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Posted by / 01-Jan-2018 10:20

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And these soaring figures are set to surge still further in the decade ahead, as women, in particular, feel less inclined to put up with flagging relationships. In my own social circle, I've witnessed at least a dozen marriage breakdowns in the past two years - including the demise of my own relationship after 25 years.

In two instances among my acquaintances, the men, both in their early 60s, have departed to a much younger woman beckoning from a warm bed.

In short, our generation is more prepared to approach our last few decades with a new set of priorities - albeit sometimes unprepared for the problems that can accompany them.

Judy Hollis's story is not untypical of the dozens of women I've talked to about divorce and dating.

Confused and upset by the shock of their relationship falling apart, particularly if they hadn't wanted or expected it, they embark, initially at least, on a self-destructive pattern of seeking solace through sex with near-strangers.

'For a year,' she says, 'I fooled around, sleeping with more than ten men.Greater economic independence and the fact that 50 no longer spells the end of the road for women are just two of the reasons for the ever- spirallingdivorce rate among older couples.For better or for worse, we are the first generation of women to turn traditional ideas of middle age on their head.For me, in my 50s, the idea of taking my clothes off in front of a man who wasn't my husband was absolutely terrifying.Having sex with a relative stranger, so easy when I was in my 20s, felt barely possible.

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She explains: 'I'd never even slept with anyone other than my husband, and suddenly I found myself using sex with men to make me feel better about myself.' Judy joined a couple of internet dating sites and found it surprisingly easy to meet men in their 40s and 50s who wanted no-strings flings.