In fact, the figures showed that 3 per cent of Tinder users were between 45 and 54, which meant there were a lot of middle-aged people in its dating pool of 50 million users.
Having been struggling to find a catch in what felt like shallow waters for some time, I decided it was worth a plunge in the depths, however murky.
There were raised eyebrows all round when Harry Styles, the 18-year-old One Direction pop star, enjoyed a passionate affair with 32-year-old TV presenter Caroline Flack. They broke up in January, to the great relief of his teenybopper fans. In my defence, I should say right away that this was not a ‘cougar’ moment — that snide term for older women acting in a predatory manner.
But the heart-throb’s fan club has been plunged into depression once again by news he was embroiled with another 32-year-old, the married radio presenter Lucy Horobin, when he was just 17. He was 18, blond, French, pretty as a picture; I was 30 and quite old enough to know that what happens on holiday, stays on holiday. In fact, quite the reverse; Philippe came after me. I was, at the time, a divorced mother of a six-year-old daughter who rather liked him — as well she might; they were both, after all, children.
As a 48-year-old mother of four, you can imagine that logging on to this dating app felt like a last resort – strange, weird and somewhat desperate. My friends and family, as well as my children, would have been horrified, given its tawdry reputation for anonymous “hook‑ups” – one only strengthened, this week, by several studies linking it to a huge upsurge in rates of sexually transmitted diseases.
Blissfully ignorant of this link at the time, I had been somewhat buoyed by a different set of statistics, which showed that the app wasn’t just a hit with the young, free and single, but the middle-aged as well.
It’s a funny thing, but every time you hear older men defending their penchant for girlfriends half their age, they always say: ‘She keeps me young.’ Unfortunately, young men have the opposite effect. Domestically, because you are the older one, you take responsibility (and blame) for everything from contraception to gas bills to dinner. I didn’t care if he got ‘found’; I cared only that he got lost.
It feels as if you are constantly putting yourself on the line, showing off your wares, only to reel in another damp squib.
Should you automatically go dutch or expect her to pay? In fact, you want to impress someone, treat a lady with some bank to a nice meal, because she appreciates exactly how much it costs. So when you take her out with your friends or coworkers, be it to a wedding or work event, you don’t have to worry she’ll perish without your constant attention. Since she’s got a little life on her (and maybe even a marriage in her past), she may not have the rigid checklist that a younger girl has.
She’s been to enough of these things on her own to manage just fine while you’re talking to someone else. Most of the single women I know over 35 just want a good man, period.
Dating an older woman is quite the rage these days.
As a woman over 35, I’ve never felt more desired by men in their late 20s and early 30s than I do now—moreso even than when I was that age. Pay no attention to the ol’ elbow-jabbing, wink-wink idea that cougars* are “more likely to put out and pay for everything.” Meh, that may be a reason a naïve man attempts to score with an older lady, but it’s hardly the reason a smart man enters a relationship with one.
Since my long-term relationship with the father of my children ended more than three years ago, I had tried various other dating websites (ones I paid for) and been on a handful of dates, but found them all soul-destroying in their own way.