Divorce is a very common statistic these days with as many as 40% of marriages ending within the first 6 years. Unless you have plans to stay single, most people recognise when the time is right for them to move on after the end of a relationship, feeling ready to rejoin the dating world with a newly acquired optimism of meeting a new partner. However, socialising and dating can be very challenging when you live and work miles from the towns. Many single, separated or divorced men and women living in the countryside feel lonely and cut off due to the sparse population and framework of rural communities. Being based in the countryside and looking for love presents different challenges compared to the town and city based singletons. Single rural life can be isolating due to the lack of human contact; days can turn into weeks with the only people you are likely to see are the postman or a delivery driver. If you have animals to look after you put their needs ahead of your own so your daily routine can greatly reduce the free time you have available for socialising.
Fife based Deborah Deveney said: “My life seems to revolve around caring for my horses, cats, dog, chickens and ducks. I would welcome the opportunity of a more varied social life but my animals demand so much of my time. The feeding, mucking out and exercising means I have very little time to myself so it is no surprise dressing up, wearing heels and make-up are not priorities for me. One ex-boyfriend who lived in a town, and had very little experience of the countryside, could not understand why I did not get dressed up to take the dog on a 3 mile hike through the woods! It would be great to meet a like-minded man who embraces my way of life and understands I need to look after the animals and how a spec of mud will not ruin an outfit. I love my rural lifestyle but I do sometimes wonder if I have filled a void with animals.”
Meeting someone who understands the countryside way of life can create a stronger bond. Couples instantly have a shared common ground and an opportunity for spending more time together. Chris Lawson and his partner Beth Campbell-Whitton live in Greenlaw and both work within Agriculture. Chris works in game feed sales and feels it is important to be with someone who is familiar with the behind- the-scenes workings of the countryside and within a successful relationship you both share an understanding of each other’s roles.
Chris said: “Within agriculture, your working life can eat into private life and with livestock there is no closing time and you have to be prepared for the unexpected. Seasonal demands can mean you spend more time at work than at home so having a supportive partner who appreciates the challenges you face is crucial. Our jobs are not 9 to 5 supermarket market roles, we do not go home at 5pm and switch off and sometimes we may be out socialising with clients.”
Like Chris and Beth, many of us work in roles often linked to social events with clients. A partner’s additional support at social functions can be highly beneficial and welcomed. Business can be won and lost outside office hours so having a like-minded partner supporting the social side of your job may improve your client relationships.
However, socialising for the first time when you are no longer part of a couple can be daunting and the lack of dinner invites from your married friends may leave you feeling like a social outcast.
Perthshire based Tay ghillie Bob White said: “Meeting someone is very difficult. I understand you need to get out and socialise with people but I am quiet and generally shy so I would not force myself to do things I normally would not do, like going out somewhere on my own hoping to meet someone. Day to day, I guess part of me lives in hope our paths will cross and I may meet someone new. I work 6 days a week and would love to come home in the evening to someone and share the day’s events over a glass of wine.”
Meeting someone in the 21st Century is completely different to the conventional courtship of decades ago. The traditional path of meeting someone in a pub has been replaced with online dating. If you are ready to start dating again you can begin the process from your smartphone, tablet or computer. You simply sign up, complete your profile and upload a couple of recent photographs then search for people who interest you and make contact. Some sites are free to use while others charge membership fees.
Bob continues: “It would be super to meet a woman who also has similar interests in the countryside, fishing and being out on the river together. I tried internet dating hoping it would be an opportunity to meet new people but I found it to be very frustrating and gave up.” Online dating is an accepted and popular method of meeting new people and there are many to choose from including dedicated countryside and farming sites that have a growing membership of like-minded singles looking for dates and relationships.
Lucy Reeves co-founded the niche countryside dating site, Muddy Matches, with her sister, Emma, over 8 years ago after spotting gap in the market. The UK site has over 100,000 members with 3,500 joining each month. Lucy said: “The countryside means different things to different people and we cater for that broad spectrum. We are a family run, independent dating site very specific to the countryside. It is free to register on the website and add your profile and photos, but you must pay a subscription to be able to communicate with other members. Our prices range from £24 for a 1-month subscription to £90 for a 12-month subscription.”
If you are rural and looking for love maybe now is the time to join the online countryside dating scene. All you need is a broadband connection, a recent photograph and some courage.