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He has been internet dating since he and his wife of seven years, Christabel, 49, a writer, separated in 2008. But in the flesh she was plain and dumpy, not sylph-like and pretty, and as soon as I spotted her waiting for me in a bar in Canterbury for our first date in January 2010, it was clear she had doctored her picture. It seemed more convenient than using the lonely hearts columns and I felt I was too old to chat up women in bars and clubs.Incensed, I walked up to her and roared ‘You’re not tall and thin! I stated clearly on my profile ‘my past is part of me’ because Christabel and I remain great friends. My longest relationship was with Alison, a 50-something financial broker I met online in July 2010.A forthright brunette demanded I wear Superman underwear on our date to give her ‘something to remember’.Still trying to find my feet, I was overwhelmed by the feeling of not being as ready to start dating as I had thought and barely said a word.But this guide was created to help you navigate your way through all those adjectives and shed the only light you’ll ever need on an otherwise confusing, strenuous experience.It covers everything from how to get started to proper profile and messaging etiquette in today’s online dating world.We’ve all heard about the bad behaviour of men who date online: the married ones just out for casual sex, the ‘successful businessmen’ who turn out to be minicab drivers and the ‘spontaneous risk takers’ who are, in truth, crashing bores.Carleton Smith, 55, is a divorced private chef from Chilham, Kent. But, by that point, I’d been internet dating for two years and had been told one lie too many. I began online dating six months after my wife Christabel and I separated five years ago.
Bill Addison, 67, is a retired aircraft engineer from Stockport, Cheshire.
When I wasn’t ignored, it often felt as if I were on a production line.
One woman I met in a bar early on claimed haughtily that she’d been out with a man called Mike the day before and was meeting another called Steve the following day. One 45-year-old sent me a picture of herself six months ago posing stark naked in bed.
I slept with two women in those early months; both after our first dates. The sense of rejection following such physical intimacy was awful, prompting me to instigate a ‘no sex on the first date’ rule. Last year, I uploaded a better profile picture; women, I learned, like men to look moody. For the past two months, I’ve been seeing a writer four years my senior. I have also written a book, How To Start Dating And Stop Waiting, which is being published on Valentine’s Day.
Steve Gormill, 42, is a divorced health and safety adviser from Glasgow. His marriage of 13 years, to Nicole, 42, a teacher, broke down in 2009. After I’d put my son to bed, a stunning woman with dark hair caught my attention on the dating site.
Four dates have ended up in bed; three after just one date.