Later-life dating: where and how to find love over 45


Three locals aged over 45 share their experiences of dating in Kent, plus we take a look at how and where to find love within the county

Thanks to the rise and rise of the internet, it’s never been easier to search for love – but how much easier is it to find it, especially here in Kent? And what about us over 45s, who may prefer meeting face to face from the get go? Three of those in in the know share the knowledge they’ve gleaned on their journeys towards love…

Antonia Price
Antonia, 49, has two teenage sons and lives in Tonbridge. She works as a manger in global mobility

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“At this stage, I’ve been through enough to know what I’m looking for and what I’m not,” Antonia says, firmly.”The vast majority of my girlfriends are coupled up and we’ve all got kids, so the days of heading out together looking for love are well and truly over – we’re more likely to spend evenings round at one another’s houses knitting and discussing the menopause!” She say that, as an easy-to-use alternative, internet dating on a variety of the best known sites –, bumble – has worked really well for her, giving her the opportunity to be honest about herself and what she’s looking for.  She points out, though, that some people aren’t so honest: “That’s one of the good things about keeping your search local, as I’ve always done. It’s the ‘six degrees of separation’- thing – it’s easier to make sure anyone you’re meeting online is actually legitimate, so you can avoid being ‘catfished’ [being lured into a relationship via a false online persona]. For instance, one man described himself as being a certain height and I knew it wasn’t true because I’d actually met him before!”
Once you’re interested in someone, you can of course chat online and over the phone before meeting. “There are certainly questions you can ask that give you a good ‘steer’ on someone, “says Antonia, “from where they like to go on holiday to what they do for a living. If you don’t get a response, they’ve either got something to hide or they’re not interested in exploring a relationship with you.”
What does she think helps when it comes to meeting partners online? “You need to be patient – there are a lot of people to sift through in the over 45 age bracket before you find someone  with true potential,” she says. “And I think you need to keep your expectations low, so that you’re only ever pleasantly surprised rather than disappointed. I had a four-year relationship with someone I met online and I’ve had friends who’ve met their life partners that way. It can be a lot of fun, and it can certainly lead to the real deal.” 

For Antonia, it comes back to knowing what she wants and holding out for it: “I’m currently enjoying being single, but ultimately I’m looking for a true adult who doesn’t want me to look after them any more than I need to be looked after. I think it’s the confidence to know that you can ultimately look after yourself that you bring to the dating scene as a mature person. ”


Nigel Oakes
Divorced with 13-year-old twin sons, Nigel is in his 60s, retired, and lives in Maidstone. He’s used a variety of methods to find love in the past.

“I met the mother of my children through Maidstone-based dating agent Linda Cloke and we had many good years together,  so I know these sort of bespoke agencies work. I’ve used the internet too – but you have to be very careful,” he says. “Go for a reputable one –there are a lot of rogue players out there otherwise. I really do feel the industry could do with more regulation. And you have got to be careful of course – if you meet someone for the first time, it’s vital you tell people where you’re going, who you’re seeing and that you meet in a public place.”  
These days, Nigel is putting the emphasis firmly on socialising and seeing where that leads him: “I’m open minded when meeting new people,” he says. “These days I belong to three local groups: a lunch club and walking groups that I’ve found via the Meetup phone app [via or your app store], which lists lots of social events by category and location –  you can choose whatever interests you and then, say, you choose to go bowling, you simply pay for that event when you turn up with possibly a small additional group administration charge.
“It’s about getting out there, keeping busy and mixing with nice people. At my age and stage, I understand that you’ve got to really get to know people, to build up a sense of trust. If I meet ‘the special one’, great – but if not, I’ll still have had the chance to make some good friends.”

Delissa Needham

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As an award-winning TV producer and editor, Tunbridge Wells-based Delissa Needham has worked on numerous programmes, including the very first live TV dating show: ITV’s Love Call, back in the 1990s. Her professional and life experience saw her move into the relationship industry herself, and she now works as a dating coach. Her recently published book, How I Met My Man and How You Can Meet Yours, is aimed at women over 45 and is available via

“Not everyone wants to meet people online, or via an introduction agency, which can be expensive – plus there’s really not much you can tell about someone from an online photo,” says Delissa. “That’s the appeal of meeting people naturally through socialising. The good news for the over 45s is that it really is a full market, with experienced people, many now divorced or widowed, hoping to find love again.”
People do need to be realistic, though, she says. “For women over 45, I think you can forget finding a batchelor – men who are still single at that age only decide to get married when they want to have children” And men, she says, need to compromise: “it’s amazing how many of them who’ve not taken care of themselves will still set the bar incredibly high when it comes to their perceived physical match.”
Beyond being realistic, Delissa has other essential pieces of advice: “Be specific. Make sure you have a really good idea of what you’re looking for in a partner – not just vague terms, but their background, their interests. If you know exactly what you’re after in a partner, it’s so much easier to find it. One way is to think about the contacts you’ve already got. Revisit your social media and your old address books. There might be someone who held a candle for you, someone you went out with in the past – a relationship that didn’t work before might work now – or a friend who can introduce you to their friends. Whatever, the wider your social circle, the better chance you have of meeting someone.”
All that said, Delissa is adamant that the key to finding love is not to try too hard. “Desperation smells and it’s off-putting”, she says. “Just go out and socialise, not with the attitude of, ‘am I going to meet the right person?’ but with a determination simply to have fun. That approach has certainly worked for me and it can work for you, too – the right person is out there.”

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Four to try for love in Kent

  • Long-established Kent dating agent Linda Cloke arranges fun dinner and dancing events for singles in the Maidstone area via Let’s Socialise –there’s a Valentine’s Day event coming up, for instance. Contact her at [email protected]
  • Over 40s Speed dating in Canterbury – dates from February 2023.
  • For dating coaching with Delissa Needham, see
  • All the experts agree:  get out there and just do what you love for the best chance of meeting a soul mate. Check out for courses on everything from jewellery making to learning a language or try for local learning groups; join your local Rambler’s group, consider taking dance classes or signing up for a spot of wine tasting. Don’t hold back – this is the year to pursue your passion, then see if passion pursues you! 

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