Virginia Ironside's Dilemmas

 

Q. I'm fairly well-off and people tell me I look good for my age – I'm 50. I'm divorced with a wonderful daughter, but though I do a lot for other people, no one seems to want to know me. I just can't get a girlfriend. I'm fine with short-term friends, but it's difficult to meet people when everyone I know seems to be married. I just seem to have dropped off the social rounds – it's as if I don't exist. I don't want to go online because I know it's full of gold-diggers and I'm reasonably well-off. Is there any hope for me? Yours sincerely, Patrick

Virginia says... Of course there's hope for you. But you seem to see "hope" only in terms of finding a partner, which is, I'm afraid, just the wrong way to go about finding one. Maddeningly, no one really wants someone who's desperately looking for love. They want someone who doesn't need anyone, or someone who sails along perfectly well in his own life, apparently very comfortable about being on his own, and completely self-sufficient, who is only "looking" for someone if they happen to spot them out of the corner of their eye. It's an unfair truth that the very act of looking of seeking or yearning or needing instantly renders the looker, seeker, needer or yearner unattractive.

So first I would try to assume that you are going to be on your own for ever and make the very best of your life. Try to get your own interests to enjoy by yourself, even if you feel they would only be interesting if shared with a partner. And do, for heaven's sake, make an effort with your social life. It's no good just doing things for people. You have to do more than that. Ask them round, cook for them, organise outings of friends to go to the theatre or go on a jaunt, and generally work like a slave being proactive. Social lives don't come wandering in through the front door. They have to be constructed with hard work and persistence, and pursued as actively as any career. Only if you are seen to be a source of fun and activity will people start asking you over to make sure they're not dropped from your exciting address book.

And I certainly don't buy your theory about everyone on the internet being a gold-digger. If you are fabulously wealthy, then you could always keep it a secret, like some prince in a fairytale who pretends to be a simple peasant before revealing to the love of his life that he does rule several kingdoms and live in a palace. But most women are on the internet looking for love because they are lonely. And there are very few genuine single men out there. Why not sign up for a female friend, just to potter about with, rather than for a future partner? That way you won't be disappointed. And though, yes, you'll meet a few nightmares, you'll meet quite a few reasonable women and perhaps a couple of people you really get on with.

If you approach the problem on the three fronts I've outlined, you won't fail to find Miss Right or at least live such a full life that you won't need anyone to share it with.

 

Readers say...

Do go online

I feel that your reluctance to go online to look for a partner is based on a popular misconception about dating websites. I found myself in a city full of strangers following the end of a long-term relationship. I turned to an agency just to get me out in the evenings and to see what it was like and I met a large number of decent women. Of course, just like in more conventional social situations, most of them were not right for me, but it made me realise that being alone was preferable to being with the wrong person. Then I met my future wife and knew in one evening it was right. I'm eight years married in August and am so happy. I didn't meet one gold-digger. Believe, Patrick!

Noel Talbot By email

 

Try dancing

Patrick should try Scottish dancing; dancing always was a good way of meeting people – it still is. I've been to dances all over the UK, not known a soul and still danced every dance, while meeting lots of people. Only friendly people do Scottish dancing.

Alan By email

 

Next week's dilemma

Dear Virginia, I've only been married for a year and my wife has cancer and it seems she only has six months to live, if that. It's so sad – we're both under 30 and haven't had any kids. Her sister asked if we'd like to have her come and help, as my wife's had chemo and radiation and is very ill. We were delighted, but my sister-in-law has now taken over the house, organised all the furniture in different places, laid down rules about taking shoes off before coming in, and my wife is too weak to resist. I feel my last few months of my married life are being blighted. What can I do? Yours sincerely, Alan

What would you advise Alan to do? Email your dilemmas and comments to dilemmas @independent.co.uk, or go to www.independent.co.uk/dilemmas. Anyone whose advice is quoted will receive a £25 voucher from the wine website Fine Wine Sellers (www.finewinesellers.co.uk)

Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookA delicious collection of 50 meaty main courses
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Recruitment Genius: Senior Environmental Adviser - Maternity Cover

    £37040 - £43600 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The UK's export credit agency a...

    Recruitment Genius: CBM & Lubrication Technician

    £25000 - £27500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company provides a compreh...

    Recruitment Genius: Care Worker - Residential Emergency Service

    £16800 - £19500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Would you like to join an organ...

    Recruitment Genius: Senior Landscaper

    £25000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: In the last five years this com...

    Day In a Page

    The long walk west: they fled war in Syria, only to get held up in Hungary – now hundreds of refugees have set off on foot for Austria

    They fled war in Syria...

    ...only to get stuck and sidetracked in Hungary
    From The Prisoner to Mad Men, elaborate title sequences are one of the keys to a great TV series

    Title sequences: From The Prisoner to Mad Men

    Elaborate title sequences are one of the keys to a great TV series. But why does the art form have such a chequered history?
    Giorgio Armani Beauty's fabric-inspired foundations: Get back to basics this autumn

    Giorgio Armani Beauty's foundations

    Sumptuous fabrics meet luscious cosmetics for this elegant look
    From stowaways to Operation Stack: Life in a transcontinental lorry cab

    Life from the inside of a trucker's cab

    From stowaways to Operation Stack, it's a challenging time to be a trucker heading to and from the Continent
    Kelis interview: The songwriter and sauce-maker on cooking for Pharrell and crying over potatoes

    Kelis interview

    The singer and sauce-maker on cooking for Pharrell
    Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

    Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

    But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
    Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

    Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

    Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
    Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

    Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

    Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
    Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

    Britain's 24-hour culture

    With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
    Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

    The addictive nature of Diplomacy

    Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
    Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

    Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

    Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
    8 best children's clocks

    Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

    Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
    Charlie Austin: Queens Park Rangers striker says ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

    Charlie Austin: ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

    After hitting 18 goals in the Premier League last season, the QPR striker was the great non-deal of transfer deadline day. But he says he'd preferred another shot at promotion
    Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

    How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

    Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
    Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

    'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

    In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea