By Gemma Francis
Dating is more fun as you get older, a study has revealed.
Researchers found looking for love when you are more mature and worldly-wise is far less stressful than courting during your 20s and 30s.
Experts found older singletons are more relaxed and comfortable in their own skin than image-conscious teens, while 20 and 30-somethings that are under huge pressure from peers and social media stereotypes.
The study, carried out among 1,000 over 50s and 1,000 under 50s by Saga’s dating services, found many of the older generations felt dating was ‘awkward’ when they were younger because they didn’t really know what they were looking for.
But advancing years, and the life experience that comes with it, has eroded any self-doubt and given them a clearer idea of who they want to spend their lives with.
It also emerged around one in four over 50s believe they are now ‘more romantic’ than they were when they were growing up.
Saga Magazine editor Katy Bravery said: “Members of our Saga Dating service tell us that among the many benefits of age are a welcome boost in confidence – and much more freedom.
“As a consequence they are happier to honestly express likes and dislikes without fear of compromising romantic chances.
“And many feel free to live their lives differently, now the pressure of wanting to settle down and have a family has passed. – it’s a great time to widen horizons.
“Interestingly, our daters say they are not just seeking a carbon copy of a previous love – points of difference in a new relationship are seen as just as interesting and exciting as areas of mutual compatibility.
“Plus, more free time enables a greater degree of spontaneity too. We always enjoy hearing tales of romantic Valentine’s Day proposals in Paris from our members! Even a few on board our cruises too.”
Researchers also found a third of over 50s who are currently dating are simply looking for a companion or friend, while more than a quarter are aiming to meet someone they can have fun with.
A romantic 23 per cent want to find ‘The One’ to have alongside them for the rest of their lives.
And one in ten admitted they are dating in order to boost their sex life.
The poll also found 76 per cent of those in the older category believe certain things such as looks and money become less important when looking for a new partner.
And while both generations consider a good sense of humour to be important, the over 50s place more significance on honesty with eight in ten looking for this in a partner compared to just 66 per cent of twenty somethings.
Almost three quarters of over 50s also said a ‘similar outlook on life’ was key for them, with just half of 20-29 year-olds saying the same.
Instead, younger daters are more likely to want someone with a good sense of adventure and the ability or potential to be a good parent.
Both generations see sex as important with four in ten 20-somethings and over 50s looking for this.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, 20-somethings place more importance on good looks, ambition and a love of a good party.
Researchers also found almost three in ten over 50s have started dating again later in life, with 84 per cent saying it is different to dating when they were younger, and 63 per cent think dating is now better than it was while they were younger.
Fifty-five per cent feel more confident going out on dates now, while 61 per cent believe it’s easier as you know what you want from a partner and from life as you get older.
It also emerged always being yourself is the top tip for dating later in life, followed by always remembering to have fun and never lying about your age.
Remembering that no-one is perfect and not trying to hide your past, also feature in the list as well as being prepared to accept that someone may have ‘baggage’.
Other advice for dating post-50 includes not diving in too soon after a divorce or losing a partner, no game-playing and never comparing a new date to an ex.
Saga Magazine editor Katy Bravery added: “There are more people over 50 getting divorced than ever before, and with thousands of people using Saga Dating every month, online dating is most definitely not just the preserve of the young.
“It’s a great way to break out of an existing social circle, and meet new friends and partners.
“Finding a partner second time around can seem daunting but online dating will bring you into contact with people you would otherwise never have met otherwise.
“Your perfect match could be living in the next street, but without a little extra online help – how will you ever know?!”
Top 10 things twenty-somethings look for in a partner
1. A good sense of humour
2. Honesty and trust
3. A good personality
4. Similar likes and dislikes
5. A similar outlook on life
6. A sense of adventure
7. Good looks
8. A good listener
9. A good sex life
Top 10 things over-fifties look for in a partner
1. Honesty and trust
2. A good sense of humour
3. A good personality
4. Similar likes and dislikes
5. A good listener
6. A good sex life
9. A close family
10. A good sense of adventure
Top 20 tips for dating later in life:
1. Always be yourself
2. Have fun
3. Don’t lie about your age
4. Remember, that nobody is perfect
5. Don’t hide your past – everyone has one
6. Be prepared to accept someone who may have some baggage
7. Don’t act too needy or desperate for a new partner
8. Don’t dive in too soon after a divorce or passing of a partner
9. Don’t play games
10. Don’t keep comparing a potential partner with an ex
11. Always use a recent picture when online dating
12. Don’t be afraid to say yes to a date – even if you don’t think it will turn into anything. You may still have a good time and meet a new friend
13. Don’t look for someone who is exactly like your previous partner
14. Don’t give things away too soon
15. Step out of your comfort zone a little and date people you may not have considered in the past
16. Be willing to embrace new things such as online dating
17. Make sure you are putting yourself out there by going to places where you may meet someone rather than just staying at home
18. Don’t be too modest
19. Skype or Facetime before meeting for the first time
20. Ask a friend to look over a dating profile before you message them