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But attitudes are hard to change: There is still a lingering sense of embarrassment and conservativism about putting oneself out there, especially for older people in the dating pool here. Ms Yeo, for example, sees a marked contrast between men in Singapore and those from abroad.When American men sent her online messages via Ok Cupid, an international dating website, she could find and identify them on Facebook and Linked In. "There were men who didn't want to give their real names or say what they did for a living.The number of singles also rose across all ages surveyed, but the sharpest spike was in the 50s age group.The number rose from 43,100 to 75,600 between 20 - or a jump of 75 per cent.Now, more divorced persons have come forward." In 2004, when the company started, 20 per cent of its clients were divorced or widowed.

As they get older, more of their friends get hitched and start families. Kang, 40, who has never had a relationship, puts it this way: "As a single, you tend to hang out with singles.

The friends have less time to hang out and have fewer new friends to recommend as possible matches. We tend to get 'more single'." There have always been more women than men in her life.

She was from a girls' school and mostly socialised with the same group of friends through secondary school, junior college and university.

Complete Me, a dating agency with a 3,000-strong database, set up a personalised matchmaking service for above-35s last year that has since seen a 40 per cent rise in customers.

Ms Anisa Hassan, managing director of It's Just Lunch Asia, which matchmakes professionals over a meal, says: "In the past, people who were married before might have felt that the best years are behind them.

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