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The UKs Top Dating Experts Answer the Questions Singles Need to Know

Having the tools and expertise to be able to successfully navigate the realities of modern dating can transform your success in finding the kind of connection you are looking for.

Written by Lorraine Adams, matchmaker and romance expert.

Finding yourself single again can be isolating and lonely. Recently divorced or separated people often find that a huge part of their network is lost as the result of a separation, and your solo self isn’t necessarily as welcome in your friend groups as the two of you once were.

The world has moved on and dating has changed. Dating apps can be cutthroat and competitive and full of people who are after your wallet, rather than in search of a genuine connection.

Meet Our Panel of Dating Experts:

We brought together a group of dating experts to ask them some of the questions that today’s daters need to know about.

These include Rachel Maclynn, Founder and CEO of Maclynn, a boutique matchmaking agency, dating coach, James Preece, Katie Knowels, Chief marketing officer of dating app Genie Connections, Lorraine Adams, dating industry expert and matchmaker and Jaqui Baker, founder of Select Connections, who specialise in helping people who are 50+ to find their ideal partners.

We asked them to share their tips for how to successfully navigate dating in 2023.

Panel of dating coaches

Here’s What We Asked Them:

Q: Is there a rapid remedy to help you get over your ex?

Rachel: Getting over a past relationship can be a difficult and emotional journey, and while there is no quick solution, there are some tips that can help you move forward:

  • Allow yourself to feel emotions: It’s natural to feel sad, angry and hurt after a breakup, whatever the cause. Allow yourself to experience these emotions and try journaling or writing down your feelings. As time passes, you can use these notes to reflect on how far you’ve come, but don't dwell on them for too long
  • Focus on self-care: Take care of yourself physically, emotionally and mentally. Exercise regularly, eat well, and engage in activities that make you happy
  • Cut contact: Try to avoid contacting your ex as much as possible, especially if alcohol is involved. This will help you avoid getting dragged back into old patterns. A friendship may be possible in the future, but in the beginning, space and time apart will give you clarity and make it easier to move forward
  • Surround yourself with positive people: Spend time with friends and family who support you
  • Keep busy: Fill your time with interests and hobbies to take your mind off your ex

Q. Should singles have a checklist when seeking a partner?

James: Yes, but keep it short! It's especially useful to think about what is most important to you in a partner. You need to be aligned on life goals and values, for example. Remember that love is not a list and the more you write down the harder it will be to find someone. Focus on what’s really important to you and be as open-minded as possible.

Q: Should you start dating if you are not over your ex?

James: If it's a very recent breakup, then the most important step you can take is to heal and rebuild your confidence. After your breakup, be kind to yourself and give yourself some time without an agenda before you start dating again. If you don’t give yourself time to heal, you'll likely make bad choices and quickly become frustrated.

However, don't spend too much time delaying finding new love. Usually, six months is enough time to take out before starting to work on yourself. Otherwise, it can take a long time to get over your ex if you aren't taking any action.

Q: Why are there so many fake profiles on some dating apps?

Katie: Many of the longer-established dating apps do not have sufficient security features to ensure that scammers are kept at bay. Gradually, as better technology is developed, we can combat fake profiles for good. Some of the newer dating apps take security very seriously.

Because many dating apps are free, there’s no barrier to entry, so you often get people who aren’t serious about a relationship, or who are perhaps already in a relationship and seeking some extra-curricular fun.

If a dating app is your first foray into dating, look for a newer app that has the most up-to-date security features. The more established apps are so huge that it’s difficult for them to implement safety features for all their existing users.

Q: Why is there so much ghosting on dating apps?

Katie: Bad manners have become the norm over the years, especially on dating apps; people would rarely behave so poorly in person. Just because some dating apps have a bad reputation, people often conveniently forget that there are lots of real people with real feelings. The anonymity of it all makes it easy to be flippant with other people’s emotions.

However, unless someone is rude, offensive or inappropriate, it’s always better to treat people as you would wish to be treated. Letting someone down gently before you block them is always kinder. It’s easy to take an "if you can’t beat them, join them" attitude on dating apps, but as more people stick to kinder principles then dating app behaviour will continue to improve.

Q: Where can I meet prospective suitors if I don’t want to use dating apps?

Lorraine: Try not to think specifically about meeting other singles. Just be more social, start new interests, join more clubs. Build your social network and this will increase the number of romantic opportunities in your life. Everyone knows someone that knows someone.

An active social life, not just with long-term friends and associates, but with new people too is an opportunity not only to date, but helps keep your mental health at its best as you explore new people, situations and challenges.

Q: What age should you decide is too old to start looking for a partner?

Jacqui: I don’t think you are ever too old to seek out inviting someone to share their life with you. Obviously, what people want from a relationship is one of the first things you should establish. A relationship can be vastly different in your 50s to what it might look like in your 70s and 80s.

Having said that, many people still have a strong sex drive in their later years, and most people never lose that thirst for romantic gestures. Even if you want to embark on a relationship for companionship, you should never let age stand in your way. Probably the biggest challenge you will have to deal with in older age relationships is navigating your way around each other’s families!

Children and grandchildren of older couples can often be too overprotective, which can be challenging for the couples involved. Work out what works for you. A relationship when you’re older does not necessarily have to mean moving in together or getting married. Maintaining your independence might suit you both better.

Q: Is dating multiple people a good idea?

James: I always recommend this to my clients, as it stops you from fixating on one person. You need to date a few people to understand what you are truly looking for. Once things get serious then you can stop dating other people, but until then keep your options open. My advice would be to become exclusive when you start an intimate relationship.

Q: Does long-distance dating work?

