Irish men need a 'reality' check when looking for love - says dating boss
One of Ireland's most high-profile match-making agencies has revealed it has to turn down 75pc of all men who apply to the site, because of their unrealistic expectations in dating younger women.
Rena Maycock, co-founder of Intro.ie, said the vast majority of Irishmen looking for partners wrongly believe they can pull a woman 20 years their junior.
The firm then has to have a "realist" talk with the men over the phone before signing them up to their books, to save disappointment further down the line.
Ms Maycock told the Sunday Independent: "There are guys in their 50s and 60s coming to us looking for a woman 20 years younger and we have to tell them there is absolutely no circumstances that dream is going to happen, but maybe we could look at someone five or 10 years younger."
The dating agency boss says single Irishmen's unrealistic expectations are down to an obsession to be seen as "successful".
Despite this, they have arranged over 3,000 matches to date.
She added: "Quite a few guys are in competition with their friends. It's not talked about, but it is at a subconscious level. They want to be seen as successful in all areas of their lives. They have the career, the trappings and they want an attractive young lady on their arm to finish this off. A younger woman is proof they are still young and relevant.
"They want to inspire a little bit of envy in their friends, so their mates can say 'God, he's done well for himself, I want what he has'."
One 65-year-old farmer with a lot of land contacted the agency and thought he would be able to snap up a woman much younger than him because a neighbour in his 50s married a woman who is in her 30s.
"He thought that was the norm, but we had to tell him that was the exception rather than the rule," said Ms Maycock.
"He thought because he had land, it would be no problem.
"But women have their own careers these days, they are very well educated. They are not looking for money. They are looking for companionship and fun and someone who can keep them on their toes."
Ms Maycock, who founded the match-making agency with her husband and business partner, Feargal Harrington, said a lot of former "party boys" now in their late 30s are contacting the company after seeing their gang of friends settle down, and a sense of urgency kicks in.
And she says it's not just women who have a biological clock to contend with.
"Men also have a biological clock. They have spent years enjoying life, partying, going on the skiing holiday with 18 of the lads every year and now all of a sudden they are saying 'I've been invited to seven or eight weddings in the last year and I've no wing man to go out with anymore'.
"They are seeing their friends live very, very different lives and starting to panic."
Ms Maycock said age doesn't seem to be a factor for men until their late 30s.
"Generally we find that the age of a woman doesn't matter until the guy gets past 36 or 37, he gets obsessed with age."
But it's not just men who are looking for love, an increasing number of "magnificent-looking" women over 40 are also signing up to the dating agency.
Ms Maycock added: "We have magnificent-looking women in their 50s and we say their age to guys and straight away they say 'no'.
"It's about trying to get everyone to meet in the middle. But certainly by far the number one problem we have when matching people is 'great expectations'."
So far the company has successfully paired over 3,000 couples, with members from all 32 counties, ranging in ages from 22 to 80.