Single Over 50s Holding Out for ‘The One’, A Study Reveals

If you’re over 50 and single, you may be holding out for ‘the one’ – no matter how long it takes. According to a new study from over 50s experts SunLife, middle-aged and later-life dating is very different when compared with that of younger generations. Over half of people over 50 (55%) are true romantics, preferring to rely on fate and ‘chance meetings’ to find the person they hope to spend their golden years with – and they’re prepared to wait for this to happen.

While many are comfortable using dating apps and websites, the willingness to do so declines with age. Only around one in five 45 to 54-year-olds would turn to online dating as their first port of call for finding a new partner, compared to 15% of 55 to 64-year-olds, and just 10% of over 65s.

Speed dating is also less popular amongst over 50s, with only one in 100 prepared to give it a whirl.

But, despite the romantic approach, less than half of over 50s (41%) describe their love life as ‘good’ or ‘great’, compared to almost three quarters of 25 to 34-year-olds (70%). This disparity in satisfaction could be due to several factors. For one, older singles may have higher expectations and are less willing to settle for someone who doesn’t meet their standards. Additionally, over 50s may have experienced more heartbreak and disappointment in their past relationships, leading to a more cautious and guarded approach to dating.

What dating tactics are over 50s most likely to try to meet ‘the one’?

Meet someone naturally – 55%

Dating apps 13%

Going to a bar or pub – 8%

Attending a class/activity club – 6%

Being set up by friends – 5%

The study highlights that over 50s are big believers in ‘chance meetings’ and are willing to wait for the right person to come along.

And as the saying goes ‘money can’t buy me love’, just one in 20 (6%) people over 50 say it’s essential for potential partners to have a high income, compared to one in five under 50s (20%). Similarly, just 11% prioritize high savings or pension funds, compared to 15% of under 49s.

However, while over 50s may not expect their love interest to be a millionaire, being debt-free does matter to many of them – one in three (33%) said this was important, compared to just 12% of those aged 49 and under. 

When it comes to finding ‘the one’, attraction is the most important trait for people over 50. According to the same survey, 75% of over 50s say that attraction is a key factor in choosing a partner. This is followed by shared values (47%), a sense of humour (43%), and intelligence (40%).

Dennis Relojo-Howell, the managing director of psychology website Psychreg, explains: “The study’s findings reflect a significant generational shift in attitudes towards dating. Many over 50s grew up in an era where relationships often developed through direct social interactions, creating a preference for ‘organic’ meetings.

“This contrasts with younger generations, who are more accustomed to digital platforms as a means of connecting.

“Another thing is that for the over 50s, there may be a desire for a more authentic and nuanced understanding of potential partners – something they might feel is better gauged in person rather than through the lens of dating apps. This inclination towards natural encounters could also stem from their life experiences and a deeper appreciation of serendipitous connections in their social environments.”

If you’re over 50 and looking for love, you’re not alone. Whether you prefer to wait for fate to bring you together with your soulmate or actively seek out potential partners through dating apps and websites, there are plenty of options available to help you find the love you’re looking for.

If you do decide to use dating apps or websites, it’s important to be cautious and take your time. Don’t rush into anything and always meet in a public place for the first few dates. You may also want to consider using a reputable dating agency, which can offer a more personalized and secure service.

Ultimately, the choice between natural meetings and modern dating methods is a personal one. It’s important to do what feels right for you and to be open to new experiences and opportunities. Whether you meet someone in a bar, at a class, or through a dating app, the most important thing is to be true to yourself and to enjoy the journey. Click here for more information about the survey.