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Celia Holman Lee advises: I want to look for a younger man

I'm 45-years-old and have just got back into the dating scene. My marriage broke up five years ago and it's taken me a while to get my confidence back to find someone else.

I have to say, though, that I'm not really enjoying it at the moment. I joined a dating website and have exchanged emails with quite a few men. I've met some of them, but even though they were my age or only a little bit older, they might as well have been my father. They were so drab and boring; they looked and seemed old.

I'm not some delusional woman who thinks I'm still 21. I'm well aware of my age but I've taken care of myself, have a good job, am active in my local sports club, and consider myself generally youthful in outlook and looks. My ex-husband was a drip -- I don't see why I should settle for another one like him.

Honestly, I think my best bet is to try for a younger man. I've messaged a few men in their 30s through the site. One man, aged 32; replied, we got chatting and arranged to meet. We had what I think was a fabulous time and I'd like to see him again. But friends of mine say it's a bad idea, that flings or relationships with younger guys can end only in heartbreak. I also get the impression that this man's friends aren't too supportive of the idea. Am I being too unrealistic? Should I be trying different ways to meet men? I'd really appreciate an objective view. Margo

Celia replies:

First, I fully appreciate that you have come out of a marriage. One of the main things I have found with formerly married women who go back on the dating scene is that confidence is crucial. I've seen it with my models and with friends, when they come out of relationships where they mightn't have been happy or fulfilled and they just don't have any self-belief.

When you have good confidence in who you are, how you look and/or what you do, you can achieve anything.

Luckily for you, I don't think you have much of a confidence issue: you go to the local sports club, you have a good job and you take care of yourself.

Regarding getting out there to find a man, you say you've met people of your age or a little older and you felt they were drab and like your father. Honestly, it sounds to me as if you're not entirely sure yet of what you're looking for.

You go straight from those guys to younger ones, so there's a conflict in your mind. But what I'd say to you is now you've found this younger guy, hang on to him for dear life. If you find that the guys your age are boring and make you feel drab, then stay away from them. I have lots of friends who have younger boyfriends and husbands and they have been dream relationships.

Do not listen to your friends or his; they often have their own agendas and prejudices that they project on to you, whether they mean to or not. If this guy really is interested, he will stay.

Margo, you know as well as I do that no matter what anyone thinks from the outside, nobody knows what goes on in a relationship other than the two people involved.

If you like this guy, and think you've found what you're looking for, stick with him. If it's working, enjoy it for as long as it may last. I wouldn't look for serious commit-ment right now: any man would run a mile or catch the fastest Ryanair flight out of Ireland.

Instead, have fun. You've put yourself out there and the rewards are coming. The younger man seems to be more of a challenge for you, so that will always keep you interested, and him too, no doubt. If there's real substance there, it'll thrive.

Might I give you one more piece of advice about meeting other men? Rather than solely relying on online dating, I've found from others' experience that racing is a great way to meet people. They are the most social of events where there's always a great atmosphere and everyone is interacting. It's always very festive, so keep that in mind.

Be sure and stick with your sports club and think about a book or wine club too. The world is waiting for you and I would never keep my options just to the internet.

All the very best, pet.

Weekend Magazine