest.
Lastly, know when to quit or when to say “No”. If you’ve tried repeatedly to interact with a specific person on the site and they don’t respond or they stop responding, then don’t get focused on that one person. Just take it for what it is and move on. There are plenty of other daters on the site. Conversely, if someone is overly persistent then it is perfectly fine to say that you are not interested…even if it’s after a few dates.
Online dating is ruthlessly efficient about providing opportunities to meet new people but you need to have the right mindset to get the most out of it.
Dating after divorce or widowed doesn’t have to be difficult. Although it can seem hard at first to be a “gray divorcee”, it doesn’t have to be that way.
Finding yourself suddenly single at 50 (or 60 or beyond!) can be more than a little intimidating. You’ll find that the goal of dating hasn’t changed since the last time you stole a kiss, but nearly everything else about modern dating is going to feel pretty foreign. To begin with, while most mature daters are looking for love, companionship, and a good time; a significant number of them are not looking for marriage. (Interestingly, a Match.com survey showed that older male daters are more interested in marriage than their female peers.)
Why are more mature daters gun-shy about slipping a new ring on their finger? Many people getting back into the dating game after 50 are divorced or widowed. If they’re recently divorced, particularly if they were married for a long time, they may be enjoying the freedom of being single or they may still be hurting and may not be willing to put their heart on the line again. If they are widowed, the strain of caring for an ill spouse may have been so draining that they don’t want to risk becoming the caretaker for a new spouse. Sometimes the impediment to late-life marriage is financial. Some people can’t bridge the gap created by different approaches to money handling or inequitable income or debt. If both people have children, inheritance issues can muddy the marriage waters.
All that is not to say those mature daters won’t find love online. Many people who passed their 50th birthday some time ago do meet and marry someone they met on an online dating site. But, while you should always be open to new possibilities (true love could be waiting in your inbox!); you’ll have more fun dating online if you concentrate on meeting people and having fun.
The biggest change you’ll notice when you start dating again is that dating has moved online. The key to successful online dating after 50 is your profile and dating headshot; and that’s true whether you’re 50 or 20!
You’ll know when you’re ready to be back in the dating pool. I remind my clients not to be too hard on themselves, and to put too much pressure and expectations on themselves. With these tips and knowledge of the new landscape of dating, you will be fully equipped to move forward in the dating realm.
Claire Bahn has over 15 years of working as a personal branding expert helping clients build authority and influence through their online profiles and social media accounts.
Her background includes branding, public relations, Social Media, and marketing, as well as, entrepreneurship. She has a passion to help executives, entrepreneurs, and influencers strategize and create their best personal brand.
She is currently the CEO and Co-founder of Online Profile Pros and Stratus Branding. Ms. Bahn recognizes that first impressions are made online and the fastest way to achieving your goals is by taking command of your personal brand through your online profiles and social media. She started Online Profile Pros and Stratus Branding to help individuals create, maintain and protect their personal brands so that they achieve the authority, influence, and trust the need to succeed at online dating or their job search.
She’s been featured in numerous publications and news outlets including Forbes and Entrepreneur magazines.
Ms. Bahn is a former model and actress, appearing in national ad campaigns for major retailers. An avid fashion/lifestyle blogger she’s a recognized influencer. Ms. Bahn holds a BA from the University of Texas at Austin and currently lives in the Hollywood Hills in Los Angeles, CA with her 2 red miniature pinchers, Beau and Trixie.