Dating again as a widow is complicated, to say the least. Sometimes your head tells you it’s time to move forward, but your heart is stuck in the past. Sometimes you want to meet someone new, but you’re afraid to get hurt again.

Widows and widowers have to overcome grief, loneliness, and insecurities on their journey from loss to love, and it’s not always easy to meet people after spending a significant period of time in a relationship. That where widow dating sites come in.

Maybe it’s been years or decades since you’ve been single, and you have a lot of questions about how to date in the 21st century. Navigating today’s swipe-happy dating scene can seem intimidating at first, but the right platforms can help you feel comfortable mixing and mingling. Here’s a breakdown of the best dating sites for widows looking for a new start.

Best Overall Dating Sites for Widows

As a widow, you may not want to find a full-blown relationship right away. You may just want to talk, find companionship, and stretch your date muscles. Fortunately, it doesn’t take a lot of effort or emotional energy to meet people on a popular dating platform. You can dip your toe in the online dating world by trying the following top-rated dating sites and apps.

Online Dating
★★★★★ 4.9/5.0

Match.com has come a long way since it launched in April 1995. This well-reputed dating site has honed its (read more)

  • Match is the world's longest running dating site
  • The Discover section has search filters by interests, looks, lifestyle, and more
  • Match is available in 24 countries and 15 languages

Match has spent decades supporting widowers, divorcees, and other newly single folks. Since 1995, Match has distinguished itself as a quality-driven dating space for more mature daters.

About 75% of Match.com users are over 30, and 44% have children from a previous relationship.

Unlike a lot of other dating sites, Match gives singles the option to identify themselves as a widow/widower in the About Me section of their dating profiles. Singles can also use the advanced search filters to find widows and widowers who live in the area, and that can be a great comfort for anyone feeling isolated by their grief.

Online Dating
★★★★★ 4.8/5.0

EliteSingles.com maintains a sophisticated network of young professionals seeking a relationship. Over 80% of (read more)

  • Over 2 million monthly users
  • Premium members receive 20 wildcard matches a day
  • Search features include age, height, education, ethnicity, and lifestyle habits

EliteSingles is a top-tier dating site known for attracting well-educated and successful singles. More than 90% of its members are 30 or older, and 82% of them have graduated from college and pursued professional careers.

As a premium dating site, EliteSingles can offer enhanced security measures and messaging filters. Only paid subscribers can view your photos and get in touch with you, so you don’t have to worry about running into creeps, cybercriminals, or other unsavory characters here.

The Customer Care team can offer 24/7 support on your dating journey, and you can customize your profile’s dating preferences to make sure your daily matches meet your standards.

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Online Dating
★★★★★ 4.7/5.0

Zoosk is a socially savvy dating site known for its diverse membership base and behavioral matchmaking system. (read more)

  • Send messages to premium members for free
  • Over 3 million messages sent a day
  • Premium perks include photo verification and sending virtual gifts

Zoosk is a global dating site with over 40 million members of all ages, orientations, and backgrounds. You don’t have to fit inside a certain mold to join Zoosk — this chatty, friendly space is for everyone.

Online communication is one of Zoosk’s biggest strengths. The site and app offer a lot of engaging chat tools, many of which are free, so new users can easily break the ice by sending a flirt or a virtual gift to their online crushes.

Zoosk has also pioneered behavioral matchmaking, which means the match algorithm learns what you like based on your online activity. The more you send messages and like profiles, the more accurate its match suggestions will become.

Online Dating
★★★★★ 4.7/5.0

Since its launch in 2000, eharmony has endeavored to find the formula for love. Its 32-dimension questionnaire (read more)

  • Over 2 million people have found love here
  • Users can filter their match recommendations by age or city
  • Compatibility Quiz identifies common interests, lifestyles, and goals

In 2000, eharmony became one of the most trusted names in the online dating community by promoting serious relationships over short-term dating.

The eharmony team has used psychology principles to create a 32-factor personality test that can measure long-term compatibility between two users. The quiz gets to the heart of who you are and what you want with questions like “What are your main reasons for wanting a relationship?” and “What do you want your partner to like about you?”

It’s free to create an eharmony profile, take the compatibility quiz, and browse matches, and you can even send free messages to certain users. By catering to commitment-minded singles, eharmony has inspired a supportive and effective online dating experience. Over 2 million couples have fallen in love thanks to eharmony, and it creates a new match every 14 minutes.

