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Tips For Online Dating Over 40 (without having a breakdown)

Dating sites and apps are filled with images of 20 & 30 somethings. Where does that leave the rest of us online dating over 40?

Online dating, midlife and how to keep your dignity

Online dating long ago lost the stigma that was once so attached to it. It’s no longer slightly embarrassing if someone stumbles upon your profile on a dating site – among younger folk you’re probably in the minority if you DON’T have a Tinder profile. It’s what everybody does these days.

But what if you’ve been in a relationship these past few decades and never really dipped your toe in the pool of online dating, missing all the weird and wonderful adventures that everyone else seemed to enjoy while you and your significant other spent your Saturday evenings binge-watching box sets and whatever it was we did before Netflix sabotaged our social lives.

Being newly single and in your 40s can be frightening and exhilarating at the same time – after all, you get to date again without all the angsty pressures twentysomethings often have, but at the same time you might wonder how exactly to go about it. After all, choices that seem effortless and logical for people half your age might not suit your lifestyle and needs.

If you’ve tried Tinder and discovered there’s no one there under the age of 28 – don’t despair. Tinder can be great fun and much more than just a hookup-app, but if you’re fairly serious about dating and finding a partner, it’s probably not the best place to start out – occasionally you might feel out of place, wondering whether online dating really is for you and how you can keep your dignity if the whole online dating experience is established in a swipe left or right based on profile pics and a few brief details. You can read more about Tinder in our review.

Find a good match on Match

So, first things first – you should establish what kind of relationship you’re really after and choose the medium accordingly. Just want a bit of flirty fun? Apps are fine for that. Want a real chance of finding a relationship? We strongly advise you to invest the time – and money – and get yourself signed up on a dating site. Perhaps you ask: why should I pay if the apps are free (even though not all of them are, for example Tinder charges you for using their premium facilities if you’re over the age of 28)? The answer is: because paid dating sites generally create a safe and secure environment for dating, give you a better choice in your particular age group and have more members who share the same aims and expectations about finding a partner than you do. Read our article comparing Match, eHarmony and Tinder explaining some of those differences further.

What’s the best dating site for online dating over 40? We can warmly recommend Match.com. As the biggest dating site in the Western world they’ve put in a lot of effort into making their site as expansive as possible. Their membership numbers are consistently high, they monitor their site regularly to keep out possible scammers (although you shouldn’t just rely on that) and their site is easy to use with its clean design and straightforward approach to profile building. You can read more about Match in our review.

Alternatively, if you’re keen on promoting British sites, we advise you to check out Guardian Soulmates, another great site, that has been solidly building up their clientele since 2004. Trustworthy and easy to use – albeit leaning to the left – it’s a great site that will connect you to many like-minded members if you’re also more of a liberal. Read our Guardian Soulmates review here.

Be honest

The next important step after you’ve chosen your preferred dating site is creating your profile page. We’re not going to beat about the bush: a good profile pic is essential! No mirror-selfies, no group photos and absolutely no pics depicting you in your twenties. (And while we’re on the subject, never lie about your real age!) If you’re really struggling with finding a great photo of yourself, ask a good friend to stage a photo shoot or you could even consider hiring a professional! There are many agencies offering that service but one of the first ones who started doing that is our good friend Saskia Nelson who was recently featured in this inspiring BBC article.

Make sure your profile depicts correctly what it is you’re looking for, what your expectations are and what kind of date you’re really looking for. You don’t want to waste your time and money attracting attention from members who you already know you have nothing in common and absolutely no future with.

At the same time, while you’re being very specific in describing your expectations, you should be open in what you’re searching for. Or more accurately, how you’re searching. Most dating sites allow you to perform very specific searches. Anything from hair colour to music taste, religion to pet preference can be pinpointed in their advanced searches. We advise you to keep an open mind when it comes to details like that. It’s ok to rule out dealbreakers (people outside the age range we’re looking for or living miles away, for example) but other than that it pays to remember that love comes in all shapes and sizes and can be found in the least likely places.

Safety first

Another important area anyone online dating over 40 should be aware of is scamming. Unfortunately it happens on dating sites, even though it’s less of a case on paid sites. While keeping an open mind you should always make sure you don’t give out personal details and/or agree to pay anything to the person you’ve only been communicating with online. Unfortunately a lot of scammers are specifically targeting more mature daters seeing as they’re not usually as experienced in the world of online dating than younger folk. These people often come up with especially sad stories about why they need your help: it’s important to keep a level head even if your heart goes out to help them. Don’t hesitate to talk to your friends if you find it hard to decide for yourself what the best line of action is and if you don’t feel safe, you should take a step back and keep your distance.

It’s also absolutely essential that you exercise caution when heading out to actual dates with people you’ve met online. Make sure you always have your first date in a public place and refrain from giving out your address or even a phone number before you’re sure you really know and trust the person you’re dating. You can find more advice on how to keep safe when dating and avoiding fraudulent behaviour.

Don’t forget to have fun

However, the main thing to do when dating online – whether you’re in your twenties, thirties, forties or even seventies – is to have fun and enjoy yourself in the process. If in all this you’re lucky enough to actually find what you’re looking for then that’s even better. We certainly encourage everyone single and willing to take the plunge and give it a try, especially if you’re new to it. Who knows where you might end up in the process!


About the Author

has been reviewing and writing about the world of online dating since 2008 and the launch of Online Dating Help. A stickler for promoting ethical practices within the UK dating industry she champions the sites that get it right while highlighting those holding it back. You can follow her on Google+



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