Dating for country lovers

I like having a full itinerary," she says. But it's rare to be introduced to a new face and even if I am, the likelihood is that they'll know my friends. This is exactly the right approach, according to dating expert Mary Balfour. If you've been brought up in a country community, the chances are you will already know a lot of the people living locally.

According to Patricia Warren, this can make socialising stale. Two of Charlotte's friends organised a singles party on Valentine's Day and 70 people turned up. Why married couples should go on dates. Sarah Beeny on how to internet date. Quite interesting facts about dating. Determined to improve the chances of fresh encounters in the countryside, Lucy Reeves, 30, from Northamptonshire, founded rural matchmaking website Muddy Matches with her sister Emma in When I moved back to the country it occurred to me how hard it is to meet people.

As soon as everyone starts to couple up and have children, meeting new people gets harder," she says. Muddy Matches is an online community designed to bring together rural lonely hearts see below. More than people, mainly in their forties and fifties, attended the Mud Lovers ball last year. Party-goers stay in nearby hotels and can join a pre-ball activity and a hearty walk the following day. This year's ball in Sywell, Northamptonshire, on May 22 has a "black tie with a muddy twist" dress code. Traditionally, the under year-olds living in the country met through their local Young Farmers club.

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The nationwide body of clubs hosts social events throughout the year such as parties and quizzes. A study by Louise Elliott, a land agent for Savills, suggests that the parents of about half of people in farming communities met via Young Farmers and a quarter were introduced by a farming friend. Young Farmers is still going strong: Anna Skilbeck, 23, a farm conservation adviser, has been a Young Farmers member since she was 14 and met her boyfriend Jamie at a Young Farmers party.

It turned out my parents knew his parents and I was friends with his brother.

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However, in the past five years, social networking sites have revolutionised rural dating. Young country dwellers also organise their social lives on Facebook. She met her boyfriend, Tom, at a hunt ball.

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You can't blame them," she says. We went for a drink in a pub and just clicked.

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He proposed to me in a bird hide last summer. I turned around and he was on one knee. I tell as many people as possible about the website now. But the internet can't solve the problem of geography. You need to be relaxed to flirt. In an ideal world, rural dwellers would go on dates in a local town and take a taxi home, she says, but in reality it's not that simple.

Dating Country Lovers

Driving is an unavoidable part of living in the country and something that people like Vittoria have to accept. Driving to parties in the country became one of my best pulling techniques; everyone wants a lift home. But what's the point of falling in love with someone who lives miles away from your house? Charlotte Martin has found that living where she does, with a rural-focused career, narrows down the field of potential suitors.

When I was younger I didn't have so many imaginary boxes to be ticked; I just thought: I've got to find someone with a country mentality. They don't have to be horsey but they've got to be like-minded. I can't see myself pushing a pram around Fulham. Occasionally Charlotte worries that she is being too fussy: If I'm asked out on a date there's more pressure for it to work, but then I remind myself that I don't want to settle for Mr Second Best.

According to Patricia Warren, there are plenty of suitable men for Charlotte, if only they'd come forward. Often they don't have time to go to all the rural social events because of work. Ben Turner, 29, who owns a farm near Bury St Edmunds in Suffolk, agrees that you can get caught in a rut if you live on a farm.

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Hunt balls and racing are the only things that buck the trend, I suppose," he says. But it's slim pickings: Tom Cooper, a land agent for Buccleuch Estates in Scotland, says that 95 per cent of the people he sees on a day-to-day basis are men. If Louise Elliott's research is anything to go by, farmers shouldn't give up hope.

Her survey showed that 76 per cent of girls born into a farming background hoped to marry a farmer.

Patricia Warren has a number of farmers on the Country Bureau's books, mainly in their forties and fifties. David, 46, a farmer from Cumbria, has a "laid-back" attitude and enjoys motoring, sport and wants to travel, while Mark, 50, from Gloucestershire, has an English Language and Literature degree, and enjoys fly fishing holidays on the River Usk, and reading history and poetry. I use the experience I have gained over the years to match people.

I take into account age, height, build and occupation before sending out profiles," she says.

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The one thing I can't detect is whether there is any chemistry. She wishes women wouldn't leave it until their late thirties and early forties. They want to have children and live the same rural lifestyle that they did when they were younger. It's often frustrating that they didn't come to me sooner as there are plenty of farmers around. Of course, the last resort for lonely hearts in the country is to move to a more metropolitan area — something Balfour suggests. But most country folk would rather be alone than live in a town, where dating is a different thing entirely. You will meet singles who work in the Countryside, walk in the Country live in the Country, value the Countryside, and have a really good time.

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