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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  • Susan

    Posted: Sunday 09 March 2014

    I want to met a 'young' 50 ish guy, I have been very disappointed with the dating sites, I am also looking for someone who us a professional person without being covered in tattoos - all I see on these sites is men covered in tattoos ! Or very frumpy 'lost it' men. Just because your older dues t mean you have to dress like a grandad!

  • cynthia nyarkoah

    Posted: Monday 03 March 2014

    am a single parent of two and i need a man who will love and respect me from -40-50 am also 26 years of age i dont mind the age difference someone from the state

  • David Redshaw

    Posted: Monday 10 February 2014

    I live in Gravesend, Kent, and am a young looking 70. Still doing a bit of rock climbing (Lake District usually). Divorced. Looking for a nice friendly woman, 50s or 60s. Ex-music journo but these days more into classical ballet or folk (I play flamenco guitar).
    Slim fit build, still got hair. Looking for relationship, someone
    in N. Kent or London area. Not too far as I still do a bit of gardening work during the week for local clients.

  • Moira Bayne

    Posted: Friday 31 January 2014

    Hi, I am a professional woman, Im in my sixties,people say I look more than ten years younger than my age. Im slim, dark haired. Looking for friendship, romance, someone to go to the theatre, for a Someone to talk and share life with.

  • Marie

    Posted: Tuesday 28 January 2014

    I would love to meet a genuine man who enjoys listening to good music and wants to spend time with a young looking attractive 56 year old,

  • Susan Werth

    Posted: Thursday 02 January 2014

    i'm interested in meeting people in their 50s, ideally attending dinner & dances or theatre & walking groups. I live in Hertfordshire on the borders of London. Do you have a list of events please.

  • Jan

    Posted: Wednesday 30 October 2013

    I am a single educated professional woman in my fifties. Considered attractive by my peers, I enjoy films, theatre, good food and good company and would like to meet a gentleman around the same age for companionship and friendship. I currently live in the north west having recently relocated. I am enjoying exploring the area and all it has to offer and would like meet someone who likes similar things .

  • carol

    Posted: Thursday 17 October 2013

    hi All
    Im looking for someone to join me,
    go and see a film ,or have a coffee after work once or twice thats all

  • Steve rogers

    Posted: Monday 30 September 2013

    I would be very interested in your dating agency if you started one up for my age group 55yrs as i am looking for a relation and find it hard on dating agencys is this something your company could do regards Steve 0774913028 thanks for your time.

  • lucy

    Posted: Sunday 29 September 2013

    still fab at 50 looking for a lovely guy who can enjoy the finer things in life.....

  • Carole White

    Posted: Friday 27 September 2013

    I have come out of a 12 year relationship but not ever living together he finally has told me that we will never settle down together. Hurtful as it is and has been for a few years I've decided enough is enough of time being wasted and having no quality of life for quite some time now. Would like to meet a man between the ages of 59-66 who can be sociable respectful and caring. I do not want to meet anyone who is separated or married or still financially committed to his past. Honesty above al

  • Peter Hogan

    Posted: Saturday 07 September 2013

    Am a genuine man who's just lookin for that "Special Woman" who'll accept me for what i am.

  • Anthony

    Posted: Monday 02 September 2013

    There must be a special woman somewhere who believes that a special man was put on this fascinating planet of ours that would fulfil her longing to be loved and share all the wonderful times.
    I believe I have yet to meet my special woman.. I'm in my 60's the perfect time to meet and share.

  • Maria

    Posted: Thursday 15 August 2013

    Just want to meet a good man who knows how to be faithful and loving between 50 and 60 and independent.... Is that too much to ask for???????

  • Eileen

    Posted: Monday 05 August 2013

    Hi. Would like to meet gentleman/friend to enjoy life. based in Cheltenham area

  • Chris

    Posted: Friday 05 July 2013

    Just seperated and would love to explore the world out there to find an educated lady who fells that there is still time to seek passion and friendship.

  • Barking mad

    Posted: Saturday 25 May 2013

    Hello, I would love to meet a gentleman dog lover to come to dog shows with me. My base is Canterbury, Kent

  • zoe

    Posted: Sunday 19 May 2013

    looking for a guy to laugh with

  • Pat

    Posted: Friday 12 April 2013

    You sound like me

  • mark

    Posted: Saturday 30 June 2012

    Am a person that likes to travel. Been a rice farmer in sumatra, a teacher in china and played at tai chi chuan in malaysia...

    Into alternative therapies and living.

    Not settled down and love my own company sometimes to recharge. But am monogamous...boringly so perhaps?! LOL.


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