Dating For Boomers and Seniors

THE ON-LINE DATING SCENE

They say 40 is the new 20 and 60 is the new 40! As men and women remain independent longer, baby boomers and seniors find themselves dating later in life. In your 40s, 50s, 60s or older you may find yourself back in the dating scene. Whether you never got around to getting married, are divorced or are widowed, you may now be considering striking up a relationship and looking for the best way to find that perfect someone.

Technology has brought a new dimension to the dating game. On-line dating, once thought to be scary or for the truly desperate, is now a totally acceptable way to meet a compatible partner. It has evolved into a professional, complex, personality driven business which must adhere to business ethics and high codes of standards. The average user of on-line dating services is a busy professional who is interested in a long term relationship and recognizes they may have a better chance of meeting compatible partners through a professional firm. Recent statistics show that nearly 20 percent of all couples who marry in 2010 will have met through an online dating service. So, if you are a single senior and ready to change your status, what do you have to lose?

The on-line dating services have their own set of pros and cons and share several similarities. Nearly all sites will start by asking you to create a profile. This can be as simple as spending five minutes to write a brief description of yourself that may catch someone's eye, or much more extensive with personality and compatibility tests. Because the profile serves as criteria to help pre-select your matches, the more thorough it is, the better your chances for a good fit.

The Big Guys: Sites that attract the most singles

The largest players in the on-line field are not specifically geared to older demographics. But while they may not be targeting boomers or seniors, their membership pools are so large they are bound to offer a great number of eligible singles in your age preference. Also, many of them have options to sort by age group.

eHarmony.com , Match.com and Chemistry.com are three of the biggest and best known on-line dating services. While none of them caters solely to the senior dating population, each of the three does take age into consideration. eHarmony is famous for its patented testing which compares 29 separate dimensions of compatibility. Once a new member completes the test, these dimensions are used to pair you with the most appropriate matches. eHarmony has information specifically aimed at seniors, including online dating groups that can offer advice and suggestions for safe, fun dates. eHarmony is one of the only online services with more female clients than male, and it is one of the most expensive, at $50 per month when purchased one month at a time. Chemistry.com also helps find your match using interesting profile tests which include puzzles and photos in which you give your opinions. This profile helps to determine similarities which match you for chemistry and compatibility.

Match.com boasts it is the site with the highest number of matches resulting in marriage. It incorporates various modes of communication, including instant messaging, chat, e-mail and a feature called "Match Talk." Match Talk is especially useful if you are interested in taking the next step to talk to a match on the phone, but aren't quite ready to exchange phone numbers. Your numbers will be blocked but you can have a conversation. This feature adds to the security of initial communication. While there is not a personality test associated with Match.com, users can take the Chemistry.com personality test as both sites are partners.

The search feature is one major difference among the sites that offer personality matching and those that don't. With Match.com you can search profiles using key words. Key word search is not available on eHarmony or Chemistry. Both Chemistry and Match are less expensive than eHarmony, but still cost around $35 per month.

Another great online dating site to consider is Spark.com. It is not specific to any particular age group but it has millions of users. With Spark, all users are required to upload a photo within 72 hours. Spark is unique in this requirement, but statistics on Spark indicate people are 15 times more likely to respond to a match which includes a photo. Spark uses a color coded personality profile which asks questions about you when you were a child. It also asks you to select attributes which describe you. This personality profile is intended less to find your perfect match than to teach you about yourself. Spark is less expensive than the aforementioned sites at $25 per month and it has an option for a free membership.

Dating Sites Targeted to Boomers and Seniors

There are many online dating sites that specifically cater to boomer and senior dating pools. Five of the most popular are Perfectmatch.com, Seniorpeoplemeet.com, matchmaker.com, datingforseniors.com and seniorscircle.com. Perfect Match first came to the attention of the American public thanks to the movie "Must Love Dogs." Perfect Match uses the compatibility profile concept that many of the major sites use, but its focus is not only on finding someone similar to you, but also someone who compliments you. At $35 a month, Perfect Match includes relationship advice from Dr. Pepper Schwartz who was named the Love and Relationship Ambassador by AARP. The site allows users to search for matches but also assigns matches. The biggest down side to Perfect Match is that it is a bit smaller than some of the previously mentioned sites and the personality profile is very lengthy.

Seniorpeoplemeet.com and matchmaker.com are two additional sites to consider. Seniorpeoplemeet.com costs approximately $30 per month, though discounts are frequently offered. The site is aimed at users 50 and over though anyone over 18 may become a member. It is very user friendly and takes advantage of different forms of technology. A new user can phone in a greeting instead of uploading a greeting to a website and video chat is available. Although some people have complained that there is not enough information listed in the dating tips section, Seniorpeoplemeet offers a wealth of advice in its online magazine. Recent issues included advice on relating to the children of our matches, post divorce tips, dealing with the ex-spouse, holiday primers and ideas on where to meet your future mate.

Matchmaker.com is little less expensive at $10 per month and has a huge following. It includes voice and video greetings and users from around the world. A keyword search is useful if you are comfortable sorting through profiles to find someone who sparks your interest. But the profiles on Matchmaker are less extensive than many of the other sites.

Datingforseniors.com lays claim to the title of the #1 Seniors Community on the Net. Seniorscircle.com is rare among online dating sites in that it is free. In filling out your profile, you tell which attributes are important to you and a "match cupid" will send you matches based on your interests.

Which site or sites you choose to use will depend on how technically savvy you are, how much effort you want to expend, and how much you want to pay. Each has its pros and cons. If you are comfortable with technology, Senior People Meet may be the best site for you. If you want the company to do the matching for you, eHarmony or Chemistry may be the right option. If you want more say in who is matched with you, but you like the concept of a personality profile, Perfectmatch may be your perfect match. Regardless of which site you use, don't plan to meet the love of your life overnight, and always exercise caution. Do not provide personal information to a perfect stranger. And when you decide to meet, do so in public. A lunch meeting or a coffee break is safe and easy, and it's easier to get away if he or she turns out not to be your idea of a dream date.

Learn more about video dating, speed dating, personal classified ads and traditional dating options for boomers and seniors.