Speed dating over 60s
Shaken by her divorce, for a year afterwards she had counselling to boost her self-esteem before she would even entertain dating.“I’d been overweight for years and knew that my husband hadn’t fancied me,” she explains.“When it ended, I lost a lot of weight but it was still the fat, frumpy old me that I saw in the mirror and for a while I believed that my life was going to be a downward slope.On the contrary, it has turned out to be amazing and keeps getting better.”Still, that was only after she overcame a wobbly start to online dating.“Initially the thought of having an intimate relationship was absolutely terrifying, and it was about two years after my divorce before I liked a man enough to sleep with him,” says Diana.“But it was a surprisingly wonderful experience and my selfesteem rocketed.”Since then, as well as a plethora of dates she has enjoyed a couple of two-year relationships but has strict rules about dating.“I won’t date men who are more than 10 years younger than me because we won’t have enough in common,” she explains.“Nor do I date older men because in my experience they don’t tend to look after themselves the way women of my generation do, and I find them a bit stuffy.“I insist on speaking to a man on the phone after exchanging emails because a voice tells you a lot about a person, and I’ve learned that you have to be careful."There are some nutters out there and I never reveal where I live unless numerous dates progress to a relationship.”Dating website e Harmony is one of many that has seen a huge surge in older members and its resident relationship expert Rachael Lloyd has wise words for others thinking of signing up.“If you are dating for the first time in years you’ve probably overcome painful obstacles to get here."See each date as a fresh start and resist the temptation to compare a new person with the past.It is not about filling someone’s shoes."It is about starting over and finding new things to love about another unique person.”It’s a lesson Diana has learned: “I now look upon dates as an opportunity to meet a new friend with whom I may have a lovely afternoon or evening, rather than hoping they might be ‘the one’.”She speaks animatedly of what she describes as “the most phenomenal date I’ve ever had”, with a younger man when she was 55.“I told him on email that it would never work between us because of the 15-year age gap but he insisted he’d love to meet me.“We went to London on the train first class, visited the London Eye and the Tate Modern, drank champagne in Covent Garden and ate dinner in Chinatown."He sent me a huge bouquet of flowers thanking me for a wonderful time.“I’ve also had some crummy dates including one with a man who said he was 45 and used ancient photos of himself online, but was actually in his 70s and hobbled into the restaurant on sticks."Ultimately, I’d love to find someone special but until I do, I shall continue to try to find the joy in every moment of dating.IT HAPPENS AROUND AGE 40, GIVE or take a few years.Ceri Wheeldon is founder and editor of website uk and says the subject of how to embark on dating again is such a hot topic among single women in their 50s and beyond that she’s currently putting together a course to help them.“When this generation were in their teens or 20s they met people through work, friends or at university, but now almost half of all relationships over the age of 50 start online,” she explains.“If you are suddenly single because of being widowed, divorced or separated and you want to start dating it can be terrifying and you may even have to learn how to interact socially with the opposite sex all over again.”Certainly, it’s not all butterflies in the stomach and heady dinner dates, as Diana attests.
At the first sight of white crew socks and short shorts, Stephanie knew she was in for a pretty bad evening.“The whole video dating experience was really humiliating,” she says, like living in a game of Mystery Date and getting stuck too often with the Dud.Children of the ’60s should be able to remember the game-and probably even sing part of the jingle, “.. There was the Dream, dressed in a white dinner jacket, and the Dud, in his unmatched plaids, horned-rim glasses, and white crew socks.Diana Banks feels a frisson of excitement as she applies her lipgloss and checks her hair in the mirror before a lunch date with a man she recently met online.Yet she is not, as one might assume, in the flush of youth and hopeful that her date may prove to be marriage material.