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. But that, she said, was also liberating. She was free to have 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.
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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.
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. But how many swipes must a single lady swipe to get there? My mom compared it to panning for gold. Though, she questioned, this may not be entirely the fault of dating apps, but how people use them. 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.
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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. 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. I have to admit: as a year-old, the kind of dating the plus ladies I spoke with described is the only dating I have ever known. However, I 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 like my mom. She's 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 her life — one where she is 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 light of that, she's gotten a lot more specific. She realized she didn't have to feel frustrated so often if she just leaned into it.
These days, she refuses to date Cancers — or any water sign, for that matter. And that is why she recently re-downloaded Bumble: she gets to see right away if a potential match has an unappetizing astrological sign. You get frustrated and get off it and then get lonely and get back on. It's like anything else, you run the gauntlet. That's life.
Are you over 50 and using dating apps? Want to share your story? Contact this reporter at mgebel businessinsider. There are fewer single people generally, and yes, there will be some men your age specifically seeking out younger women.
We live in a society that worships at the altar of youth — particularly when it comes to women. Indeed, because women have primarily been valued for their beauty, a concept deeply rooted in ideas of youth, women are socially devalued as they get older. These deeply gendered value systems normalise older men seeking out younger women, because if we value men for what they acquire, and treat women as objects, of course some men are going to view women as another symbol of their status, and want the most desirable model.
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Everyone has a learning curve, and just like you, most people want to be bowled over by someone amazing. You could be that person. Younger men who have grown up around discourse around gender equality may indeed be impressed, rather than intimidated, by all you have to offer. Again, online dating has the beautiful option of filters, so you can chose only to interact with men who are open to relationships.
To avoid those who are just looking for sex, set boundaries and stick to them. But the most important barometer is your own happiness. Because while there will be bad dates and dull spells, dating is ultimately about optimism, about hope, about embracing possibilities. Be aware of social attitudes, know what you want, feel the fear — and do it anyway.
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