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Go through a colleague’s phone contacts to check if there is someone filed under ‘wife’? Time, perhaps, to take a deep breath and call in the professionals.That’s certainly the view of Hayley Bystram of the , who founded the upmarket dating agency in 2009 – initially as a response to her own search for love after finding herself, still in her early 30s, as a young divorcee.Sometimes we get wedding invitations in the post, or we have people coming to us because a friend has got married after using our service, and we weren’t even aware that the couple were still seeing each other.” It’s a particularly busy time of year for Hayley, as people are either acting on a New Year’s resolution to find love or are determined not to spend another Valentine’s Day on their own. People can be short-term motivated, particularly gentlemen, so it often takes an event to get them to act.
“At the end of the day, it’s down to chemistry, that one spark, and I can’t bottle that.According to the latest Office of National Statistics figures, 240,854 UK marriages took place in 2013. Wait for your friends’ marriages to collapse so that you can all go out ‘on the pull’ again? Oh, hang on a minute, the report also mentions 114,720 divorces in that very same year. So what to do if you find yourself prematurely back on the shelf?“Once they get to date five or six, we move aside and stop being so intrusive and nosey,” she laughs. I still have an email from a gentleman who said he was going to marry a certain lady after they had been on their first date.I didn’t think much about it, but it happened and now they have a child.” Over 75% of members will have a relationship of more than six months within the initial annual membership, says Hayley, although not all of them report back.