Online Dating
★★★★ 4.3/5.0

ChristianMingle is a faith-based dating site for singles who want a relationship grounded in Christian values. (read more)

  • For singles interested in God-centered relationships
  • Over 3.5 million monthly users around the world
  • Available as an app on Google Play and the App Store

ChristianMingle has the largest concentration of Christian singles of any other dating site, so it’s perfect for faith-driven singles seeking friendship, romance, and love.

ChristianMingle can give solace to widows and widowers battling uncertainty, loneliness, and grief. This friendly site offers a God-centered journey to a relationship, and it doesn’t cost anything to take the first step.

Many ChristianMingle couples have built relationships that strengthen their faith and values. After years of introspection and prayer, a widow named Cris found a loving husband and a father for her daughters on ChristianMingle. “No earthly medium is perfect,” Cris said, “but our match was made perfect by His handiwork on the website.”

Online Dating
★★★★ 4.2/5.0

Since its launch in 2002, BlackPeopleMeet has created an African-American singles network that stretches (read more)

  • One of the largest black singles networks in existence
  • Straightforward search and matching features
  • Use Tokens to appear higher in search results

BlackPeopleMeet has connected black and biracial singles in an online community like no other. The dating site has thousands of active members in the U.S. and Canada, and it welcomes people of all racial backgrounds.

With a basic membership, BlackPeopleMeet singles can view profiles, search for matches, and send flirts, faves, and likes at their discretion. However, only paid members can read and reply to messages in their inbox.

Singles can disclose their widowed status in their profile and let potential dates know where they’re coming from, or they can keep their personal information private and only fill in the required fields (age, gender, orientation) to set up a BlackPeopleMeet account.

Online Dating
★★★★ 4.1/5.0

In 2004, OkCupid's founders decided to create a fool-proof formula for love, and they launched a free dating (read more)

  • Free, unlimited communication for everyone
  • Singles can swipe or search for a compatible date
  • Over 91 million connections every year

OkCupid operates under the motto “Dating deserves better.” Since 2004, this free dating platform has made the dating experience better by giving singles the freedom to be themselves and follow their hearts.

As a personality-driven dating site and app, OkCupid lets people show off who they are by answering prompts like “What I’m doing with my life” and “Six things I could never do without.” Although OkCupid does not have “widowed” as an option for relationship status, you can also tell your story in your own words in your profile.

OkCupid also gives singles the option to answer up to 4,000 personal questions about their habits, opinions, values, experiences, and lifestyles.

The OkCupid algorithm uses all this information to calculate a compatibility rating and recommend profiles that have a lot in common with you.

Online Dating
★★★★ 4.1/5.0

Plenty of Fish prides itself on being one of the best dating site for conversations. It supports 100% free and (read more)

  • Free registration, searches, and messaging
  • The Chemistry Test creates a compatibility framework
  • Over 1 billion messages sent per month

Plenty of Fish is a completely free dating site and app with over 150 million members to its name.

Every day, over 4 million singles visit the POF community in search of a love connection, and members exchange over 3 million messages in total. It’s free to contact anyone you want on Plenty of Fish, and you can also read and respond to the greetings in your inbox.

POF has one of the largest dating pools around, and it offers a world of opportunity for widows interested in starting conversations and building relationships online and offline.

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Online Dating
★★★★ 4.0/5.0

In 2012, Tinder pioneered a swiping-based match system that empowered singles to connect with dates who liked (read more)

  • Supports active daters in 190+ countries
  • The swiping system creates over 12 million matches per day
  • Tinder Plus members have unlimited likes and 5 Super Likes

A list of the best dating sites for widows just wouldn’t seem complete without Tinder. This groundbreaking app invented swipe-right matching in 2012 and has become undeniably popular among singles.

Tinder has created over 30 billion matches in 190 countries, and it claims responsibility for inspiring over 1 million dates in an average week.

Tinder isn’t exactly the classiest dating platform around, but it is free and full of people who are willing to chat and go on dates. You don’t have to make a big commitment here. In one survey, 44% of Tinder users said they use the app to boost their confidence and kill time by flirting with local hotties.

