But when I phoned a dating agency eight months ago, everything had taken on a new sense of urgency. Where had they all gone? The pressure started to mount. Time is running out. I never thought I would end up like this.
There had always been boyfriends in my teens, 20s, and on into my early 30s. So it is hardly as if I was a perennial spinster. But, returning to London in after four years abroad, I discovered that being something and single was very different to being something and single.
My whole social life had changed. Before, I would meet friends every night and every weekend, go to parties, and hang out in pubs and bars. There was a constant merry-go-round of new faces. But if I wanted to have children, then I knew I had to get a move on. I missed having someone special in my life — someone to look forward to seeing at the end of a long day, someone to cuddle up to. Sarah with a man who was not her "Mr Right" But I worried that any potential boyfriends would find out how old I was and just hear the sound of ticking ovaries.
I went speed-dating, online-dating, wine-tasting dating, quiz-dating and dinner-dating. I joined running clubs, did acting classes and dance classes, went on skiing holidays and singles holidays and badgered my friends to set me up with their friends.
Some attempts were more successful than others: I turned up a few minutes late for one date to find that the guy had already ordered and eaten dinner without me, and I booked myself on a climbing holiday with 14 fit men, only to discover halfway up the highest mountain in North Africa that they were all married. While I did meet some really nice men, it was certainly not at the tortuous round of singles events, at which there were always more women than men and everyone had a sad, resigned look in their eyes.
Countless times I left events in despair, thinking: The possibilities are reassuringly endless. The more you practise talking to them, the easier you will find it.
I put a classified ad in Private Eye, which read: He was 41, adventurous and enjoyed travelling — as do I. 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.
He was kind and chivalrous. 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. It was a very difficult decision. 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.
The unspoken warning was that, because of my age, I might not find anyone else. First Catch Your Husband: Share or comment on this article: Men will run a mile. That's what a lonely-heart agency told Sarah. She vowed to prove them wrong Most watched News videos.