They also feel heartened if a man is already a father - not least because there is living proof of his fertility. It seems single women are willing to ignore fading looks and the emotional and financial baggage that comes with having children in favour of dependability and guaranteed virility. And for the divorced dads out there, the world is their oyster. The number of 25 to 45-year-olds living alone has doubled over the past two decades, and twice as many single women buy properties as men.
'Women want to feel safe and secure,' says relationship coach Elizabeth Copeland. 'The fact that these older chaps might be a bit boring and they're possibly going grey, far from being off-putting, makes them the ideal catch.'
|James Hopley says that women have been throwing themselves at him since his divorce from his wife two years ago. He and his wife had been together for 19 years and have three children together|
They love hearing how he was a faithful breadwinner for nearly two decades, and remains a loving, hands-on father to his children.
Indeed, he finds himself far more popular now than when he was single in his 20s, which he believes comes from the confidence of age and the fact he has shown himself capable of stability.
'I'm comfortable in my own skin now — stable, reliable and obviously not afraid of commitment. I couldn't say that before,' he explains.
He says he and his wife simply 'drifted apart'. When James first moved out of the family home, it was into the nest egg flat he had bought several years earlier as a pension investment.
He discovered on moving in that fellow residents of the block of flats had nicknamed it 'Bachelor Towers' because so many of them were single men.
It was these neighbours who reintroduced him to the dating scene, showing him which dating sites to use and taking him to local bars.
'I was married by the time I was 30 and I had no idea how things had changed,' he says. 'Two decades on, the dating landscape is very different.
Kevin Stephens, 55, an electrical engineer who lives in Newmarket, has also found himself 'headhunted' by women whose biological clocks are ticking. In the 12 years since his wife walked out on him, he's dated 20 women
'One of my first liaisons after my marriage ended was in Buenos Aires. An aspiring Argentinian actress propositioned me, saying she wanted to practise her English.
'And when, a year after I'd moved out of the family home, I swapped my flat for a terraced house, the attractive estate agent arranging the sale was happy to go out with me to celebrate.
'The flat sale fell through so many times, I started to wonder if she was doing it on purpose so we could go out for yet another 'celebration' meal when a new buyer came along.'
And although he's been enjoying the ego boost of the singles market, James would eventually like to settle down again with a second Mrs Right.
So far he has been on dates with about a dozen women. The longest relationship he has enjoyed has been a six-month romance, but he remains hopeful of finding someone with whom he wants to settle down.
'On dates, women will often tell me they've enjoyed themselves because I really listen to them,' says James. 'The young, single men, who've never been married, are too focused on themselves and their careers to pay 100 per cent attention to women.
'But I've grown up with three sisters, I've got daughters and I enjoy talking to women. I'm genuinely interested in what they have to say — and that only comes with experience.'
Kevin Stephens, 55, an electrical engineer who lives in Newmarket, has also found himself 'headhunted' by women whose biological clocks are ticking.
'Women are surprisingly direct today,' he says. 'I've met women in their early 40s who have built their career and suddenly decided they want to have a family.
'It's flattering but, at the same time, off-putting. I was at a speed-dating event recently and within seconds of meeting, a woman announced to me that she wanted to have children and get married as soon as possible.
'I was gobsmacked. Who says that on a first date?'
Kevin's partner walked out on him 12 years ago, taking their two daughters with her. Today his girls are 18 and 16, and he describes his relationship with them as close.
|Fellow divorcé Kevin Buxton, 55, who has a 15-year-old son, feels sure that the fact he is 'easy-going' and mature will land him the lady of his dreams|
He registered with online sites, went to speed-dating events and answered the personal ads in newspapers.
Yet Kevin admits he was looking for his intellectual equal and, accordingly, was 'very, very, picky'.
Over the past nine years he has dated 'just' 20 women.
The longest relationship he had was with a marketing director of a banking group. She was Kevin's 'kind of girl' and they saw each other for three months. It finished when she moved to another city.
'There has been a shift in attitudes,' he says. 'Women don't mind if you have children. In fact, they tell me that they're reassured I've already got a family because I've got that 'fatherly' thing going on.
'On dates I am admired for being a gentleman. It fascinates me that woman are so surprised by this. Opening a door or holding up a woman's coat for her comes naturally to me.
'They also love the fact I've lived with a woman, and know they love to chat. Who am I to stop them from talking about the book they're reading or the film they've just seen? Only a man who's been married can do that.'
Kevin admits, that despite his popularity, he is struggling to find someone he loves — and who loves him, too.
'My daughters really want me to find someone who'll love me.'
Fellow divorcé Kevin Buxton, 55, who has a 15-year-old son, feels sure that the fact he is 'easy-going' and mature will land him the lady of his dreams.
Kevin, whose marriage broke down 12 years ago, says: 'I'd never cried until my son was born. Becoming a father changes you. Women might be dismissive of younger guys who lack the maturity to behave as real men.
'I met a lovely, 48-year-old mother of the bridesmaid at a wedding recently. She told me she couldn't bear today's "metrosexual" modern men.
'She approached me by complimenting me on how calm and courteous I was. When I looked puzzled, she explained: 'It must be your age. There aren't many men like you today.' '
Kevin has never joined a dating agency — he's never needed to. He says that even when he goes out for a coffee, women will strike up a conversation with him.
Kevin was married for eight years, but the marriage broke down when his son, Alex, was four. He was determined to be an unwavering presence in his child's life and didn't start dating until last year — and only then at the insistence of Alex.
'He's a happy, stable teenager and thought it was time I got a girlfriend,' says Kevin.
'I don't look for women on the internet. I find that women tend to prefer to talk face-to-face. They don't mind making the first move either.'
When asked to describe how women see him, he says they typically refer to him as 'fabulous'. He prefers to date women aged 35 to 45.
'One of the women I'm seeing I met in the local supermarket,' he says. 'She got chatting to me and we found out our sons go to the same school. We've been out to dinner a few times since.
'I let women make the first move. I'm terrified today of saying the wrong thing or being unintentionally offensive to a woman.
'I'm an old-school gentleman. My grandparents brought me up. Women are forever telling me that I'm from another era.
'They like having their chair pulled out or the car door opened for them. For me it's natural, but they are always extremely flattered.
'There's a lot to be said for a snuggle on the sofa in front of a good film. I'm not a macho type, which I'm told is refreshing.'
Indeed, Kevin's only dilemma for the next few months is which lucky lady he will decide to date exclusively.
'I want them to meet Alex — that's the next milestone. Then I'll take it from there.'
Of course, if it doesn't work out, there are plenty more fish in the sea . . .
Via - Dailymail