Yet on internet sites, there are dozens, hundreds, possibly even thousands of single people seemingly just like you, all looking for that special person to alleviate their loneliness and provide excitement and companionship for their later years.Henning Wiechers, who conducted the recent survey on behalf of Metaflake, the vast German online dating agency, claimed that when people are too old to go clubbing, they need to access a second marriage market — and that the internet provides the perfect forum. While online dating is certainly booming in popularity — the industry is worth £170 million in the UK, with nine million of us now logging on in the hope that we will find somebody, otherwise unreachable, who will be just right for us — my experiences should serve as something of a warning to others looking for love online.

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One divorced man of my age, who has been on these sites for six years, said that the first woman he met was £50,000 in debt, another wanted him to give her £350 to get her car out of the garage and a third hadn’t mentioned that she had severely impaired vision — the ultimate blind date.

Another man said that he met somebody who seemed great and they got on so well that they arranged to go on a holiday to South Africa together.

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I couldn’t even face drinking a cup of coffee there, let alone anything else. At least 25 per cent of men who go onto these sites are married and wanting a fling rather than a serious relationship.

The word ‘separated’ can often be translated as ‘still living in the family home and sleeping with my wife’.

— that they were ‘comfortable in their old jeans’, that they liked country walks and red wine. At 63 he had a teenage son, plus he was paying maintenance for two other children from an earlier relationship.

We had nothing whatever in common, and I fled as soon as decently possible.

But for the internet, we would never have come together, and he taught me another truth — that as well as enabling you to find your soulmate, the internet also gives you a chance to meet somebody who is the exact opposite of what you are seeking in a partner.