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I said, “If I marry you, I’m going to have to change my name to Polly.”’ When they did marry, two years later, she signed herself ‘Polly’ in the register.Older women may also be scuppering their chances by being too picky.When she last registered with an online dating site she was 44 — and few men made contact.‘Forty is a huge cut-off point for a lot of men,’ Ruthie explains.Sadly, yes, according to Dr Bernie Hogan, a research fellow at Oxford University.He pointed me towards a research website called Ok Trends, which draws on data supplied by more than a million members of Ok Cupid, one of the biggest dating websites in the world.
‘I read “Professor Parrott” and nearly fell off my chair laughing.‘I have had so many comments saying that finally someone has come out and said the unsayable, the self-same thoughts they’ve had for so long, but never voiced to a soul in the world,’ she told me.‘Perhaps the most moving of all was the one who said she was going to have to unsubscribe to my blog, not because she didn’t agree with it, but because it said everything she had ever thought and reduced her to tears every day and she couldn’t cry any more!Ruthie has been looking for a boyfriend for the past decade.
‘I always had boyfriends when I was younger and assumed I would again after James was born,’ she says. These chats were fun — and sometimes quite flirty — but if I ever suggested we meet, the men would often back off, saying they were not looking for a relationship.’A dozen or so dates followed over the years, none of them quite right.He is paunchy with grey chest hair and not especially rich.He plucked her from a surfeit of willing women, watching him like vultures before my friend “got” him.’This may be the case in some circles, but is it generally true?The typical 42-year-old man will accept a woman up to 15 years younger, but no more than three years older — and the women he enters into online conversation with are almost always at the younger end of the spectrum.‘My two terriers run barking to greet me, but apart from them, there is silence. I’ve lost a lot of confidence.’‘Over 40, most of the people you meet socially will already be in a relationship,’ he points out.