Joanita Wibowo

Relationships

Online dating for seniors: Tips from a professional matchmaker

Online dating for seniors: Tips from a professional matchmaker

More and more Australians are looking to find love on the Internet – and it's easy to understand why, with the plethora of dating services available on the market today and the convenience they offer of finding potential new partners in the comfort of your home.

However, this doesn't change the daunting nature of dating. Filtering through numerous profiles, creating first impressions and navigating conversations could be quite overwhelming, especially for those looking for romance later in life.

Holly Bartter knows this struggle all too well. Bartter, who founded the online dating service Matchsmith, specialises in dating ‘outsourcing’ where she manages clients’ dating profiles, from bio makeovers to matching and messaging the right candidates.

Bartter started her business after finding out she had a knack for setting up her friends, family and colleagues on dates.

Her clientele, mostly women, range across generations, including individuals over 60 seeking a suitable partner.

Bartter said her older clients tend to have a better idea of what they are looking for in a partner.

"My younger clients may have more insecurities about themselves and what kind of person they want to be with," she told Over60. "They are still getting to know who they are and perhaps haven't had a significant long-term relationship yet.

"Individuals over 60 have real life experience and a sense of self and identity – they understand what is really meaningful to them in a relationship and what they want."

However, this does not mean that seniors have no pitfalls in online dating. According to Bartter, low screen time could disrupt the momentum with potential love interests. “Often my clients won't be online much, with other things occupying their days, so they can miss opportunities to connect and reply – and a match can be lost!”

Another risk was romance scam. Last year, nearly 4,000 Australians reported losing money to dating scammers, with people aged 45 to 64 being the most affected. "Seniors can also be too trusting online at times and should be wary of stock photos online in place of actual headshots," said Bartter.

"Luckily online platforms like RSVP and eHarmony are really screening against this.

"But the moral of the story always is that if someone refuses to share more photos, other details or won't meet for a coffee or call you, they may not be who they say they are!"

Bartter has a few words of advice to share for a thriving online dating life. For a smooth-flowing conversation, she said three things are the key: consistency and personalisation.

"Make the online conversation tailored to that person," advised Bartter. "Really review the profiles of your matches and find something you'd like to learn more about."

She also suggested to keep the chat light. "Have fun and be light-hearted. There is time for more serious conversation over the phone, but online just focus on being friendly and learning about the personality of your match – are they respectful? Do they answer your questions? Are they replying regularly?" she said.

While you may be excited to talk further with that promising person, "always send just one introductory message," Bartter said. "Never message more than once until they have replied."

Bartter said while online dating is indeed a numbers' game, it should still be an enjoyable experience. "There is someone out there for everyone at all ages, but you have to be in it to win it," she said. "And dating should always be fun – if you're not having a good time, pause and revisit later, and never feel obligated to meet someone if you don't enjoy their conversation."

Are you on any online dating apps or websites at the moment? Share your stories in the comments.