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Maybe this is because older adults are wise enough to know that looks have very little to do with whether someone is going to be a kind, loving and caring companion.
Maybe it’s because the physical nature of attractiveness changes when you get older, or maybe they know that being “hot and sexy” is more a function of your personality than how you look.
Far more important is what shape you are in, how healthy you are, what activities you can do. If you’re active and like going for long walks and playing golf, you’re going to be much more interested in the fit and energetic 82-year-old who can share your activities than the 65-year-old waiting on a hip replacement who can no longer walk long distances. The other stunning aspect of dating for young people is how much looks matter.
On the other hand, the 75-year old woman who has had past back problems and likes to stay in with wine and movies might be a great match for that 65-year-old man. The hottest online dating app for young people today is Tinder, which proudly claims to be matching over 450 million love-seekers daily.
While this is true for some older adults, it is far from universal.
Many seniors really are looking for companionship and nothing more. A recognition that most older adults are prepared for the fact that no single person may be the solution to all their social needs, that they may be just as well served by multiple companions.
With the obsession that today’s media has with youth and appearance, you could be forgiven for thinking that it’s only the young who are looking for companionship, that dating is a young person’s game. Which of the following images do you think the media is more likely to use to accompany an article on online dating? At the same time, more older adults over 55 find themselves single and looking, either through divorce or the tragic loss of a husband or wife they loved for many years.
We are all living decades longer than we once did, and are staying fitter, healthier (and in some cases, friskier) further into our wisdom years than ever before.
What stands out as the most important aspect of a person when determining if you may be a potential match? With Tinder (and pretty much every other online dating system on the market today) the photo is all-important.
This scenario is not just on Match.com, but on E-harmony, Ourtime, Plenty of Fish, OK Cupid, and the rest of the dating websites.
The filtering mechanisms on these dating sites similarly emphasize the importance age takes in the minds of young match-seekers, with all users asked to specify the age range they are seeking, with many choosing ridiculously narrow ranges (e.g. ) Adults over 55 are far more flexible in their approach to companionship.
That’s why we’re currently working on a number of features for Stitch to ensure that the people you meet are who they say they are. We’ve found older adults to be far more refreshingly open-minded. In case you hadn’t figured it out by now, all the differences we’ve described above lead most older adults to conclude that, well, online dating is not a positive experience at all.
One thing that many dating services have in common is using fancy algorithms to help you find a partner based on a dazzling array of filters you provide them. Whether it was the Jewish 82-year-old, who admitted in her youth she would have only accepted “a handsome Jewish boy” but now “doesn’t mind about their background as long as they are kind”, or the 59-year-old devout Catholic who had never considered dating Protestants when she was younger, we found an incredible willingness to judge potential partners on their personality and shared interests than any pre-conceived notions of who the “right” partner might be. It’s built around the needs of younger generations, who care a lot about age, about appearances, about filtering out potential matches based on arbitrary criteria, who are happy to spend inordinate amounts of time online, browsing and scrutinizing potential matches.
Part of this is probably the wisdom that comes with age, but even more significant is an essential truth about how age works.