Does Bridget Jones give women false hope for love?

If you're over 35, female and waiting for Mr Perfect, you only have a one in three chance of having your happily ever after.

That's according to matchmaker Haley Hill, founder of the Elect Club dating agency, whose research revealed that only one in three women over 35 would find love. The other two will apparently never find love. If they do, they won't be left with the perfect Mark Darcy they originally dreamt of.

Over six years Haley personally followed the relationships of 12,000 single people aged 25 to 50 in Britain.

Coming just over a week before the release of Helen Fielding's 'Bridget Jones: Mad About the Boy', her conclusions aren't particularly promising for those real life single 35-year-olds who she says are likely to be stuck with a five foot Mr Average.
Feeling like a real life Bridget Jones herself, Haley started Elect Club dating agency after experiencing firsthand the challenges that women face when dating.

However, she believes the Bridget Jones phenomenon has made her job impossible.

That's because too many women have false expectations of settling down with a Mark Darcy clone when in reality the actual Mr Darcy's are out seeking young, slim models in their twenties, not 35-plus singletons.

"You wouldn't believe the amount of single women in their thirties I met who expected to date a 6'2'' human rights barrister," says Haley.

"It was as though Bridget Jones had given us a false hope. We could continue to be neurotic, overweight and borderline alcoholic and still be cherished by a perfect man. That was a lie."

Haley has an abrupt but honest attitude to the dating scene. Realistically speaking, average people end up with average partners, not Mr Perfects. She suggests more of us should accept that we are pretty average.

"In the real world Bridget Jones is average. And she would settle down with an average man. Not Mark Darcy. Or even Daniel Cleaver for that matter," she said.

Haley has just released a novel, 'It's Got to Be Perfect: the memoirs of a modern-day matchmaker', inspired by her experiences and everything she has learnt about dating, relationships and our distorted ideal of Mr Perfect.

Haley says we have to realise that Mr Perfect does not exist in the real world and that it's a little unfair of us to expect him when we aren't exactly perfect.

"Women have been conditioned to strive for a perfect relationship with a perfect man, who looks perfect and behaves perfectly at all times - the irony being that none of us are perfect ourselves," she says.

Maybe those 35 year old Bridget Jones's who are still awaiting 'the one' should drop their expectations and bear in mind that no one is perfect, not even Mr Darcy.