Looking for a new relationship over 50 can feel quite daunting but it can also be exciting, fun, romantic and a new opportunity for happiness. Interestingly, a recent study predicted that 50 per cent of couples will meet via the internet within the next 20 years, with the 50-plus group experiencing the biggest increase in online and offline dating.
It tends to be a little easier for men as there are more women than men looking for a new partner. In my experience, having talked to thousands of people as the Agony Aunt of You in the Mail on Sunday and through my work with Relate, this is often because men tend to leave a long-term relationship for another woman so many are already spoken for, while women are more likely to leave someone because they are unhappy and strike out alone.
The other difference is that men are often not looking for a long term commitment, while the majority of women are looking for something a little more substantial.
•Do think about the sort of man you would like to meet, create a shopping list: age, interests, looks, lifestyle. Know what you want from a relationship too: short term fun or a serious loving relationship? Having said that, be flexible. Don’t decide not to meet him just because he likes cricket, say, and you don’t.
•Don’t use your real name or give your home telephone number or anything where you can be identified at this stage. Always meet in a public place for the first few dates and tell a friend where you are going.
•Do be selective and if someone's profile does not really interest you, don't waste your time on them.
•Do be creative in presenting the right profile. A recent article in the Daily Mail showed how men are quickly bored by women who say the same old thing as everyone else. After all, who doesn’t like the theatre or long country walks? So find something to say that is unique to you, not too personal, just light hearted and quirky. Make them laugh and you’ll stand out.
•Don't rush into meeting up too quickly. Get to know about each other first through emails and if things are going well, talk on your mobile.
•Do be realistic. Even if they seem practically perfect, until you meet you do not really know them or know if that essential chemistry exists. Guard your heart and don’t imagine you are in love; many people are tempted to think that way, even before they have actually met!
•Do stay optimistic. Of course you’ll meet some turkeys but even if you don’t meet the man of your dreams straight away, you could make some good friends or discover some new interests that make your life more fulfilling. And I do know couples who have met through dating sites and are now together, married and very much in love.