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Travel and Things To Do

Finding Love in Later Life

Emily Trix Carver

Emily Carhan

6th February, 2023

Illustration of man and woman on magnifying glass.

Putting yourself out there to meet someone new can feel daunting, and even more so later in life. With an ever-growing insurgence of new dating apps and sites, you’d think finding ‘the one’ would be more convenient than ever. As we all know though, love is never simple. 

To help demystify the dating scene, Oak Tree Mobility looks at what finding love in 2023 is like for the over 50s. We explore the do’s and don’ts and everything in between when it comes to finding your perfect match.

You’ve Got Mail

If you’re re-entering, or are new to, the dating scene in 2023 you’ll probably have seen a wide variety of new digital ways to meet people. Whilst you may think that dating apps are for the young, they’re still popular with the young at heart. Tinder has shared that 16% of their users are aged 55+, so don’t be too quick to dismiss the idea of swiping right on Mr/Mrs Right. 

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“​​Don't fear online dating, it can be daunting, but take it step by step, you don't have to meet anyone unless you absolutely want to.”

Clarissa Bloom, Dating and Relationship expert for www.thestagcompany.com

Whilst online dating is increasing in popularity, it’s not for everyone. Data shows that 45% of singletons are confident dating online, compared with 61% of people who feel more confident dating in person. Interestingly, 50% of those digital daters have found their partners online, so you never know, the love of your life could be on the other side of the screen!

Although online dating and internet use has become more popular with 55-74-year-olds, there are 3.1 million people above the age of 55 who have never used the internet. This means that there are plenty of eligible matches found outside of the digital realm. 

“To find a partner over 50 can be difficult as you need to find a way to meet them and if they're not on dating websites, it can be more tricky to meet new people. This is also why you can try out new activities or hobbies that interest you, such as a local walking group, bowling or even a dog walking group.” Expert Clarissa Bloom comments. 

You’re the One That I Want

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Whether it’s a summer fling or a long-term relationship, people have different expectations in showing their commitment. According to a study, companionship is the most sought-after type of relationship (72%). This is followed by people seeking long-term romance (42%) and in third place are the jet-setters looking for a travel partner (32%). While kids may be a dealbreaker in finding a partner in your 20s or 30s, it’s much less of a concern for those over 50. The survey showed that just 3% are interested in finding a parental figure for their children. 

Make ‘Em Laugh

Just like you, finding your preferences in a partner are unique. Regarding physical preferences between the sexes, 21% of women think appearance is important compared with 34% of men.

Before you dazzle your date with a smile, they may be keen to know that those pearly whites are real. One-third of people want to date someone who ideally has their own teeth, whilst another third said that they’re looking for someone in good shape. What’s more, having your own hair was also found to be a factor when it came to preferences in a partner. 

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We all know that ultimately, it’s the inside that counts. Apparently, 60% of those over 50 shared that the number one thing they look for in a partner is a great sense of humour. 

Lust for Life

Once the initial spark of a new relationship blooms into a lasting love, it comes down to compatibility. At the end of the day, you want to spend the rest of your life with someone you enjoy spending time with. Whether that be on a glamorous holiday, or, taking out the bins on a drizzly Tuesday night. Speaking of rubbish, your bins could be a dealbreaker for many over 50s with 21% stating that they wouldn’t enter a relationship with someone who didn’t recycle. What’s more, 16% of people are looking for someone who shares their passion for the environment, but just one in twenty would exclusively date a veggie or vegan. 

In addition to your worldly views, it’s reported that being well-read and not having been married more than twice are all contributing factors to a more alluring date. 

When you’re over 50, your employment status becomes less of a priority to potential partners, with just 4% reporting that it’s important to them. In the same study, 55% of people shared that finding someone kind and caring is their top priority. 

Money Money Money

Sharing your life with someone often means sharing your finances. 1 in 10 singles over 50 shared that they would only consider dating someone who has paid off their mortgage. However, when it comes down to opinions on splashing your cash between the genders, 28% of women responded that financial security is important to them, whereas 14% of men said the same. 

Illustration of a house with cash and coins with text that reads more than one in ten over 50s would only date someone who has paid off their mortgage

Searchin' for My Baby

Meeting that special someone through your friends is the most preferred way to meet a partner (21%). This is followed by meeting at a social function (10%) and then the third place is meeting in a bar or restaurant (7%). On the other end of the scale, just 1% of people would want to be set up on a blind date, speed date or at the gym. 

The Do’s and Don’ts of Dating

A first date can be a nerve-wracking experience, especially if it’s been a little while since your last one. Here’s what real people have to say when it comes to the do’s and don’t of dating over 50.


Send a message

Don’t just “like” someone’s dating profile, send them a message! Be sure to keep it respectful and write something personable that indicates you’ve read their profile.

Set boundaries

Be clear about your own intentions at the start of a budding relationship, no one wants to be led on. Keep this channel of communication open with the other person and see if you’re both looking to put in the same time and effort into a relationship.

Be safe

This will especially apply to you if you’ve met your date online. Be sure to meet them in a public space and let a friend know where you’re going and who you’re meeting. 

You could also upload their profile photo to Google Lens to see if the image has been used elsewhere, or to see if it has been taken from a stock image site. Be sure to check the person’s name in your search too! 

Meet for a beverage

Meeting up for coffee is the top-rated first-date activity (29%). Whilst coffee comes out on top it tends to be women’s preference (34%) whereas only 17% of men would agree. Data shows that the pub is where they’d prefer to meet (23%). 

Keep trying

“Dating in your 50s is a lot better than being in a bad marriage.” - Reddit user ditto958


Copy and paste

Don’t just copy and paste a generic message.

Swipe right on every profile

Go for quality over quantity, reserve your right swipes for the right match.

Flirt over text

Any flirting is usually best done in person. Texts can be misinterpreted until you know someone better, so go easy on the charm over text.


Ghosting is a newer term that’s defined as “the practice of ending a personal relationship with someone by suddenly and without explanation withdrawing from all communication.” 

Instead of being guilty of this dating blunder, let them know a friendly “it was nice meeting you, best of luck with everything” to let someone know you aren’t interested in a romantic connection. 

Give up

Every “not a match” gets you closer to “a catch!” - Reddit user ​​Funny_Haha_1029

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Navigating the dating scene at any age can feel like a minefield. However, it's true what they say, you may get older, but you certainly become wiser. Research shows that 86% of those over 50 are more confident in themselves than when they were younger. Feeling more assured in yourself means that you are less likely to put up with something that isn’t right. So much so that four in five of over 50s reported that they would not tolerate someone that doesn't treat them with the respect they deserve.

Your relationship with yourself is the most empowering you’ll ever have, so don’t forget to extend that love and kindness you share with others to yourself.

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