Online dating, does it really work?

What are the benefits of online dating?

“For people who are romantically inclined, online dating seems too business-like. They prefer to dream of love at first sight during a meeting in the park, or a beautiful love that blossoms during a painting class. However, online dating really has many advantages .

First, it is a godsend if you meet few new people in your life. And let’s face it: that’s often the case when you’re over 50. You don’t get new colleagues of the same age as quickly, you don’t go to pubs as often, and you already know all the faces on the tennis court. Online dating puts you in touch with thousands of new potential contacts.

Second, online dating is nice and straightforward. All those people have the same goal as you, namely: to find a nice partner.

Third, dating is just fun. It may be that you have to get it under control, but then you will find that life becomes a little more exciting. Finally, dating is very educational. You discover what you really find important in a partner, and also what quickly turns you off.”

It sounds very positive! Are there also disadvantages?

“Of course. Online dating is inevitably superficial at first. You can’t meet everyone in person, so you’re forced to make a choice based on characteristics like looks, age, education level or height. Also, in a dating profile you can’t see how someone talking, smiling or interacting with the waitress on a busy terrace. You create your own image of someone and it can turn out very differently in real life.”

Is dating different when you’re over 50?

“Yes, yes. As you get older, you know better what you want. It makes dating both easier and harder. Harder because you’re pickier and less flexible, easier because you know better who suits you well. On average, it takes a little longer for a person over 50 to find someone who meets the requirements. In addition, most people over 50 have built their own lives. As a result, they are not desperate and are less likely to rush into a relationship. What also occurs less often in this age group is that people choose the ‘wrong’ man or woman. People have more life experience and become better at choosing a partner who is nice to them. And – I really like this – in in this age category, it is relatively common that there is not a click after a date, but that a friendship emerges.”

Is it therefore smarter to choose an agency for those over 50?

“It’s a personal choice. You can find people of all ages on all online dating agencies as well as on dating apps like Tinder. So it’s not necessarily necessary. Be careful with personal relationship agencies: I hear that they often ask for a lot of money – some times thousands of euros – while they have far too few customers to keep their promises.”

Tinder: is it a good idea?

“Tinder seems like something for young people looking for a quick fling. But it really isn’t like that anymore today. There are also people over 50 who are looking for a permanent relationship. The advantage of Tinder is that you install it on your phone in 5 minutes – it’s just fun to try. You have to be able to deal with people mainly choosing on your picture and you have to like to chat. Some people prefer to email: they’re less at home with Tinder.”

Is online dating something to be ashamed of?

“No, the taboo is gone now. It is a socially accepted way of finding a new partner. Of course, uncomfortable situations can arise, that’s just part of it. For example, you may come across someone you know personally on such a website. But how bad is it really? It implies that you both want a relationship. Looking for love simply means that you have to be vulnerable in a way.”

How to make a good profile?

“Send a representative and funny picture of yourself. Multiple pictures (if possible) are even better! Don’t hide anything: don’t wear sunglasses, take off your cap or motorcycle helmet and show it if you’re not super slim. You want , that someone should accept you as you are, right? It’s best to choose positive wording in your text. Say what you love and what you’re looking for in a partner. Avoid negativity – why mention in your profile that you don’t like smokers, tattoos, people with cats or beer drinkers?It really doesn’t make people want to reply to you!

Try to be original. Many write that they like a walk on the beach, a glass of wine or a terrace. Being more specific makes it more fun! For example: ‘I prefer to look for shells on the wide beach Schiermonnikoog.’ Some people tend to want to list all their vulnerabilities and limitations right away. While there is something to be said for that, it is better to share it in a real meeting. If there is a nice click, negatives are more likely to be overlooked. Finally: isn’t spelling your forte? Let’s check it out.”

Can you forget to flirt?

“When you’ve been married for years, flirting can feel like something from the distant past. Some people really need to learn again. Of course, flirting is exciting: you have to take risks when you approach someone, and you can also be rejected. But when people get through the first barrier, the brakes are released. I often hear that people who date online are also much more open to new contacts in ‘real life’. They suddenly flirt in the bakery or in the gym. Sometimes a new relationship happens right then and there, right nearby.”

What are the most common beginner mistakes?

“Stay behind the screen! So keep chatting or e-mailing too long with someone you haven’t met yet. It happens that people even fall in love through an exciting e-mail exchange with intimate outpourings. Then a first meeting can really be a disappointment. So meet as soon as possible. Another common mistake is to ‘pack’ too much on a first date, for example with a full dinner or a long walk. A cup of coffee in a cafe is actually the best start. Then you quickly become aware of what kind of meat you have in the tub. The third mistake is that you are too critical. If you are unsure on the first date, feel free to give the person a second chance. Nerves can make a person look different the first time than the second time.”

