When your golden years aren't all about the quick hook-up.
Trying to find a connection with someone is potentially one of the hardest endeavors we take on as humans. Trying to do it after a certain age makes it all the more daunting, given the amount of energy required and the general stigma around aging in a youth-obsessed culture.
If you find yourself back on the market, either after a breakup or just after a dry spell, then getting onto a dating app or two (or more! It’s ok… breath) will only increase your odds of finding a companion. Yes, most of the apps will feel like they’re skewed toward a younger pool of daters—according to studies, about 48% of 18- to 29-year-olds use apps to find dates these days. That number falls to about 19% when you look at daters over 50.
But not all apps are created equal. Some limit the number of connections you see at a given time to encourage stronger consideration, ask for more detailed information to foster better matches, or even target people looking for simple companionship over anything sexual. Here are a few apps to add to your home screen that might just help you get lucky in love again.
OurTime turns the fervor of modern-day hookup culture down a notch. Instead of looking for something quick and meaningless, it encourages users to search for pen-pals, friends, dates, long-term relationships, and even marriage partners. And it’s specifically designed for the 50+ crowd, with a membership base of nearly a million users in that age range. The app can be used for free, but more features are unlocked with a subscription ($30 for one month, or $90 for six months).
Though 72% of its users (at least, as of 2017) fall under the age of 35, that’s not necessarily a reason to write off Bumble. It is, after all, the second-most popular dating app in the U.S., so it’s sure to give you plenty of options, no matter what your age. In heterosexual matches, the app requires women to initiate the conversation within 24 hours of making a match. Then, men have 24 hours to respond—or else the match expires. In same-sex matches, either person can make the first move, but those time restrictions still apply. In this way, the app forces people to start the conversation, so you’re not left hanging in limbo after matching—great for people who actually want to meet up. The app also offers profile customization that allows people to note specifics—religion, political beliefs, if they have kids, and what they’re looking for (a relationship or something casual, etc.)—which can help you get a better understanding of a person before you decide to swipe yes or no. The app is fully functional in its free version, but you can pay for more features, like being able to see everyone who swiped right on you.
Match—an O.G. dating site that now has an app (so you can use it however you prefer)—is a classic option for the above-40 crowd. About 50% of its users are between the ages of 30 and 49, and nearly 27% are above the age of 50. According to the site, the 50+ age group is also the fastest-growing demographic. Match does have a free membership option, but offers expanded features like unlimited messaging) with a paid subscription. Its algorithm works with what you give it: You tell the app all about yourself and exactly what you’re looking for. Because its computers have more to work with, you might be more likely to find someone you’re compatible with. With 25 years in operation, the company knows what it’s doing.
Coffee Meets Bagel
CMB is perfect for the easily overwhelmed. Every day at noon, you'll get a list of matches, or “bagels,” selected by its algorithm. With no swiping involved, a limited number of matches each day, plenty of "ice-breaker" questions, and extensive profiles, this app encourages more meaningful conversation and connection rather than quick and easy flirtations. And with over half of its users in the age range of 30-49, you’ll be more likely to match with someone operating at the same speed as you. Like many other dating apps, Coffee Meets Bagel can be used for free, but it offers more features with its $35/month premium version.
One of the original dating sites, OKCupid’s algorithm uses a series of questions to determine what “percentage” you’ll match with any of its five million users. It’s also super-inclusive, offering 12 gender identities and 20 sexual orientations so you can define yourself however you want and match with exactly who you’re looking for. The fun, low-pressure vibe of the site and app and its list of interesting profile questions may help you break out of your comfort zone just enough to find the perfect match. It’s not necessary to have a premium OkCupid account, but the paid version offers bonuses like read receipts and profile boosts.
Another app that’s broadened its user base, Hinge touts that around 47% of its users are between 30-49 years old, and roughly 2% are over 50. After filling in the app’s questionnaire and prompts, you'll get matched with users who share your common interests. The algorithm also generates a “Most Compatible” list—who you’re eight times more likely to go out with. And not only does the app show you how many people have liked you, but it also tells you what they liked about you, making it easy to start a conversation. Hinge can be used entirely for free, but you’ll have to pay for unlimited swipes and roses (the app’s form of a super-like).
If you’re looking for marriage, eHarmony might be your best option: You’re likely to find others who are similarly monogamously inclined. The app makes users take a 20-minute compatibility quiz so that it can deliver up to 30 potential matches a day—no unlimited swiping here. It may be intimidating to have to invest a considerable amount of time into getting started, but this is why the app prides itself on helping people they’re actually compatible with. eHarmony does have a free version, but it lacks a lot of the features that make it so popular; a subscription is on the pricier end, at about $50 a month of a six-month subscription. But, if you’re interested in finding someone to settle down with, the early investment might be worth it.
And then there’s Tinder, the app that made swiping famous. While long-term relationships have been known to come to fruition via this platform, it’s still probably most known for swiping right until you find that perfect person for right now. And it’s still the app most popular with the younger demographic —a 2017 analysis claimed just 15% of roughly 10 million users were 35-44, and just 4% were 45-55. But hey, there’s no age limit on wanting a little meaningless fling. The app is free, but you can get a premium membership if you want to send unlimited likes.