A former KU student explains how he turned to old-fashioned ways of showing his love after getting sick and tired of online flirting.
Writing love letters by hand, let alone any form of letter, is not too common in 2015. However, one 21-year-old decided to go against the norm and wrote a love letter to his flame. Sadly, it did not end well.
“I think online flirting is superficial. Therefore, I decided to send my crush a hand-written letter by post, although we both lived in the same county,” he says.
“I put cute little stickers on it and wrote with pencils in different colours. I feel that a letter means so much more than just a Facebook message or chatting on apps like Tinder. You put a lot more effort into a letter, so it means a lot more,” he adds.
The economics graduate, who wishes to remain anonymous due to embarrassment, says with a shaky voice: “She told me the letter brought her to tears, but that she didn’t feel the same for me.” He pauses. “I guess it’s a bigger downfall to be rejected after putting so much effort into it.”
Now, the graduate sees no other option than to look online for ‘Mrs Right’ and he is not alone. Fifteen million Brits are believed to be registered on an online dating website in the search for love – or for some fun.
KU photography student Sarah Joan Hazelton, 21, found love only one week after registering on Badoo, an app which allows you to find people within a maximum radius of 100 miles.
Badoo has 200 million registered members worldwide and generates the most traffic of all dating sites in the world, according to ComScore.
Hazelton says she downloaded the app “just for fun”, and that she was surprised to find her soulmate through a dating app.
She says: “After chatting for a few days we realised we had so much in common. We’ve talked every day since.”
This Saturday, she and her boyfriend Ryan Chalcroft, 20, will celebrate their one year anniversary.
Sarah’s example is an exception, according to research about how many months a person spends on average on dating sites and apps. According to Online Dating Experts, the average person spends at least four months finding “the perfect match” online.
Sarah says she met a lot of “sneaky men who clearly were looking for sex” on the app, and warns others to be careful.
She says: “You need to be careful because you never know who you’re actually talking to. With talking online you feel more confident but you can also be someone else. There’s so many people who have found love online and have been lucky, but there are more people that have been ‘catfished’.
“However, I suggest that someone who is nervous or shy should try online dating as a way of gaining more confidence.”
One in five relationships in the UK starts online. A 2013 study by Chicago University even shows that people who meet online are 25 per cent less likely to divorce than couples who meet ‘offline’.
Online dating expert John Seymour explains the phenomenon to The River that by having customised profiles, you can filter out people you have nothing in common with.
He says: “You’re likely to find someone more suitable for you online. It gives you the opportunity to filter out the people that don’t have the same values and interests as you.
“With online dating sites, you’ve got much more control over who you meet, rather than meeting people at random social events and so on.”
Apps like Tinder and Badoo have been criticised for being too superficial and for encouraging a culture among teenagers where looks are more important than personality.
The online dating expert strongly rejects this theory: “Whether it’s online or not, appearance is the first impression you get of a person. It’s hugely important whether you’re online or offline. However, you can find people more suitable for you, given they have put some effort into their profile.”
He adds that he does not support Badoo and Tinder’s concept of finding people nearby. He says: “If you want a long-term relationship, you shouldn’t date someone just because they live two kilometres away from you. You should find someone suitable for you.”
According to Match.com, Sunday is the most popular day of the week for online dating, maybe due to an end-of-the-weekend-blues or simply because people have more time on their hands.
The first Sunday after New Year’s Eve is the most popular day of the year, which suggests that new year’s resolutions might not only boil down to getting fit and healthy.
Seymour’s advice in ‘the jungle’ of online dating websites is to not rush anything.
He says patience and scepticism are key: “People often get very motivated and keen on finding ‘the right’, but my advice is to be more rhetorical about it. People who are more sceptical and spend more time tend to be more successful.
“The aim is to meet people, but you only want to meet the best of the people out there, and that might take some time.”
There are, however, some emotional pitfalls just like with traditional dating: “You’ll still have bad emotional experiences when someone you’ve fallen in love with rejects you, or if the person you’ve been speaking to turns out to be someone else,” he says.
So what are the dating expert’s tips for approaching a stranger online? Seymour says: “Some people just like to be very romantic and spontaneous about it, and sometimes that works. Others take it more seriously and put a lot of thought into the process. My advice is to be patient and have fun with it.”
Step-by-step guide: How to succeed with online dating
1. Be emotionally ready.
If you still feel strongly emotional about a previous partner, whether this is love or hate, then you are not ready. Feeling desperate for a new love is also a signal to wait a while as desperation can lead you to make bad partner choices.
2. Establish what you want from a relationship.
Put thought into what kind of partner and relationship you want. In particular, you will need to identify your deal breakers and to let go of any partner who does not fulfil your essentials.
3. Make a profile that reflects who you are.
You need a photo, profile and partner specification that genuinely reflects who you are and attracts the best match for you. This takes self-awareness as well as some writing ability.
4. Make the right connections.
“Be able to judge whether there is a fit between you and potential partners. It is also vital to be kind in letting people go when they are not suitable.
5. Talk on the phone or video chat.
Hearing each other’s’ voices will let you discover more about each other, and is often a key point for deciding that you do not want to take things further.
6. Quick meet up.
Go for a coffee or one drink in a safe, public place. If things go well you can arrange another meeting soon, and if things go badly you will want the meeting to be short.
7. Start “real life” dating.
Date for a few months to see if you and your potential partner go as well together offline as online. Take it slowly, both when it comes to sex and when it comes to commitment: do not rush into bed – or into church.