Accounts of the Single Life.. in your 50s
John Kavanagh, Self-employed (53)
It is 12 years since John Kavanagh, who lives in Dublin, split up with his wife. "I was 13 years married, and it wasn't my choice to separate. To be honest, it took me years to get over it. The whole thing about trusting people is a nightmare of massive proportions from an individual point of view."
Kavanagh, who has had several long-term relationships since he separated, says the readjustment to single life took several years. "I got great advice from a psychologist. He told me to join groups and do something where there are people. I did, and I met people whom I wouldn't have met only that I'm separated.
"I now have a good few close friends, all separated, and therefore I'm never stuck for someone to go to the theatre or a wedding. We all help each other out."
Kavanagh says life can get lonely as a single man. He has met half a dozen women through online dating. "I tried it a few years ago, with other friends, and 90 per cent of those I met were grand. There were a few people that were from a different planet."
Kavanagh believes the downturn has made being single more socially acceptable. "Some people are working away from Ireland and their families, while others have separated because of the financial pressure, so it has gone full circle. Before, sometimes people wouldn't be invited to dinner parties because they had separated."
He also says being single is easier because men have become more open about their emotions and their personal circumstance.
"A lot of guys are now just saying it the way it is. They have brothers, sisters and cousins separated, so it's not so much of a stigma. Being single is not the disease people are afraid they'll catch any more."