The Sydney Morning Herald

The big growth now is at either end of the spectrum: the market and those over In the period, when Tinder was taking off, online dating tripled for that younger demographic; and in the same period it doubled for those aged , according to the Pew research centre. Lumen stands out because, like Tinder it only exists as an app. It is designed first and foremost for the mobile phone. She founded it in London in , believing she had spotted a gap in the market. She knew lots of people in their 50s and 60s who were just as phone-fixated as the younger generation.

It's free to join, but the company makes money by charging users for "premium" features. These include the ability to search potential partners with "advanced filters" like "height, children, smoking, politics and star sign" and the chance to see who has saved you as a "favourite". More established companies also cater for mature daters, like OurTime and Silver Singles. They began as website platforms but have now developed apps.


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Some dating apps wouldn't let you sign up if you were older than 50, so people lied about their age, says Ms Lester. You do find men in their eighties chasing the "youngsters" in their 50s, she says, but you can use age-range filters to set who can see your profile. There is a divergence in what men and women want in later life, says Nicola Fox Hamilton, who lectures in cyber-psychology at Dublin's Institute of Art, Design and Technology. Women are looking for companionship but without a caring role, because often they are just escaping from that and value freedom, she says.

Men are more focused on committed relationships at this age, she thinks.

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And they are often struggling with more narrow social networks in real life, so online dating is a lifeline for them. It's also a myth that people are not interested in sex at this age, she says, with women placing only a slightly lesser value on it than men. Catfishing involves people creating fake profiles to lure people into a relationship.

When this is a scam, the goal is to extract money from the unsuspecting person. A typical scam account might involve an attractive man serving in the military - or any kind of scenario that explains why they struggle to meet in person. Many victims don't believe it has happened until the police tell them, she says, and even then they struggle to take it in.

Many who do realise it has happened don't report it out of shame. Lumen acknowledges that scamming is an issue in this market. It combats it with artificial intelligence software, and a "selfie" registration system which makes users take a photograph of themselves when they register, and compares it to the profile photos they then upload to ensure they are genuine.

A team of just 15 look after a site where 1.

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Back in Edinburgh, Lorna says she is always careful to follow the sensible safety precautions recommended by dating sites - she thinks would-be mature daters shouldn't be deterred. Tip: Whenever I meet someone for the first time, I drop a pin and let a friend know where I am. One possible explanation, offered by Justin Lehmiller, PhD, research fellow at the Kinsey Institute and author of Tell Me What You Want , is that men tend to overestimate the sexual interest of women they casually encounter, so they may assume the "gift" will be welcome.

And if they occasionally get a positive response, they may figure it can't hurt to try again.

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Hoffman looks at my photos and nixes the corporate headshot and mirror selfie. Mirror selfies often give off an air of vanity. Agreed—as a curvy girl, I want to avoid first-date surprises. I skip quirky.

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The reality is Who knows? Tip: I try to appreciate the bad dates. The craziest nights are your best stories. As in fast food? But then—success! We have a short phone call, as Hoffman recommends, to set something up. You find someone great and think, Am I going to be on the next episode of Catfish?

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They're fun! They vanished. Let him disappear and make way for the partner you deserve. On the day of the date, I meet him at a restaurant.

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He's sweet, too, talking about his grandma, and we follow dinner with drinks. I realize I got lucky, that this was the dating equivalent of finding a magical unicorn. But whatever happens, it feels good to be back in the game. I decide to message Mr. Meet 9 people.

Our brains are best equipped to handle five to nine options—any more, and we go into cognitive overload. Pick nine, meet in person, then take a break while you get to know at least one. Set 3 deal-breakers.