Forgive the sentiment, but, come on – it’s Valentine’s Day

Well, happy Valentine’s Day, one and all! With any luck, you have been inundated this morning and have a recycling bin full of envelopes and enough Valentine’s Day cards to wallpaper the spare room. If not, add this very special Valentine’s wish from me, print it off and pop it on your mantelpiece along with a sloppy wet kiss. xxx

However, it seems that more than half of the country are not looking forward to the day as it only reminds them of the fact that they are single. Well, isn’t that the point? Certainly, dating sites feel the heat on Valentine’s Day, with singles from across the globe desperate to fall in love and share their love, even with complete strangers over the distance of cyberspace.

It’s a great time for bringing couples closer together, too, especially if they’ve not been seeing eye to eye. It’s a white flag day, time for a truce and to just enjoy each others company and remember why it was you got together in the first instance.

But why should this one day have such a pacifying effect on stormy relationships? How come couples who are joined at the hip can fall impossibly even more in love with each other for the day? And why do so many singles who would otherwise not dream of it feel brave enough to part with their hard-earned dough by risking their reputation and possible friendships by declaring their love for some unsuspecting other single on this day more than any other, whether it be way of an e-mail, a card sent incognito or a private message on a dating site?

Despite the objections of those who would rather skulk and pour scorn on the day of lovers, last year love-struck nationals from every country across the globe sent over one billion cards. In the UK alone, we spent £20M, weighing down postmen’s sacks. That’s without taking into account the thousands of roses and other flowers, meals and take-aways, boxes of chocolates other keepsakes and mementos of the most romantic day of the year.

Today is a time for letting the real world run its course without you, for once. Devote yourself to your partner; vie for the love of another who may not yet know the depth of your feelings for them. If you think you are stuck because you do not have a partner and stand no chance of meeting someone in time, there are thousands of single dating site members across the world who would love to share the sentiment of the day with you, even if you cannot be with them physically.

The world of online dating was almost made for just such an occasion. Don’t miss out, be a part of the massive e-love-ution evolution that is Valentine’s Day – you have absolutely nothing to lose and you could, today of all days, find your perfect match in minutes to last you a lifetime.

Surprising statistics about the US male single

American men. Clint Eastwood, John Wayne, Bruce Willis. Solid, dependable, proper men. Where are their proteges?

Looking at the results of the latest dating site survey from Match.com, they’ve all gone west, by the look of things.

The men who took part in the latest questionnaire must have been all ‘modern’ man as the results attest to some traditionally feminine virtues shining through. Depending upon how you view your man’s role in a dating relationship will either have you cooing at the prospect or throwing up – I’m staying non-committal, just reporting the facts, yer-ronnah.

By the time the males had reached the tender age of 30, 58% of those participants had an undying faith in love at first sight and reckon on having had experience of just that and the accompanying emotional relationship. Compare this to just over half of the women saying the same thing, you would have to surmise the latter are either more pragmatic or leave the whole falling in love thing until a bit later on, when they have more of an idea of what they’re looking for, especially as many of that age group have grown up with dating sites. Perhaps the ladies used dating site platforms more in their adolescence and realised there were more fish in the sea whilst the guys were trying out for the football or baseball teams, who knows?

But this theme continues. A whole ten percent more of men believed it more acceptable to show their feelings in the street, with 41% open to snogging in public compared to the 31% female vote. This sort of ties in with the loneliness vote, too.

More than a quarter of men believed solitude to be a challenging element of the single life, compare to a mere 22% of women. However, loneliness overall was just shaded by the feminine vote with a third reporting it as either ‘somewhat’ or ‘very’ stressful, compared to the men of whom just 31% saw being alone as a real issue.

Perhaps the male leaning overall to the loneliness issue explains another finding that dispells one urban dating myth and that’s their fear of the ‘c’ word. Despite popular rumours, men are willing to commit to a partner who is everything they are looking for but feel no love towards (31% men, 23% women) and a similar theme to being able to commit without feeling a stirring in the groin to accompany their devotion, with 27% of men stating that they could commit to a partner they do not feel sexually attracted to compared with only 22% of women admitting the same.

