It is not a term that I – nor, I suspect, anyone else not coupled-up in their fifties – is that keen on.It makes us sound like we spend our evenings forlornly signalling to each other across a creaky old dance floor by waving our Zimmer frames, while our hearing aids whistle shrilly. I know fiftysomething women who are running marathons, starting businesses …I even met one recently who had just won her class in an Iron Man contest (basically a triathlon on steroids) for age 64-69.
During my thirties, my biological clock meant I needed a partner if I wanted children.My forties were spent dealing with the romantic hangover of my thirties – divorce and being a single parent to small children.In August, a British man was sent to jail after defrauding two women of over £300,000 (5,300) through online dating sites.He had convinced them that he was a diplomat and that a US marine general had fallen in love with them, causing one woman to pawn jewelry, empty her life savings, sell her car, and take out loans to help this general move to the UK. In 2011, the Internet Crime Complaint Center estimated that the online dating scamming “industry” was worth over million, but it’s likely much higher than that, due to the difficulty of making a good estimate.The profiles of online dating scammers can exhibit some clear signs that something is off—you just need to know what to look for.
Most scammers choose victims that are older than they are, for example, so if someone who is significantly younger than you says that they’re interested, it could be cause for concern.
After divorce number two, my eldest made me promise “no more step-dads”. Or maybe our patience for bad or boring behaviour is lessened by the ebbing of a biological need or ability to reproduce.
But, even if that were an option (having teen children is a pretty good boyfriend repellent, I find), I am still very, very picky. It certainly takes courage to be single in your fifties. Twice-divorced Carol Vorderman, 55, recently talked about being “happily single” saying that she was finally revelling in doing her own thing and running on her own “clock”.
Of course, having three children, aged nine, 13 and 16, does clip my wings a bit.
And indeed, concern for them is another important factor in why I am not flinging myself at the first available man.
Their comfort eating and drinking is often a symptom of their unhappiness – but a fear of being alone stops them from tackling the real problem. My children are becoming more independent and this is my golden time. I don’t have to go to boring business dinners as a plus-one, or schlep up the motorway to visit someone else’s parents.