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But for a retiree on a fixed income, who has heard countless stories of peers being taken advantage of both online and in the real world, trust takes on a special significance. Are they authentically interested in me, or are they after something more?

Or, as we have been often asked by older women considering prospective male companions: are they truly looking for companionship, or someone to nurse them through their later years?

Several of today’s dating services are built specifically around this concept: Grouper, for example, hooks up groups of young people in bars and offers them a free first drink as part of the package. The fundamental premise behind most dating services for young people is that the ultimate goal is to find love and marriage.

While this is true for some older adults, it is far from universal.

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This means that there are more seniors and baby boomers than ever before looking for some companionship to fill the void of their prior partner.

Young people are incredibly age-prejudiced, to such an extent that age is one of the most important filter criteria used to find a match on online dating sites. Age is the second-most important attribute used to help users determine if they’re interested in a potential match (after the photo).

This scenario is not just on Match.com, but on E-harmony, Ourtime, Plenty of Fish, OK Cupid, and the rest of the dating websites.

Once you get into your fifties and beyond, the actual number of your age becomes less and less significant.

Far more important is what shape you are in, how healthy you are, what activities you can do. If you’re active and like going for long walks and playing golf, you’re going to be much more interested in the fit and energetic 82-year-old who can share your activities than the 65-year-old with the hip replacement who can no longer walk long distances. The other stunning aspect of dating for young people is how much looks matter.

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