Lorraine: Yes! Distance can often enhance a relationship, especially early on. It enables couples to really get to know each other at a less rapid pace. Having separate homes and independent lives (especially in your 50s) can make a relationship far more stimulating.

If you are fortunate enough to find a special connection with someone, you should let the logistics take care of themselves. It might not feel ideal before you commit to a long-distance relationship, but it’s better to have someone under these circumstances, than hold out for something more ‘convenient’ and remain single in the hope they will show up on your doorstep.

Q: Do big age gaps in relationships work?

Jacqui: Big age gaps, especially as you get older, rarely work out well. The older person in the relationship is constantly going to be under pressure to keep up. Probably ten years or so is as wide a gap as you will want to go, unless one of the couple drinks from the fountain of youth.

People often get more stuck in their ways as they get older and become less adaptable to change, which can also be a challenge with age-gap relationships.

Q: Is there ever a good or valid reason to ghost people?

Rachel: Ghosting is the cold turkey of non-responses. It's as if you are being stonewalled, rejected, and ignored all in one go. It’s especially hard-hitting if you have had an extended period of time with frequent contact and then sudden and unexpected silence.

However, in modern dating, there are several scenarios where ghosting is acceptable and even recommended:

  • If you suspect that the person you are in contact with is catfishing, (posing as someone else online), our advice is to report them to the platform you are using and stop all communication at once.
  • Consent is imperative in all dating situations. If a date or potential partner makes you feel unsafe or uncomfortable in any way, then shut it down at once. Consider this an act of self-love and setting healthy boundaries.
  • If you have tried to end a relationship and have explained that things are over, but they just don't get the hint, then sometimes ghosting is the only logical choice.

Q: Should the guy still pay on the first date in 2023?

Rachel: In 2023, this subject can feel like a minefield. Chivalry vs feminism vs etiquette: Everyone has a different opinion. It’s common dating etiquette for a man to pick up the bill on a first date. I’d always recommend that women offer to pay but accept graciously if the man wants to pay – and send a thank you message afterwards. I normally recommend the first date to be just a drink or a coffee, so there is less pressure on everyone.

Ultimately though, don't take who pays the bill too personally. You don't know what the individual's cultural values are around bill paying. If you both had a great time together, don't let the awkwardness of paying the bill stand in the way of a second date.

With Thanks to our Dating Experts:

Rachel Vida MacLynn – Matchmaker

Rachel is an established matchmaking and dating expert, on a mission to help her clients find their perfect match. A registered Chartered Psychologist with the British Psychological Society, Rachel advocates a professional matchmaking approach based on psychological principles and professional consultation, through her dating agency, Maclynn.

When it comes to finding that authentic spark, there is no such thing as one-size-fits-all. The potential partners we introduce aren't just attractive. They are compatible and share fundamental values and life goals, allowing them to create much deeper and more meaningful connections.

As relationship experts and experienced psychologists, we eliminate the uncertainty of dating, providing the highest quality of professional guidance, coaching and feedback to elevate the experience into a life-changing journey of self-knowledge and growth.

To learn more, get in touch with one of our experts.

James Preece – Dating coach

James is undoubtedly the most established dating coach in the UK. With many years expertise, he has coached thousands of singles into happy, healthy relationships. James runs dating seminars; has a regular dating podcast and he has written countless best-selling coaching books on dating.

His methods will fast-track you to the place you want to be and help you master the secrets of dating, confidence, flirting, body language and attraction. Building confidence through coaching is an important part of this.

James has worked for many dating sites as a Dating Coach and is also a relationship and dating expert for newspapers, radio and TV. He coaches both men and women and can also personally suggest the best most effective route for his clients to take once he has had a consultation.

To learn more and for a free mini-consultation contact James

Katie Knowels – Genie Connections

Katie is fairly new to the dating sector. However, she has a wealth of knowledge about what the future of dating is going to look like, especially for those using dating apps.

Genie Connections is a recently released dating app that is being hailed as the dating app to change the face of dating online. It is the first dating app to take safety really seriously, there are no fake profiles on Genie because of the joining process. New users have to take a selfie with a requested pose to ensure that the photos uploaded are genuine. There are also other safety features integrated into the app.

In addition to their more traditional swiping module, Genie also has a unique Bluetooth module, that enables singles to connect with people they have seen IRL. Those magically missed moments will be a thing of the past if you both have the Genie app downloaded. You do not even need the app to be open. Genie Connections also has the best matching algorithm by far. It will flag up using a percentage likelihood - the profiles you are most likely going to get a mutual match with. This saves so much time and reduces the risk of ghosting.

Genie can be downloaded on the app store or on Google Play.

Lorraine Adams – Dating industry expert and matchmaker

Lorraine has 23 years of dating industry experience. She is well known for being the person that launched the speed dating concept back in 2000. She has brought hundreds of couples together over the years through her dating services and events. She has also gained high esteem as an industry spokesperson and has helped launch several dating products for other brands.

Lorraine currently runs Club Gorgeous – an affordable ‘hybrid’ introductions service that sits nicely in between matchmaking and dating apps. Lorraine also runs an independent Dating Directory on her website.

For more information, visit Gorgeous Networks

Jacqui Baker – founder, Select Connections

Select Connections is the first hands-on' service specifically designed for singles in their 50s, 60, and 70s. They believe that each decade should be taken into its own area of consideration in respect of dating advice and expectations. Jacqui and her team have brought many couples together and specialise in London and the South of the UK – though she offers a nationwide service.

Select Connections identifies potential companions/partners based on their shared core values. Their private and confidential network only contains identity-checked singles who are looking for a companion/partner/husband/wife to continue on this next chapter of their lives with.

Find out more about Select Connections