Friday, 17 July 2015

Looking for late-onset love…

The BBC’s weather ‘girl’ Carol Kirkwood recently declared she would like a man, but in her 50s she is finding it impossible. Patricia Marie, our agony aunt, advises

Written by Patricia Marie
Many readers will know blonde-haired Carol Kirkwood. Her relaxed, charming style beaming through even the cloudiest day on the BBC forecasts. But it appears that off-screen, despite being something of a pin-up to her male viewers, divorced 53-year-old Carol is single but would rather not be. ‘Dating in your 40s and 50s is so difficult,’ she revealed to the Daily Mail at Wimbledon: ‘Where do you meet people?’

‘I haven’t joined any online dating sites but I have been set up on a few dates by friends. I still absolutely believe in marriage. I’m quite a romantic and love a happy ending. I’m looking for a man who is funny, kind-hearted and financially solvent.

‘So if there are any men who want to take me out on a date – do feel free! Food would have to be involved as you don’t get these hips eating salad.’

Hers is not an unusual problem and one that our agony aunt, Patricia Marie, has tackled many times. Here is her advice to Carol – and others out there facing the same quandary.

Dear Carol,
The mere suggestion of men forming an orderly queue for you offers one great amusement. Carol, I would hedge a bet that the queue would be anything but orderly, rather that men would be flocking around you as though their lives depended on it. Your many fans will be in disbelief at the thought of you being a desperately man-seeking Bridget Jones.

In all seriousness, though, the difficulty you are encountering to find a suitable man comes as no surprise at all, and will resonate with many women in their 40s and 50s. Just like you, they could be intelligent, attractive, confident, and well dressed, yet their quest to find a man still borders on the impossible.

Where is the educated, interesting, successful, solvent man whom we are seeking to whisk us off our perfectly pedicured feet? Are we expecting too much, and have we raised the bar too high? And, of course, why shouldn’t we?

I believe that relationships are now far harder to forge, as not only is it difficult to actually meet a potential partner in our busy daily lives, but today’s 40- and 50-plus single or divorced woman knows exactly what she wants and will not settle for anything less. A great change has taken place in the last few decades, as women have been encouraged to excel and become financially independent in a previously male-dominated world.

This has left men struggling with their role as the provider, and perhaps unsure of how to easily approach today’s self-assured women. The impact of this is that women can often feel it is their responsibility to instigate the whole dating process.

We can all become comfortable in going to the same places, and mixing in our regular social network, but unless you start to extend your choices, nothing will change in your life. If you have any interests or hobbies, join a club where they may be incorporated, and friendships made may just blossom into something deeper.

There are many dating agencies that would be delighted to snap you up. However, even they can’t just pull the perfect partner out of thin air, often due to limited choice. Nowadays, one of the most effective ways to meet a date is to join one of the many internet dating sites, most of which have an abundance of members. Try not to be fearful of online dating – it has its advantages. It can be exciting to receive an email saying you’ve had 20 views! The alternative are discreet personal ads – replying to them or placing your own. The Lady has a very well-respected reputation for theirs.

Of course, you may not be attracted to any of the respondents, but it is always encouraging to know that there are others who are interested in you. There is striking evidence to suggest the web itself is causing social change. Traditionally, women might have had one or two relationships before getting married; whereas now they are encouraged to date a succession of people in a quest to find the perfect partner. Don’t despair, Carol. Have faith, and you could find your Mr Right. 

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