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Dating sites for us oldies? Only if you could tattoo dating sites a total loser! After her partner died, Liz Hodgkinson decided to look for love online – but she quickly found exciting, available, baggage-free prospective partners in short supply.

Read this: Dating sites for us oldies? He sounded keen enough, even eager. We had arranged to meet in a pub opposite Reading Station. But just before I was due to set off, he rang to say he had changed his mind. I never heard from him again.

Yet another potential internet date, the latest in a long line who failed to live up to expectations — or, in this case, turn up at all. Online dating for older people sounds such a good idea, and ever more of us are signing up in the hope of meeting a wonderful new partner. According to a new survey, the lucrative online dating industry is growing fastest in the 50-plus age group — and it’s not hard to see why. The older you get, the more difficult it becomes to meet new people in the conventional way — at work, parties or through friends. Once you are retired, widowed or divorced, it feels all but impossible.

Yet on internet sites, there are dozens, hundreds, possibly even thousands of single people seemingly just like you, all looking for that special person to alleviate their loneliness and provide excitement and companionship for their later years. Nowadays, age is no barrier and even people in their 80s are trying to find new partners online. Henning Wiechers, who conducted the recent survey on behalf of Metaflake, the vast German online dating agency, claimed that when people are too old to go clubbing, they need to access a second marriage market — and that the internet provides the perfect forum. Yet I’m not so sure. UK, with nine million of us now logging on in the hope that we will find somebody, otherwise unreachable, who will be just right for us — my experiences should serve as something of a warning to others looking for love online. Online dating is the modern way to go.

I was pretty certain I would soon find my ideal person, somebody clever, witty, good-looking, successful, excellent company, open to new ideas, well-read and with a sense of purpose in life. If I’m looking for him, he must be looking for me, I reasoned. Not only did hardly anyone contact me, but the men on the sites seemed complete no-hopers with nothing whatever to offer, even with the gloss they’d put on themselves. In most cases, the photos were an instant turn-off, as they all seemed to be bald and have white beards as well as inane grins and bad teeth. I soon learned this was online dating-speak for hugely overweight. None seemed to have any of the extra pounds that actually counted, namely money.