In the 27-seasons that ABC has been airing the hit reality series, The Bachelor, never in the show’s history has a man over the age of 45 uttered those famous words, “Will you accept this rose?” Until now! Beginning on September 28th, 22 women, ranging from 60 to 75 years-old, will participate in the network’s first installment of The Golden Bachelor. They will compete for a relationship (or possible engagement) with 72-year-old Gerry Turner, a widower and father of three grown children.
The Golden Bachelor will treat viewers to eight 1-hour episodes following the hopelessly romantic contestants who are putting shine in “golden” with sexy, vivacious confidence.
“Finally a dating program for an audience that has been overlooked for years!” Bela Gandhi, an over-50 dating expert and founder of Smart Dating Academy, said after the announcement about the show was released. And it couldn’t have come at a better time: According to the US Census Bureau, there are almost 118 million single people 18 years and older living in the United States and nearly 26 million of those unmarried individuals are 50 or older.
FIRST for Women spoke to a handful of dating experts who specialize in finding love in your golden years to get their take on the new show and share their tips for finding creating your own love story at any age. Here’s what they said:
The Golden Bachelor proves age is just a number
“The Golden Bachelor is validating that dating in your 50s, 60s, 70s and beyond can be great — and helps viewers see that if the people on TV are doing it, so can we,” enthuses Francine Russo, author of the book, Love After 50: How To Find It, Enjoy It, and Keep It. In fact, it is upending the common perceptions of what dating looks like after 60, with participants who are ready, willing and able to put it all out there. After all, 60 is the new 40, right?
“People in this next portion of their life are still dynamic, amazing, wise, and have a lot to offer — these are important elements in a relationship,” agrees Lisa Copeland, founder of Find A Quality Man and author of the books, The Winning Dating Formula for Women Over 50 and Five Little Known Secrets for Finding a Quality Man After 50. Golden Bachelor participant Christina, 73, attests that “people have a mental picture of what a 73-year-old person is and what they look like, which is not me.”
The Golden Bachelor Disproving misconceptions
One of the biggest problems when it comes to dating over 50 is that “people assume there are no good partners left,” says Gandhi. “And if there are, people don’t want to be a nurse and they don’t want to be a purse.” But the truth is that millions of singles over 50 who are looking for active, adventurous and joyful partners to experience life with.
For instance, when the Golden Bachelor female contenders were asked what gets their motors running, their responses included, “I love to travel, swim with the sharks, go kayaking, take Pilates classes,” and the most common reply, “I love to play pickleball.” Indeed, the contestants — just like so many women viewers across the country — are gorgeous, professionally accomplished, full of energy and have a variety of interests, which Gandhi adds, are huge magnets to drawing a partner of substance. We just have to let those innate qualities in ourselves shine.
Expert tips to dating after 50
Dating can be daunting at any age, and those of us who aren’t contestants on The Golden Bachelor don’t have the intense screening process as they do on national TV. So we asked our experts their top tips for dating success.
1. Use what you love to find new love
Just being yourself and enjoying what interests you most is a surefire way to find a compatible partner. “A great way to meet a guy is going to a happy hour after work, joining a hiking group, hitting the golf course, attending a wine tasting event or taking a class — anything you have an interest in is a great way to meet someone,” suggests Copeland.
Copeland also encourages those who are talking to someone new, to look for specific qualities that you find interesting and ask unique questions like what kind of games you played as a child, or where your family frequently went on vacation. Copeland says, “This will change the direction of a date from reciting a resume to an interesting conversation that can forge a deeper connection.”
2. Become a master of online dating
While online dating can feel intimidating and daunting, it’s a great way to screen matches and play the “numbers” game, by meeting or chatting with a variety of different people at once. Research indicates there are currently over 1,500 dating apps and websites worldwide and that the online dating industry is projected to reach $9.2 billion by 2025. Some of the popular sites people 50 and older are turning to, according to Russo, include Bumble, Match, OurTime, SilverSingles, Jdate, eHarmony and Christian Mingle.
When it comes to online dating, Russo says, “It’s not just about creating a profile and finding the perfect picture to post, but you also have to pay attention to who is responding respectfully in their messages and not coming on too strong too soon.” By honing this ‘radar’ you are able to tune into your gut and more easily find interesting and compatible matches.
Russo also suggests using profiles to find common interests You may say, “’I am so glad we connected,’ then take something from their profile and turn it into a question such as, ‘I saw you love to play tennis? Do you participate in a regular game?’” Make it fun and casual, but ask specific questions to get the ball rolling.
(Click through to 17 Best Dating Sites for Over 50s Looking for Love)
3. Stay safe and learn to identify ‘red flags’
While swiping left or swiping right in the comfort of your own home or at your leisure keeps you in control of the process of elimination, it is also important to point out the dangers, because safety should always be your top priority.
Copeland advises her clients to never give away any personal information like your address. If you are going to meet in person, do so at a public place and meet them there, rather than them picking you up at home. Also, let a friend know where you are going and who you are going with. Gandhi agrees, “if the man offers to pick you up, simply tell them you will be driving yourself or you will take a cab or an Uber.”
Gandhi also notes that in the digital age it is harder to tell when someone isn’t who they say they are. So if you get a bad feeling, they express anger, make you feel uncomfortable or if they ask for money in any way that isn’t related to your date, that’s a red flag. Don’t be afraid to use that “block” button to keep yourself safe.
4. Remember you are worth more than gold
In the trailer for The Golden Bachelor, all 22 women, according to Gandhi, exude confidence, positivity, authenticity, are enthusiastic and share life experiences. No matter our age, all women have that same inner radiance and just remembering that we’re valuable and desirable is a big factor to success. And remember: It’s all about fun, new experiences, being yourself and knowing your worth.
Tune into The Golden Bachelor on September 28th on ABC!
For more entertainment stories, read below!