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When I look back it was my first serious boyfriend, Mark Cavendish, who was an irreproachable gentleman.I met Mark when we were both 18-year-old undergraduates at Cardiff University — he lived in the accommodation block just below mine — and we were together for 18 years.I learned from that relationship to dodge men who are more interested in rowdy, drunken nights out with their mates than spending time with their partners.After Lembit and I split up, he began a relationship with 24-year-old Gabriela Irimia, one half of Romanian pop duo the Cheeky Girls.To this day I still don’t really know why he left because I’d assumed he shared my happiness.Wise friends have since remarked that it’s easier to leave a marriage when you’ve been divorced before, and as I was Jonathan’s third wife I can only assume that he did not feel he was making an irrevocable vow when, in 2007, he promised to stay with me until death parted us.I’m old enough to know the character traits I value most in a man, the habits I deplore and the opening gambits that would make me squirm.
The truth is, although I’ve got a wide circle of good and loyal friends, I don’t relish being single for ever.
And for those who aren’t put off by these bizarre accounts, a recent month-long study by Hinge – a dating app similar to Tinder which introduces friends to friends – has shown how to successfully initiate conversation.
As part of the test, Hinge data analysts and copy-writers came up with 100 opening lines and recorded how users said they would respond.
Mark is related to the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire, whose family seat is Chatsworth House in Derbyshire, but it wasn’t his illustrious heritage that impressed me.
He was, and still is, a fabulous person: reliable, genuine and kind.
I’m amazed at how many invite strangers to their homes on the first date.