Is 60 too old to date? Absolutely not. For older adults, dating can provide companionship, intimacy, and even physical health benefits.
There are a variety of ways to meet new people in your senior years, from mutual connections to social groups and gatherings.
Dating after 50 requires making smart decisions. Learn some tips to help you stay safe while having fun.
In the U.S., approximately 27% of adults age 60 and older live alone. Within this group, women are more likely than men to live by themselves (20% vs. 11%). Living solo can be a positive experience for many people: You can watch what you want on TV, come and go as you please, and make all the big decisions that impact your life. The lack of a partner doesn’t mean you’re “missing out.” You may have a rich social life filled with friends, family, travel, and hobbies, and you find your life is perfect just the way it is.
But there may come a time when you’re interested in dating. Not only can the pursuit of new romance feel exhilarating; it offers real benefits for your health and well-being, too.
Intimate connections like those created during dating can alleviate stress, delay mental and physical decline, and help you live longer.
Even if you’re not ready to dip your toes in the dating waters, knowing how to approach it can help you be prepared when the moment is right.
How can I meet someone as an older adult?
If you've been off the dating circuit for quite some time, it’s natural to feel a bit intimidated at the thought of making the leap. You might be wondering, is 60 too old to date? Or: What do seniors do on a first date? Is dating like riding a bike—will you even remember how?
Dating after 50 does have its challenges. No matter your age, it’s tough to put yourself out there and risk rejection. If you’ve been through a painful divorce or the death of a spouse, you may feel even more emotionally vulnerable. Plus, the pool of potential dating partners in your local area may be relatively small.
The good news is that when it comes to dating as a senior, some things haven’t changed. Tried-and-true methods of meeting new people still apply, including:
- Introductions through people you know, like friends and family. After all, they know you best and who might be a good match for you.
- Shared interests and hobbies—such as church, fitness classes, or recreational activities. If you don't currently participate in group-based activities, consider joining a local club to expand your possibilities.
- Social events like weddings, birthday parties, and graduations. Attending these events regularly gives you an opportunity to be exposed to a wider community of potential dating partners.
What about online dating for seniors?
Online dating isn't just for twentysomethings. In fact, there are many dating sites that cater to older adults, such as OurTime. Forbes lists some of the most popular options in its Guide to the Best Senior Dating Sites of 2022.
With a senior dating app, you'll typically be required to register using your email address. You may be asked to fill out a questionnaire so that the system can better pair you with other singles who are a good fit. You'll usually be prompted to upload a photo of yourself. Once you’ve completed your profile, you’ll start receiving matches in your local area. If you decide you want to connect with someone, you'll often be allowed to send them a private message using an online message function. Then it’s up to you to decide whether you want to meet the individual face-to-face.
Five golden rules for senior dating and intimacy
Before you dive head-first into the world of dating after 50, there are some things to consider. Knowing what to expect, and how to keep yourself safe, can help you enjoy the ride. Here’s what we recommend:
1. Meet in public first.
Dating as an older adult can be an exciting new adventure (remember what those butterflies in your stomach felt like?). But play it smart. On any first date, always meet in a public place and continue to do so until you feel at ease with that person. Before you leave your home, make sure to let friends and family know where you’ll be. Check in with someone you trust before, during, and after your date.
Don’t overshare. Keep your personal information under wraps when first getting to know someone—such as details about where you live, where you work, your family, and your finances.
2. Stick to your boundaries.
As an older adult, you know what you feel comfortable with. Play by your own rules and don’t worry about what others your age are doing. If you don’t want to kiss on the first date, don’t. If you only want to date one person at a time, and expect the same from your dating partner, be explicit about it.
3. Discuss sex up front.
When you’re a senior who is dating, having sex isn’t a given. You may no longer have the libido you once did, or you may have certain beliefs about sex outside of marriage. There are plenty of ways for you and your partner to enjoy each other without sexual intercourse, such as kissing, cuddling, and general touching. If you're not willing or ready to have sex, be honest. Setting expectations early can help prevent misunderstandings later on.
And if you do decide to have sex? Sexual health is important for older adults, and age doesn’t have to stand in the way of an active sex life. But while unwanted pregnancy is no longer a concern, your risk of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) is lifelong. That’s why it’s important to know your partner. Don’t shy away from sexual health questions; ask outright about any history of STIs and sexual issues. Make condom use a non-negotiable when penetrative sex is involved. While this kind of open communication may feel awkward at first, it really is the basis for a mutually satisfying sex life.
5. Never give or send anyone money.
The dating scene is a hotbed for con artists eager to take advantage of trusting, unsuspecting older adults. In fact, dating scams that target seniors are all too common. Be on the lookout for red flags, such as a person telling you about their financial hardships right off the bat. Trust your instincts, no matter how compelling someone’s sob story is.
Finally, whether you're meeting people the old-fashioned way or using a senior dating app, be patient. You've been on this earth long enough to know that love isn't like the movies, and you won't necessarily fall for the first person you meet. Focus on having fun and meeting new people, and don't settle for less than you deserve. That right person, when they come along, will be worth the wait.
Want to know more about sex and intimacy for older adults? Get additional insights on maintaining sexual health after 50.
1. National Council on Aging, Aging Mastery Program (AMP), Sexual Health: An Overview.