Do you remember the coffee ads starring Sharon Maughan and Anthony Head?  

I can’t recall how the narrative started exactly, but the commercials ran for six years while the couple drank copious amounts of Gold Blend and enjoyed a simmering romance.  

They came into my mind the other day while I was having a chat with a very old pal, I’m going to call Angela, who was wondering if she was too old for new romance.    

Angela lives alone now, after having been in a relationship for more than 40 years. She has moved to be near her son and family but is short on any other form of companionship as, like for so many of us, other family, former colleagues and good mates are scattered far and wide, or no longer with us.

Very sensibly, she joined a choir and made a female friend but some 18 months after the death of her husband she would like to feel special again, to someone of the opposite gender.  

“Is this possible?” she asked me. 

Well, one never knows what may happen in the future. I remember when my husband, who was a psychosexual specialist, first started prescribing the drug Viagra in 1998, his oldest patient was a charming gent of 83, who had plans to get close up and personal with a lady in the sheltered housing complex where they both lived.

I gather it all went very well! 

So, such situations most certainly can occur.

However, many people of a certain age no longer want to go that far. And that’s fine. No one should feel forced into something that they’re hesitant about.

One bonus of getting older is that we’re more confident about our needs and wishes, and less reluctant to discuss them than we might once have been.

And the truth is that plenty of folk have no wish to even take their clothes off in front of anyone else, let alone share a bed or a bank account with them. 

I know a couple who are plainly mad about each other but who have settled for fond friendship rather than the “hurly burly of the chaise longue”.

Neither of them is nursing a huge libido anymore and they have become used to their own space and their own habits. However, they enjoy each other’s company enormously.

They go to jazz evenings together. They cook for each other. They stay over at each other’s homes, but in separate rooms. And they go on holiday together but pay single supplements. This works for them. 

And I’m sure it could work for many individuals; companionship is top of many people’s wish list as they grow older. 

As my friend Angela said the other day: “I’d be more than happy to have someone in my life who would stroke my arm when I’m upset or take my hand when I’m out shopping. That would do”.

You may well feel the same. 

So, if you want to get to know more people – people who might turn into particularly close friends or even lovers, what can you do? 

Well basically, and I know I have said this before, you need to get out of your comfort zone and make opportunities for yourself.

Scenarios where someone delectable arrives at your front door to borrow coffee are few and far between in real life, so you need to be proactive and create lots of social possibilities as well as accept more invitations if they come your way. 

Also, do remember that we are at a stage in life where we can be more open minded in our choices. We no longer have to please our mothers.

We don’t need to find someone with great genes to parent our children.

And if we are wise, we realise that there are plenty of friendships to be had with men and women who may not have had the same sort of life as us, or similar education, or talk with the same accent. Broaden your perspective and see where that takes you.  

Two former female colleagues of mine have become an item, despite both having been heterosexual throughout life till now.

This started as friendship and has morphed into much more. They are jointly surprised and delighted at the love they now share. 

Years ago, I had a friend who was feeling very low after the premature death of her partner. In her own words she had become “fat and beige”.

She decided she wanted a new man in her life and went off on a cruise in the hope of finding him. 

Nothing happened. But soon after she came home, a widower moved in a few doors down and they had a whirlwind romance and got married. 

Was the cruise a waste of money? Not according to her.

She said it had been fascinating and had turned her into a more interesting and fun person – and it was that person her neighbour fell for. 

She is not alone in having had this kind of experience.

The fact is that when we are determinedly seeking new challenges and opportunities, and tackling them with energy, we tend to make good stuff happen.