Meeting people organically out in public still happens, but sometimes it’s easier and less intimidating to meet people where they are. It’s a comfort in knowing that the people you find on dating apps are single (hopefully) and looking for a romantic relationship, so at least you’re both on the same page.
How to start dating again at 40
The first step is just acknowledging that you’re ready. From there, decide how/where you want to try to meet people. Dating apps have been around for multiple decades, which means they are the norm and don’t have to be a last resort. Below you’ll find which dating apps we love for people over 40 and which ones you should steer clear of.
You’ll also want to be direct with what you’re looking for. Serious relationship? Casual hookup? Friendship that might lead to more? Whatever it is, be upfront because you don’t want to fall for someone only to realize you aren’t looking for the same thing.
We spoke to Jennifer Frazier, a 46-year-old based in Indiana, who met someone awesome on Match.com. They went on a few dates and she really liked him, but he was interested in dating a lot of women at the same time, and though Frazier really liked him, she realized that kind of a relationship wasn’t for her.
Dating in your 40s, 50s, 60s, or older can feel lonely when all your friends are married or in relationships. If you want to find a community of people experiencing the same things as you, we recommend visiting the subreddit r/datingoverforty — it’s full of people sharing stories of success, heartbreak, bad dates, good dates, and more.
Problems you might run into when dating over 40
While Frazier says the stigma around dating sites with the over 40 crowd is mostly gone, she doesn’t think a lot of single men in her area are using these sites, so she’s experiencing fewer options. She also thinks location plays a big part in how successful dating apps will be for a person, which we agree with. For example, Frazier has a smaller pool of people in Indiana compared to someone who lives in New York.
“It’s hard to find a night off from cooking, driving kids, and all the other things we are responsible for.”
“I love the idea of Bumble because it gives women the power to send the first message,” Frazier says. “There were only about four men in my age range within 25 miles, though, so that was disappointing.”
Frazier also says having a family can get in the way of dating, because you might have kids to take care of and taking time off from parent duty isn’t always easy.
“It’s hard to find a night off from cooking, driving kids, and all the other things we are responsible for,” she says. “I have faced pressure from men I have not even met who are being demanding of my time. I have enough demands without adding to it.”
By the way, if someone is being demanding of your time and pushing to meet up right away, we want to remind you that it’s OK to say no.
Like every other age range, people over 40 are looking for all types of relationships. According to a desirability survey conducted by eharmony, 70 percent of people are looking for a serious relationship as opposed to a casual one. Though, it’s often the case that older Gen X and baby boomers are actually looking for something casual, maybe even more than millennials are. Like we said, know what you want and be upfront about it.
Do dating apps really work?
While Frazier hasn’t had the most success with dating apps, she does know a lot of people who have —her sister-in-law met her boyfriend on Tinder. When doing research for this article, a couple friends told me their mom, or uncle, or other family member met their significant other on a dating app.
According to Pew Research Center, 57 percent of online daters describe their overall experience as positive. A lot of factors add up to whether online dating will be successful for you. Some apps use super in-depth compatibility quizzes that lead to really specific matches, where others just present you with a bunch of singles in your area within your specified age range. Both have their perks.
One thing to remember is to have patience. Finding a partner who ticks all (or most) of your boxes doesn’t happen overnight. You will most likely go through some duds and have some bad dates, but hopefully that will lead you to a healthy, happy relationship.
Which dating site is best for singles over 40?
The best dating site varies depending on what you’re looking for. If you want something serious, Match’s 25 years of experience will help you find someone compatible who is also looking for a serious relationship. eharmony also specializes in serious relationships, but the site is really for people who want to marry their next partner, so it’s taking serious to the highest level. Though, Frazier had a pretty shitty experience with eharmony — after the extensive questionnaire, she was matched with a coworker’s husband. Yikes! While you would hope everyone on dating apps is single, you can’t just assume.
Casual daters and people who don’t want to jump into anything too serious just yet should utilize Tinder, Hinge, or Bumble. OKCupid is best for liberals and the LGBTQ community. There really is a dating site for everybody; it just might take some time to find the one that strikes gold for you.
