What Do Older Adults Seek in Their Potential Romantic Partners? Evidence from Online Personal Ads

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International Journal of Aging and Human Development




Because of the dearth of available partners, older women looking to date may have to relax their dating standards to find a dating partner, perhaps accepting a life situation that is not what they had hoped for. However older women may be reluctant to sacrifice an often recently-gained lifestyle free of caregiving obligations. Older men, on the other hand, have a large pool of potential dating partners and do not face the same dilemma. We compared Internet dating profiles for 100 older adults and 100 younger adults, and found that older adults (and especially older women) were more selective than younger adults when it came to the age, race, religion, income, and height of a prospective dating partner. However, older adults were willing to travel substantially farther than younger adults to meet the right partner. These findings paint a clear picture of older Internet daters as eager to meet the right person, but not desperate to meet just anyone.