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Relationship Status: Single — Dating Perceptions and Behaviors Among Grandparents

Single Grandparents Are Open to Dating

Are single grandparents ready to mingle? Many seem to be at least open to it, according to a new AARP survey.

When it comes to dating, most single grandparents (56%) are either in the game or open to the experience, the survey found.

In spite of a general openness to dating, the majority of single grandparents are not currently doing so (78%). Why? Many say they are dissuaded by the casual attitude potential partners take and the challenges in finding a compatible person.

For those willing to put themselves out there to date, it’s often more about finding companionship than getting (re)married. Among single grandparents, women (45%) are more likely than men (25%) to be looking for companionship, while men tend to want a partner (34% versus 17%, respectively).

The national survey of single grandparents over the age of 38 revealed that most prefer to have friends introduce them to new people (63%), while 37% say family members are the best resource. About half of grandparents who are open to having family introduce them to new people have actually done so (46%), and they are more willing to have their children play matchmaker (30%) than their grandchildren (18%).

Although the dating landscape has changed significantly in recent years, AARP reports most single grandparents are fairly traditional in their approach, even though they are not looking for marriage. Most prefer an offline course of action.

Most said the best first dates would be over coffee, lunch, or dinner rather than going to a happy hour or doing an activity together. More than half of single grandparents believe a man should pick up the tab for the first date, although men hold that view in much stronger numbers (86%) than women (53%). While 56% of women would say no to a kiss on the first date, just 20% of men said the same.


The 10-minute online survey was conducted among 1,483 males and females, ages 38+, who are currently single, including 560 grandparents. It was conducted from December 28, 2018 through January 14, 2019. For more information, contact Vicki Gelfeld at For media inquiries, contact


Suggested Citation:

Gelfeld, Vicki. Relationship Status: Single — Dating Perceptions and Behaviors Among Grandparents. Washington, DC: AARP Research, February 2019.

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