8 Real Stories From People Who Found Love Online After 40
Meeting people online at any age can feel like a daunting challenge, but for those over 40, it can feel a little more intimidating since it may not have been the norm when you first stepped out into the dating world.
However, this doesn't mean that online dating is strictly a young person's game. Far from it! People in their 40s, 50s, and above happily find connection and commitment via good dating apps and websites all the time. As couples' therapist Kyle Zrenchik, Ph.D., LMFT, ACS, puts it, "Dating online is successful for many people, and it can be for you as well."
Certified sex therapist Heather Shannon, LCPC, CST, also recommends dating apps as an effective way of meeting people in your 40s and above. "Countless people that I know personally and professionally have met people online after 40, so if you're looking for a relationship or just to have some casual fun—get out there!" she says. "Don't wait for the circumstances to be perfect. You have one life, so have fun with it!"
In case you need some proof, we rounded up a whole bunch of online dating success stories featuring people over 40 who found love on dating apps:
Talked for 12 hours on day one, been together a year now:
"He had sent a flirt to my profile on a dating site about two months earlier. I had no photo with the profile, so it was just what I had written that attracted him. Or, perhaps, he was one of those catfish that flirted with anyone and everyone, playing a numbers game for someone to respond. But there was his flirt, sitting there for months unbeknownst to me because I wasn’t logging in; I wasn't even looking. But an empty nest and wanderlust called, and out of curiosity to see what was floating out there, I logged in. And, there were not one, but two messages addressed to me, the photo-less woman.
"The site we were on doesn't allow you to look at photos unless you've also uploaded a photo. So, I searched through my photo archives, found a few, and posted them—literally for 20-30 minutes at most. Suddenly, I get pinged with a message. It's him, and we begin chatting.
"We spoke online through the site for about an hour. Then we shifted to the phone. We must have spoken on and off for nearly 12 hours the first day we 'met.' He suggested we meet the following day. As much as I had enjoyed our extended conversation, I hesitated because of the differences in where we both were in our lives. Finally, I agreed to meet him at a local shopping mall—I'm not a big fan of taking extended walks outside in the middle of the winter, plus it was a public place, in case he turned out to be a creep. I left my house late, that fear of success or failure slowing me down. I got there finally, late and offered to buy him the first of many coffees we shared that day. We must have walked miles, covering every square inch of the mall and never running out of things to say. From that moment on, we've been nearly inseparable. It's been a year so far, and I have to say that one of the best things I did was ignore all the reasons I was writing him off and take the chance to meet him in person. He's become my best friend and my love, and the life we've been building together is far more exciting and satisfying than the solo nomad empty nester life I had thought I'd wanted."
—Adrienne & Steve, ages 55 & 55
Was about to delete the app, but then he met her:
"Our initial message was about our shared love and discipline for sports and exercise. Then we discussed our faith, our passion for different cuisines, and it snowballed from there.
"Our first date was scheduled to be on Friday, February 12th, at a local restaurant, but he was so eager to meet me that we met after work near the nail salon I was at getting ready for our date! We had sushi at a small spot nearby, and we had such a great time that he offered to give me a ride home from Manhattan to Brooklyn (he lives in Queens) just to prolong the date. As we were sitting in the car outside my place and talking, someone hit his car! I immediately got to see how he handled stressful situations, and that is a very important quality. Rare to witness that so early on but it was very admirable that he was able to maintain his composure and handle the situation with grace!
"I love how passionate, communicative, loyal, loving, and dedicated he is. All those traits trickle into every aspect of his life including work, fatherhood, and our relationship. We don't live together fully at the moment, but the plan is to spend the rest of our lives together. We each have children, so that adds a layer of complexity, but thankfully everyone gets along and are respectful of each other.
"A funny point is that just before I messaged him, he was considering deleting Bumble out of frustration.
"We're both glad he didn't."
—Ruth & Frank, ages 43 & 45
It was love at first sight; now they're engaged:
"I met my Gabriel on one of the popular dating apps. I was scrolling through and saw his profile, liked it, and proceeded to send him a message. It took him two days to reply, and I'd actually forgotten about him until he replied. Luckily we are in the same city, which made it easy for us to plan a date. We went for coffee and then for a movie. It was love at first sight when I saw him, and the feeling was mutual. The rest is history as we are currently engaged and planning our wedding!"
—Rinal & Gabriel, ages 42 & 45
"Thank you, Tinder!"
"I'd been in the dating app trenches for a while, but my partner was very new to apps. In fact, I was only the second in-person date he had! The initial message was fairly benign and came from him 'How's your day going Treena?' Among the key things we chatted about initially, cats were high on the list, along with travel and trying to arrange a time to meet that worked for our schedules. For our first date, we met at an independent coffee shop at 10:30 a.m. The appointment is still in my phone calendar.
"When we met for the first time, the sparks were lit. However, we took it slow, sensing that this might really blossom into something important and because we each have our own vulnerabilities when it comes to intimacy. I'm currently 50 years old, and he is 42, which aligns with my tendency to date younger men. The things I love most about Adam are how playful, talented, and witty he is! Along with his huge heart. Ooh, and he's gorgeous—there's that too! Eleven months later, and we're still going strong. Thank you, Tinder!"
—Treena & Adam, ages 50 & 42
Find your match today with eHarmony. Free to join.
