Dulwich Divorcee | Second time lucky

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Alice Castle, a.k.a. Dulwich Divorcee, describes herself as a ‘fortysomething mother-of-two meandering through life, love and Dulwich Park’. A few weeks ago, she wrote a post about Donna’s Diary on her own blog, which was so good we asked her to pen something for us.  Here Alice talks about her friend’s experiences with internet dating the second time around, also known as a lesson in how not to go about it!

Naughty old Samuel Johnson might have called it the triumph of hope over experience, but that doesn’t seem to stop anyone from seeking out love the second time around. In fact, for a lot of people, forging a successful second relationship is less about the happy ever after, and more a question of proving that it wasn’t our fault things went belly-up first time round.

I started my blog in 2006 as therapy during the worst moments of a divorce battle with my ex. Luckily, I had already bumped into my True Love on a platform at Paddington Station. If I hadn’t, I don’t have a clue now where I would even begin looking for love in the real world. I’d met my ex over a photocopier at work (not literally, maybe that’s where it all went wrong) but, like a lot of mothers with small children, I hadn’t worked in an office for years. Previous boyfriends were delivered by my school or university. Where on earth does one go to find nice people these days?

The answer, as you well know, is here online. But even this way of meeting people can be a nightmare. One of my friends, who got divorced around the same time, was fearless at plunging into virtual dating and joined a few websites with names like ‘Flirt’ and ‘Wink’. She told me her system. ‘You have to say you’re 35 to 40 even if you’re not, otherwise you’ll get men 30 years older than you. You have to say two children not three – if you say three, you don’t get any replies at all. And the photo should be blonde – even if you’re not.’ Needless to say, despite being gorgeous and not looking a day over thirty-mumble, she wasn’t tripping over second dates. It’s rather like ordering Pride and Prejudice on Amazon and getting Emma instead – fine in its way, but not what you were expecting and therefore probably doomed to be a disappointment.

Luckily, my friend was not too bothered. She looked on her dating as a sort of amusing hobby and had no real intention of meeting Mr Right. Which was just as well, as the websites she tried dredged up a huge number of Mr Wrongs.

There was the chap who asked her to wear stockings. And then offered to buy them from her. Then there was the one who spent five hours talking about his mother over dinner, and then rang her during the pudding course, telling her how much he was missing her. And ….  I’m just not even going to tell you about the others.

Suffice to say she’s giving the dating scene a little rest now. When she took to phoning me before and after every date to prove she was still alive, we both decided it was all becoming too hectic. Especially when one of her dates lived in a penthouse complete with lift, where there was no phone reception. If only she’d read eHarmony’s Dating the Second Time Around. I’ll buy her a copy when she’s ready.

TV presenter and actress Donna Air doesn’t seem to have met such a 24 carat selection of weirdos, but I’m assuming that’s because she was doing it all the eHarmony way, searching for a relationship rather than a quick hook-up and really doing her research on what she wants from a partner. Forgive me, but her blogs have been a breath of fresh Air. Here is a girl, after all, who is drop-dead gorgeous. The fact that she is still out there looking for the One must give everyone hope that love is out there to be found, even second time around.


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