Sarah, 52, and Patrick, 36, have been dating for 11 months. Here’s what Sarah has to say about her online dating experience and meeting the love of her life as a mature dater.
I’d suffered a horribly traumatic, drawn-out divorce from my husband in my mid-forties and honestly thought I’d never love again! I finally succumbed to online dating just before the Big Five-Oh after my two grown up kids insisted I should put myself back out there and give love a second chance.
My initial experience of online dating was depressing, truth be told. Men my age were interested in women ten years (or more!) younger, and the only attention I received was from men ten plus years my senior. Not that I’m ageist, but the older gentlemen who pursued me just weren’t my cup of tea, sadly.
Nevertheless I went on a number of dates, only to find that we had nothing in common. Most of all, I felt like I had a new lease on life and wanted adventure in my life! The mature men who aimed to seduce me wanted a quiet retirement buddy to settle into their nest with them. Not me; I’d spent most of my adult life at home, raising the children, caring for my ex-husband, being the dutiful housewife. Now it was MY time to shine.
A friend suggested I broaden my horizon and consider dating a younger man. My first reaction was utter disgust. My husband had been cheating on me for years with a younger woman, and I was hurt that my friend would even consider mentioning such a topic. I also had a nasty stereotype in my head of the ‘cougar’ praying on unsuspecting, innocent boys. I was mortified!
A few more weeks passed, and I continued to go on disappointing, fruitless dates. It wasn’t until I was buying a bottle of wine on my way home from an exceptionally dull date to numb the pain, that I saw an article on the front of one of the women’s magazines at the counter about celebrities dating younger men. Curiosity got the better of me, and I spent the rest of my evening researching the internet about women dating younger men; what it was all about, pros, cons – was it morally ok?
I was stunned to realise that mature women dating younger men was a current ‘trend’ and the list of advantages sounded – quite frankly – VERY appealing! So in my tipsy state I logged in to my online dating account and changed my age preferences. I was stunned that after just 30 minutes, I already had a wink from a man in his twenties!! I was confused at first; was this a joke? Why would a twenty-something year old be interested in me? With alcohol as my confidence boost, we wrote back and forth that night and I learnt that he was a very successful, confident young man who preferred older women because they were more independent and straight forward than females his own age.
He didn’t want the pressure of marriage or babies that he was receiving from the younger women he dated. The conversation we had that night really opened my eyes to the truth behind men dating older women and vice versa; it seemed both parties could benefit from the arrangement.
Though he seemed lovely, I had to decline a date with him as he was the same age as my daughter, and I just couldn’t get my head around that! But he did convince me that I should be open to possibilities… and that’s when I met Patrick.
I had seen Patrick’s profile whilst surfing the online dating site and immediately was drawn to him. His profile picture was just lovely; he had the kindest eyes and a genuine smile. I read his profile over and over and over – we had so much in common from music taste to food likes, spirituality and a passion for travel. But he was 35, never married and had no kids. I worried that maybe one day he would want children and I wouldn’t be able to give him that.
It may seem silly to some people that I was already considering such serious matters before I’d even spoken to him, but being a mature woman, I knew exactly what I wanted; a life partner. I didn’t want to waste mine or anyone else’s time on a relationship that wasn’t going to go anywhere. So I tried to get him out of my head and continued to date the other younger men who were now contacting me.
Although I had some nice dates with some younger men, I just couldn’t forget about Patrick’s profile, so 2 months after originally seeing it I decided to make contact. I was surprised at how quickly and enthusiastically he responded. We immediately clicked and bantered back and forth through emails and text messages for three days before I suggested we go on a date. He was shocked at how confident I was (and later told me how attractive he found this!) and asked me to go and see a local band playing in the park with him at the weekend.
Our first date was magical. He turned up with a picnic basket full of delicious homemade goodies – I couldn’t believe the effort he had gone to! He told me that he’d wanted to impress me, I told him that it had worked! We were very open with each from the very beginning, and I had no qualms about discussing my children worry with him as I wanted to lay our cards out from the get-go. Fortunately for me, Patrick has never had any interest in having children and instead wants to focus on enjoying every moment of his life to the fullest. Luckily for me, that now includes me in his adventurous plans.
There may be a sixteen year age gap, and once upon a time I may have ignorantly turned my nose up at it, but I now know that age is just a number. Patrick makes me feel youthful and I have never had so much energy and lust for life as I do now. I’m so thankful to my friend for opening up my world to new possibilities and thinking outside of the box. Patrick and I are celebrating our one year anniversary next month by going to Paris for a romantic weekend getaway; we couldn’t be happier.