Most dating sites and apps have free versions, so you can test them out without fully committing. Here’s the full breakdown on our top picks:
Large user base • Intelligent algorithm • More serious matches
Pricey • Sifting through potential matches can be time-consuming
Though memberships are on the pricier side, you’re more likely to find someone who’s serious about dating.
Match’s 25 years in the game make its algorithm one of the best.
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You can expect that people on the site are going to be pretty serious about finding a partner considering Match subscriptions start at $26.65 per month. Generally, people aren’t going to be paying that to just mess around and not take it seriously.
Your profile can have up to 26 photos and you’re able to select preferences for the type of person you’re looking for. Write a bio, answer some questions about yourself, and select qualities you want (or don’t want) in a partner and specify how important they are. Setting up your profile takes a little bit of time, but it’s not some horribly lengthy process.
Match shows you one profile at a time and you decide if you want to match with them or skip. You are presented with actual information about the person, so matching is less based on looks and involves more thought about personality. Match recognizes your matching patterns and uses them to give you even better potential partners the more you use the site. Communication takes place over Match’s privacy-centric messaging system until you decide you want to give out personal information.
P.S. If you don’t find someone within six months, Match will give you six months for free. That’s how much the service believes in its match-making abilities.
Read our full review of Match.
High success rate • Detailed compatibility quiz
Lengthy sign-up process • Have to pay to message people
It will take you a minute to get started, but the lofty compatibility quiz will likely yield promising results.
eharmony’s in-depth compatibility quiz will help you find personalized matches who are ready for a committed relationship.
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When you sign up for the site you’ll have to take a compatibility quiz that is honestly quite a feat. It consists of 80 questions and takes about 20 minutes to complete. (Be prepared to answer whether you enjoy taking long walks.) But it will hopefully lead to really personalized and compatible matches.
eharmony does have a more conservative background and used to only allow heterosexual couples. (The compatibility quiz used to have way more questions about religion, too.) Now you can select same-sex matching and you won’t be bombarded with questions about your spirituality, though there is a chance for you to select your religious alignment. Unfortunately, you can only choose one gender you’re interested in, so there’s still some room for improvement on the inclusivity front.
The free version of eharmony lets you receive and view matches, see compatibility details, and send smiles and icebreakers and favorite your matches. If you want to send custom messages and see everyone who’s viewed your profile, you’ll have to purchase a membership.
Read our full review of eharmony.
Large user base • LGBTQ friendly • Thought-provoking questions • Nice, user-friendly interface
Less populated areas might not have a big user base • Age group skews a bit younger
OkCupid is the happy medium between the hook-up culture of Tinder and looking-for-marriage demographic of eharmony.
OKCupid utilizes thought-provoking questions to find compatible matches.
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The app asks you questions about topics you care about, like whether you’d consider yourself a feminist. It connects you with people who have similar values and interests as you to help find someone you’re truly compatible with.
OkCupid is definitely more of a liberal leaning dating app, so you might not find what you’re looking for if you identify as conservative. The compatibility questions are thought provoking and tend to lead to engaging conversations about political issues or world views, but also your favorite TV shows and types of music.
OkCupid utilizes swiping, but you’re presented with more than just some lame bio and a couple photos. It’s a good space for finding something serious or something playful.
OkCupid has a couple tiers of paid plans. The A-List option includes no ads, unlimited likes, more search options, and lets you see a list of who has liked you before you’ve liked them and lets you see who has read your sent messages within conversations. Premium A-List has all of those features plus you get an automatic boost to get your profile seen during prime time and you can see everyone’s public answers to their questions.
Red our full review of OkCupid.
Shows who liked you • Follows up about dates to give you better recommendations • People on the app are looking for more than a hookup
Might not be successful for all age groups • Have to go through matches one by one
If you’re sick of hookup apps but aren’t looking for something as serious as eharmony, Hinge is a happy medium.
Designed to be deleted, Hinge uses prompts and personal information to help you find a successful relationship.
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Hinge profiles utilize prompts and personal information so you can get a holistic feel for who people are. Matches begin with someone liking or commenting on a specific part of your profile, so conversation is easier to get started.
