How to get back into the dating game

By Carol Dix

If you're newly single - divorced, widowed, or broken up from a long relationship - you might be dreading the thought of getting back to dating, but dating guide author, Carol Dix is on hand to guide you through the maze
Healthy couple on beachIt is important to think about what kind of relationship you are interested in

When I set out to write my new book The Ultimate Guide to 21st Century Dating, I was interested in our age group, the 50+ generation of men and women who now find themselves facing up to their third age with more than a little fear and confusion at heart.

My book looks at the whole scene of dating - how anyone from late 20s upwards copes, and at the amazing variety of options. It can be bewildering and scary. But of course it's also likely to be fun and might lead to an exciting change in your life.

What sort of dating is out there?

The most widespread method of finding potential partners or dates is via internet dating. Just as we use the internet to search for things to buy, trying to meet interesting people, to fall in love or even for sex, has become normal now.

You're not alone in your singleness. Some six million single people signed up for a form of dating service this past year in the UK. That figure nearly doubled from the previous year. Even better news, the 50+ group is the fastest growing sector.

What is known as 'offline' or 'organic' dating - a chance meeting with someone face to face - is still popular but might be more challenging.

Speed dating tends to have as its cut-off age - 45 for women, 49 for men - though many in their 50s sneak under the wire.

Other kind of icebreaker events such as dinner dating, dance dating, lock and key parties, even wine tasting, are mostly aimed at the 27-45 year olds.

Traditional introduction agencies close the doors at women over 45 and men over 50.

But don't be dismayed, there are outlets with doors that are ever open!

What dating type are you?

Do you find walking into a crowded room, with the aim to meet other singles, unnerving? Shyness probably affects more of us than we realise. It can be easy to talk to other people in the comfort zone of a group of friends or colleagues. But it's amazing how rapidly self-esteem vanishes if we are not in work, nor in a permanent relationship.

The internet actually helps those who find offline dating adventures too nightmarish. Online dating allows you to write about yourself, put up your photo, read others' profiles, scan through their photos, make the first tentative steps to greet someone, exchange 'hellos' via email, perhaps talk on the phone first. A lot can take place between two people before you even think of arranging a meeting.

What kind of person or relationship are you looking for?

This really is the big question you need to ask yourself. Personality type profiling has become an important part of some internet dating sites, making the process far more interesting than checking boxes of likes and dislikes. Spend some time thinking about the type of person, and personality, you find most attractive.

Are you really keen to meet someone who will become a permanent partner in your life? Are you looking for love and romance again? If you're not convinced, but would like to meet up with the opposite sex, there are networks welcoming divorced, widowed and mature singles for activities and social events.

Some tips on how to test out the dating world

If you're looking for love, commitment and a real partnership, then pay for one of the more serious online dating sites. Look at the quality newspapers' sites, your target market will be their readership. If friendship and companionship is more important to you, then look for social networks that encourage you to join groups for trips to the theatre, walks, dancing, or holidays, rather than focus on one-to-one dating. Speed dating can be fun if you can find one that suits your age group.

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  • J Price

    Posted: Monday 09 March 2015

    After trying a couple of dating sites, I am disillusioned. Males put their age preference prefer women 15-20 years younger than themselves. Surely their missing out. I for one am a fit and active lady. Regularly told I look much younger than my mid 60s, and could be a good match for a 55 to 70 year old gentleman. Alas I wouldn't feature in their search criteria, a pity but their loss.

  • linda

    Posted: Wednesday 25 February 2015

    I am a widow of 68, petite and quite bubbly.
    Would like to meet gent 68-70, who likes Holidays,
    Carpet Bowls, Gardening, Music etc.

  • Lynn

    Posted: Thursday 12 February 2015

    I am a very young 62 years young, use to play golf but not much fun on your own. I am in Leeds and can't find a nice decent genuine guy. Is there any out there please. x

  • mike

    Posted: Friday 06 February 2015

    looking for a lady who doesn't have to be special just loving ,faith full and honest, that's not special is it ?

  • Danny Desperles

    Posted: Friday 30 January 2015

    I am looking for a genuine lady between 60 and 70 for correspondence first.I live in the West Midlands.

