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This reinforces a message that young people get hammered with on a daily basis: nothing matters more than how you look.
We’d be lying if we said that appearance wasn’t important at all to the over-55 demographic, but it turns out to be a much lower priority.
Part of this is probably the wisdom that comes with age, but even more significant is an essential truth about how age works.
Once you get into your fifties and beyond, the actual number of your age becomes less and less significant.
That’s why we’re currently working on a number of features for Stitch to ensure that the people you meet are who they say they are. We’ve found older adults to be far more refreshingly open-minded. In case you hadn’t figured it out by now, all the differences we’ve described above lead most older adults to conclude that, well, online dating is not a positive experience at all.
One thing that many dating services have in common is using fancy algorithms to help you find a partner based on a dazzling array of filters you provide them. Whether it was the Jewish 82-year-old, who admitted in her youth she would have only accepted “a handsome Jewish boy” but now “doesn’t mind about their background as long as they are kind”, or the 59-year-old devout Catholic who had never considered dating Protestants when she was younger, we found an incredible willingness to judge potential partners on their personality and shared interests than any pre-conceived notions of who the “right” partner might be. It’s built around the needs of younger generations, who care a lot about age, about appearances, about filtering out potential matches based on arbitrary criteria, who are happy to spend inordinate amounts of time online, browsing and scrutinizing potential matches.
Or, as we have been often asked by older women considering prospective male companions: are they truly looking for companionship, or someone to nurse them through their later years?
Stitch Update: the more we talk to the people registering for Stitch, the more we have come to understand how important the issue of trust is (and how absent it is in most online dating sites today). The profile selection page from paints a clear picture: young people dating have a well-defined set of filters, which they use to help them find that “perfect” match.
One thing we have been struck with has been the important role that dinner plays in the social (or not-so-social) lives of most older adults.
More than any other activity, dinner is where older adults feel the isolation of being alone most strongly.
This is why, for most older adults, a dinner date is the most important first step towards finding companionship.
But just as many are actually seeking multiple companions to fit in with their varied social needs. One of our favorite lines comes from a Huffington Post article on this very subject: It won’t surprise you, of course, to discover that most of today’s online dating services are designed around chatting with potential matches online before things get serious enough for a phone call. Yes, trust is important to everyone, no matter how old they are.
But for a retiree on a fixed income, who has heard countless stories of peers being taken advantage of both online and in the real world, trust takes on a special significance. Are they authentically interested in me, or are they after something more?