There are times when sites work, with lovely results, writes Marchelle Abrahams.
Come on, look on the bright side. Yes you’ve heard the horror stories of online dating, maybe even experienced it yourself.
The saying goes that Tinder’s for hook-ups while Facebook is used as a stalking tool. It’s left a trail of broken hearts and restraining orders.
But there are the success stories of couples who have met on dating sites and who have gone on to form genuine relationships and even marriage.
We chatted to three such couples who met online and have no regrets.
Started out as friends
* Justin, 34, and * Alex, 33, met through the proximity distance app Badoo. Justin was interested in meeting new people and going on real dates, but refused casual hook-ups or flings.
“I would always try to chat to people who I knew,” says Justin.
Right from the get-go he came up with a set of rules that included no chatting to people without a profile picture, and never giving out his details straight away. The two started chatting in 2014 and agreed to meet in a public place for their first date.
“The second meeting ended up at Alex’s place for coffee, and on the third date we had our first kiss,” Justin blushes before adding they’ve been together ever since. They plan to marry in the future, but first, they’re in the market for a place to share.
“I think what makes us work is that we’re on the same page when it comes to our career and relationship goals. The fact that we met online doesn’t define our relationship.
The Tinder hook-up
* Lesley and *David aren’t your typical couple. They’re very protective of their privacy. And when it comes to the hows and whys they got together, both laugh before admitting that their relationship first started off as a Tinder fling.
“We met on Tinder and chatted for quite a while online. Eventually we met up for real. We hit it off straight away,” says David.
Both were not in it for the long run, and a year later, the couple are living together with Lesley’s 10-year-old son.
“My last serious relationship was with a guy I’d met through a mutual friend. Thereafter I was just seeing people on and off via Tinder,” adds Lesley.
David had one failed marriage and an eight-year relationship behind him. So the last thing he expected was the likes of Lesley to come sweeping into his life.
“I feel blessed to have found someone in tune with my person, and after more than a year together I am still hopelessly in love with her,” he said.
Married with a blended family
* Norma met her husband *Richard on dating app Badoo in 2010. “The app aims to connect you with people in your area. They give you a list of potential matches and you can choose yes, no or maybe to chat. We both said ‘maybe’,” jokes Norma.
“I was married for 14 years before meeting him. He gave me a promise ring in 2011, an engagement ring in 2012 and we married in 2013.”
They have four children from their previous relationships, but somehow they’ve made it work into a big blended family.
And Norma has sage advice for others looking for love online: “It’s never too late to find that special one who will love you and your children.”
* Not their real names
Finding love online is as easy as honesty, patience and a well-thought-out profile, say dating experts.
Dr Gian Gonzaga, a senior research scientist with eHarmony, says a key component to online dating is patience: “Imagine you're walking into a bar with 100 people in it. Services like eHarmony show you 10 people who you could go out with.”
Nathalie Nahai is the author of Webs Of Influence: The Psychology Of Online Persuasion. She has a few suggestions when it comes to dating apps.
“Instead of resigning yourself unthinkingly to your app, take a moment to ask whether it's really working for you.
“First, get out of the chemical cage – remove the external triggers by turning off your notifications. Second, if you want the hit or you enjoy the experience of the chase but don't want to be dominated by it, you can limit yourself to (for instance) 10 swipes a day.”