OLDER Australian singles aren't giving up on love and are turning to online dating in increasing numbers.
Although traditional routes to finding love are still popular, more seniors are open to a digital dating approach and those embracing technology and using dating apps are using them frequently.
In South Australia, almost six in 10 (56.2 per cent) respondents to a survey by Australian Seniors admitted using dating apps two to three times a week and in NSW the number was four in 10.
The Modern Dating report is the 15th instalment of The Australian Seniors Series - an ongoing national study that explores the shifting attitudes and concerns affecting Australia's over 50s.
This latest report delves into how seniors feel about online dating, re-entering the dating game and how this impacts their family.
Playing the field
When navigating the dating scene, the majority of seniors say they prefer to be free to "play the field" until they find the right person (63 per cent) and would consider dating someone considerably younger (55 per cent) than themselves.
However, it's not just romantic connections that are being formed. More than two in five dating seniors say they have met or made new friends via dating websites. Of these, more than one in five say they would now consider the people they met as close friends.
"Our research shows that while most seniors feel as though dating doesn't get easier with age, they are more open to new ways of connecting with people," said Australian Seniors spokeswoman Sarah Richards.
"The bonds they form, whether romantic or otherwise, are encouraging seniors to feel empowered as they choose which method they prefer to meet new people."
- Seven in 10 dating seniors say they generally kiss on a first date, mostly depending on how the date went.
- Three-quarters of dating seniors believe physical intimacy is an important part of dating while three in five think this improves with age.
- Half of respondents feel less self-conscious about their appearance during intimate moments now than when they were younger.
- The average acceptable amount of money to spend on a first date to cover both people is $93.
- Over half of dating seniors (56%) think the bill should be equally split between both parties for the first date, while one-fifth (21%) say the male should solely pay.
The research shows that the vast majority of seniors believe their peers are less likely to stay in unhappy relationships, with many enjoying the feeling of having more freedom when single compared to when in a relationship.
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- Read more: Digital-savvy seniors could help other older Australians: National Seniors
The research also reveals that it is common for seniors to put more effort into their physical appearance when they begin dating again. This includes taking more care of their hairstyle and makeup, watching their weight and paying more attention to their clothes, accessories and jewellery.
What are we looking for in a potential partner?
According to the research most seniors are interested in forming in-depth connections that go beyond physical appearance. The vast majority are looking for:
- a sense of humour (83%)
- companionship (78%)
- similar interests (61%)
- an interesting personality (74%)
- physical attraction (68%)
- stability and reliability in the relationship itself (66%)
"Seniors diving back into the dating pool will have a very different experience than they did when they were younger," said psychotherapist Dr Karen Phillip.
"The report shows that many seniors are having better dating experiences now they're older than they did in their 20s, 30s and 40s, while more than half of respondents say they are more confident dating than they were when they were younger."
Families are generally supportive when it comes to seniors finding a new partner. In fact, nearly a quarter (23 per cent) of those surveyed say their children or grandchildren actively encouraged them to get back in the dating game.
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