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'Rip up the rulebook': How to use dating apps when you're over 50, according to Debrett’s

'Forget everything you were told 30 years ago'

Olivia Petter
Monday 16 April 2018 09:58
Larry Lamb stars in Ourtime's 50+ dating etiquette guide

With the advent of dating apps and its subsidiary lexicon, the art of traditional courtship - where people fall in love at first sight rather than swipe - has never seemed more foreign.

However, it’s not just millennials who are looking to find love online today, as new research has revealed there are almost one million over 50s dating online but nearly one third feel out of touch with today’s ephemeral dating culture and 60 per cent feel they lack the confidence to join in.

Hence, why etiquette masters Debrett’s has teamed up with Ourtime, the UK’s leading dating website for people over 50, to launch a bespoke online dating guide for mature daters.

With more than 250 years of advising the British public on codes on conduct, Debrett’s has divided the dating guide into five chapters which include tips on curating your online profile and navigating the murky waters of pre- and post-date communication.

Taking the perfect profile picture

For optimum success online, the guide suggests only using recent photographs on your profile, no less than a year old, so as to avoid misleading your date.

It also suggests including at least one full-length snap and a portrait shot to paint a fuller picture of what you look like.

Solo shots are better than group ones, they advise, otherwise you could easily be mistaken for one of your pals.

“Pictures that show off your passions give an instant idea of your interests too,” the guide adds.

Writing your bio

When it comes to crafting your bio, Ourtime dating expert Kate Taylor suggests writing it “like you’re introducing yourself to someone at a party” avoiding clichés wherever possible.

She also explains it’s better to keep the first few messages light in tone and to “make it personal” by mentioning something you’ve spotted on that person’s profile.

When to arrange a meeting

The manual advises organising a first date after five messages, ideally tailoring it around a shared interest, “like a visit to an exhibition”.

Physical intimacy on the first date

“Ourtime research has shown that over 50s daters become physically intimate much quicker than those in their 20s and 30s,” the guide reads, adding that a kiss or an overnight stay on the first date is completely acceptable if it feels right, “but feel free to take things slowly and let the excitement build,” it adds.

What happens next?

In terms of date follow-up, a perennial source of contention amongst modern day daters, Debrett’s says “strategic delay is not necessary” and that messaging within 24 hours of the first meeting is ideal.

If you aren’t interested in them, it’s best to be honest rather than simply ignoring them i.e. “ghosting”, the guide adds, “say how much you enjoyed meeting them, but that you would prefer to remain friends.”

However, if things go well and you decide to see them again, the guide says that after three or more dates you should have a sense of whether or not you would like to take things to the next level and make your courtship exclusive.

If you remain unlucky in love, the guide insists you don't lose hope.

“Never give up, and keep a positive attitude,” Taylor says.

“There are almost a million singles over 50 in the UK who are online dating, so just get back online and set up a date with someone new.”

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