Much more to come from the study tomorrow, where we’ll be looking at the physical aspects of dating and long-term relationships, such as living together, appearance, life goals and sexual orientation. Can hardly wait.

Dystopian dating sites being analysed – two

To conclude our who’s who of contributors to the studies we’re looking at over the next couple of days to determine how the scientists are collating our dating site information to try and get a fresh handle on love is Helen Fisher PhD. An authority on human nature, specifically regarding the differences between men and women and the cranial rope they use in the tug-of-war of love, she has taken her knowledge further to create one of the most successful matchmaking sites on the web, chemistry.com.

One of the most difficult concepts that these voyeurs of human nature failed to get their heads around is why, when the average dating sitee may be paying a substantial monthly subscription fee to attract Mr or Mrs Right, would they then lie about their own personality and risk potentially attracting someone less suited to their true nature?

The whole point of a ‘matchmaking’ site is to take your specific details and match them with an appropriate other using the information they have input to make a couple. If both halves of the same couple stretch their particulars too far, it is likely that the pairing will find no common ground, so why do it?

what gave me away, your honour?

But many, many do, so much so that the Big Brother scientists have determined patterns about both sexes propensities to fib.

Women stretched the truth about their weight by stripping a considerable eight and a half pounds off their online dating self – if they could bottle that formula and bring it into the real world they’d be millionaires overnight! Men were a lot more realistic, only setting the bar two pounds below what they truly weighed in at. They did, however, make up for that by adding on a half inch to their height (yes, height – only adult dating sites may ask for that much detail) to their online dating persona in an attempt to make them appear more burly.

Surprisingly, most singles who took part, either anonymously or having volunteered their information, were straight up about their age. The photos the dating site members used though weren’t so on the mark, with many women choosing to use an image that was approximately eighteen months old and men proffering a six-month’s younger portrayal of themselves.

The conclusion made by the researchers was that many of those looking for love online are not deliberately trying to mislead potential partners with the media they use, but want to coax other dating hopefuls to them who they believe will see them as their target market.

Well, there is some bull involved if that’s your aim, but surely it’s the bull’s-eye you should have in your sights.

Dystopian dating sites being watched – one

It may seem like a chapter from a dystopian fantasy to some, but George Orwell must be up in heaven, shaking a stick at us, saying ‘I told you so!’. Not only is Big Brother watching us, but he is evaluating all of the information on our dating sites to try and figure out one of the grandest emotions of them all: lurve.

The problem with academia’s assessment of the subject of love in the past, and its precursor, dating, is that the only sources of reference have been collated from information ‘volunteered’ from exercises such as censuses and early investigations into basic mate selection. Well, there were some pretty heavy explorations in the Free Love era of the late sixties but what Jim Morrison, Janis Joplin and Jimi Hendrix contributed could never be studied in a dope-free classroom.

No, what matchmaking and dating sites provide the researchers with is an open window into what singles, many of whom have never been in a long-term relationship before, really want from a partner and not what has either been interpreted by a Victorian professor in times when showing an ankle was tantamount to scandal or what was written on an official government form because you thought that was what was expected of you, either from your partner or society as a whole.

Recent research is more credible than ever, with worldwide dating site hits being estimated at 600,000,000 in one month (source: Experian Hitwise). And that’s conservative. When you’re looking to head up an enquiry into the essence of love revolving around the impact of online dating you need someone knowledgeable in dealing with motorways of human traffic – the good sort on the web, that is.

dating sites key to emotive catalysts

Andrew T Fiore is a Facebook scientist, so his insight into volume was invaluable. Assessing the criteria, he was also positive in acknowledging the role dating sites play, since the online world integrates more into the offline one more every day, stating that they provide “true-to-life context for examining the risks, uncertainties and rewards of initiating real relationships.”

Not only is Big Brother assessing what makes us want to approach someone, but also about what we are prepared to reveal ourselves. Andrew’s peer, Margaret Meads, has targeted some of the biggest online dating platforms to gauge other essential motivators, such as attraction, trust, deceit, our cultural background and political preference – all have bearings on whom we weigh up as possible dating material.

