It takes two to tango, but finding a suitable partner — for dancing or for life — can become more challenging past the age of 50. Several online senior dating services have stepped up to fill the void, including the AARP’s new dating website. According to Senior Planet, the AARP service is one of the best for seniors, because there’s no cumbersome profile to fill out, and the matches are based upon proposed dates, such as a picnic or a visit to the museum. Cost is $12 for six months, and there is a free trial plus 50 percent off for AARP members.
Other sites recommended by Senior Planet include:
- Match.com: This website has more than 17 million members, 2.5 million of whom are seniors, making it one of the largest online dating services. Cost is $19.99 for a six-month membership, which includes Match.com Mobile, Matchtalk (an option that allows you to narrow your search by using keywords), and “Stir” events — offline groups that gather for local activities.
- eHarmony: On this website, matches are made for you, based upon the results of an intensive psychology test. Cost is $23.95 for six months.
- OurTime.com: You can browse online before joining the plan, which is available for $12.99 for six months. Online chat is also an option.
- OkCupid.com: Membership is free. Online ads subsidize its cost.
Once you’ve decided on a website, you’ll need to consider what photo of yourself you should include. In our looks-based culture, this may cause some anxiety, but the photo is important, says dating coach Lisa Copeland. Her advice:
- Post two to four pictures.
- Make sure you’re smiling in the photos.
- Use a professional photographer. A good one should cost less than $100.
- Make sure it’s a current photo.
Dr. Pepper Schwartz, writing on senior dating for the AARP, also offers these suggestions:
- Ask your friends for an objective opinion about your choice of the information you plan to include in your online profile. What sort of impression does it give of you? Is it accurate? Does it sound boastful? Do you talk too much about your children?
- Avoid cliches. Instead of saying you’re a book lover, be more precise: “I am addicted to spy novels, especially those of John le Carre.” Instead of saying you like to entertain, describe the best party you ever gave: “Everyone brought a specialty dish from their favorite vacation destination.”
- Don’t limit your options. If you have three cats, you’re probably going to want to be matched with a cat person. But if he doesn’t share your passion for Civil War re-enactments, it may not be the end of the world.
- Make safe decisions about your first meeting. A public spot, such as a coffee shop, is the best. Meet there as many times as you need to in order to feel comfortable with this new person.
- Be patient. It may take many first dates before you meet someone with whom you “click.”
Don’t be discouraged if it takes a few first dates to find the best match for you. Being persistent and patient may help you in your quest to find an ideal partner.