Some female friends, possibly despairing of ever finding a male partner, are pairing up with other women.However, for those of us who are firmly heterosexual, there is nothing like the bass note, the sheer difference and masculinity, of a warm, lively, humorous male companion.Another long-married man, a professional colleague, keeps emailing, asking whether I still love him.However many times I say that I never loved him in the first place, it makes no difference and he invites himself to lunch, offering the ultimate incentive: ‘I’ll bring a bottle of wine.’ I have to tell him no, I don’t want somebody who is going to look at his watch and say: ‘God, it’s five o’clock, I have to get home.’ Hopeless though it is, he will never quite take no for an answer and after a suitable gap is on the phone or emailing again. With yet another latter-day Lothario, I had to say that although I liked him and he was good company, I wanted a proper one-to-one relationship, not something secret and furtive.One such relationship, against all sense and reason, started to get serious, but eventually I had to say to him: this can’t go on.It’s not fair on me, it’s not fair on you and it’s not fair on her. He unhesitatingly chose her, saying he could not cause her any pain.One came straight out with it and said he was seeking an elderly lady to look after him. Whether it’s the gym, a cultural pursuit, a singles holiday or professional group, it’s always 90 per cent women.Female friends who have joined choirs or music groups say the same thing.
Is it the case that women of my age have to say a permanent goodbye to love, affection, perhaps sex? There is a group of men who know that older women can be attractive, sexy, lively and fun, and these men are only too willing and eager.I would estimate that since John died, I have been contacted by at least a dozen married men hoping for a secret affair.These men would not be contacting me, I know, if I had a partner of my own; it is the apparent availability that is the draw.They often sound enticing in the ads and even on their voice messages.But when you actually speak to them in person, it’s a very different story.