OLDER adults are now one of the fastest growing demographics on online dating websites as they increasingly turn to the internet to form new romantic relationships, a recent study has revealed.
In 2011, 10 per cent of all subscribers to dating web site RSVP were aged over 56 and the latest figures from the 2012 CCi Digital Futures Report support the dynamic growth of older Australians moving online, showing that 57 per cent of Australians aged 65 or older were regular users of the internet compared to just 30 per cent in 2007.
Sue Malta, a Swinburne University PhD candidate researching late life romance, said seniors had become very active users of internet technology.
"There is a misconception that older Australians are reluctant to use the internet. My research identified a significant number of people aged over 60 who have been active internet users for roughly a decade and who are spending on average up to three-and-a-half hours a day surfing the net and using online dating sites and other services," she said.
Ms Malta said the people interviewed for her research had abandoned the stigma associated with online dating and were using the services to find new partners outside of traditional means such as meeting through friends.
"It can be difficult for older people to identify who's married, widowed etc. through their social and friendship networks, but online it's clear who is single and interested in developing new relationships."
Ms Malta said all of those she interviewed developed sexual relationships, usually within three days to two months of meeting.
She said a number of those she interviewed who entered into long-lasting relationships of longer than 12 months, were also not interested in living together.
"I suspect there's an increasing number of older Australians entering new relationships who are not interested in marrying or co-habiting with a partner for reasons such as wanting to appease their children, wishing to maintain their independence or not willing to take on the responsibility of taking on the care for someone else," she said.
"Overseas these relationships are called 'living apart together' or LATs and we are just starting to recognise them as a new family form in Australia."
The AAG National Conference will be held in Brisbane from November 20-23 at the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre.
Ms Malta will announce further findings in her research at the three-day Australian Association of Gerontology's 45th National Conference (AAG) starting today.
Have you used the internet to find romance?
This poll ended on 22 November 2012.
Yes, and I am older than 50 - 20%
Yes, and I am younger than 50 - 11%
No, and I am older than 50 - 53%
No, and I am younger than 50. - 15%
This is not a scientific poll. The results reflect only the opinions of those who chose to participate.
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