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Expat Life

UK expats looking for love: Sometimes it works out, but other times it turns out to be ‘in all the wrong places’

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Mark Johnson

By Mark Johnson

I’ve met quite a few single expat men and women who have packed up life in the UK and headed overseas to search of a new life and who are desperately seeking new love.

In many cases there’s a happy ending. A man or woman, perhaps jaded by the career ladder, or having lost out on love, back home, will arrive in France, get involved in local life and at some point cupid will come along and shoot an arrow that sparks a fine new romance.

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Others are not so fortunate. Rural France is littered with expat singles who have chased the dream only to find themselves alone and holed up in shuttered villages, where there is little social life in the evenings. And the winters can be long and challenging.

I know because I’ve been single out here myself. I’ve always found the best solution is to dive into what social life there is and also have lots to keep you busy at home when there’s nothing going on. I’m record as saying I’ve been lonesome as opposed to lonely.

Although I’m partnered now, I didn’t really mind being single while I was renovating the French house. Fortunately, a casual fling here and there was never far away. But I’ve seen others driven almost insane by the single life in ‘quietsville’.

One old dear expat, who sadly passed away last year, had a reputation for clambering over the walls of the houses of local single men in a bid to demand their affections. There was talk of restraining orders. Moreover, her desperation for male company only made her less attractive to those who were in her sights.

Another 40-something woman down the road has had a series of failed relationships and has taken to eyeing up and flirting with married men at social gatherings. “When you’re single, anyone’s fair game,” she once confided.

And yet another complained that she left London because the ‘competition was too much’ from younger women in the city, only to discover stiffer competition from the local femmes in rural France, who manage to keep themselves looking svelte, glamourous and alluring well into their later years.

So, if you’re single and harbouring notions of falling in love in rural France, go for it, but be prepared for a long haul and make sure you’ve got plenty to occupy yourself with if love doesn’t throw its arms around you the minute you step off the ferry.

Mark Johnson is a journalist living between southwest France and London. He is the creator of a video series on YouTube called The French House. You can also follow him on Twitter @markyjmedia; photo: Mark Johnson.