Online dating in the senior set is a burgeoning sector in the realm of online dating sites.
According to a 2011 research study, Statistics Canada reported that there are more and more seniors becoming divorced or separated as we move further along into the 21st century.
Data used for the research document, ‘Emerging trends in living arrangements and conjugal unions for current and future seniors’, represented 1981 to 2011 Canada censuses of population, and from the 2011 General Social Survey.
The research was used to examine the trends in living arrangements and conjugal unions of seniors, who are defined as individuals 65 years of age or older, and future seniors, who are defined as individuals 55 to 64 years of age. According to census data, there were 4.6 million seniors in private households in 2011. “Future seniors” numbered 4.3 million.
Between 1981 and 2011, the proportion of those who were divorced or separated increased from 4% to 12% among seniors 65 years of age and older.
The transition to “unmarried” status can have consequences on the financial and emotional well-being of seniors. Many of these transitions are caused by the death of one partner, but a growing number result from divorce and separation. In 2011, 76% of men and 55% of women who had been divorced or separated eventually became part of a second union. About three-quarters of Canadian seniors who experienced a second union got married again, with the rest living as common-law partners
Which is probably why dating among seniors, is a trend that will likely continue to gain momentum.
Online dating use among American seniors, aged 55 to 64 years old, has risen substantially, according to Pew Research Center. Today, 12% of 55- to 64-year-olds report using an online dating site or mobile dating app versus only 6% in 2013. (www.pewresearch.org/)
There are even sites geared specifically to the over-50 crowd, including OurTime.com, SeniorPeopleMeet.com, SeniorMatch.ca and Stitch.com The American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) has a dating site, and it was launched, according to AARP’s Director, Nora Duncan, “to help provide a safe place for seniors to meet.
Researchers found that 6 percent of those 55 to 64, and 3 percent of those 65 and older, used online dating sites.
Of those who tried online dating:
- 23 percent said they did it to meet a broad range of people
- 20 percent said they liked that it was “no pressure”
- 14 percent said they tried it because a friend suggested it
- 13 percent said they had no time to meet people the traditional way
- 48 percent were looking for a serious relationship
- 26 percent were looking for friendship/companionship
- 14 percent were interested in casual dating
Women were more likely to be seeking friendship than men. Women were also more likely than men to be worried about the safety of online dating.
Of those who didn’t try online dating:
- 18 percent said it doesn’t fit their lifestyle
- 13 percent said they heard too may negative things about it
- 12 percent said it was too risky to talk to strangers online
Digital technology has transformed many aspects of our society, including how people seek out and establish romantic relationships.
With seniors gaining momentum in the digital world, their use of computers or smartphones is also transforming how they approach dating.
According to AARP’s vice president of digital strategies and operations, Nataki Edwards, “The goal of AARP’s dating site is to keep members from feeling isolated and encourage them to get out and into a social setting. Not only is this low pressure; it’s likely more in keeping with kind of relationships people tend to seek as they get older.” Edwards said.
The 2012 AARP study of 1,000 people 50 and older showed not all older people who try online dating are looking to meet Mr. or Ms. Right.
Though the survey said nearly half of those who used Internet dating sites were looking for a serious relationship, about a quarter were seeking friendship or companionship and 14 percent were interested in casual dating.
“I think the need for love is a universal one, but we do see some of our members moving from a desire to get married to one of pure companionship and even friendship.” stated Nora Duncan, AARP.