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November 5, 2013

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4,000 older people join search for love

SOME 4,000 middle-aged and senior singles join the search for the perfect partner at the city’s largest matchmaking party this weekend, after the age range was extended.

Singles aged between 40 and 65 will account for a quarter of  participants, organizers of the Fourth Shanghai Matchmaking Expo — popularly known as the “10,000-Person Matchmaking Event” — said yesterday.

At the previous three Shanghai Matchmaking Expo gatherings, only singles under 45 were permitted, and most were younger than 35.

“We didn’t expect that there would be so many middle-aged and senior singles who wanted to attend,” said Zhou Juemin, director of the city’s matchmaking association.

And Zhou said the actual number of older people attending is probably higher, with some bashful attendees claiming to be chaperoning their children.

But finding romance in later life brings its own complications, warned experts.

“The situation for the middle-aged and seniors is more complicated, as they face problems like property rights, opposition from children and wounds from failed marriages,” said marriage counselor Ouyang Yangguang.

Of older singles attending the event, there are more men aged between 40 and 50, while women outnumber men among over-50s, said Zhou.

The association hosted a separate matchmaking event targeting the older age group last December, attracting more than 500 people, even though there was a 100 yuan (US$16.12) admission fee.

Meanwhile, according to a survey by matchmaking website, more than a third of senior singles say sex is the main reason behind their search.

The poll of 63,000 members older than 54 found 34 percent said sex was their main motivation. Around 29 percent said they needed a spouse to stop them feeling lonely.

The Fourth Shanghai Matchmaking Expo is held at Zhaoxiang in Qingpu District from November 9 to 11. The final day of the event is China’s Singles Day.



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