48,000 single British women are actively seeking men with a failed marriage behind them.
According to research by matchmaking service ThePicnicProject.com, more than half a million women would rather date a mature divorced man than someone younger than them.
When 36 year old Sabine Gruchet met advertising company boss Steve Allen, 41, who had been divorced not once but thrice, she didn’t consider these ex-wives and children as baggage but a valuable part of Steve’s experience which has gone towards making him the ''loving, caring man he is today’.
Sabine, is part of a new band of women who have earned the nickname PUMAs because they actively target Previously Married and Attractive men.
Qualities that make male divorcees more eligible in the eyes of a Puma include greater relationship experience, more sensitivity to their partner’s needs, and that they have been prepared to make a serious commitment in the past.
Kate Slogget, founder of The Picnic Project, an elite dating agency (with fees of £3,000 a year) agrees demand for men with relationship experience is higher than ever.
She says: ‘Being divorced no longer carries the stigma it did in previous years. In fact we’ve noticed more and more female members telling us they want a man with experience, be it a divorced man or someone older.’
Well known Pumas include Brian Ferry’s 29 year old second wife Amanda Sheppard, and Penny Lancaster who is married to Rod Stewart.
Sabine says she has never been happier in a relationship and hopes she and Steve will one day marry and have children of their own.
The couple’s relationship is, however, not without its difficulties. Steve’s younger son lives with his ex-wife in Singapore, which means lengthy trips several times a year to visit him. But the importance of compromise is, says Steve, the biggest lesson he has learnt from three failed marriages.
‘As a divorcee, it’s easy to see how things should have been done differently,’ he says. ‘The best way to learn is through experience, and if you’re still in the market for finding love again, you’re likely to work harder next time around.’