August 24, 2021 |Gideon Hanekom

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In this post, we’re looking at advice for seniors dating in the modern world. It is clear that the dating landscape has changed, but what exactly does that mean for older people looking to find love again?

Well, firstly, if you’ve been out of the dating world for a while and are now stepping back in, you might be surprised at what you find.

It’s probably an understatement to say that many things have changed.

But you most likely knew that already.

Just how much things have changed might come as a surprise.

That will be especially true for seniors dating in the modern world of 2021.

Chances are that many of the dating advice and tips you grew up with may not always apply today because technology, cultural norms, and other changes have created a whole different dating world.

Now, of course, in saying that, if you’re an older person looking to date again, chances are you most likely end up dating someone of your age, give or take 10 years or so.

That could potentially mean that the person you end up dating is familiar with “old school” dating.

But that’s not necessarily a given.

So, it’s better to be prepared.

If you’re a senior looking to date again, consider the following strategies for navigating the dating world better in today’s society.

143265 seniors dating

Replying to messages immediately

When it comes to responding to someone’s messages nowadays, there are a couple of things to keep in mind.

Firstly, texting has replaced phone calls.

It is a very old school thing to do to simply call someone on their phone before interacting via text first.

We’ve become so accustomed to receiving text messages that most smartphones give us the option nowadays to respond to a phone call with an immediate text response.

For example, “I can’t answer your call right now, but please send me a text or leave me a message and I will get back to you as soon as possible.”

There is a reason why that is an option – receiving phone calls freak people out nowadays.

Unless you’re a salesperson, of course.

business, people, communication and technology concept - close up of businessman texting on smartphone at office

But, once you’ve established a relationship with someone where phone calls are appropriate and welcomed, the second thing that has changed is people’s expectancies around immediacy.

Returning texts or calls must be done immediately, or at least, as soon as possible.

People nowadays struggle to wait for things because we have been conditioned to get most things instantly.

Even websites that load up a few milliseconds too long, frustrate us and will most likely cause us to bounce.

In the old days, one of the dating rules was to deliberately wait about 48 hours (or longer) before making a new date hear back from you.

That no longer applies.

One of the reasons why this no longer applies is because in the modern world it is much easier to track a person and find out why they aren’t responding.

More than that, if we see that the person we’re are waiting to hear back from is pretty active online, that causes quite a few questions for us.

Why isn’t this person getting back to me?

Did this person get my message?

Are they still interested?

If you’re ignoring a person’s messages but have time to post on social media, these days that can easily destroy a potential relationship.

You need to understand that apart from the fact that the dating world has changed, people have also changed.

It’s almost like we’ve unlearned very important social skills that were commonplace two decades ago plus our emotional intelligence has declined it seems.

We’ve become oversensitive about everything and simultaneously way less empathetic towards others.

Talk about a recipe for chaos.

We are also driven by immediate gratification – everything must happen now.

It is much easier to be upset about stuff and everyone suddenly has a cause with corresponding, often seriously confusing, standards ranging from personal identification, food allergies, and a stance on every major issue, to everything in between.

These are indeed tricky waters for all seniors dating again.

Dating during the week

Another thing that would have changed for seniors dating nowadays, is dating during the week.

In the older days (even 20 years ago), we usually dated on the weekends.

One of the main reasons was that by forcing a couple to date on weekends only, our parents could control the situation easier or even chaperone us (that means, they went along or dropped us off and picked us up).

Nowadays, however, you can feel free to pick any time that fits both of your needs and date whenever you’re available.

This would definitely be true for seniors dating because chances are things are a bit different for you now compared to before.

For example, you will most likely have fewer parenting responsibilities (more likely to be grandparenting duties now), you’re probably well established in your career or even towards the end of it, and you most likely have some financial means that give you more options.

All of that combined with a changing dating scene where it is the norm to date whenever you like, give you a lot of freedom to choose how you want to go about dating now.

Social media

For seniors dating in the modern world, it’s important to understand that today’s dating scene is shaped by social media and online dating websites (and apps).

That has created many opportunities and challenges for everyone in the dating community.

New Used seniors dating

It is therefore important to be aware of and not ignore the role of social media while you’re dating.

Now, again, some of this might apply more to younger people dating who might be more active in social media.

But that’s not necessarily the case anymore.

We know that some surveys like’s have indicated that senior people are very active on dating websites, plus according to Pew Research’s most recent social media fact sheet, 69% of adults between 50-64 and 40% of those above 65 use social media

In addition to that, a large Swiss study (2020) has found that relationships that were initiated through dating apps were just as satisfying as those initiated offline, and featured couples who were actually more inclined toward moving in together.

So, not only is connecting online is very much part of everyone’s life nowadays, and has become a legitimate way for older people to find new love and create new and lasting relationships.

Therefore, seniors dating these days need to be aware that the online world, whether that is social media or online dating, is part of reality and offers a huge opportunity for everyone alike.

But there are certain “rules” one needs to keep in mind.

Firstly, when you’re an older person dating again, keep in mind that social media reveals a lot of information about you, your friends and family, and your activities.

More than that, you are revealed to the world in that your photos and posts are there for most to see (depending on privacy settings, but still).

What that means is that while you’re dating in this new world, most things about you and your new potential partners can be found online.

