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When it comes to romance, we all like a happy ending — which is what makes a new blog by an older, single woman such a heart-wrenching read. Growing problem: Many overs describe themselves as 'invisible' to the opposite sex. They have certainly proved a talking point among my single women friends. Ruthie is 47 and one of the most attractive women — of any age — that I know. Never married, she has a son James, now 13, by a man she parted from before her son was born. Ruthie has been looking for a boyfriend for the past decade.
Ruthie thought that she would have lots of boyfriends when she got older - just as she did in her younger years - but found this was not the case. These chats were fun — and sometimes quite flirty — but if I ever suggested we meet, the men would often back off, saying they were not looking for a relationship. A dozen or so dates followed over the years, none of them quite right. When she last registered with an online dating site she was 44 — and few men made contact.
The imbalance, it seems, is because middle-aged men are looking for partners who are far younger than them. He is paunchy with grey chest hair and not especially rich. This may be the case in some circles, but is it generally true? He pointed me towards a research website called OkTrends, which draws on data supplied by more than a million members of OkCupid, one of the biggest dating websites in the world.
Age game: Research has shown that middle-aged men are looking for partners who are far younger than them, examples include Michael Douglas, 66 and his wife Catherine Zeta Jones, The typical year-old man will accept a woman up to 15 years younger, but no more than three years older — and the women he enters into online conversation with are almost always at the younger end of the spectrum.
Charlotte Phipps is divorced and lives in Newmarket, Suffolk. Aged 53, she works as a secretary. I own a lovely two- bedroomed cottage with a beautiful garden, which I enjoy, but night after night I sit on my own watching TV. It is incredibly boring and I am lonely. Whenever I go out, men do not tend to look at me. The opportunities to meet other single people tend to peter out as we move from youth to middle age, according to Bernie Hogan.
Which is why online is increasingly regarded as the place where overs will have the greatest chance of success. After scores of dodgy dates, Charlotte Cory found Kevin Parrott although they seemed to have little in common. Of those who had got together within the past 15 years and were aged 40 or over when they met, four out of ten had met online. But online dating has its own set of rules — and sometimes brutal behaviour.
Sarah Browne is 46 and works in communications for a skincare company. She lives in a large Edwardian balcony flat in Brighton. Sarah has no children and has never married. Charlotte Cory, a writer and artist, left her husband after 20 years and, at the age of 50, started surfing for love online.
Some older women may be missing out on the chance of finding love, she thinks, because, bruised and rejected in earlier relationships, they lack the confidence and persistence to keep dating until they find a match.
Older women may also be scuppering their chances by being too picky. For some, it amounts to a positive decision to remain single. I contacted The Plankton and she said the huge response to her lament proves there are many older women who feel just as Any lonely wives looking for younger does. So behind this deep sense of loss and disappointment lie many reasons why older women miss out — male attitudes, the dearth of social opportunities, the emotional investment needed to date successfully online.
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