Be less fussy about age when dating

Data from online dating service AYI (ayi.com) shows

Data from online dating service AYI (ayi.com) shows older men routinely limit their searches to women their age or younger while women 50 and older rarely say they are interested in a prospective match until the man makes the first move. (Credit: Handout)

When it comes to online dating, broadening your horizon should increase your prospects.

Men and women limit their choices when looking for an online match, although each does it in a different way. Data from online dating service AYI (ayi.com) shows older men routinely limit their searches to women their age or younger while women 50 and older rarely say they are interested in a prospective match until the man makes the first move.

"If women took the initiative and went after the men, whether they're younger or older, they would be a lot more successful," says Josh Fischer, AYI's product insights manager.

As for men, the biggest mistake they make is not searching for women older than they are. "Fifty-eight percent of men over 50 only look for their age or younger," Fischer says. But when a man adjusts his search parameter to include older women, his chances of getting a match skyrockets. "Women, especially in this age group, want to meet men who are a little bit younger than them," Fischer says. AYI's data show that women 50 and older are six times more likely to pursue a match with a younger man than with a man who is older.

AYI is one of several players in the growing number of online dating services. AARP Dating (dating. aarp.org), Our Time (ourtime.com) and Silver Singles (silversingles.com), for example, specialize in over-50 singles. AYI is open to all ages, but Fischer says about half the women and about a third of the men on his dating site are older than 50.

What sets AYI apart, Fischer says, is its tie-in with Facebook. Fischer says AYI's dating app has been installed by 70 million Facebook users. Using AYI within Facebook allows users to be connected not only to friends on their Facebook page but to "friends of friends" who also have installed the AYI app. Like most dating services, AYI offers a free but limited membership. To use advanced features such as being able to see who viewed your profile, a paid subscription is required.

The good news for over-50 daters is that the same topics you discussed in the 1960s are relevant today. The top interests for people older than 50 who use AYI's Facebook app are oldies music, country music and classic rock. And the music group cited most often as a shared interest among over-50s: the Rolling Stones.

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