After an early marriage and divorce, I put all my energies into my work. I’m sure there are many single older women who did the same, and like me wonder when they retire if there is still time to find another partner.
We can’t hang out in clubs or pubs hoping to ‘pull’ (horrid expression!) and our friends don’t seem able or willing to help us find someone. And I can tell you from experience that adult education lecture rooms are not fertile soil for romance.
Internet dating: did you know there are over 1000 sites in the UK alone and 6 million British people visit a dating site each month? And that 40% of those visiting the sites are over 55? And the over-60s are the fastest growing section of their clientele? It is becoming much more common and acceptable than it was when the first dating site was launched in 1993.
I tried it. I met many delightful people and only one of the kind one’s friends love to warn against (He gave a false address and wanted telephone sex). More distressing was the number of men who despite being no oil painting or Greek god only wanted women at least ten years younger than themselves.
So I recommend it. And what follows is just a little bit of how to do it advice
First, choose your dating agency with care. Bigger doesn’t mean better, whatever the adverts tell you. If you’re a Guardian reader, go for Guardian Soulmates. Other newspapers have their own sites as well, and that way you have a better chance of finding someone who shares some of your opinions and ideals. Are you fussy about educational attainment? There are some for graduates only. And for Christians, and nature lovers, etc etc – you just need to do the research.
Next, get a smiley up-to-date photo and upload it with a well written, honest, but enticing description of yourself, and tell them the sort of person you’d like to meet. It is probably a good idea to get your best mate to check this over for grammar and spelling mistakes and undue modesty. And regarding attractiveness – do beware of undue modesty. I did a little experiment: ticked the ‘average’ box, counted the responses and then ticked the ‘attractive’ box and got almost twice as many. It seems that very few people describe themselves as ‘below average’ or even ‘average’.
Now you can do a search and send a first message to people you like the look of, or you can wait till other people approach you. It is all anonymous at this stage, and stays that way until you are happy to exchange names and phone numbers – usually when you decide to meet. Some agencies make it impossible for you to exchange contact details till you have been in touch for a while, and they all have sensible safety guidelines about those first meetings.
First it is emails, then phone calls, then a meeting. Timing can be a problem. I sometimes found very promising matches had been snapped up by people they met before they met me. And that first meeting is quite scarey, even for extroverts like me.
But it is worth it, I think. Apart from some lovely friendships, internet dating has given me lots of material for my fiction. I have published a little e-book of short stories Click to Click: Tales of Internet Dating and my first novel Timed Out (Driven Pres, 2016) is about an older woman looking for love on the Internet.
Please see here to order Click to Click.
Timed Out can be purchased as a paperback and an e-book from Amazon, as an e-book from Kobo, and Apple i-books, as a paperback and an e-book from Nook and as a paperback and an e-book from Driven Press.