This question that we received recently may have relevance to you if you’re thinking of getting in touch to ask us to help find you a new partner. I’ve also given our response.

Q. I divorced quite a few years ago but my family and work then became my main priorities in my life. More recently the children have become more independent and work doesn’t seem to be as important to me as when I was a little younger. Also I am having to adjust to living alone. I’d really like someone to share the future with but I realise that I have shut myself off to having any feelings for years. I’m daunted at the prospect of possible feeling s of rejection if I start meeting new people. It brings back to mind some of the feelings associated with my divorce even though that was years ago. So how do I cope with the possibility of getting hurt?

A. Virtually all of us experienced periods of emotional pain during our adolescence and often also when a marriage ends, either through divorce or bereavement. It’s not a feeling we want to go looking for again but the risk is a normal part of trying to find the right partner, so it’s good that you are thinking about how you might feel as you embark on this new journey. You would certainly not be alone in worrying about coping with this – it’s a normal consideration for many middle-aged singles.

Laughing over how a date didn’t work out can help wash the hurt away and it’s important that you hold a good self-image. Just because you were not what one individual wanted remember that you may well be absolutely perfect for someone else.

It’s worth learning how to judge a person before you date them. Perhaps don’t go on a full date until you have met first in a low-key setting such as over a cup of coffee. Pick somewhere with nice surroundings though, (motorway services may not be the nicest of settings to look back on as your first meeting when romance has blossomed!).

With no pressure, take a clear look at the person. Talk about things that interest you both and listen to what they have to say; in other words, get the focus off your feelings of attractiveness or the opposite. Finding common ground that doesn’t expose you emotionally is important, and it will decrease your feelings of vulnerability. If you find the person interesting enough to be a potential friend move on to a longer date and see what develops. Remember too, we do not always find people instantly attractive, especially if either of us is feeling a little nervous and it is so often personality rather than looks that has the real power to attract in the long run – that’s not something you can detect from either a photo or from a first glance, so give yourself and your date a real chance.

Our Matchmakers will always be on hand for you both at the outset and during your membership with us, to discuss any personal issues you have that relate to dating. All such conversations are held in strictest confidence. We also work with a highly trained and very approachable relationships coach. Please get in touch if you might like to arrange a one to one session with her.