The prospect of dating in the over-40 age bracket leaves many weak at the knees. It’s a time when people can find themselves unexpectedly single after divorce or the death of a partner. And for those hoping to re-partner it’s a daunting challenge.
Even more difficult might be the desire to find a soul-mate after spending the majority of one’s life as a singleton.
Lyle Taffs, a committed Christian who has been single for five years, is striving for a solution with a new group called Christian Partners.
Mr Taffs was married for 38 years. Following his divorce he was optimistic about finding a new partner at church. But this didn’t prove so easy.
“I became aware of how difficult it is for single people in the church to connect with others and I started to wonder what I could do about it that was different to what’s been done,” he said.
“I was looking for a formula that might be appealing and easy for people – like dinners.”
Queenscliff-Point Lonsdale Uniting Church has offered to host the first dinner but Mr Taffs has ambitions for the group to be state-wide, hoping to hold future events in Geelong, Ballarat and Melbourne.
Rev Charles Gallacher said his church was happy to embrace singles in all their variety – widowed, divorced, gay or those never married.
“The language of the dominant culture of couples and families makes it really hard for singles – even though less than half the population is married,” he said.
“It would be great if other churches were willing to host future events.
“It’s by doing things together and creating a sense of belonging that relationships have the opportunity to bloom – whether they’re partnerships or friendships.”
While the first event is aimed at over-40s, Christian Partners hopes to offer opportunities for a broad age-range in the future.
Mr Taffs said he had decided to start with a dinner as a non-threatening introduction for people but was open to ideas and involvement from others.
“For lots of men and women it’s really challenging to look for a new relationship, especially if they’ve been through a difficult divorce,” he said.
“But there are good people out there, you have to be careful and you have to be smart, but there are good people out there.”
The evening will include a three-course meal, facilitated ice-breakers, the opportunity to mingle and local musicians playing lounge jazz.
For information and bookings contact Lyle Taffs, 0427 243 625or firstname.lastname@example.org