Australian seniors who find themselves single are certainly not giving up on love and are turning to online dating with the support of their families, according to a new study released today by the Australian Seniors Insurance Agency.
Although traditional routes to finding love are still popular, more seniors are open to a digital dating approach. While navigating through the dating world, the majority of seniors say they prefer to be free to ‘play the field’ using online dating until they find the right person (63.2%) and would consider dating someone considerably younger (55.9%) than themselves.
The vast majority of seniors (82.6%) 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 (86.3%). And, when comparing the state of play with their parents’ generation, more than three in four (76.1%) think the attitude and approach to relationships have changed for the better.
The Modern Dating report is the fifteenth instalment of The Australian Seniors Series – an ongoing national study that explores the shifting attitudes and concerns affecting Australia’s over 50s. This chapter delves into how seniors feel about online dating and re-entering the dating game.
Those embracing technologies are using dating apps frequently with South Australians leading the way with close to 3 in 5 (56.2%) using this technology two to three times a week, followed by nearly 2 in 5 (39.0%) seniors in New South Wales*.
“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, Simon Hovell, Australian Seniors Insurance Agency spokesperson. “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.”
What are seniors interested in
Australian seniors are interested in forming in-depth connections that go beyond physical appearance. The vast majority are looking for a sense of humour (83.7%), companionship (78.5%), similar interests (61.3%) and an interesting personality (74.4%) in a potential partner as well as stability and reliability (66.0%) in the relationship itself.
“Seniors diving back into the dating pool will have a very different experience than they did when they were younger,” said Dr Karen Phillip, Psychotherapist. “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.”
Despite the potential challenges, the majority of seniors are approaching dating later in life with an open and positive outlook. Seniors remain aware of the online scammers yet remain happy to use online websites and Apps to find companionship and love.
Further findings from the research:
- Similar proportions of dating seniors who have used dating websites say they decided to use one since they felt they had nothing to lose (48.2%) or felt lonely (47.3%). Male seniors are more likely to say they felt they had nothing to lose (54.5% vs. 42.6%) and were looking to find a casual relationship (30.7% vs. 12.6%) compared to their female counterparts.
- 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 (52.1%), watching their weight (46.1%) and paying more attention to their clothes, accessories and jewellery (44.2%).
- 3 in 5 (70.9%) dating seniors say they generally kiss on a first date, mostly depending on how the date went.
- The large majority of dating seniors believe physical intimacy is an important part of dating (75.3%), while close to three in five (55.1%) think this improves with age. Similar proportions feel less self-conscious about their appearance during intimate moments now than when they were younger (49.2%).
- Half of the dating seniors (50.4%) say they are open to the idea of reconnecting with people they have previously dated or been in a relationship with regardless of whether it was casual or serious, while one in 10 (10.0%) say they are open but only with people they have casually dated.
- Dating seniors say the average acceptable amount of money to spend on a first date to cover both people is $93.
- Most dating seniors believe expectations of what should be spent on a date are too high (68.8%) and that dating is too expensive these days (58.2%).
- One in five dating seniors (21.3%) say dating is very important to them so they are willing to spend a lot of money on their date and more than one in ten (11.7%) think a lot of money should be spent on impressing their date.
Over half of dating seniors (56.8%) think the bill should be equally split between both parties for the first date, while one-fifth (21.4%) say the male
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