Jeff Jordy used online dating services off and on for years after his divorce. Dating services like Match, eHarmony and OurTime all flitted across his phone or computer screen at one time or another.
Personal experience and input from friends helped him determine which dating apps worked best for him. But many more options are available now than when he entered the dating scene more than 15 years ago.
You “learn their differences and what kind of people might be on them and if it’s a good fit,” says Jordy, 61, of Nashville, Tennessee.
In the past decade, a consistently growing number of singles have turned to online dating as a way to meet people and find love. Three out of 10 Americans say they have used an online dating app or website, according to February data from the Pew Research Center, and digital dating providers are expected to have reached 441 million users worldwide by the end of 2023, according to Statista.
Dating apps and sites can be free or paid, and many offer free versions but charge a fee for all the bells and whistles. In recent years, many of these apps have added enhanced communication options, including video chat. Daters over 50 definitely have a preference when it comes to digital dating: Online dating service Match is most popular among people ages 50-64, according to the data from Pew.
There are apps for general audiences and those aimed specifically at singles over 50, while others try to match daters who are religious or those in the LGBTQ+ community. As always, make sure to use safe practices to avoid online scams and other dangers.
Here’s your guide to some of the digital dating options.
Dating sites for adults 50+
Available as an app and accessible from a laptop or desktop, OurTime prioritizes local profiles before showing long-distance ones, and it’s free to sign up and start browsing. With a free account, users can click the “Flirt” button to let singles know they’re interested, read their profiles and edit their own profile. If you click the heart icon on a profile, it sends a message that says, “Great profile. I’d love to hear from you.” Profile upgrades that make OurTime unique include the ability to send virtual gifts, like a picture of a rose, or get a profile boosted in searches to make it easier to find. Be aware that while the site bills itself for people 50 and older, it features profiles of younger people too. A one-month plan starts at $30, and a three-month plan is $70.
SilverSingles takes a different approach from swipe-based apps, which ask users to make initial choices primarily based on a photo, or other services where users choose their own match. With SilverSingles, users answer a personality quiz that takes about 10 minutes to complete and receive five matches a day, according to the downloadable app. There’s also a desktop option. The site claims 40 percent of users are 50-plus. A basic SilverSingles membership is free. Premium packages start at $24.95 per month for 12 months.
Dating apps for a general audience
This dating app gives women all the power to make the first move. Bumble is swipe-based, so users swipe right on profile photos they like. If a woman swipes on a man and he swipes on her as well, it’s a match. In heterosexual matches, women have 24 hours to message their match before the connection expires. In same-sex matches, either party has 24 hours to message, and then the other has another 24 hours to respond before the connection expires. Bumble also offers Bumble BFF, a friendship matchmaking site, and Bumble Biz for networking. Bumble is free to download and free to use core features, but upgrades — like spotlight or superswiping your profile so more local singles see it — come with a fee. Upgraded plans include Bumble Boost, which costs $14.99 per month and gives one spotlight per week and five superswipes per week, which let someone know you are especially interested in them. Bumble Premium costs $17.99 per month and has features that allow you to see who swiped on you before you swipe on them, rematching with expired matches, and extending matches by another 24 hours. Premium also has a travel mode that lets you look for people when you travel and offers an incognito mode, which hides your profile until you swipe on someone (nice if you don’t want your ex or your boss to see you on there). If you’re a dedicated dater, a lifetime subscription is $199.