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Some are seeking someone to have dinner with, some are looking for someone to travel with them, others are looking for someone to share their favorite activities. There is an entire spectrum of dating that goes far beyond the marriage-oriented online dating services available today. Far more than their younger counterparts, older adults feel much more comfortable evaluating a potential match in the real world instead of online.

It’s always fun to have attraction, romance, and flirting. Which goes a long way to explaining the next point … That’s right, instead of texting and messaging, they actually prefer to talk to someone on the phone to find out if they like them. All the Millennials out there are shaking their heads, wondering why on earth anyone would like to talk on the phone when they can instant message instead.

Maybe this is because older adults are wise enough to know that looks have very little to do with whether someone is going to be a kind, loving and caring companion.

Maybe it’s because the physical nature of attractiveness changes when you get older, or maybe they know that being “hot and sexy” is more a function of your personality than how you look.

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.

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.

Once you get into your fifties and beyond, the actual number of your age becomes less and less significant.

Take a quick look at the Tinder user interface to the left.

What stands out as the most important aspect of a person when determining if you may be a potential match? With Tinder (and pretty much every other online dating system on the market today) the photo is all-important.

This makes quite a comparison to how many young people organize their first dates, which usually involve meeting up in a bar.

Several of today’s dating services are built specifically around this concept: Grouper, for example, hooks up groups of young people in bars and offers them a free first drink as part of the package. The fundamental premise behind most dating services for young people is that the ultimate goal is to find love and marriage.

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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.

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  1. Just as chubby, doe-eyed infants and the smell of baby powder bring out the maternal part of my androgynous personality, the Loris-like gait of an aged spinster redolent with ancient perfume elicits in me a similar strain of docility.