Are the men you’re dating making you feel good about yourself, are they kind and respectful, does the dynamic feel equal, do you share values, and vitally, are you having fun?Because while there will be bad dates and dull spells, dating is ultimately about optimism, about hope, about embracing possibilities.

We live in a society that worships at the altar of youth – particularly when it comes to women.

Older men are still socially revered, because historical (and still all-too-current) gender norms associate men growing older with growing in social power, whether that’s capital wealth, professional accomplishments, social power – or all three.

Again, online dating has the beautiful option of filters, so you can chose only to interact with men who are open to relationships.

To avoid those who are just looking for sex, set boundaries and stick to them.

Every time I meet a guy I’m interested in, I’m quick to text my friends a gleeful, exclamation-point-filled message about him, and they’ll tell me about their crushes in return.

We trade heart-eyed emojis and encouraging words often without even seeing the mystery man or woman in question.But being aware of damaging social attitudes doesn’t mean being innately suspicious of every individual – it just gives you the awareness to recognise red flags.Luckily online, men who perpetuate these attitudes will usually wave their red flags pretty visibly; they’ll be the ones who set their preferred age range as 15 years below their own and only one or two above – if at all.Younger men who have grown up around discourse around gender equality may indeed be impressed, rather than intimidated, by all you have to offer.And there are mature men in their 20s and 30s looking for relationships, too, so don’t assume they’re just in it for sex.So, it surprised me when a friend texted me “I think I have a crush, but please don’t judge me.” She’d fallen for a man nearly 20 years older than her, and she talked about his good qualities in an apologetic, emoji-less way.