If you’re single again after having been in a long-term relationship — or newly divorced, with or without kids — you may be toying with the idea of getting back in the game. Considering it’s been a while since you’ve entered the dating scene, though, you may be wondering how people meet that special someone these days. At this stage, hanging out at bars all night is a nonstarter. Instead, you’ve got a bunch of dating apps to choose from. But are you too old to be using them? And if not, how do you know which one is right for you? Read on for answers to these questions and more.
Are you too old to be using dating apps?
Absolutely not, says Sonya Schwartz, a dating expert in Jackson, MS, and owner of relationship blog Her Aspiration. “As long as you own a smartphone and are comfortable with online dating, you can use dating apps at any age. There are multiple dating sites for the 35+ age group and some of them are even dedicated to seniors.” The best part is that you can give the apps a trial run and delete them anytime. Don't like what you see? Onto the next one.
Is meeting someone online something to be ashamed of?
“Research shows that there was certainly a stigma to online dating 10 to 20 years ago,” says Sarah-Rose Marcus, a social media researcher in New York City. “Many people were ashamed to admit it, even in surveys. Today, it’s become the norm, as one in three marriages begin online.” Mobile-only dating apps, specifically, says Marcus, have become popular for their convenience and because many of them are free. As with more established desktop platforms, you’re able to narrow the field to people with niche interests, similar backgrounds, and the same religious affiliation.
Which apps are the best for women age 35 and older?
“I would suggest going on apps that are slower paced and provide you with a limited amount of matches a day,” says Marcus. For instance, she points to Coffee Meets Bagel, which uses an algorithm that curates up to six people for you every day at noon. After browsing your options, you can “pass” or “connect.”
“Depending on your needs, you can go on apps that also have the traditional online-dating format, such as Match or JDate [the latter, a site for Jewish singles],” says Marcus. These started off as desktop applications, but now have mobile versions and require you to pay a monthly or annual subscription fee to contact other members. Platforms in this category will have you fill out a detailed questionnaire to zero in on your best matches. “I would recommend eHarmony to people 35+ because it attracts an audience that is serious about dating,” she adds.
Schwartz is a huge fan of Zoosk, also subscription based, which she says has “a huge international user pool.” Another top pick of hers is Match, whose members, she says, come from all walks of life: “The site is ideal for divorced women, single moms, and more.” For singles 50 and older, both Schwartz and Marcus propose OurTime, which also has a large membership and is simple to use.
Marcus advises starting with one app and familiarizing yourself with it, then moving on to a second or third one to maximize your outcome.
Which apps should you avoid like a bad boyfriend?
OKCupid is a free app that asks detailed questions about intimate topics like sex and politics. However, “it attracts a younger and more casual audience,” says Marcus. She also doesn’t recommend Happn for women looking for something serious because its geolocation focus naturally appeals to people interested in occasional dating or hookups. Badoo has a similar booty-call reputation. Marcus adds that younger millennials tend to use Tinder (the original swipe-happy app) and Bumble (on which women make the first move), so keep that in mind if you’re on the hunt for someone closer to your age.
Whichever you choose, keep an open mind and have fun!