Dating in your fifties is nothing like dating in your twenties. The entire language of it morphs, boyfriend becomes partner, single becomes available and casual encounters becomes ‘physical’. Aside from using grown up words, there are also grown up problems to dealt with, mainly, your partner’s children. They don’t always have children, but when they do, it adds another level of complexity to the situation. When I did my first round of dating nobody I went out with had kids. Now they all do. This weekend I am escorting my partner to look at kids party venues. It is his youngest daughter’s seventh birthday and he has the classic ‘divorce guilt’ so wants to make it the kind of party seven year old’s dream of. It’s sweet really, I shouldn’t be so condescending. I think Alice likes me, she always asks to play with my hair and I always say yes.

I try to bring her a small present whenever I stay for the weekend and she tells me that I look like a princess. I think as far as reviews from seven year old girls go, that’s a pretty good one. Like most seven year-olds she jumped on the frozen bandwagon so we were kicking off the tour of Melbourne’s best venues for hire with the ice rink. The kids can skate and fall over and then there is a great function area where they can stuff their faces with cake and pizza before returning home to their parents to vomit everywhere. Perfect. Luckily Alice loved the ice rink party idea and so we cancelled all our other party venue viewings and went for lunch! I am lucky really, I have heard horror stories about kids being awful to their parent’s new partners. I have had a pretty easy ride, no toothpaste in the shampoo tricks and no evil names like ‘the witch who stole Daddy’.