Dating for over 60s
Dating at any age can be pretty daunting. So if you’re over 60, single and want to start dating, you may not know where to turn. Don't worry! We’ve got all you need to get started.
Why date at my age?
People date for different reasons at any age. When you were in your 20s and 30s, you probably began looking for a life partner so you could settle down and start a family. At this stage, you left your parents’ home to establish your independence, explore new relationships, develop your career and find your own place to put down roots.
Fast forward to the present and your situation is totally different—you may be widowed or divorced, or maybe you just never married. But now your quest for companionship is not about having children or starting out on your adult life journey. As such, what you are looking for in a relationship will be based on different factors.
Of the singles aged 60+ who we interviewed, there were two things they were all looking for—a physical relationship and companionship. Many people who already had established families and home lives didn’t want to dig up their roots and move. In other words, they didn't really want to set up house and share domestic duties. Instead, they were far more interested in having someone to be with and enjoy the pleasures of life.
So whatever your reasons, it’s important to be totally honest as to why you wish to start dating. Once you’ve worked this out, it’s equally important to be up front with anyone you go out on a date with, as you can’t just assume that other people are dating for the same reasons as you are.
Meeting someone new in person
There are many ways to meet new people—some very old-fashioned (like using a matchmaker) and others more modern (like speed dating). We explain it all in the paragraphs that follow.
Matchmaker, matchmaker make me a match
Matchmakers, or Shidduchim in Hebrew, have a long history in the Jewish tradition. Hedi Fisher, a Holocaust survivor now living in London, was so successful at matchmaking that she wrote a book (Matchmaker, Matchmaker, available on Amazon.co.uk) on the subject.
Suzie Parkus of Meet Your Match is one matchmaking coach who offers a modern take on the traditional Jewish matchmaker. There are also organisations such as the Simantov matchmaking service which are designed for Jewish professionals and tend to attract a slightly younger audience.
There are also a lot of non-Jewish introduction agencies out there, such as the long established service, Drawing Down the Moon.
If you do decide to go down this route, you’ll need to do your homework. These services tend to be rather expensive, so make sure you read the fine print before signing up.
Speed dating for busy singles
Speed dating is a reasonably new way of meeting prospective partners. It is an organised social activity in which those seeking romantic relationships have a series of short conversations with prospective partners.
It is generally designed for busy professionals and tends to focus on those between the ages of 25 and 40. However, if you think this might be for you, why not contact one of the many speed dating companies you can find on the Internet and see if they have anything for over 60s? If not, then go ahead and suggest they run one!
Using your own social network to find love
The little things that make us fall in love or find someone attractive are hard enough for us to articulate, but they're more difficult for anyone else to understand too. Sometimes being set up on a blind date can do the trick, but many people find themselves pondering, “What on earth were my friends thinking?” when on the way home from such a date.
Sometimes it’s easier just using your network of family members and friends to meet new people in a more general way, expanding your network and the possibility of meeting your perfect match.
We spoke to one woman who met her second husband at a friend of a friend’s birthday party. When the two originally got together, friends said they would have never thought they would be a couple if they were the last two people on the planet. Meanwhile, they are now happily married.
Date by exploring interests, meeting like-minded people
When you get older, having a companion who shares your interests can play an even more important role than it does when you were younger. Many of the over 60s daters that we spoke to cited shared interests as one of the most important things they were looking for in a partner. So why not go travelling to places of interest, visit art museums, attend concerts or sign up for Classes, clubs and continuing education courses or volunteer for other activities that match your interests?
Combine travel with romance on singles holidays
If you’re feeling adventurous and love to travel, why not combine your search for the perfect partner with a fabulous holiday?
Most singles holiday websites feature sections for Jewish people and those aged 40+. Organisations such as Ayelet have tours specifically for single Jewish people aged 40+. The Best Single Travel website has a section for single Jewish travellers, as well as those in their 40s, 50s, 60s and over.
Getting out to singles social events
Many synagogues offer events and activities for singles of all ages. The United Synagogue has singles events in synagogues throughout the UK. Check out the Something for Singles section of the United Synagogue website for more information.
There are also community and cultural centres that offer programmes if you're single and want to participate in other activities with like-minded people. Jewish Care’s community centres in Redbridge and Golders Green host regular singles events for over 50s. Get in touch with your local Jewish Care community centre for more information.
If you’re based in London, North West Jewish Singles (NWJS) pretty much do what they say on the tin. For more information about NWJS, have a look at their website.
If you identify as being lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT), there are Jewish LGBT organisations that hold social events, such as the Jewish LGBT+ Group (which also includes those who identify as bisexual and transgender) and Gay Jews in London.
Outside of the Jewish community, there are many different singles events, activities and meet ups for people of all ages and interests. If you think this is for you, we’d recommend doing an Internet search for "singles events" and then adding other keywords that meet your criteria, such as those relating to your interests or location.
Meeting people through volunteering
If you’re the giving kind, volunteering is a fantastic way to make a difference to your community or a charity that is close to your heart. It’s also a great way to meet like-minded people. To find out more about volunteering, check out the Volunteering and participating in your community section of our website.