What did Big Brother make of it all? Find out more about our brave new world in the next chapter…

It’s hard to be alone at Christmas

Longer nights, shorter days. Budget stretching holidays and waking up in the dark and coming home in the dark. Remind me again what is so festive about December?

Oh, yes – spending time with loved ones: family, friends and that special ‘significant other’. If you are struggling in the relationship department, a new survey by a dating site about singles attitudes towards what they really want in their Christmas Stocking from Santa reveals love is right at the top of The List.

And whether that’s just a superficial fling or not doesn’t seem to be important, either – rather, just someone there to share the roast, eggnog and carol service would appear to be enough. If that love interest is up and away by Boxing Day, then so be it. The mission has been accomplished if, on Christmas Day, you’ve got someone there to ask ‘Has he been?’

If you are single in the run up to Christmas, exactly what is there to look forward to? Sure, your parents or kids, depending on if you’re above or below the Cougar line, or a toy-boy or sugar daddy. But you know those family parties are only going to draw patronising ‘isn’t it a shame that you’re on your own again – at Christmas, as well’ from your Aunty Jean.

Nobody likes to be alone at this time of year – if for nothing else, just so you can get some presents to decorate the base of the Christmas tree. Guys and gals – it really is time to take that plunge on the dating site – if you’ve been building up to asking someone to go out on a date, now’s the time to do it! Not in two week’s time – get in in time to truly understand what’s on your prospective dating site partner’s wish list, this yuletide.

I know for a fact that there’s a Lisa Stansfield album in Staffordshire that’s never been played – I never got to know my partner and, because I liked the Northern Lass, thought my partner would, too. I bet it’s still got the cellophane on, now, almost quarter of a century later.

If you have been building up to pop the question on the dating site you frequent and you’re holding back due to the chance of rejection, don’t! The chances are they’re just as petrified of being alone around the Christmas morning, too. Not to mention the rounds of parties, via the office or family and friends – no one likes attending those without someone on their arm.

And can you imagine Christmas dinner? All those crackers being pulled between partners and you’re left with the one to pull with the dog, who’s sat by the table, waiting for scraps. Exactly!

Stop reading this – right now – and get logged on to your dating website. Spend a bit of time adjusting your dating site profile to get the availability message out that you like turkey but don’t want to be stuffed like one and instead of pulling crackers, get pulling some crackers!

Your body speaks volumes

Why learning body language can help on dating sites

Humans are not alone as a species in the animal kingdom possessing the ability to transmit messages of love without uttering a word. Far from it, we are perhaps one of the worst. Having developed our linguistic skills to such an extent as we have and being able to connect over vast distances whilst remaining invisible to the correspondent, we have become heavily reliant upon taking people at their word. Especially on social media and dating sites, where building a relationship based on trust in the other is imperative to making the transaction work.

But, in the world of online dating, how can our comprehension of body language help us sort the wheat from the chaff?

We have already looked at patterns in dating site profiles which help detect the fraudulent from the trustworthy using the way their portray themselves. Another way to digest information using textual content is when utilising the ‘live chat’ feature; if there is a long break between messages that doesn’t contain page after page of declaration of their undying love thereater, instead the next just contains a ‘yes, I know’ following your last post, then they’re obviously into something, or someone, which interests them more.

Yes, people get called away, but if your online partner does value your feelings, they will let you know they’ve been distracted from the dating site to allow you, likewise, to take a break.

If we do become interested in developing the relationship with a potential partner further than purely the online dating platform of our choice, we can always suggest a one-to-one on video-cam before arranging to meet off-line.

This is probably a good idea, in any case, just to ensure that your target dating prospect is who they say they are before you let your feelings take over and arrange a blind liaison.

Once they have agreed to a dating tête-à-tête via live video streaming, you can truly test the waters.

