Is this new app the key to romance for over 50s?

Posted on February 12, 2016 by Eleanor McKenzie
Couple Cuddling in a park

Last night I was watching the latest episode of The Affair. If you haven’t watched this U.S. drama starring two excellent British actors Dominic West and Ruth Wilson, then do give it a try. I won’t publish any spoilers here; I’ll just say that in the most recent episode the teenage daughter of a leading protagonist creates a profile for her mother on Tinder, much to the mum’s horror. And I was totally with mum on that one.

Tinder is too young for me

I have single friends in their early 40s on Tinder who keep pestering me to put a profile up. I refuse. I am no stranger to online dating and I was using shortly after it was first reviewed by Time Out London. But, Tinder’s modus operandi offends me with its ‘swipe right or left’ because it seems to me a very shallow way of selecting a possible date. However, this is a minor thing compared to the fact that Tinder is really for the young, and yes, my offspring uses it, and I really don’t want to bump into him on Tinder either. I don’t want to see what he’s doing and I certainly don’t want him observing my activity.

A Stitch in time!

But, they say “a stitch in time saves nine,” and I have just discovered that there is a brand new dating app for people our age called Stitch that provides the same user-friendly interface as Tinder, but it’s just for us. And it’s not quite so focused on dating as Tinder is. As the company announces on its home page, its mission is based on this statement: “Because everybody needs company – friendship, activities, travel and romance for mature adults.”

The Stitch credo

The founders of Stitch have a credo and it is: “There’s more fun to be had after 50.” As the statistics point out, 1 in 10 Baby Boomers is single, either through divorce or bereavement. The founders of Stitch have created an online meeting place that aims to provide meaningful relationships for mature people, rather than the casual hook-ups that are so popular on Tinder. And, I have to say, that sense of providing companionship in many forms is immediately apparent when you go to the Stitch website, as I discovered on my first visit.


Couple spinning around in front of Eiffel Tower

Selecting a Stitch option

As I said earlier, the focus is on ‘company’ and when you get to the site’s home page, apart from the option to Sign Up Now (there are both Free and Paid membership options) you’ll find that you’re offered three browsing options: Find Companions, Travel and Events & Activities. This immediately made me feel comfortable. I could look for a travelling companion and perhaps save some money on what I call the “single person penalty fee” that singletons all too frequently encounter in hotels. Or, I could search for group events such as outings to movies or museums. Some people find it more comfortable to meet new people in a group setting and for those with safety concerns, it provides peace of mind.

Stitch helps you stay safe online

Speaking of safety, I recall my friend Anne insisting that I give her a call every time I actually met somebody from an online dating site. Of course, in your 30s and 40s you still feel invincible, or at least I did, and my responses to the idea that a person I’d been talking to for weeks online might be a danger were in the range of “I wouldn’t think so,” to “Don’t be preposterous.” Still, there was always a little doubt.

Stitch has created a members’ communication system that protects as much as is humanly possible. Plus, in the sign up process, members must provide some form of identification, such as a passport or driving licence. Intrusive? I don’t think so; after all I willingly provided Paypal with a passport scan in order to open an account, so why not Stitch where I will be meeting people online?

The Stitch visionaries

The Stitch people have a “grand vision of helping address social isolation and loneliness for older adults in every country around the world.” The Australian founder Andrew Dowling is a social entrepreneur who created a site called Tapestry first. Then he “stitched” (in the business sense) with Marcie Rogo of ConnectAround in San Francisco and Stitch was born. Andrew, Marcie and the whole team are passionate about this enterprise and they have a list of goals including “raising venture capital, partnering with major media companies and offering more travelling opportunities to its users.”

I’m going to give it a whirl, after all even a year’s membership is only $60 – that’s about £40 at the moment. Plus, there is the free option because the founders don’t want anyone excluded because of their financial situation. At least I can join Stitch feeling confident in the knowledge that I’m not likely to bump into my son or his friends, and perhaps I’ll find that other person who’s as keen to travel on the Trans-Siberian railway as I am.

by Eleanor McKenzie

Eleanor McKenzie is a Northern Irish writer with a passion for art, literature, and red wine. She's worked at advertising agency JWT, edited a journal for a European social policy think tank and tried to teach teenagers the difference between "there" and "their". Being 50+ has not significantly changed Eleanor's life, although she finds it a handy excuse when she wants to avoid anything too energetic.