With people living longer and America's active baby boomers reaching retirement age, more and more people are turning to online dating services to find (or replace) Mr. or Ms. Right. A quick example: Over the past two years, the number of singles older than 50 who joined one of the dating sites run by People Media -- the number one provider of targeted, online dating communities for singles seeking meaningful relationships -- skyrocketed 400 percent.
The most popular online dating sites among active older adults are the biggies like Match.com and eHarmony.com, which serve millions of people of all ages and thus have the biggest pool of potential mates. But niche sites for active older adults abound. In May 2011, Match.com operator IAC launched OurTime.com, a site dedicated to the 50-plus crowd. Culling members from all IAC's other online dating sites, it debuted with a membership of more than 1 million, making it the world's largest site for baby boomers.
Laurie Davis, founder and CEO of dating coach service eFlirt Expert, says much of her work involves helping people -- often older active adults -- figure out which dating sites to join. Davis recommends that 50-plus singles join one large, general site, such as Match.com or eHarmony, for sheer volume, plus one smaller niche site targeted to their age group.
Looking for a special friend? This first site has you covered.
Despite the name, you don't have to be strictly looking for friendship when using Senior Friend Finder. The site allows you to seek out others who are searching for friendship, a serious relationship or marriage, and it features members' blogs and videos. There's also a chat room and a magazine, to which you can add your own articles, plus 24/7 customer service support via phone.
The site advertises it has nearly 300,000 active members worldwide. Before you sign up, you can see a listing of the number of members in each country, state and province so you know how many potential matches are in your area, if that's a concern. Senior Friend Finder is advertised as a free dating site, and everyone who signs up has chatting and instant messaging privileges. But you can only view up to 10 profiles per day, according to DatingSitesReviews.com, and you can't see members' full photographs. Purchasing a membership (starting around $12 a month) allows you to view and contact all members and access expanded search criteria, among other benefits.
Looking for a date rather than a friend? Consider the next site on our list.
A good pick for boomers looking for anything from a pen pal to a serious relationship, according to reviewer site SeniorDating.org, is 60,000-member DatingForSeniors.com. The site caters to those 45 and older, although anyone who's at least 18 can sign up. A three-day free trial period allows you to search profiles and see what other features are available. After that, it costs $19.99 a month to be a member. Membership includes features such as unlimited browsing, instant messaging, a blocking feature and the ability to see who's online.
Dating For Seniors is only for those living in the United States, and while its membership is on the smaller side, reviews on Senior Dating note the site "has grown tremendously and presents a good solid 3 star rating for excellence."
Want to cast your dating net even wider? Consider the site on the next page.
Although it's a dating site for the general public, Match.com is ranked the top older adult dating site of 2011 by ConsumerRankings.com. Match.com scored big points for its wealth of available mature adults -- 2.5 million, according to Consumer Rankings. Additionally, the site's 50-65 age group is its fastest-growing demographic, posting an 89 percent increase over the last five years, according to Time.com.
With such a large number of potential matches, you're almost guaranteed to have some quality dates, says Erik Larson, head of NextAdvisor.com, a company that provides expert reviews of online services. Larson's company gave a favorable rating to Match.com because one-quarter of its members are older than 50.
The site is also rated high by members for its ease of use and practical guidance in creating a profile. Finally, Match.com is considered overall the fastest-growing dating site in the world, so if you can't find that special someone out of the 2.5-million-member pool, you can console yourself knowing there will always be a few thousand more new people joining soon.
Looking to meet someone who shares your interests? Try our next site.
One of the top-ranked sites for boomers and older adults, according to SeniorDating.org, is 500,000-member SeniorMatch.com. The site was created to bring together single active adults who share the same interests, whether for romance or friendship. Members can post links to their blogs on the site, allowing more insight into their personalities; plus, there's an active member forum with innumerable discussion threads on everything from old-fashioned love and alternative lifestyles to pets, travel and religion. A live chat option and 24/7 phone support are helpful to those worried about navigating the site.
A free trial membership allows you to create a profile with up to 27 photos, search for others and send unlimited "winks" to members, which alert someone that you're interested. You can also exchange emails with paying members if they initiate contact. If you elect to join (memberships run about $16 to $30 a month), you can e-mail others directly and chat online, send birthday cards, view compatible matches and more.
And last but not least, check out the largest dating site in the world for the 50-plus crowd.
Baby boomers can't go wrong looking for friendship or love on the new site OurTime.com, which debuted in May 2011 with more than 1 million members, making it the world's largest dating community for people age and older.
Normally, niche dating sites have fewer members, which can make it harder to find a compatible person for romance or companionship. But having more than 1 million members from the start means older adults get not only a targeted selection of potential friends and mates, but a large one, says Josh Meyers, CEO of People Media, the IAC subsidiary focused on targeted dating. The site offers various membership packages, which average less than $5 per week.
Now that you know more about the socializing and dating options available to active adults, all you have to do is get online and get out there!
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- Bonifazi, Wendy. "Florida's Elder Population Confronts Sexually Transmitted Infections." AIDS Healthcare Foundation. Oct. 6, 2008. (May 23, 2011) http://www.aidshealth.org/news/in-the-media/floridas-elder-population.html
- Consumer Rankings. "Top 5 Senior Dating Sites of 2011." (May 18, 2011) http://www.consumer-rankings.com/dating/seniordating
- Davis, Laurie. Founder and CEO of date coaching service eFlirt Expert. Personal interview. May 18, 2011.
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