Mel Schilling Confidence Coach on singles

As we emerge into a post-lockdown dating world, experts agree there has never been a better time to find love, with almost half of Aussie singles (46%) reporting they’re ready to hit go on finding ‘the one’.

However, new research commissioned by eharmony suggests that singles aged over 35 are holding back more than Gen Z with two in three (69%) mistakenly believing they’re ‘too old’ for love.

Whether it’s the lingering emotional exhaustion from a messy divorce experience or the presence of kids from past relationships, there are plenty of factors that can affect dating a second time around. Indeed, almost half (42%) of Australians hesitate when it comes to a new relationship due to a fear of leaving their comfort zone.

Over 35s face more hurdles than most in their search for love, notably, the responsibilities of parenthood. Another recent eharmony research found that for 85% of single mums, childcare can cause issues when it comes to dating, along with the lack of time to get back out there.

It’s not a lost cause for older Aussies though. The UK’s recent Future of Dating report by Imperial College London and eharmony experts suggests that in the coming years this trend will turn on its head. They predict that by 2050 the average age of an online dater will reach 47, up from 38 in the present day, due to shifting attitudes to relationships and technology, and a new wave of ‘silver singles’ joining services.

Certainly, for today’s 30-somethings and ‘second time arounders’ confident enough to take the plunge, finding someone who shares their core values is important. This seems to be harder said than done though, with almost half (47%) saying they struggle to find someone compatible.

Confidence Coach and Married at First Sight relationship expert Mel Schilling wants to inspire more seasoned singles to embrace dating. She herself is proof that, providing you use the right methods, you can find lasting love at any stage of your life.

Mel met her husband Gareth on eharmony when she was about to turn 40 and the couple married in Bali in 2018 after a six-year engagement. The two now share a six-year-old daughter Madison.

“Let’s be honest, dating in your late thirties and forties can seem daunting,” says Mel.

“Many of my more mature clients tell me they battle with a lack confidence due to their age. They may go on lots of dates but finding someone truly compatible still presents a challenge. That’s why I’d advise using an online dating platform that specialises in compatibility, because you’re far more likely to be on the same page emotionally.”


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Mel says that beyond the first big C (Confidence), singles need to educate themselves more about the second big C, Compatibility, in their search for love.

“When we break compatibility down, it means finding someone who shares your core values and personality traits, someone who gives equal weight to things that matter to you like family, friendships and the having the same moral compass. These things may not seem so important in the short term, when sexual chemistry is peaking, but over time they make the difference between a happy or not so happy long-term relationship,” added Mel.

Parenthood obviously creates pressures for singles hoping to find ‘the one’, particularly if they’re concerned about how it will impact their kids. Yet Mel is keen to encourage single mums and dads, who make up a third of eharmony’s Australian membership, to have faith they’ll find someone suitable.

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“Parents tell me juggling childcare and even the cost of babysitters can really compromise their search for love,” Mel said.

“Our children ultimately want to see us happy, so I’d advise choosing quality dates over quantity, which will help save time on empty experiences but still give us a chance to find connection.”

The eharmony research also found there was significant hesitation in those who have been through negative relationship experiences when it comes to dating a second time around. One in four (25%) divorced respondents were quick to warn other divorcees to hesitate before getting married again.

We all have had experiences that have shaped how we think about love and our ability to find the one, especially for a second time, and no one is saying it is easy,” Mel concludes.

“This is not about forgetting your past experiences, but instead keeping things in perspective and extracting the lessons. If you think you are ready, know that the only thing holding you back is your belief in yourself. There is a big dating pool of like-minded singles waiting for a person just like you to dive in and take a chance on love again.”

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