  • maggie

    Posted: Thursday 22 January 2015

    Recently separated would like to meet someone for friendship and see what happens I'm 64 but still got it I think I like to laugh and have fun I have worked in the tv industry all my working life

  • Billie

    Posted: Thursday 01 January 2015

    I dare not put my age as that would confirm my belief that there could not be anybody who would be interested in me. I lost my gentleman friend of many years in 2009 and it seems I have nothing now to look forward to. We used to meet up on a regular basis - he travelling from near the Cotswolds to me in Essex or vice versa. I now live in Stanhope in Weardale in the North-East of England. I lived in France for five years but returned at the beginning of this year.

  • PAM

    Posted: Monday 29 December 2014

    I have been widowed for 5 years. I play golf, like walking, going to the cinema and Theatre. Weekends away in London and exploring Wales/Scotland, anywhere with nice scenery. I enjoy cruising and seeing new places. I am looking for someone with the same interests and with a good sense of humour!

  • Carole

    Posted: Wednesday 17 December 2014

    I don't enjoy being alone at Christmas and the New Year. Beauty's in the eye if the beholder but I am happy with my appearance - despite needing to lose a few pounds. I am not seeking anything heavy just the friendship of a witty, reasonably cultured man, who like me has a bit of mileage (late 60's) but would like someone special in their life.

  • Hilary Owen

    Posted: Saturday 15 November 2014

    I met my partner on Sagazone - through our mutual interest in classical music. We have been together nearly seven years. Thank you Saga!

  • Marsha

    Posted: Wednesday 05 November 2014

    Hi I am Marsha I'm 63 years young andlive in Essex ,I am looking to meet people to socialise with as I'm divorced and now looking to start a new chapter in my life .look forward to hearing from you .

  • Jill

    Posted: Monday 27 October 2014

    I am a young 55--I have to be as I have a 12 year old daughter who I have raised alone for 10 years. A few years ago I tried online and went on a few dates, but recently I joined again and the options seem really creapy. Can a decent guy really be in his 50's and never been married or had children? Just wondering if I might be passing up a late-blooming gem. I am now at the point where I have been alone so long that I am wondering if a life partner is possible--someone to feel comfortable with.

  • Kathy

    Posted: Saturday 04 October 2014

    Is there anyone out there who is genuine like me, in their 60ties.
    There must be that special gentleman out there who is looking for the same.
    Love someone who is natural, loves all the pleasures of life, sharing is so important. I do appreciate someone who has looked after themselves tallish and who loves life.

  • Stuart Warren

    Posted: Saturday 20 September 2014

    Been on my own for more years than I care to put here, due to some dodgy health problems I shut myself away,but now having reached the big 60 could be 50,tall slim n/s. I'm feeling the need to share the next part of my life with a nice lady to do all the things we both enjoy company,travel,short breaks, weekends, days out picnics or just snuggled up on the sofa together just the normal things people do together. So my lady will be a caring sharing romantic fun lady.

  • Stuart

    Posted: Saturday 20 September 2014

    Been on my own for more years than I care to put here, due to some dodgy health problems I shut myself away,but now I'm feeling the need to share the next part of my life with a nice lady to do all the things we both enjoy company,travel,short breaks, weekends, days out just the normal things people do together.

  • Charlie

    Posted: Thursday 04 September 2014

    I am an interesting educated and attractive well travelled ex pat female and would love to have contact with like male ex pat 68+

  • Sue

    Posted: Sunday 10 August 2014

    Hi. I'm Sue. I'm 67, but have a youthful take on life, although bit of a technophobe! Enjoy watching sport, particularly tennis or cricket when grandsons are playing! Also love to sing and dance, but have found it hard to do this on my own. Just looking for someone to share interests, that's all.

  • Shirley

    Posted: Monday 23 June 2014

    I'm looking for a male companion to do days/evening/weekends out to dine visit pubs visit the coast generally have fun with

  • Vanessa

    Posted: Wednesday 28 May 2014

    I am finding it extremely hard to meet someone. The Dating sites have been so disappointing. I felt will they think I'm too old, etc, putting myself down, only to find the opposite when I went on a date. These 54-59 year old men appeared so old, dressed like they were going to put a bet on a whippet not to see a lady. A waste of perfume, makeup and time! I'm not expecting George Clooney. We all age after all. Is a tall,considerate man who has aged well, is clean, considerate and kind out there?

  • stephen smith

    Posted: Saturday 03 May 2014

    this is my achilles heal at the moment well im a 59 ok by body is now average and im average looking ..althought i can easily pass for a 50 year old i have been around travel lived abroad done all the usual im divorced my daughters have also flown the nest they have their own agendas and expectations anyway i find now im older and single is that you start to become invisible in the dating game even the women want younger men .ok im well seasoned but more ready than ever

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