Insider Tips and Lessons for Mature Online Daters

by Erika Ettin

When I started my business, A Little Nudge, back in 2011, I wasn’t entirely sure what the demographics of my client base would be. I expected to be working with mostly 30-something women looking to have children and finding that online dating was a great option. Another part of me thought that I would be working with people who are just too busy to put the time and effort into online dating.

Was I right? Yes. The group I wasn’t counting on, though, was the 50+ segment of the dating market. About 30% of my clients (both men and women) are 50 or older, and, while many aspects of dating are the same at any age (the anticipation, the awkward silences, the nerves), some things are inherently unique to this specific demographic.

Based on both my own data and observations, in addition to those of my clients, let’s look at the five things to keep in mind when dating over 50:

1. Everyone Ages

Almost all of my over-50 male clients tell me that women don’t age as well as men. And you know what my female clients tell me? Men don’t age as well as women.

The moral: We all age!

Everyone gets wrinkles, everyone’s metabolism slows, and everyone isn’t the 20-year-old sports star that he or she used to be. But that’s okay. Please don’t make overarching assumptions.

I know plenty of “old” 30-year-olds who sit on the couch at night and have bad backs, just as I know plenty of “young” 70-year-olds who love skiing, sailing, and chasing their grandkids around the house. It’s all relative.

Mature online dating2. Every Person Comes as a Package Deal

It’s not reasonable to assume that someone will come to the table without some form of baggage. Whether that baggage is in the form of a contentious divorce, a ruptured relationship with a child, or an ailing parent, there is something that is going to be a priority in this person’s life.

No matter how much you want to be #1, and no matter how much your date wants to make you #1, there are other factors at play that are not in anyone’s control.

A client of mine in her 60s, who has no children or grandchildren, was reluctant to date a man who was the caretaker of his young grandson. I encouraged her to give him a chance because it showed his dedication to his family. While they can’t jet off to Italy at a moment’s notice, my client actually grew very fond of the grandson and respects her beau for making that role a priority.

3. Manage Expectations

While most of us wish that each first date will also be the last first date, we are setting ourselves up for failure if we go into dating situations with such high expectations.

The best way to go about dating is to simply take each experience for what it is—a conversation with a new person.

Maybe you’ll learn something about your date, or even yourself, that might help you in life. Maybe you’ll hear a funny story. Or maybe you’ll simply meet, chat, and end your night knowing that while this person may not be “The One,” you gave it all you had.

4. Don’t Overlook Common Sense

People often say, “Online dating is scary.” Their rationale is that you don’t know who’s out there, and most of the people are likely creeps. I hate to say this, but creepy people can be anywhere. Are there more of them online than offline? I have no idea. What I do know, however, is that…

... if you avoid online dating to try to evade the “creepsters,” as some of my friends might say, then you’re also closing yourself off to meeting many wonderful people.

If this rationale holds any water, then I’d say you might as well also avoid the city bus, the grocery store, or really anywhere people are. Instead, take precaution when meeting someone for the first time. Meet in a public place. Tell a friend where you’re going. Yes, scary things are everywhere… but common sense will take you further than you might think.

5. Love Yourself

While it may sound cliché, I ascribe to the conventional wisdom that you have to love yourself before you can love anyone else.

Finding the right partner will not create happiness. Will it add to happiness? Absolutely. But first, you need to find (or re-find) that happiness and confidence that you have in yourself.

Treat yourself well, heal from the last relationship, and rediscover yourself. Only then can you add someone else to your world and know that he or she complements it, not completes it.

It doesn’t sound so daunting anymore, does it? Remember to take it one step at a time, one day at a time, and one date at a time.


Love At First SiteErika Ettin is the author of Love at First Site and Founder of A Little Nudge, where she helps people navigate the world of online dating. Her services include: writing unique profiles to get you noticed, helping to choose your best profile pictures, writing one-of-a-kind emails to get someone’s attention, and planning dates. Want to connect with Erika? Join her newsletter for updates and tips.