Having written about the increase in divorce a few weeks ago, I’m going to cheer us all up today by discussing new romance. After the lockdowns and loneliness, most people now have the confidence to go out, meet others and try new activities, which is leading to fresh relationship possibilities. This is good because it’s only in coffee ads that the partner of your dreams moves in next door and is wooed by your choice of beverage.

Of course, in these days of online dating and swiping left or right on apps, many adults start their quest for romance with a cyber search. But most of the men and women I know who have found new love have done it in the real, rather than digital, world.

I’ve seen several successful relationships emerge from the meeting up of former colleagues. When you’ve been friends with someone at work, you’re more than halfway there in terms of feeling comfortable in their company. This means that if you encounter each other at a point in life when you’re both single, it’s easy for that comfort to morph into something stronger.

School, college and university reunions, and their WhatsApp groups, are a good source of renewed contact too. And a number of individuals I know, who were once an item but went on to marry other people, have hooked up in later life.

Activity holidays, such as skiing or walking, are also great for finding someone new. When two people have similar interests, this can quickly lead to a desire for something more.

I definitely get a sense that more people feel ready for a relationship now, after all the constraints of the past two years, even if they had previously assumed, they would remain single forever.

And there’s no doubt that new love can be a terrific pick-me-up. But are there any pitfalls?

Though we tend to be more confident with age, our anxiety levels are often high, and this certainly applies if we consider the possibility of getting naked again with another human being. But the fact is that as we grow older, we all have bits of our anatomy that look as if they need ironing! So, any worries you may have, are almost certainly shared by a potential partner.

Also, can I just tell you that when I discuss new relationships with clients, they invariably enthuse about the companionship, conversation, a winning smile, an understanding nature, and a feeling of being cared for. I’m not saying that they’re averse to intimacy. Some are. Most aren’t. But it never seems to be at the top of their wish list.

You may also be anxious about how the rest of your family, particularly your adult children, will react. If you’re widowed, your sons and daughters may be upset that someone else is close to you and worry that their mum or dad might be written out of your history. These situations take time and you’re going to have to be patient as well as reassuring.

Even if you’re divorced and your ex has a new partner, your offspring may need a while to process that you’re still young enough for romance and keen to try it again.

Apart from anxiety, another pitfall for widowed individuals is guilt. Guilt that you’re alive and your spouse is not. Guilt that you have feelings for someone else. Guilt that your late partner may have hated the idea of you being attracted to another man or woman. These are powerful, complex emotions.

My best suggestion is that you turn to an individual you know who lost a partner at some point but went on to find love again. Talking your feelings out with a person who has experienced what you’re going through can really help. I believe too, you should discuss any distress with your new love-interest, rather than struggle on alone.

In fact, I’m convinced honesty is crucial for later-life liaisons. You need to be honest about money and what your long-term responsibilities are to your family. You should be open about how much independence you want to retain. Talk too about friends and their place in your life and calls on your time. And you definitely should be truthful about your health, and any medications you’re on. Many older adults are dependent upon various drugs to keep them going, and this should not be a secret between you. Quite apart from everything else, some drugs have side effects that a partner needs to know about.

I once had a client who was bewildered and alarmed when her new love’s face suddenly turned crimson. She assumed he was having a stroke or heart attack and, in a panic, she reached for a phone to summon an ambulance

Her man had to stop her and explain that a flushed face was a common reaction to a pill he took. Fortunately, she was not put off and they’re still together.

Their story is typical of many. Getting together with someone when we’re older is very different from when we were young. There are topics to discuss we couldn’t have imagined last time we were dating. But that’s life!