Is online dating safe?

“Fortunately, most people on dating sites are nice and trustworthy. However, there can also be bad apples in the basket. Be wary if a match is too good to be true, such as a model appearance and a twenty-year age difference, or if someone is too pushy. Never transfer money even if your date seems to really need money. Do not quickly reveal your personal information, such as phone number, address and email address. For example, create a separate email address for dating. Meet for the first time in a public place and preferably during the day. Feel free to block messages from an annoying person and report it to the dating site if someone misbehaves.”

Do you have one last wise lesson?

“Accept that no one is an ideal partner, not even you. Everyone has flaws. Don’t think about a flaw in the future partner: Well, we’ll adjust that. People don’t change in a relationship, you can only learn to communicate better .And furthermore: just enjoy the dating experience and be surprised by the new people you will meet.”

Live together

More than 37% of 50 to 65-year-olds who started living with their partner between 2008 and 2013 met them online.

Hannah and Theo

Hanny Morsink (60) got into a relationship with Theo Bon (60) via 50plusmatch.nl. Theo and Hanny have been together since June 2016.

  • Hanny: “More than two years after my husband’s sudden death, I decided to look for a relationship. I live a busy and full life, but I just didn’t enjoy life alone. At first, I thought dating was a turbulent event. You always get a notification when someone looks at your profile, and then you also have emails from men who want to contact you. It cost me a lot of energy.”
  • Theo: “I live in Portugal, and of course that makes dating difficult. When I saw Hanny’s profile, I was immediately charmed. It was personal and quite extensive. I like that clarity. After a brief e-mail exchange, we picked up the phone. We didn’t stop talking. Soon after, I traveled to the Netherlands for a meeting.”
  • Hanny: “At first I hadn’t even noticed that Theo lives abroad! Two weeks after his visit, I impulsively booked a ticket to Portugal, even though I had never flown before. My children gave me the wind; I think they were worried. But not anymore, they see that we love each other.”

Oscar and Linda

Oscar Landman (49) got into a relationship with Linda Spaanbroek (50) via Tinder. Oscar and Linda have been together since May 2016.

  • Oscar: “I have a busy job and no time to go to the pub every day. Then Tinder is ideal and accessible.”
  • Linda: “I didn’t meet many new people in everyday life, but I wanted a relationship. I tried internet dating but found it difficult. Tinder is more direct and has the big advantage that you don’t notice when others see your profile and reject you. You only contact if there is a match.”
  • Oscar: “Occasionally I had a date, but then I didn’t look at Tinder for several months. Until one day I saw Linda’s picture. We started chatting and went to a cafe together that evening.”
  • Linda: “It was such a nice conversation, and we actually still talk! After that it went quickly. After a few months we went on holiday together: with a motorhome through Sweden, even partly with the children. I didn’t know a relationship could be so easy and natural.”
  • Oscar: “Yes, it’s going great. I don’t need to change Linda and she doesn’t want to change me. We admire each other for who we are.”

The most famous dating agencies

  • Relatieplanet: this accessible and user-friendly website was voted best dating site by the TV program Kassa in 2014 and voted dating site of the year in 2015. You can become a member from €5.95 per month (for 1 year). A selection based on 50+ and/or highly educated is possible. Has the Safe Dating quality mark.

  • Parship: on this dating site for serious singles, you first take a personality test. You are introduced to people based on these characteristics. There is a free membership and a premium membership from €24.90 per month (for 2 years). According to the website, 38 percent of the members find a new love. Has the Safe Dating quality mark.

  • Tinder: with a free app on your smartphone, some pictures and a short text, you can get started. You can search by age and living distance. If someone has a good photo, swipe right. If the other person also swipes your photo to the right, there is a match and you can start chatting.
  • 50plusmatch: a website specifically for people over 50, with the Safe Dating quality mark. The TV program Kassa was also enthusiastic about this site. Registration is free, you have a full membership from € 7.95 per month (for 1 year). People over 80 can also find a match here!

Safe dating

The largest dating sites in the Netherlands have created the Safe Dating quality label in collaboration with the Consumers’ Association and Thuiswinkel.org. Dating sites with this quality mark must adhere to clear rules and be checked regularly. More information can be found at www.keurmerkveiligdaten.nl.

Please note: there is also such a thing as dating scams! Read more about it at www.plusonline.nl/datingfraude.

Single over 50s

The number of single people over 50 is growing explosively. In total, there are now 1.6 million single people over 50, more than 140,000 more than five years ago.

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