We would like to emphasize eight specific reasons why dating can be a positive experience in your life to help you navigate the waters of maturity and maybe, some day, even marriage. This is an end in itself because couples want to relax and experience a form of entertainment together.

Henning Wiechers, who conducted the recent survey on behalf of Metaflake, the vast German online dating agency, claimed that when people are too old to go clubbing, they need to access a second marriage market — and that the internet provides the perfect forum. While online dating is certainly booming in popularity — the industry is worth £170 million in the UK, with nine million of us now logging on in the hope that we will find somebody, otherwise unreachable, who will be just right for us — my experiences should serve as something of a warning to others looking for love online.

After my partner died, I thought to myself: ‘Online dating is the modern way to go.’ I was pretty certain I would soon find my ideal person, somebody clever, witty, good-looking, successful, excellent company, open to new ideas, well-read and with a sense of purpose in life.

Personal identity is developed through relationships with other people. When a dating experience is successful it helps to build our personality.

Men and women need to discover the kinds of roles they find fulfilling in a close relationship.

Other people get involved with church, music groups, writing, or any number of other fun activities. This can easily become more of a burden then a fun time.

The second point we would like to focus on is that dating can help you find a mate.

In Genesis it says, Then the Lord God said, "It is not good for the man to be alone; I will make him a helper suitable for him." As Adam and Eve demonstrate, no matter how many friends we have, in order to fulfill our deep need for love and affection, we need close relationships with others, especially the opposite sex.

One of the worst of all human conditions is loneliness.

An aspect of not allowing your dating relationships to get deep is the physical nature of the relationship.

That is something that Stacey and I handled very appropriately. I would plan outings with friends, church groups, or whatever there was just to have more fun.

Once you are retired, widowed or divorced, it feels all but impossible.