Q. I am in my early 70’s, divorced and looking for good male company. I avoided the more popular dating sites thinking that I would find a better match with someone who would make personalized introductions. That was a disappointment. When I told the match maker my age she said finding a few men in my age category would take several months. And she would have to look up and down the west coast. The fee was $45,000. I almost fainted. Tell me there is a better way. E.W.
Your reaction is understandable. Recently dating sites for the 50 and 55+ have increased. Among the popular ones are Match.com, E-harmony, Zoosk, Elitesingles and Ourtimeto name a few. Age typically is their second filer; a photo is the first.
One site seems to be different. It’s called Stich which has been in existence for one and a half years and now has 65,000 members in the US, Australia, the UK and Canada. Their web site describes their rationale: “We built Stitch because far too many mature adults told us that while they were fulfilled with family, work, and finances, there was still something missing in their lives -- a partner, a friend or a companion. Everybody needs company, no matter what their age is.” Stitch does not filter according to age; it filters according to the type of companionship one is seeking such as romantic or non-romantic. It also filters according to gender.
Marcie Rogo, co-founder says, “The reason we don’t allow filtering on age is because we found that age is so fluid for this generation. No one feels their ‘age’ so everyone lies about their age. She continues, “We get a lot of pushback on this but we’ve seen people missing out on one another because of this judgement around age. We believe it’s about STAGE -- are you active? Are you looking to travel? Are you less mobile and want someone who is OK hanging out at home or going to the movies?” The founders have identified several points about dating and older adults that may differ from conventional wisdom.
Age DOESN’T matter. Stitch indicates that age is secondary. It’s what you want and like to do at your age that matters. Far more important is what shape you are in, how healthy you are, what activities you can do. Note that despite one’s physical capacities, interests also are powerful attractions. Neither do looks. Stitch admits it would be lying if they did not think appearance was unimportant for the 55+ demographic. They indicate that it’s just a lower priority. Most older adults know that looks have little to do with whether or not a person is a kind, caring and loving companion. And the perception of attractiveness can change with age as well as knowing that being “hot and sexy” is more a function of personality than looks.
It’s not drinks, it’s dinner. Stitch finds that more than any other activity, dinner is where older adults feel the isolation of being alone most strongly. For that reason, having a dinner date is considered the most important first step in finding companionship which differs from younger folks who may meet for coffee or for a drink at a bar. Not everyone is looking for love and marriage. Stitch also finds that some may have the goal of marriage; however that is not true for all older adults. Companionship often is the priority, someone to travel with them, share favorite activities and just have dinner. Stitch finds a strong response to an entire spectrum of dating among older adults that exceeds marriage-oriented services.
The real world counts. In Stitch’s experience, older adults are most comfortable assessing a potential match by speaking with the individual by phone rather than an on-line chat. That means using the telephone to get a sense if they like the other person which is different from the preferences of Millennials who prefer texting and messaging.
E.W., Thank you for you good question. You might explore different sites that meet your needs and preferences. And best wishes in finding the right connection or connections. All will be less than $45,000. Good luck and keep the faith.