• The Matchmaker

The reality of dating in your 40's (in a pandemic)

Lisa*, 46, is a tech executive. She lives in West London with her pug.

My marriage ended just before the UK went into lockdown. We both saw it coming. Leading up to the pandemic, he was constantly travelling for work and our marriage had taken the back seat. Quite simply, we didn’t care to make time for each other anymore. After 12 years together, we decided to call it quits.

Coping with lockdown is no easy feat for anyone - let alone going through a divorce during the pandemic. I work long hours and it can be hard to meet people when I find myself constantly moving from one project to another. As the days and nights grew more silent, I decided to ask my single friends how to go about dating again. “Lisa, have you tried dating apps?”

With the arrival of summer, naturally I wanted to start dating. I took up the prescription to start swiping right to meet my match and tried my luck at Tinder, Bumble and Hinge, setting up profiles on each of the dating apps. Countless hours later, I strung together a few sentences describing myself and what I’m looking for. I uploaded a few images of myself doing fun things, smiling and generally looking like I’d make a great partner. Then, I waited for the matches to line up. The process was exhausting, nerve-wracking and filled with uncertainty. I swiped right on men in their late-40’s, who were into travel and fitness and swiped left on shirtless men with no ambition or zest for life. My inbox was ripe with messages and I struggled to keep up. I knew there had to be a better way. That’s when I decided to no longer waste my time swiping left and right on random strangers and decided to reach out to a professional matchmaker, Lara Besbrode, and her team of professional relationship experts at boutique introduction agency - The Matchmaker UK.

Immediately, Lara confirmed my decision to go down this route. She was understanding, empathetic and knew exactly what I was looking for. Next, I was matched up with a profiler, expert psychotherapist and relationship coach. I felt much more confident about getting back into dating with this amazing team behind me. Everyone was kind, approachable and energetic; there’s no doubt that they’re extremely passionate about their work.

While I decided to work with Lara, I was also preoccupied texting Peter*, 44, a film producer I had recently matched with on a dating app. He had a penchant for riding motorcycles and learning how to speak Spanish. We bonded over our mutual interest in photography, travels in south-east Asia and independent films. So when one day he texted asking “for an evening stroll by the river,” I immediately agreed.

The afternoon stroll led to a dinner date planned for the following week. He suggested a Spanish tapas bar and I obliged. How could I resist? That evening, we tossed back several glasses of Rioja and talked, laughed and flirted our way into the night. He was irresistibly charming, with a smile that made my heart flutter. When he asked me to spend the night with him, I couldn’t resist.

Spending the first night with Peter was electric. The next morning, I felt like a new person - reborn, almost. I rolled over, looked Peter in the eyes, and told him what a wonderful time I had. He brushed his fingers through my hair and told me he couldn’t wait to see me again.

One week later, I haven’t heard anything from Peter since our rendezvous. Poof. He’s gone. His dating app profile was deleted. My calls and texts have gone unanswered. I had vaguely heard of being ghosted before. But I thought that’s only something that happens to 20-somethings. Clearly, I was mistaken.

Being ghosted by someone I met on a dating app, during lockdown, was a painful experience. But now that restrictions are easing up again, and with warm sunny days ahead, I am ready and open to start meeting the matches Lara and her team have lined up for me. I can wholeheartedly say that working with a matchmaker has been infinitely more rewarding than simply swiping through an endless montage of strangers on dating apps (which I have now deleted from my phone!)

*Names have been changed for confidentiality reasons.

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