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15 Tips for Middle-Aged Men on Dating Apps

Here's how to get more matches and dates.

Relationships are, for good or for ill, not forever. Millions of people well into middle age or beyond find themselves single and facing the dating world decades after they naively figured they'd left it behind for good. Navigating dating apps and their new rituals, along with ancient challenges like self-doubt and stomach butterflies, can make dating seem like an impossible task. The best thing to do is practice radical acceptance, give yourself over to the process, and just freaking relax, says 56-year-old Antony, who recently offered fifteen tips for successful midlife dating in the Telegraph

Most People on the Apps Are Normal


Don't let anxiety build up dating apps into something mysterious that they're not. The people on them are essentially just like you. "They're just not in a relationship and want to be. Or they want to meet new people, with alcohol, and with a view to possibly starting a relationship," said Antony.

Although Some Are Worth Avoiding—But They're Easy to Weed Out


Yes, some people post comically airbrushed photos, obscure their faces, or make strange demands—including that you prioritize them over your children, Antony found—but they tend to reveal themselves immediately, and they're easily dispatched with a swipe.

Don't Get Carried Away By Fantasy

Loving Hispanic Couple In Countryside

Antony found that he used the sketchy details offered in profiles and over text conversations to build up fantasy versions of his ideal mate—which invariably paled in comparison to the real person. "I gravitated towards women whose profiles I thought spoke clearly of self-deprecation or irony, but was unfailingly surprised when I met perfectly nice women with no proclivity for either," he said. "My fault, not theirs. I'd seen something that wasn't there."

Get Comfortable With Emojis And Online Slang

Close-up of woman using smartphone sending emojis.

You may encounter people who primarily communicate with abbreviations and smiley faces. "You need to get used to this, if not necessarily follow suit," he said. 

First Meetings Tend to Be Efficient


No need to plan a whole evening for a date. "If you get to the meeting-up stage, most people will tell you everything you need to know in the first hour, maximum," he said. 

People Don't Look Like Their Photos


That's pretty much a given for any age. Everyone wants to present their "best self" that may not reflect current reality.

Hitting It Off Immediately Doesn't Necessarily Mean Anything


If you strike up a great conversation on the app, it doesn't mean you've found the love of your life. "I occasionally found myself answering texts in real time, leading to a rapid-fire text conversation lasting up to an hour or more, like a teenager giddy with unexpected text intimacy," he said. "These exchanges didn't necessarily go anywhere, date-wise. We were just enjoying the conversation."

You Can't Plan Attraction


No matter how much vetting or conversing you do before you meet up, you can't avoid hanging out with someone for the first time and … just not feeling it. There's no substitute for in-person chemistry, or the lack thereof.

Bad Dates Happen


"Fantasy and the brevity of texting occasionally lead to disappointment IRL," said Antony. This is just reality, and there's nothing you can do about it. 

The Process Can Be Painful


It may not feel good, but everybody goes through it. "Several times I walked home alone through Manchester city center after a perfectly enjoyable date with a heavy heart and my solitude more painful than ever," said Antony. "Occasionally, after an evening with someone far jollier and loving than my ex ever was, I craved the familiarity of my old, less uncertain life. Or even just my sofa, with a solo beer."

But Sometimes Things Will Get Physical


"And this is where dating-appers are winning over their counterparts in settled relationships, hands down," he said.

Some Dates Are Just Meh


"There's no universally agreed metric by which these things can be measured. Inevitably one party will enjoy the encounter more than the other," said the intrepid dater.

If You're Generally Unhappy, Dating Won't Make You Happier


That cliche about loving yourself before you can love anyone else? When you're dating, if you're miserable, it won't transform you, and you might drag your date along. "It will be a passing distraction, mainly for the good but not always," said Antony. "If your heart is in your boots, your date's cheerfulness only intensifies this. And, of course, they're not dumb. Women will know."

Be Brave


Antony reports his 20-year-old daughter told him before his first date: "Don't be a wet-wipe, Dad. Fear is a total time waster." 

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Dating Can Actually Be Fun


You can actually have a good time—and learn things that make you a better dater (and person) in the process. "I learned that by asking questions I turned myself from a 7 into a 9," said Antony. "I saw live music and films I'd never see on my own. I chose wine with real care, or had it chosen for me." One major lesson he learned: "Kindness is always important too. And you should take your moral compass with you on every date."

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