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15 Sep

‘I started to get short replies to texts and he didn’t seem keen to chat on the phone.

I didn’t pick up the signals — as far as I could see, it was going well. I was stunned.’Jennifer made a classic dating error — she’d come on too strong, too quickly.

‘When my 16-year-old daughter told me I had to sign up to websites because that’s how everyone meets people, my first reaction was, “No way,”’ she says. And then there was part of me that thought: “I’m better than this.” But the alternative is being alone for the rest of my life, and no one wants that. When your confidence is at rock bottom after a relationship ends, the last thing you want to do is be honest about yourself.’ Indeed, filling out an online profile is such an art that there are companies which will write your profile for you and take professional pictures.

‘So I signed up to and a transatlantic dating site called ilove because I’d always enjoyed travelling to the U. People take online dating as seriously as a job application — a smudgy snap won’t cut it. ‘So, I got advice about how to style my hair and what make-up to wear.

‘You have to think of new ways to build up confidence and get out there — and online dating is a great way to do that.

Just take it slowly.’ However, for women like Joanne, posting your most personal details online for thousands of strangers to see is an alien concept.

Lucile and Merlin took over The Priory Tavern in 2010, taking influences from classic British pub food and their time working in Canada and America.

For the rest of the night they flirted, until her old flame leaned in to kiss her.

The next week, Jennifer showered her new love interest with calls and texts.

I’d met my two previous partners through friends, so this was my first time on the dating scene.

I didn’t know what to do or how to behave.‘It’s not so much talking to strangers that I find hard — I do that all the time in my job — it’s getting used to the fact it’s all a bit of a game and people aren’t who they say they are.