This content originally appeared on Mashable for a US audience and has been adapted for the UK audience.
Dating when you’re 40 or older can be intimidating — unlike when you’re in your 20s or 30s, you can’t just assume everyone your age is single and looking for love. If you’re back in the game, it’s important to remember that around half of marriages end in divorce, so the dating pool might not be as small as you might think.
Meeting people in real life still happens, but sometimes it’s easier and less intimidating to meet people online. There’s a comfort in knowing that the people you find on dating apps are single and looking for a romantic relationship, so at least you’re both on the same page from the start.
What we’re trying to say is that there is nothing to fear about dating again at 40.
How do you start dating again at 40?
The first step to start dating after a break is simply acknowledging that you’re ready. From there, you can decide how and where you want to try to meet people. Dating apps have been around for decades, which means they are totally normal and shouldn’t be a last resort.
You’ll also want to be direct with what you’re hoping to achieve. A serious relationship? Casual hookup? Friendship that might lead to more? Whatever it is, be upfront because you don’t want to fall for someone who isn’t looking for the same thing. Honesty is always the best policy.
Dating in your 40s, 50s, 60s, or older can feel lonely when all your friends are married or in relationships. If you want to find a community of people experiencing the same things as you, we recommend visiting the subreddit r/datingoverforty — it’s full of people sharing stories of success, heartbreak, bad dates, good dates, and more. It’s worth checking out, especially if you’re stepping back into the world of online dating for the first time in years.
What problems might you experience when dating over 40?
We spoke to Jennifer Frazier, a 46-year-old based in Indiana, who met someone on Match. While Frazier says the stigma around dating sites with the over 40 crowd is mostly gone, she doesn’t think a lot of single men in her area are using these sites, so she’s experiencing fewer options.
She also thinks location plays a big part in how successful dating apps will be for a person, which we agree with. “I love the idea of Bumble because it gives women the power to send the first message,” Frazier says. “There were only about four men in my age range within 25 miles, though, so that was disappointing.”
Frazier also says having a family can get in the way of dating, because you might have kids to take care of and taking time off from parent duty isn’t always easy. “It’s hard to find a night off from cooking, driving kids, and all the other things we are responsible for,” she says. “I have faced pressure from men I have not even met who are being demanding of my time. I have enough demands without adding to it.” If someone is being demanding of your time and pushing to meet up right away, we want to remind you that it’s OK to say no.
Like every other age range, people over 40 are looking for all types of relationships. According to a desirability survey conducted by eharmony, 70% of people are looking for a serious relationship rather than a casual one. However, it’s often the case that older daters are actually looking for something more relaxed. Like we said, know what you want and be upfront about it.
Can you find a serious relationship with dating apps?
According to Pew Research Centre, 57% of online daters describe their overall experience as positive. A lot of factors add up to whether online dating will be successful for you. Some apps use super in-depth compatibility quizzes that lead to really specific matches, whilst others just present you with a bunch of singles in your area within your specified age range. Both methods have their perks.
One thing to remember is to have patience. Finding a partner who ticks most of your boxes doesn’t happen overnight. You will most likely go through some duds and have some bad dates, but hopefully that will lead you to a healthy and happy relationship.
What is the best dating site for singles over 40?
The best dating site for you depends on your set of personal preferences. If you want something serious, Match will help you find someone compatible who is also looking for a serious relationship. eharmony also specialises in serious relationships, but the site is really for people who want to marry their next partner, so it really isn’t for something casual.
People who don’t want to jump into anything too serious just yet should utilise Tinder, Hinge, or Bumble. There really is a dating site for everybody, but it just might take some time to find the one that strikes gold for you. We have tried to highlight a selection of dating sites and apps that should appeal to everyone, with popular names like Match, eharmony, and EliteSingles making the cut. You just need to pick a favourite, and get back out there.
These are the best dating sites if you’re 40 or older in 2023.