The app learns who you like and follows up to see how dates went in order to provide better recommendations in the future. Hinge prides itself on being a dating app that’s “designed to be deleted.” That means the creators want to get you off the app and into a happy, healthy relationship.
With the free version you can send 10 likes per day. Because the number is limited, you have to be more thoughtful about who you like if you’re not paying, which will hopefully lead to more compatible matches. You will see when someone has liked you, so you aren’t left guessing or wondering.
Age-specific community • Personality test to find compatible matches • Robust desktop site and mobile app
Not for everyone over 40 • Free membership is basically worthless • Premium memberships are pricey • Only three to seven matches per day • Not good for bi people
An in-depth personality test and a minimum age requirement will help you find a great match in your age range.
With a minimum age requirement of 50, SilverSingles caters to a more mature crowd.
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This site is great because of its age requirements. You’ll be in a community of people your age who will *hopefully* be at your maturity level. After signing up, you’ll take a personality test that will be used to match you with compatible singles. The app shows you three to seven new matches every day.
The personality test is a bit lengthy and will take some time to fill out, but that gives SilverSingles more ammo to find you someone who is truly compatible. You’re able to select that you’re looking for a same-sex match, but if you’re interested in both men and women, you can’t choose to get matches from both genders.
While this app isn’t for everyone over 40, it does cater to the older crowd. If you just can’t handle being called Silver, we suggest Hinge or Match.
Wondering if people actually find success? One of my friends signed her mom up for SilverSingles as a surprise Christmas gift and now her mom has moved in with a man she met on the site.
Older, more mature user base • Multiple compatibility algorithms • Different filtering options
Limited number of matches per day • Pricey
EliteSingles utilizes a bunch of algorithms to find you a professional match that you can connect with intellectually.
With the majority of users being over 30 with some level of higher education, EliteSingles caters to a more mature audience.
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To begin, you’ll take a personality test and then you’ll start receiving three to seven daily matches based on your test and preferences you set yourself. You even have the option to filter by profession if that’s important to you. EliteSingles has a few different ways to find potential matches to make sure you’re truly able to find someone you’ll click with.
This is one of the pricier dating sites out there, but on the bright side, you can bet that the people who are paying for the service are pretty damn serious about finding a relationship. Fake and scam accounts are super minimal as EliteSingles manually verifies every profile with a fraud detection system.
EliteSingles does have a slight air of arrogance about it with such a heavy focus of the number of users with a Bachelor’s Degree or higher — or as EliteSingles puts it “above average education.” If finding someone educated with a good career is a top priority for you, though, this is where you’ll find the most concentrated population of that demographic.
Read our full review of EliteSingles.
Not just for hookups (but also good if you’re looking for a hookup) • Large user base • Easy to use
Might get unsolicited, vulgar messages • No real matchmaking algorithm • Paid plans more expensive for users over 30
Tinder is more known for being a hookup app, but you can also find meaningful relationships through it.
The original swiping app, Tinder helps you find potential relationships or casual hookups.
Tinder boasts that it sparks more than 26 million matches per day. It’s the OG swiping app, showing you profiles that you can either swipe right to like or left to pass. If you and another user both swipe right on each other, it’s a match and you’re free to message each other.
Profiles are pretty basic with just some photos and a bio, so it’s easy to see why Tinder isn’t immediately recognized as a serious relationship matchmaker. That said, it’s definitely still possible to find people who aren’t just looking to hook up. But it’s also pretty easy to find someone who is looking to hook up if that’s what you’re looking for. Do what you want! Live your life!
The app has two paid tiers: Tinder Plus and Tinder Gold. Plus gives you unlimited likes, five super likes a day, one boost a month, removes ads, and lets you backtrack on your last swipe if you accidentally swiped left on someone you were interested in. Tinder Gold has all of these features plus you can see who likes you before you have to swipe on them and you get top picks every day aka your most swipe-worthy potential matches.
The shitty thing about Tinder is that these premium features cost more for users over 30 — where they cost $9.99 per month for those 29 and under, the cost goes up to $19.99 per month for people 30 and older. Upgrading to Tinder Gold is an additional $4.99 per month regardless of age.