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Online Dating
★★★★ 4.0/5.0

Since its launch in 2014, Bumble has positioned itself as one of the queens of the online dating world. The (read more)

  • A feminist dating app puts singles on equal footing
  • 60% of Bumble matches turn into dates
  • Bumble Bizz and Bumble BFF spark non-romantic connections

Since 2014, Bumble has positioned itself as the female-friendly alternative to superficial dating apps. On Bumble, women set the tone and lead the way by sending the first message in conversations with men.

Bumble CEO Whitney Wolfe Herd left an executive position at Tinder to create a dating app that put women first, and the rest is history.

Widows can stay in their comfort zone and meet respectful and kind dates thanks to Bumble’s dynamic matching system.

Best Senior Dating Sites for Widows

Widows who are in their 50s, 60s, or 70s often have trouble meeting single people in their age bracket, and that’s why online dating has been growing more popular in the senior community. We’ve picked out a few of our favorite senior dating sites to help widows of a certain age expand their social circles and meet date prospects.

Senior Dating
★★★★★ 4.5/5.0

SilverSingles offers a secure dating experience for singles of a certain age. Anyone over 50 is welcome to (read more)

  • Global membership base of exclusively single seniors
  • Free members can browse matches, send smiles, and favorite profiles
  • 24/7 online customer service

SilverSingles has cultivated an exclusive over-50 dating network for retirees and senior professionals on the market.

Singles can create free profiles and fill out their date preferences to get started, and the match algorithm then selects up to seven daily match recommendations. You can specify if you’re looking for someone within a certain age range, mile radius, ethnicity, or religion to further narrow the results.

Over 800,000 singles visit SilverSingles in the average month, and a good number of them are widows or widowers looking for someone who shares a similar life experience.

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Senior Dating
★★★★ 4.4/5.0

OurTime gives singles over 50 a confidence boost by introducing them to age-appropriate dates online. The (read more)

  • Thousands of success stories from all over the world
  • Find senior dates using advanced search filters and match suggestions
  • The Help Center offers quick tips and guidance

OurTime is a leading senior dating site designed to inspire close relationships between men and women over 50.

As a People Media site, OurTime has access to an extensive singles database in English-speaking countries, and it grows by about 20,000 new members each week.

OurTime gives singles a chance to date on their terms and seek people who meet their standards in terms of age, location, education, religion, appearance, zodiac sign, or even relationship status (single, widowed, or divorced). OurTime users can use the advanced search tools to get their bearings in the dating scene and find their dream date in no time.

Senior Dating
★★★★ 4.1/5.0

SeniorMatch is one of the most trusted names in the senior dating scene. Since 2003, the over-50 dating site (read more)

  • Exclusively for men and women over 45
  • Add a profile to your Hotlist to save it for later
  • Seniors shares dating advice in members-only forums

Since its launch in 2003, SeniorMatch has inspired millions of senior singles with the simple message: You are not alone.

This premier senior dating site supports over 1.6 million conversations a month, and it has over 36,600 success stories to its name.

“We met online and have been together six years now,” said a SeniorMatch member. “I would advise anyone to go to [SeniorMatch]. I have never been so happy and content.”

Best LGBT Dating Sites for Widows

Online dating has greatly benefited the LGBTQ+ community because it gives them direct access to dates of all sexual orientations and gender identities. By joining a gay-friendly dating site, singles can unite under the rainbow flag and meet people who embrace queerness in all shapes and forms.

Gay Dating
★★★★ 4.1/5.0

MenNation boasts having one of the world's largest men-only hookup community, and it has 93 million dating (read more)

  • Free registration and unlimited profile browsing
  • Add online crushes to the Hotlist or My Network
  • Enjoy private conversations in the Message Center

MenNation is a popular hookup site for sexually active men seeking men. This platform encourages adults to anonymously explore the online dating world.

Whether you’re gay, bisexual, or just curious, you can create a gay personals ad on MenNation and start chatting with local guys who enjoy no-strings-attached sex.

Some widowers aren’t ready to open their hearts to someone new, but they still have human needs and desires, and MenNation can offer a release without mixing emotions with pleasure.

Lesbian Dating
★★★★ 4.1/5.0

LesbianPersonals is one of the most popular hookup sites for women because of its fun-loving and sexually (read more)

  • Open to single women, couples, and groups interested in sex
  • Private text and video chats accessible 24/7
  • Women add over 25,000 photos and videos each week

LesbianPersonals invites single women to “find love, lust, and more” by using its personals section to pick up chicks.

This discreet lesbian hookup site has millions of accounts in its database, and it is constantly adding names to its local hot list.