Finding love online
Another not so old-fashioned way to meet people is online. Nowadays, many people are going digital to find love. That's why there’s such a wide range of websites and apps available to choose from, but where to begin? A quick Internet search will provide you with lots of options, and if you want to get more specific, read on…
Mainstream online options
First, let’s start with the mainstream websites and apps. That is, those sites that cater to everyone, regardless of age, gender, sexuality, religious beliefs and suchlike. These websites have large databases, so you can narrow your search based on specific criteria such as “Jewish”, “Over 60” or “LGBT”. Mainstream dating websites include industry leaders eHarmony and Match.
If you’re interested in something a bit more immediate or casual, location-based dating apps (like Tinder) allow you to find other singles near you.
Speciality online options
There are websites and apps tailored to all manner of different categories, and we have selected the ones that those we interviewed found most helpful.
- If you want to meet other Jewish singles, Jdate is a good place to start. There are also location-based dating apps for Jewish singles, such as Jswipe.
- If you want to focus your search on others over 60, websites such as Mature Encounters and Just Senior Singles are quite popular.
- If you identify as LGBT, online services such as Gaydar for men and PinkCupid for women may be your preference. There are also websites like one scene that span across the LGBT spectrum.
- If you have political leanings, then you may prefer online dating services where you could find others with the same. The Telegraph dating service or The Guardian’s Soulmates service are designed for people with this interest.
- If the arts are your thing, then the Love Arts dating website may be the place for you.
If none of our suggestions are making your heart sing, then we recommend taking to the Internet and searching “dating” along with a few keywords that express the specific interests or characteristics you’re looking for.
Tips for safe dating
It’s important to keep yourself safe when venturing out in the dating world. As in any other aspect of life, there are going to be people out there who range from total scammers to those who tell a few little white lies to get you interested; there will also be genuine folk who just want to meet that special someone.
How to trust the technology
If you’re using a dating website or app, do your research about the company first. In the same way that you make sure that websites you purchase goods from are bona fide, you should do the same with online dating services. You’ll also need to check out their prices and terms and conditions to make sure they fit within your budget and expectations.
Do your homework
When you meet someone online, the best advice is to proceed slowly and with caution. There are people out there who post fake profiles—complete with falsified information and images—so you need to make sure that anyone you meet online is the real thing.
We recommend you:
Ask questions. Ask plenty of questions about who they are, where they’re from and other general questions, as well as anything you feel is of concern. If your prospective date feels uncomfortable by your asking questions about them in order to keep you safe, then you have to ask yourself why.
Search the Internet. Use the Internet to discover whether or not the person is genuine. You can search with any combination of their name, profile picture and phrases that they commonly use, along with the term “dating scam”. You can also look at their social media profile to see if they’re active on LinkedIn, Facebook or Twitter and see if this supports what they’re saying on their profile. If the person has multiple Facebook accounts, if their profile image is being used on different social media accounts or if their Facebook account has very few friends, images or information, then they’re probably not who they say they are.
If the information someone provides on their profile sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Be wary of claims that sound unbelievable; people who boast about immense wealth, links to famous people or remarkable achievements are most likely not telling the truth. If a person becomes defensive when you challenge them on such claims, then it’s time to think twice about going out on a date with them.
Safely dating in person
When you decide you want to go out on a date with someone for the first time, the rules for safe dating apply regardless of how you met the person.
It’s perfectly natural to feel a little nervous, especially if you haven’t dated in a long time, so it’s good to talk to your friends and close family members about your dating choices. If there are things they don’t feel comfortable with, it may be helpful to reflect on these concerns. If a prospective date tells you not to tell anyone else about them, then it’s safe to say “run for the hills”. This person has something to hide and you probably don’t want to find out what it is. If someone can’t be honest at the outset, then it isn’t a foundation on which to build a happy and healthy relationship.
Keep your money in the bank where it belongs
This may sound obvious, but many scammers are excellent actors and know how to exploit even the most prudent and sensible people, but it’s really important to ensure that you don’t send money to your prospective date. If you do, it’s highly likely that you will never see your money or your date again. In addition to this, do not provide your prospective dates with any financial information, such as details of credit cards or bank accounts.
In the modern dating world, many scammers will build up relationships with people over time online, spinning their sad yarns, gaining the other person’s trust and sympathy, and then fleecing the person when they are most vulnerable. Whatever the other person’s circumstances might appear to be, their finances are not your concern. If you are feeling charitable, donate to a well established charity!
Keep your private information private
Just as you wouldn’t disclose a lot of personal information when you first meet someone new, be careful to not disclose too much to your prospective date, particularly at the beginning of a relationship.
Make it public
On the first date, it’s still important to ensure that you get to know the real person. It is advisable not to have your first few dates in a private place, such as your own home. It’s best to meet in a public place, where there are lots of people around and you are not completely alone with your date.
It’s important to let a friend or family member know when and where you’re going to be, and to arrange to call that friend or family member when you are home safely after the date. Some people like to use location-based apps, such as Find my Friends on the iPhone, so that their friends and family members can know where they are at any point in time.
Do you fancy a date?
With all of this advice, we hope you now feel prepared to get out there and explore your dating options. If you want to share your experience or ask more questions about the dating scene, we’d love to hear from you! Register and post your thoughts in our forum, or get in touch through our Facebook or Twitter pages.