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Five tips for dating in your 50s

Avril Mulcahy is a dating expert and runs the boutique matchmaking agency www.singlelista.ie. Here are her tips for dating in your 50s.

1 Emotional baggage: It's not easy to see, but baggage from past relationships could be damaging your chances of finding future ones. In essence, you have to look back with a sense of gratitude at your mistakes and learn from past relationships and, ultimately, start over with a fresh new approach to love.

2 Don't buy into ageism: Give up on the victim mentality in relation to your age. You can change many things about yourself -- your attitude, your packaging, even your beliefs, however age is set in stone and you need to deal with it. Time might not be on your side, but experience certainly is.

3 Move with the times: Let's face it, 40 years ago you would probably meet your new partner through a family member or at a local dance hall. But times have changed and we're in a new era of the mating game. The main shift is the increased choice and this is without a doubt driven by the surge in internet dating. There is more choice online and you can get to know someone digitally before meeting them. We live in a digital world and singles over 50s need to embrace, engage and enjoy it.

4 It's all about the packaging: Irrespective of age, singles must understand that attracting a partner at the first encounter has a lot to do with packaging -- looking, acting and sounding good. The best thing about this is that you can learn to look good by understanding not just what to wear but how to wear it. Stylists, fitting-room consultants, magazines and even your own friends and family are all there to help you look your best. Get a new hairstyle, lose those extra pounds and ensure you are dressed to impress at all times.

5 Increase your OTMs (opportunities to meet new people): One of the biggest issues for the over 50s is access to a potential dating pool. Your immediate social circle may be married with kids. But the thing is, sitting at home won't help. Make the commitment right now to take control of your single lifestyle rather than just waiting for something to happen.