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An internet search turned up the equally worrying fact that he had recently changed his name and that several of his companies had been fined.Feeling seriously offended, Ms Fontaine decided to ignore Elect Club’s demands for her to set up a direct debit. I was planning to get out before I had to pay any more money.’She was offered another introduction, this time to an IT worker called Terry, who was in his 50s and from Pinner.
His emails were fun and witty and when we first met for a lunch date we left the pub at 6pm, always a good sign. My friends liked him and I couldn’t believe I’d found someone at last.
The unspoken warning was that, because of my age, I might not find anyone else.
The company, Elect Club, claimed to have the ‘largest private database of single professionals in London’, including business leaders and entrepreneurs.
But, while we were perfect for each other on paper, the relationship lacked passion.
I felt that to continue going out with him would have been unfair to both of us, so I ended our relationship. Many people — including my mother and best friend — accused me of being too fussy, and said that I should stick with Simon, as he ticked so many boxes.
He had been a member of a dating agency in Gerrard’s Cross in Buckinghamshire that had shut down and Elect had bought it. When Ms Fontaine emailed to complain, she received an email back from Daniel Andre, the CEO of the company, saying: ‘Each of our members have specific criteria and their requirement doesn’t especially match your profile, I am afraid. Unfortunately, Elect decided she owed them two months’ membership.
Ms Fontaine, who was awarded an MBE in 2007 for her charitable work, is now being chased by a debt-collection agency for outstanding fees.The solution is to meet them in their own natural habit: coffee shops and pubs, of course, but also sports clubs, evening classes, even the local supermarket. James Preece, who runs dating events, says that although it might be a struggle to find men — who are often happy just hanging out with their mates rather than trying to meet new people — women in their mid-30s shouldn’t give up hope.Thankfully for women who are the far side of 30, James says it is ‘absolute rubbish’ that they have no chance of finding love.‘There are many men out there who are bored with having meaningless affairs and who want to settle down and have children too,’ he says.‘If a guy is going out with a woman in her late 30s, it is hardly going to be a surprise that she might also want children.’With that in mind, I decided to be honest about my desire for marriage and children — with surprising results.‘The thought of coming home to find my flat being stripped by bailiffs has certainly taken the sparkle out of any romantic ideas,’ she says.