Last year two high-profile celebrities hit the headlines after admitting to using dating apps. In December, presenter Ulrika Jonsson , 52, made the news when — after a string of failed relationships — she joined the overs dating app Lumen and became its face. A survey by dating site eHarmony revealed that the number of over daters had doubled since — with one in six of the over 50s polled having used online dating services.
W hen Lester was invited to co-found a dating app for midlifers in , she jumped at the chance. The existing websites for that age group treated them more like they were 70 or 80, typing on a desktop with one finger. Most people I know in their 50s are tech-savvy, behaving similarly to people in their 30s and 40s — they just have older children. Lorraine Blackwell, 57, a marketing director from Staffordshire, was also one of the wary. Divorced with a grown-up son, and just out of a year relationship, she first looked for a date online in July But then I noticed that friends at work were online dating all the time — there were even couples who had met that way — and they were in their 20s.
How exactly was I going to meet a man in the traditional way? I lived on a farm with no immediate neighbours, and no family around to help with childcare. What was I supposed to do? That was far more my scene. F irst hurdle cleared. But, of course, dating in midlife comes with more issues than finding someone with similar interests. Most people of this age have been married, or had long relationships.
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So, you might have an ex-partner meddling in your affairs. Even if things are cordial between you and your ex, it might be hard to put those years of love and respect to bed. L orraine Blackwell can relate. It was all very well chatting to a man online, but what if he felt I was too skinny? These worries are not confined to female daters. Kevin Stemp, 58, a retired civil servant and actor from Essex, started online dating at the start of last year. In the end, I took the plunge. T here are horror stories for sure.
I stayed for dinner, because I wanted to be polite, but my body language was entirely negative. B ut it seems that in recent years, the vetting process has improved. It was founded by clinical psychologist Neil Clarke Warren, who teamed up with fellow psychologists and data scientists to find an algorithm that promised to predict compatibility between matches. Lumen has a sophisticated process that requires members to upload a selfie when they apply for membership: some clever technology matches this photo against other images provided, proving the profile shows the applicant as they look now — not 20 years ago.
Ditto the people they date. If you think about it, thanks to social media and texts, huge parts of our relationships are already conducted online. They are single, and also looking for a partner. Their careers are settled, the childbearing is out of the way and they are ready to enjoy life. L ester agrees. In , Blackwell finally found herself a tall man 6ft 2in in Chris, a company director.
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Midlife dating: The dos and don'ts of online dating later in life
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