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Dating in the 21st Century

The dating scene may have evolved over the years, but Sex educator Maureen Matthews says seniors who are looking to meet a new partner should know some things never change.


Internet dating, ‘hook up’ apps and ‘friends with benefits’. There can be no doubt seniors will find some 21st century methods of sparking intimate relationships markedly different from their first foray into dating. But, according to sex educator Maureen Matthews, there are some constants.

‘Honesty is still the best policy and you need to be brave,’ Maureen says.

‘If you decide to try dating sites, be honest. Don't put a picture of yourself when you were 21.

‘Almost everybody lies about their age but there’s no point in having a profile that makes you look like you're real drop dead gorgeous because, when you meet them, you're just going to get a rejection. It's going to be hurtful. So better be brave and be honest.’

Shared interests

Maureen says people often assume ‘sexy’ places, like bars, are the best venues to meet someone new. However, she suggests meeting face-to-face via a shared interest is a better way to find someone you will have something in common with.

‘Hanging around in bars is probably not going to be the best way for over 60s to meet new people. You're going to have a lot more success by joining something on Meetup (an online platform of local groups),’ Maureen says.

And, she warns those newly returned to the dating scene to be prepared to get out of their comfort zone and be a little bit brave.

Be brave

‘Not every encounter is going to work. You're going to have an experience that you might find a little bit upsetting. You might go and have dinner with somebody and find that they're real sleazeball and you’ll need to extricate yourself and go home.

‘But, it's like riding a bicycle. If you fall off, you get up and you ride again. Don't be shattered if it doesn’t work out the first time or the person isn't how they seemed.’

Having an open mind is essential to begin a new relationship, she says.

Ditch the checklist

‘Don't go into it with a great long checklist. Give people the opportunity to open up to you and try to like the real them, not the fantasy of them that you're projecting onto them.

‘And, don't just think, “What do I want out of this person?”

‘It's not a one-way exchange. You need to be giving as well. It's not just that you're looking for someone who's got this and blah, blah blah. Even if you don't fall in love with somebody, these are still loving exchanges and the people you're meeting are still human beings and deserve to be respected and treated with dignity.

‘So, make another list about what you have to offer them. And be kind.’

Maureen Matthews wearing bright colours sitting on a chair

Author and sex educator, Maureen Matthews.

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Reviewed 21 December 2022