Dating in your late thirties

I put a classified ad in Private Eye, which read: ‘Fun, attractive female journalist, 38, seeks romantic, sporty, intelligent guy, 30s/40s for adventures and hopefully LTR/marriage/babies/the lot!

Whether it’s online dating that’s your bag or you’d prefer to meet someone more ‘naturally’ – you’ve got to be in it to win it. Focusing more on what someone might have, be and give you is like watching a Disney film and making that your life goal. And, perhaps most importantly, don’t forget why you’re dating.

If I had a pound for every ‘dating guru’ that had said love finds everyone eventually I’d have my own private island by now. Love doesn’t find you, you have to get off your backside and find it – by which I mean peeling yourself off the sofa, and getting the hell out there … Sure, there are biological clocks to think about, however dating and love should be about *fun* not a chore you need to tick of your to-do list like getting the car MOT’ed or paying off the mortgage.

He was 41, adventurous and enjoyed travelling — as do I.

His emails were fun and witty and when we first met for a lunch date we left the pub at 6pm, always a good sign. My friends liked him and I couldn’t believe I’d found someone at last.

I realised that since turning 35 three years ago, I hadn’t met anyone I liked romantically, who was also single, straight and interested in me. ’ one married ex-boyfriend wrote on my Facebook page. I joined running clubs, did acting classes and dance classes, went on skiing holidays and singles holidays and badgered my friends to set me up with their friends.

Some attempts were more successful than others: a singles holiday to Greece made me feel like Elizabeth Taylor due to all the men after me, whereas one evening spent dinner dating with seven single women in their 40s and just two men — one of whom walked out after ten minutes — made me want to give up on the idea altogether.

The solution is to meet them in their own natural habit: coffee shops and pubs, of course, but also sports clubs, evening classes, even the local supermarket. James Preece, who runs dating events, says that although it might be a struggle to find men — who are often happy just hanging out with their mates rather than trying to meet new people — women in their mid-30s shouldn’t give up hope.

Thankfully for women who are the far side of 30, James says it is ‘absolute rubbish’ that they have no chance of finding love.

‘There are many men out there who are bored with having meaningless affairs and who want to settle down and have children too,’ he says.

‘If a guy is going out with a woman in her late 30s, it is hardly going to be a surprise that she might also want children.’With that in mind, I decided to be honest about my desire for marriage and children — with surprising results.

The only thing that should be of importance in a potential new partner is chemistry, everything else … The narrower your criteria, the less likely you are to find someone within it.

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