Widows can keep things light and solicit sex on LesbianPersonals without going too far outside their comfort zones. The site offers live chat rooms and video chatting to spark connections, and active members can also exchange photos in the private forum.

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HER

Lesbian Dating
★★★★ 4.2/5.0

A lesbian named Robyn Exton founded HER because she recognized that not all dating sites and apps look out for (read more)

  • Free private messaging to all mutual matches
  • Post comments or send likes to connect with local lesbians
  • A safe, friendly, and one-of-a-kind dating app

The HER dating app has over 4 million active profiles, and all of them have been verified as genuine LGBTQ+ womxn seeking relationships.

HER maintains a strict no-boys, no-bullies, and no-bigotry zone. The Community Guidelines urge members to treat everyone with respect and dignity, and the moderators will remove anyone causing trouble or exhibiting toxic behavior on the app.

Everyone joins HER for different reasons — some womxn want to make friends in the LGBTQ+ community, while others are looking for a significant other — but they share a common kindness and joyfulness that defines the app’s culture.

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Gay Dating
★★★★ 4.1/5.0

Grindr is one of the top dogs in the gay dating scene. It's the name everyone recognizes, and many gay men (read more)

  • Among the most popular gay social networks in the world
  • Men connect via private and group chats
  • View nearby profiles using real-time GPS data

With over 27 million users, Grindr is one of the most popular gay dating apps in the world, and it can help single guys meet local dates within a few swipes.

Grindr made a big splash in 2009 when it pioneered location-based matching. Suddenly, men didn’t have to rely on their gaydar to spot their next dance partner or romantic interest — they could open the app and have gay singles come to them.

Although many people think Grindr is only good for hookups, it has actually led to a lot of relationships as well. In fact, 84% of surveyed Grindr users said they’d fallen in love with someone they met on the app.

How Long After a Spouse Dies is It OK to Date?

It’s always OK to date. Everyone grieves differently, heals differently, and loves differently, and it’s not right for outsiders to judge your decisions about your love life.

“How long should a widow sit in isolation before YOU are comfortable enough to release them from their solitary confinement,” wrote a blogger named Erica Roman in response to people who said comedian Patton Oswalt got engaged too soon after his first wife’s passing.

As a newly single person, only you can know when your heart has healed enough to be ready to date again. There is no standard waiting period or society-approved timeline when it comes to grief and recovery. It could be a month, or it could be a year, or it could be longer than that. You have to look into your own heart and decide what you want.

Photo of a woman at a cemetery

Grief can overwhelm widows and widowers at first, but that doesn’t have to be the end of their love story.

If you’re reading this article, then maybe you’re already in the right headspace and heart space to date, meet someone special, and bring joy to your life. At the end of the day, it’s OK to date again whenever you feel comfortable, and only you can know when that is.

How Long are You Considered a Widow?

In terms of tax filer status, American women are considered widows and receive marital benefits for two years after a spouse’s passing. However, identifying as a widow means more than simply checking a box on your tax returns. It can become part of your identity — or not — as you see fit.

Most people will consider you a widow until you’ve met someone new and remarried. However, such a label doesn’t have to define you, your life, or your relationships.

What is the Average Age a Woman Becomes a Widow?

The answer to this FAQ may surprise you. In the U.S., the average age of a widow is only 55 years old. The stereotypical widow is an elderly woman living alone in retirement, but that’s not the case for everyone who loses a spouse. Sometimes women experience a sudden loss in their 30s or 40s and have to deal with navigating a career or raising children on their own.

Is a Widow Still Called a Mrs?

Traditionally, widows keep the Mrs. title even after a spouse’s death. This isn’t a hard and fast rule, though. It’s up to the discretion of the widow. Some widows choose to keep their spouse’s name, but others revert back to their maiden name and prefer to be called Ms. or Miss.

Widows Can Find a New Beginning Online

The online dating scene can help widows recover their independence, heal their broken hearts, and meet people who make them feel whole again.

It’s natural to feel apprehensive, intimidated, or even fearful about dating again, especially after a long hiatus, but it can be exciting to put yourself out there, build relationships, and bring romance back into your life. The free dating sites and apps on this list can surround you with viable date prospects and give you the confidence and resources you need to pursue the life you want.

Whether you’re looking for a short-term date or a long-term love, you can use the best dating sites for widows to make something happen and keep moving forward. Take care!