Anne Diamond: The digital world of divorce and dating

PUBLISHED: 16:49 12 July 2016 | UPDATED: 16:49 12 July 2016

Sort out your social media presence if you want to get to this stage

Sort out your social media presence if you want to get to this stage

(c) George Doyle & Ciaran Griffin

More than a make over: Anne discovers that even the Silver Singles need a thorough online tidy up if planning to possibly make a match

Have you ever Googled yourself and found your character wanting? Be warned to polish up your digital footprint - particularly if you’re looking for a new mate! I found myself musing on the subjects of divorce and dating just recently - not, I hasten to add, that I’m considering either myself - and how it’s all being taken over by the digital world.

As if those subjects weren’t scary enough, nowadays you have to know how to master your online profile and how to digitally download, or upstream, the necessary ingredients, words, pictures and even videos. A survey has found that a surprising number of us are doing exactly this - about 40 per cent of all divorces last year were ‘DIY’ divorces, often completed online and done without a lawyer! Meanwhile, online dating is now the second most popular way for the newly divorced to meet potential partners (after the traditional method of meeting through mutual friends). And even if you don’t hook up through a dating website or mobile phone app, you’re going to use the internet to ‘Google’ their names and peruse their Facebook photos, scrutinise their LinkedIn profile and see what others have posted about them before actually linking up!

All of this means it’s even more important than ever to make sure your ‘online profile’, whether deliberate or accidental, is flattering but truthful, and reflects your character in the way you’d want a potential suitor to see you! Dating experts call it your very own ‘digital brand’. Yes, in the world of matchmaking we are all merely a commodity that needs subtle marketing and data protection.

One Berkshire woman who runs a very successful dating site that now boasts many long term relationships and tens of weddings, says these days most young people don’t settle down until they hit their late 20s and that means plenty are still looking for a mate at an age when their own parents had been married a good five to 10 years.

In fact, the number of women in their 30s without partners has almost doubled. They are joined by floods of divorced people eager to sign up for the second marriage market. And, finally, there’s the baby boomer generation which now contains increasing numbers of singles - a mix of never-married, divorced and widowed. In fact, apparently we Silver Singles (OMG what a dreadful phrase) prefer the online method. We actually like the arms-length opportunity to peruse profiles before emailing, texting, Skyping and finally a meeting once trust is established. There are more and more stories of much older people, even those in their 80s, finding companionship and love this way. So if you’re one of them, address your online profile. If you want to be thought of as outgoing, sexy, vivacious and attractive, make sure your online photos and blogs don’t make a liar of you!

One thing’s for sure, if you’re checking out a date, they’re definitely doing the same to you! The top advice for older people on the dating scene? Don’t rely on totally random dating apps - that’s for the youngsters. Use a well-known dating website or organisation that demands a membership fee. Apparently those who have to pay up are more likely to be sincere. Then make sure your digital branding is showing you at what the professionals call ‘your best self’ - and that may mean hours of work, taking down photos, uploading others and even asking your mutual friends and contacts to do the same! And one of the biggest turn-offs to prospective mates? Bad user names. If yours is “frumpymum123”, change it - but not to “SexySandra” unless that’s the image you want to convey! You need synergy between your ‘handle’, your photos, profile, emails and texts. Apply yourself to digital dating with the same rigour you would use when it comes to those other important and vital life-making decisions, like buying a house or finding a job. And if that’s all a little too exhausting, you can even now employ a ‘dating coach’ or ‘concierge’ - a whole new breed of industry professional who’ll do a lot of the leg work for you, helping with profiles, doing searches, offering strategies and support. The amount of energy and effort it takes to date nowadays might make you conclude a single lifestyle isn’t so bad. As they’ve always said, dating is exhausting, being single isn’t.

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