At 57, she downloaded Bumble — Tinder seemed too aggressive, she told me. She’s also tried Happn and OkCupid, but quickly trashed them because she didn’t find a big enough pool of users in her age range, or found the app to be too trendy. Sites like eHarmony and Match, she said, seemed “a little too old” and hard to “get a full sense of who is available.”
She enjoyed the control Bumble gave her, and the ability to not be bombarded by messages but to make the first move instead. It seemed noncommittal, she said; clean, in fact. The variety, though, “can be scary.”
“When you just get out of a long marriage or a long relationship, it is weird to go out with anybody,” Gonzalez told me. “Though there is still a hope you will meet someone and fall in love, but I am probably never going to meet someone and have what I had before.”
But that, she said, was also liberating. She was free to have 15-minute coffee dates, be vulnerable, and feel sexy. At her age, Gonzalez said, she feels much more confident in who she is — a trait, she said, that younger men find appealing.
My mom said this, too. She frequently matched with men 10 to 15 years younger than her because, she said, she was able to “hold a conversation.”
For Gonzalez, dating apps only proved to her that her life wasn’t missing anything, except maybe the cherry on top. Bumble lets her go out to the movies and dinner with people and form relationships, even friendships, with men she would have never met before. She’s in a place where she is not doing anything she doesn’t want to do, and experimenting with dating apps as a way to have fun as a 50-something divorcée. Her life is not shutting down with age, she said, but opening up.
She did, however, see that the options available to her younger girlfriends were much more plentiful. Peaking over their shoulders, she saw her younger friends swiping with much more fervor and not running up against the spinning wheel — an indication the app is searching for more people with your age range and location.
“This is a big business and they are missing out,” said Gonzalez, referring to popular dating app companies who don’t cater to older people.
Tinder declined to comment when asked to provide its app’s age demographics and whether or not it thought its platform catered to older users. Match, eharmony, Happn, and OkCupid did not respond to Business Insider’s request for comment.
Jess Carbino, a sociologist for Bumble, told Business Insider in a statement that out of its female users over 40, 60% believe the app will “most likely to lead to the type of relationship they desire.”
But how many swipes must a single lady swipe to get there? My mom compared it to panning for gold. (I swear she is not that old.) “You really have to dig in the dirt for that speck of gold, you have to go through hundreds of different profiles,” she said.
Though, she questioned, this may not be entirely the fault of dating apps, but how people use them.
“Dating apps work for men, and older men, but don’t work for older women,” my mom said. “Most women who are older are not looking for hookups, where most men are looking for whatever experiences they can get. How do you find those few men who are out there who are looking for a relationship?”
That is a question Crystal, 57, has been asking for the 15 years she’s been single. (Crystal declined to have her last name published.) She’s a single mom living in Pittsburgh, and she’s tried it all: eharmony, Match, OkCupid, Plenty of Fish. Just before the holidays, she canceled Bumble, finding it all to be too stressful.
She’s hopped from app to app like most people do — hoping to find a new pool of available people. But what she found was just recycled profiles.
“Whenever I go out, I see all these license plates from states all over and think, ‘There has to be some available people here!'” said Crystal. “I am self-sufficient, I just prefer not to be alone. I guess the idea of the long-term relationship scares people away.”
Crystal wants to try Silver Singles after Valentine’s Day and plans to change her profile to say “just looking to date.”
Her best advice to other ladies her age on the apps: don’t list yourself as looking for an activities partner.
“That is when all the weirdos come out of the woodwork,” she said.
My daughter says, as a 24-year-old, the kind of dating the 50-plus ladies described is the only dating she had ever known. However, she grew up in the digital era, where you can be flaky in real life, flirty over text, have low expectations, and shallow notions.
This is a new frontier for older women. We living in a world where society tells older men that they’re silver foxes, and older women to take up knitting. It’s not the best message to take into the next chapter of life — one where women are newly single and searching for something not so vapid, all the while playing the dating game with rules made up by a younger generation and tools that condone it.
In my own experience, I was on Bumble and Tinder and Match. Downloaded and deleted all of them many times. Thought if I payed the premium subscription that it might lead to someone more serious. That was not the case.
My daughter thinks I should date men more my age. I think not. Just about every single one that I talked to thought they were going to boss me around, no thanks! That I should just do as I’m told. LMAO!! Seriously? Most men my age or older are not active and I am. I like to do things. That has just been my experience.
I am a 50+ year old woman and dated as young as half my age. And The dating apps? All the same guys just making their rounds it seemed like. Quite a few have some serious issues. So my best advice? state what you are looking for in no uncertain terms. It will help weed out the ones who aren’t on the same page. And if you are just after a hookup, there’s no shame in that, own it! Post recent pics, not ones that are 10 years old. Don’t invite them to your house! Have fun with it! At this age, we deserve it!