143271 seniors dating

Now, the positive thing about social media, in particular, is that it helps you keep in touch with other people, especially in today’s world where many of us live far away from our families or the countries we were born in.

But that also provides an opportunity to connect with many new people.

You are no longer restricted to only looking locally for new potential dating partners.

With most online dating websites, you can connect with almost anyone in any country and start up some form of relationship.

However, that of course creates both opportunities, temptations, and potential problems.

Opportunities obviously include the ability to connect with many more people than what’s available locally.

Moreover, dating online offers people the opportunity to connect with others while big parts of the world find themselves in some form of lockdown due to the current COVID-19 pandemic.

Temptations and problems also exist, however, and that includes threats like scam artists and online fraud.

Many people with ill intentions even show up in our social media accounts, usually under fake profiles, with the sole intention of deceiving or robbing other people.

It is therefore important to use good, credible online dating websites if that’s the route you want to follow.

New Used 1 seniors dating

That is especially true in light of the survey done by which indicated that seniors dating especially value trust in a relationship.

The second highest value in that same survey was honesty.

So, even though almost a third of seniors who have dated within the last five years have used online dating, and about 66% of those had a relationship with someone they met using dating apps or websites, it is crucial to be aware of both the opportunities and risks.

Dressing up for things like going on a date

In today’s society, we have far more casual at work, at home, and even on dates.

Needless to say, that of course applies 100% when we are connecting and dating online.

You just don’t have to wear a suit or fancy dress to every date anymore.

Beautiful happy senior couple dating outdoors - Youthful married couple having fun and enjoying life together

Now, in saying that, there is definitely still something to be said for presenting yourself well, especially on a first date.

Whether we like it or not, first impressions actually do still last, especially when it comes to facial expressions, as this study shows.

According to the researchers, “Facial impressions are relevant given that these occur very briefly (in as little as 33 ms) and they are consequential, for instance, predicting government election results and influencing romantic preferences.”

That is very relevant for seniors dating in the modern world, especially online, where people mostly look at how we present ourselves on photographs first before deciding to connect.

So, making an effort to create a good first impression is important, but it’s equally important to appreciate that as a society we have become far more casual in what we wear than in yesteryear.

Of course, we can (and should) still dress up for special events and occasions like nice dinners or attending a show, but we are no longer obligated to wear our nicest clothes all the time.

In fact, showing your casual side nowadays is normal and can actually help you connect with others easier.

Expecting gifts

Another change when it comes to dating nowadays is that previous generations expected that the man would bring small gifts such as flowers, perfume, or chocolates on the first date.

And, again, even though that is a nice gesture and you can do that if you want, today’s modern world doesn’t put these same expectations on couples.

Smiling senior caucasian man gives present box to elder woman wife at park, Gift for Christmas, New Year, Valentine, Birthday or Anniversary, Happy retirement couple spending time together concept

One could argue that the same goes for paying the bill on a first date.

I would argue that when I was growing up, there was an expectation that the guy pays when he takes a girl out.

That was kind of the norm, even though not always the case.

For example, my wife’s father taught her to always either pay for herself or offer to split the bill, because she could never be sure about the guy’s financial situation.

Personally, I’ve always been a fan of splitting the bill because it treats both people as equals and does away with any expectations around who is responsible for what.

I’ve always been an advocate and believer in an equal partnership within a relationship.

That’s probably another thing that is different in relationships (and dating) nowadays, for the better, compared to before, but it’s a topic for another day.

Regarding gifts, however, even though it is not expected anymore nowadays, I’ve also always been a supporter of the idea to do something nice for a date.

Now, treating your partner like a king or queen should, of course, not change when you enter a relationship or get married later on.

Trendy senior couple having fun inside convertible car - Multiracial mature people on a road trip with cabriolet car

But I’ve always liked to buy my dates something small and something I knew they liked, for example, flowers or chocolates.

Of course, I can appreciate how an expectation to give something can cause feelings of stress, especially when you’re first time dating, but I believe that misses the point somewhat.

Giving your date a gift, in my opinion, has always been a gesture of kindness, appreciation, and niceness.

However, seniors dating in the modern world need to understand that you’re not obligated to buy gifts for a person that you just started dating, which is tricky anyway when you’re dating online.

Gift-giving can be saved for holidays, birthdays, and other special occasions.

But even then, it is person-specific as not every person likes receiving gifts for different reasons.

The opposite is equally true, of course, in that some people’s love language is receiving gifts, in which case you probably want to take it more seriously.

So, for seniors dating nowadays, there are many things that would have changed from your younger days.

And even though there aren’t any hard and fast rules that we can apply to every person and every situation, it is fair to say that the dating world is constantly changing.

Therefore, if you’ve been out of the dating game for a while but are looking to get back into it, just be aware of the new trends, explore the new opportunities, but always stay true to yourself and be honest with others.

That way, you will save both yourself and others a lot of time – something that perhaps you don’t want to waste like in your younger days.

About the author

Gideon Hanekom

Gideon Hanekom is the creator of, a popular relationship blog that ranks among the top 50 relationship blogs in 2024. The website helps couples to create happier, healthier, and more intimate relationships. Gideon is a trained professional counsellor and holds post-graduate degrees in Theology and Psychology. His articles have also been featured on respected platforms such as and The Good Men Project.

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