Women make the first move • Matches expire to encourage quick responses • Backtrack feature for accidental swipes
No real compatibility algorithm • 24-hour time limit could be a negative
Bumble’s setup is conducive to getting conversations started instead of letting matches sit idle for weeks.
Women have to make the first move on Bumble and only have 24 hours to message a match.
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Bumble has a pretty laid back environment and profiles feature a quippy bio that you write. You won’t have to take a super long compatibility quiz to get started.
Both people will have to swipe right on each other for it to be a match, and from there, the woman (in straight pairings) will have to initiate things. Matches expire after 24 hours, which is supposed to encourage people to actually start conversations instead of just sitting on a queue full of people waiting.
Other than the fact the women have to make the first move, Bumble is a pretty close mock of Tinder. You upload photos and write a bio, see profiles of potential matches in your area, and swipe right if you’re interested and left if you’re not.
Bumble also has services for finding friends and professional connections in addition to its dating function. You can build all sorts of relationships with Bumble. You came here for dating, though, so we won’t get too into these parts of the app.
Check out these tips to help your profile stand out.
Avoid these dating apps
Not every dating site or app is a winner. Some are pretty sketchy with a bunch of bots and scammers. These are some of the apps we recommend steering clear of.
Good sized user base • Behavioral matchmaking • “Maybe” swiping option
Search function shows you members you’ve already contacted • Can’t read messages without paying for membership • You will probably have to sift through some fake or spammy profiles • Free version is essentially useless
Zoosk is not one of our top choices, but it does have some unique features if you’re willing to pay.
Zoosk has a “maybe” swiping option and utilizes different forms of matching.
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Rather than a personality or compatibility quiz, Zoosk relies on your activity to determine who to match you with. For example, if you message someone you’re interested in, the site will use that information to show you similar types of profiles moving forward. You’re able to discover matches based on compatibility or use filters to seek out specific characteristics in people.
While there is a free version of the service, it’s basically useless. All you’re able to do is see members’ pictures, send winks and hearts (think FaceBook pokes), and see the carousel to discover new people.
If you opt for a paid subscription you can chat with your connections, unlock and connect with people who’ve viewed your profile, and approve and start chatting with people Zoosk picks for you. If you message someone who doesn’t have a paid subscription, they won’t be able to message you back without paying. We are not joking when we say the free version is useless.
One cool thing about Zoosk is that in the carousel you can scroll through profiles and swipe for yes, no, or maybe. We like the maybe feature because it honestly can be hard to tell if you’re going to like someone based solely on a quick first impression.
Read our full review of Zoosk.
Pretty comprehensive free version
Tons of scammers • Hard to find actual users to connect with
Plenty of Fish boasts that its features are free, but that doesn’t make up for the lack of quality and screening on the site.
Plenty of Fish
While Plenty of Fish has some good features in the free version, the site is full of scammers and fake profiles.
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If you don’t mind sifting through the crap to find someone good (and real), you might want to give POF a chance, but it’s certainly not a site we would recommend to our friends. Even though POF boasts success stories, the reviews and posts from actual users seem to tell a different story.
The site does use compatibility algorithms and suggests matches to you, including “ultra matches,” which are the top 50 members who are most compatible with you. The majority of users are around 25 to 34, but there are still a decent number of users in the over 40 age bracket.
If you want to see what’s up with POF for yourself, signup is free, and you’re actually able to message people without paying. If you do want to upgrade, this is one of the cheaper options out there.
Scammy • Poor design and UX • Customer service issues
The user reviews speak for themselves; this should not be your go-to dating app.
OurTime claims to be the no. 1 dating app for seniors, but you should definitely avoid it.
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The service has a laughably low rating in the App Store, receiving only 1.7 stars. The reviews mention poor design, horrible customer service experiences, and bad user experience. If you head over to Sitejabber, you’ll read more of the same, plus tons of recounts of people getting scammed out of their money by other users and bots.
As for how it works, you customize your profile with pictures and a bio, then you search and receive matches. With the free version you’re only able to send likes. If you upgrade and pay you can send messages and see everyone who’s liked you. There aren’t a ton of perks to upgrading, honestly.
One nice thing is that you’re able to select that you’re looking for a same-sex relationship. So, there’s a slight win for inclusivity, I guess.