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Thank you for helping me find a gorgeous girl here! ! She's amazing! Great app I love it! 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.

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Who was he? 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 55-plus age group — and it’s not hard to see why. It¿s a common trick for daters of a certain age to post photos that are years old ¿ and not always of themselvesThe 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. Nowadays, age is no barrier and even people in their 85s 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. While online dating is certainly booming in popularity — the industry is worth £675 million in the 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.

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After my partner died, I thought to myself: ‘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. According to a new survey, the lucrative online dating industry is growing fastest in the 55-plus age groupI put up my profile and waited for the responses to pour in at the same time as combing the sites — from the ubquitous eHarmony to overfifties.

Com — for suitable men in my age group. Disappointment soon set in. 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. But the phrase that really made my heart sink was describing themselves as carrying ‘a few extra pounds’.

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. I read that they were ‘mortgage slaves’ — at 65 plus! — that they were ‘comfortable in their old jeans’, that they liked country walks and red wine. Bor–ing!

Most had long lists of hobbies and although almost all pronounced themselves witty and with a good sense of humour, there was nothing remotely amusing about anything they said. Yet they were very exacting in their requirements for a new partner they all wanted somebody slim, elegant, solvent — and younger than themselves.

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