Met just a week after signing up for eharmony, now married 6 years:
"It was a girlfriend who suggested I sign up for eharmony. I was skeptical but decided I didn't have anything to lose. I'd been married before in my 20s, but since then, I'd focused on raising my three kids and hadn't been out with anyone since my divorce. Tim and I hit it off right away. I think I'd only been using the site for about a week before we connected. We decided to go on our first date at the tennis club in town because I was worried that I wouldn't know what to say if we didn't do some kind of activity. I needn't have worried though! We couldn't shut up and never did finish a whole game of tennis. We got engaged after 8 months, and now we've been married for 6 lovely years. I feel like such a lucky woman because I really found my soulmate."
—Barbara & Tim, ages 53 & 57
Was single for years, now looking at a spring wedding:
"I'm happy to say after years of singleness, I found my happily ever after on Facebook Dating after taking a 'break' from the online dating scene. Two days after returning to the site, my love reached out to me. Now we are engaged and planning to get married in the spring of 2023.
"We were honest and upfront about what we wanted the end results of dating to be from the outset. We both agreed that we were working towards marriage. We talked about the qualities we wanted from each other and how we would work together to make it happen.
"I just love his humor, and he has a great heart. He loves me unconditionally but will also challenge me when I'm making unwise decisions. He's not afraid of or intimidated by my success levels as an entrepreneur, which is something I struggled with for years while dating in my 40s.
"Two weeks into the relationship he started calling me his fiancée. I just blew him off because I thought he was playing. The more he started showing me that I was his One, the more sure I became, and that's when I told him that I would be his wife. Best decision ever!"
—April & Lorenzo, ages 47 & 57
After getting divorced, found the love of her life on Tinder and got remarried:
"I am a statistical anomaly being a divorced woman over 40 who met online (on Tinder!) and married the love of my life. We are still happily married seven years later, even with a blended household.
"We don't recall exactly what the initial message said (it has been 7 years!), but my husband thinks it was a reference to how tall I am and a question about whether I liked baseball. I had used my limited Tinder space to indicate I am indeed, 5'11 barefoot and requested suitors be taller than me. I ascertained he liked baseball from the pictures he included in his profile at games and coaching his son's little league team. We definitely spoke about baseball in the early days (it still is an ongoing topic and something we both love) as well as family in the early exchanges as it is important to both of us.
"He invited me out to lunch for our first date. He was in my town working, and we met up at an upscale but still casual lunch spot. I remember seeing him for the first time in person as he waited outside for me. I was so excited that he was as tall as he said he was, and that his shoulders were so broad (he's a former athlete). Later in our dating he revealed that he was equally as attracted to me the moment he saw me. I remember thinking as I stood next to him that first day, how comfortable I felt. Between our phone conversations and him showing up authentically, it created a great foundation of trust.
"I love my husband for many reasons. First and foremost we are one another's best friend. I have a great deal of respect for him as a man, husband, and father."
—Teresa & George, ages 52 & 51
Met online, got married, and adopted two kids:
"Neither of us can recall who messaged who first, but our first date was rollerblading! We joked that our second date would be skydiving... which never happened, ha. We got married after a year, and later we adopted our two beautiful boys. We are all currently traveling the country full-time in our motorhome together looking forward to many more years together."
—Laura & John, ages 42 & 47
What are the best dating sites for people over 40?
The best dating sites for people over 40 depend entirely on what you're looking for. For instance, if you're simply looking for a casual fling, then you can't go wrong with Tinder. While it generally skews younger, there are plenty of people ages 40 and above to choose from thanks to Tinder's overall dominance of the dating app marketplace.
If you're looking for something more serious, there are also a wide variety of options. For example, Match.com has been around for a long time and is generally considered to be a place for people to find serious relationships rather than hookups. Match is also far more targeted to people who have progressed past the hectic dating life of one's 20s. It costs money to use, unlike Tinder, which also ensures that people are there for the right reasons.
If you're willing to really commit to online dating as a way to find The One, then eharmony is another great choice of dating app for the over-40 crowd. It involves completing a very in-depth questionnaire that's used to match you with other users that the algorithm deems you to be compatible with. This cuts down on time-wasting, and users of eharmony have boasted many successful marriages over the years.
For those who are 40+ and also of a particular faith, sites such as Christian Mingle or Jdate can also be well worth a look. At this stage of your life, you know full well what you want from a partner, and having a shared faith can provide a steady foundation for your relationship to rest upon.
(Here's our full roundup of the best dating apps for serious relationships.)
What's the success rate for online dating?
Online dating is extremely common in today's world, and it also leads to love for many. According to a 2020 report from Pew Research Center, about a third of U.S. adults have used a dating site or app, including 38% of those ages 30 to 49. Nearly one in five adults in that age range have married or been in a committed relationship with someone they met online, as have one in 10 adults between ages 50 and 64.
Some research has found that as many as a third of American marriages begin online and that these marriages were slightly less likely to dissolve than marriages that began in other ways. So, it's fair to say that online dating has a pretty high success rate, generally speaking.
Do dating apps really work for people over 40?
Yes, they really do. Many people happily find love on apps after turning 40. A 2020 Pew report found nearly one in five adults between ages 30 to 49 have married or been in a committed relationship with someone they met on a dating app or site.
What's the best dating app for people over 40?
It's never too late to find love online, no matter whether you're dating in your 30s, 40s, 50s, or beyond. As time goes on, online dating only becomes more and more normalized, regardless of one's age. So, brush up on your dating site etiquette, polish up your profile, and get out there.
Interviews have been edited and condensed for clarity.
Kesiena Boom, M.S., is a sociologist, writer, and poet. She has a bachelor’s degree in Sociology from the University of Manchester and a master’s degree in Gender Studies from Lund University. Her work has been featured at Slate, Buzzfeed, Vice, Autostraddle, and elsewhere. Her writing focuses on sex, pleasure, queer experience and community, feminist theory and practice, and race and anti-racism.