7 Strategies for Online Dating in Your 40s
Making a dating app profile in your 40s isn't dissimilar from making one at any other age. The key difference is your mentality: You may feel insecure about being single or "too old" to use dating apps in the first place.
Remember, 40-something is not too old to find a partner. With an interesting bio, pictures that tell the story of who you are and the right attitude, you can find success in online dating.
Be specific in your bio
Your biography is one of the most important aspects of your dating app profile. While there's no magic bio length, Melissa Hobley, global chief marketing officer of dating app OkCupid, recommends no fewer than three to six sentences.
"Stay upbeat, share a little about yourself and about what you want, and you've got a good bio," she advised.
The worst thing you can do is be generic. Instead of saying, "I'm a laid-back person who loves to travel and cook," try listing specifics. Details in your bio are integral to starting conversations with potential matches. Hobley gave her own example:
"OK, a little about me: from the Midwest originally (go Hoosiers) but love NYC," she began. "Have worked in media for almost 20 years and mostly love it. You can find me on the weekends trying a new restaurant (sushi gets top ranking). I also love running and I'm preparing for my third marathon. I'm a terrible cook, but a great sous chef, and I'll happily chop all the vegetables you ask. I'm passionate about the environment, so swipe left if you don't believe in climate change…and send me a message if this is a passion of yours, too."
All the details in this sample give potential matches something to say once they match with you. It's much easier to comment on a detailed bio, which helps you have more conversations.
Choose a variety of photos
Even with an attention-grabbing bio written by the best matchmaker in the world, no profile would be complete without photos. Most people are very visual.
"On OkCupid, profiles with six photos yield the most matches," Hobley said.
But don't choose six selfies or six group photos that barely show your face.
"The most important thing here is to have a diverse set of photos, not just a bunch of photos you took of yourself," said Erika Kaplan, a vice president of membership at Three Day Rule, a national matchmaking company.
Kaplan recommends including:
- Hobby-related pictures of you doing activities you love
- A group photo with a friend or two
- Full-body photos with you facing the camera
- Recent close-up shots
There is one caveat to the full-body photos:
"No bikini photos or pictures of men with their shirts off, please," said Brooke Bralove, a Maryland-based licensed clinical social worker and sex therapist certified by the American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors and Therapists (AASECT).
Men without shirts and women in bikinis are seen as the most attractive candidates but not the most dateable, according to a 2019 study by eHarmony, an online dating website.
When creating your online profile, don't get hung up on your age, job or looks. Honesty is one of the most desired qualities in a serious partner, so if you're looking for a long-term commitment, don't fudge the details, which include using up-to-date photos.
Sharing your values and what you're looking for is another part of being transparent. Most American singles are looking for a serious relationship, while 11 percent want to date casually, according to a 2021 study by Match, an online dating service. Be clear about what you want to avoid disappointment from both sides.
Show your vulnerability
If you're afraid to venture into the dating pool because of your age, remember you're not the only one who feels insecure. While chatting with your match, find a way to break the ice and bring the walls down.
"One creative way to do this is by sharing a vulnerable story," said Juan Santos, a licensed clinical mental health counselor in Greensboro, North Carolina. "It can be something funny, interesting or a lesson you learned in life. Being vulnerable lets others see who you are past the profile picture, shows you're not afraid to be yourself and highlights your self-confidence."
Embrace the silly
When you're in your 40s, life stressors are all around you. Studies show women value a sense of humor in a man—and we suspect vice versa to be true as well—so don't be afraid to make your profile fun.
"There's nothing like reading a profile that makes you laugh," Bralove noted. "It's not a stand-up routine, but including some sarcasm or humor always catches people's eye."
If humor doesn't come naturally to you, she suggested poking fun at yourself.
"Don't actually tell jokes on your profile," she added. "Use your own brand of humor. Like sarcasm? Include some in your bio."
Stick to one app
Kaplan suggested picking one app that feels the easiest to navigate or seems to have the most opportunity.
"As matchmakers, singles often tell us they're on three, four, even five apps. That's overwhelming for anyone," Kaplan said.
Spending most of your time on one app also helps with the app's algorithm, which processes data about you and others.
"The more you swipe and like profiles on OkCupid, but also other dating apps, the more the algorithm learns what you like. So stay active," Hobley said.
Don't focus on superficial aspects such as your weight, hair or income. A bio and photos displayed with confidence are more likely to draw eyes—at least the eyes worth drawing.
If you struggle with confidence, Bralove recommended asking your friends for feedback.
"All of us need to understand how others see us since our own self-talk tends to be extremely negative and self-critical," she said. "Your friends can point out what makes you unique and loveable, even if you may not see it yourself."
Finally, remember age and appearance aren't everything.
"Forty-something singles are looking for kindness and empathy," Hobley said.
Focus on who you are beneath the surface, and the right matches will come.