Dear Patricia Marie,

I am a 55 year old lady, and after 20 years of marriage and a subsequent divorce am now ready to start looking to meet a gentleman, but I am worried about joining a dating website. Although I am wanting to, I am scared that the date could be a disaster, am concerned at the type of man that I may attract, and also that on meeting him he may be different from how he appears online.

However, if I sit back and do nothing, I may never meet a partner to share the rest of my life with. I am just looking for some guidance and direction regarding this dilemma I have. Can you help me?

Patricia Marie says...

Your concerns with regards to joining a dating agency are completely understandable after the familiarity of being married to the same man for many years. However, life involves taking risks, and you are the only one who can promote change for yourself and make things happen. Online dating is now one of the most popular ways to meet a new partner, and there is a huge variety of sites to choose from, catering for people from all walks of life and with widely differing interests. Just remember to follow the safety rules, and be sure to meet in a public place and drive yourself there and back home after the date. When selecting potential suitors, ensure you get to know as much as you can about each other before meeting, to help eliminate time wasters and the not so genuine ones, and do speak to each other on the phone first as much can be gained from this.

Your urgency to meet a future life partner is causing much anxiety, and putting you under intense pressure, and you could be setting yourself up for disappointment. Can you allow yourself to embrace this new chapter in your life by focussing on just having some fun and good times with those you initially encounter? If you do experience some unsuccessful dates, use this as a positive discovery to learning the qualities you are hoping to find in someone, and your confidence will soon grow. I would also recommend if you have any interests or hobbies, join a club where they may be incorporated, which will increase your chances of finding your perfect match.

It may take time to meet someone you are attracted to and want to spend more time with, but if you can trust that the journey is as important as the destination, you will enjoy and value the experience more.