There is a common misconception about the population of older adults in America. When referring to dating websites such as eHarmony or Match.com, we automatically think of younger adults in their 20’s to 40’s that would be using a dating website to find a possible suitor to marry and have a family with. Yet we do not consider the other age groups that may also be benefitting from dating websites; older adults.
Match.com is a dating website to to give customers personalized matches that the site believes would make a connection for a potential relationship (Goldstein, 2016). Match.com allows user to create a dating profile that includes their hobbies and interests. Users can then find matches based on their unique interests. Match.com does have one major downfall when it comes to dating for older adults, the age range categories are not very specific. This can be off putting for old older adults because they do not feel they are at the same life stage or have the same interests are others in their category (Sears-Roberts Alterovitz & Mendelsohn, 2009).
OurTime is a similar dating website to Match.com yet it includes older adults in its mission to helping make relationships. Older adults are still interested in finding a romantic relationships so OurTime is more applicable to older adults than Match.com (Nelson, 2013). Romantic relationships have different goals and outcomes than romantic relationships in younger adulthood. OurTime features television commercials showing both younger older adults that are seeking partnership. OurTime emphasizes that older adults are still interested in dating and provides an outlet for both younger and older adults to find a romantic partner. Older adults differ from younger adults on dating websites because they are more likely to have just gotten out of a long relationship or marriage and are still interested in dating (Nelson, 2013).
Researchers examined previous studies on personal ads to find that most studies sum together one section of older adults. Older adults are considered to be 50 years and older (Alterovitz & Mendelsohn, 2009). Studies fail to recognize the vast differences in interests, hobbies, and goals of the people lumped together in this category.
Younger adults looking for a relationship have different outcome goals than older adults have. Younger adult males seek a mate based on their reproductive abilities and attractiveness (Sears-Roberts Alterovitz & Mendelsohn, 2009). Younger adult women also seek out a relationship with someone they would like to have children with yet they rate attractiveness as being less important than males do. Older adults, especially the old older adults in the 65 and older category are not seeking out a relationship to find somehow to have children with. Instead, older adults are mainly concerned with finding companionship.
Older adults have already had opportunities to have children. Many older adults on dating websites already have had children and are out of a long relationship with a partner that they had children with (Alterovitz & Mendelsohn, 2009). The different relationship goals between older adults and younger adults creates different expectations of what they will get out of a dating website, yet people at any dating age could benefit from dating websites.
Both OurTime and Match.com provide excellent opportunities for older adults. Without using a dating website, they may never meet suitable partners (McIntosh, Locker, Briley, Ryan, & Scott, 2011). Dating websites pool together many different possible relationships opportunities for people of all ages to explore. It is more difficult for older adults to find relationship partners in older adulthood yet older adults still desire companionship just as much as younger adults do. Being in an older age group should not have to limit older adults ability to find a relationship partner (McIntosh, Locker, Briley, Ryan, & Scott, 2011).
OurTime is the most beneficial dating website for older adults (Nelson, 2013). While Match.com does provide many possible relationship partners for all of its users through their matching process, their users are generally in mid adulthood rather than late adulthood. There is no vast difference in the methods either sites uses to create relationship matches, however, the difference in these sites lays in the age of users (McIntosh, Locker, Briley, Ryan, & Scott, 2011).
Since OurTime has commercials and advertisement geared toward older adults, older adults feel more welcomed to their website than they do to Match.com. Younger adults are more likely to use a dating website due to their avidity with technology and goal of finding someone to have children with. Older adults are just as interested in finding a companion as younger adults are yet they are less likely to go online than younger adults (Nelson, 2013).
Match.com and OurTime are both used by older adults that are seeking relationships as well as younger adults and people in mid-adulthood (Goldstein, 2016). Match.com could attain more older adult users if they catered their advertising to older adults in the way that OurTime does. Dating websites do not have to work as hard for younger adult sign up as they have to work for older adult sign up. Using their advertising methods to directly include older adults would be a great way for Match.com to gain a wider customer basis within older adults (McIntosh, Locker, Briley, Ryan, & Scott, 2011).
Overall, dating websites are an excellent way for older adults to find a partner and engage in a relationship. Older adults seek love, commitment and companionship just as much as younger adults do and the idea that older adults do not want or need romantic relationships is completely inaccurate. Dating websites such as OurTime or Match.com provide outlets for older adults to explore the possibility of finding a romantic partner and gaining the companionship they desire.
Alterovitz, S. S., & Mendelsohn, G. A. (2009). Partner Preferences Across the Life Span: Online
Dating by Older Adults. Psychology & Aging, 24(2), 513-517. doi:10.1037/a0015897Goldstein, S. (2016). My Profile is on Match.com: What Do I Do Now?. Psych Central.
Retrieved from https://psychcentral.com/lib/my-profile-on-matchcom-what-do-i-do-now/McIntosh, W. D., Locker, L., Briley, K., Ryan, R., & Scott, A. J. (2011). What Do Older Adults
Seek in Their Potential Romantic Partners? Evidence from Online Personal Ads.International Journal Of Aging & Human Development, 72(1), 67-82. doi:10.2190/AG.72.1.d
Nelson, D. (2013, January 28). OurTime.com: A dating site for the 50 crowd. Retrievedfrom https://www.consumeraffairs.com/news/ourtimecom-a-dating-site-for-the-50crowd-012813.html