The first thing to look out for is eye contact. If it’s a direct lie they’re telling you, they will look away. If your partner is playing you up, their glance will head sideways; penetrating gazes deep into your soul indicate they do want you to go on that date with them.

And do not rule out ‘instinct’; there is a lot to be said for the old adage ‘like with like’, and your gut will give you an indication if the single you are looking at is dating material.

Hand gestures, too, play a high role. If your online partner is gesturing frequently, they are getting into your conversation, therefore expressing a wish to allow you closer to them. If they are playing with their hair or rubbing their fingers, well, just ask away.

And lastly, the smile. A genuine broad beam will set your date at rest; if it is forced, you may be giving the signal you want the date to end there and then. Or that you are expected to smile in a situation that doesn’t make you easy enough to do so.

So, arm yourself with these weapons and, next time you’re up on web-cam, you could save yourself a whole lot of time and effort in a wasted liaison.

Ready to date off-line?

Dating site reviewers are seeing more and more signs that, as busy professionals content themselves with online relationships rather than fit in a ‘real’ love life, many are forgetting to speak the language of love.

As recently reported, one of the biggest errors made by dating site members when approaching a potential new partner is use of incorrect grammar, punctuation and tone. But having a perfect patter in word processor does not necessarily equip you with the tools of the trade when your budding on-screen romance leaves the virtual arena and becomes reality.

Given that your newfound online love agrees to meet up, following a glittering array of compliments you have bedazzled them with in Verdana, Courier New or Arial Narrow, whichever font is the barrel from which your love-bullets are fired, your date is not going to be impressed if you turn up at the restaurant with a Kindle.

No sirree – it is time to put away the keypad, and let your body do the talking. If you have forgotten how to construct a sentence in the language of love, here are a few prompts to help you give the ‘backspace’ button a rest.

positivity

o assuming that your date has gone to exceptional lengths to look as stunning as possible, you should immediately tell them so. If their first impression of you is being awestruck as they approach, and not either looking at your watch or answering your mobile, then you’re off on the right foot.

focus

o when arranging that first date, take a while beforehand to predict any eventualities that may interrupt it. If your date can only make it on a certain day, and that’s either your duvet-day or 5-a-side night, make sure your usual crowd are informed. Your date must remain the centre of attention, the whole time.

responsibility

o if you are the gentleman of the party, remember your social graces. Do open doors for your lady, pull out the chair (practise if you’re rusty!) at the dining table and, distance permitting, do ensure she gets home safely. If you’re the lady, do insist on buying a drink, even if he insists on paying the bill; not only will it endow an air of independence, but also reinforces your positivity.

tokens

o memories are great, but after a first date, it is imperative to prolong that bond until the next time you meet, either on a second date or back on your dating website. Take along a little something that is very ‘you’; if all has gone well after the date, slip it into their hand (careful!) as a keepsake.

connectivity

o there is nothing as reassuring as physical contact – even the deftest of strokes, gently clasped hand or a fingertip on the elbow as you whisper your first sweet nothing! Be extremely cautious in assessing this situation beforehand – you do not want to come across as being too forward – however, if there is a good enough rapport, handled correctly, that first contact can overcome psychological barriers.

So, there we have it. Parlez-vous les mots d’amour, mes amies? Oui, bien. À demain, adieu. x

Online dating numbers continue to rise

In more ways than one, it seems, we are spending more time than ever viewing the world through one browser or another. With a whole host of social activities only a few clicks away, the realm beyond the laptop can be brought instantly into our living rooms every night of the week.

According to recent research by online dating agency groups, it’s not only recognised social media outlets receiving such close attention.

Any stigma once attached to looking for love through digital dating agencies has long since exiled. However, few expected online dating websites to become as popular as their growing audience figures suggest.

The results appear to confirm that visitors to their sites much prefer pawing over the profiles of its populous than perusing prospective partners on other platforms, such as facebook, Twitter and their rising rival, Google plus.

However, there are worrying statistics which suggest online dating devotees may be neglecting the real world completely, the one full of living, breathing singletons with whom genuine intercourse exists, in favour of forums, instant messages uploaded photo albums.

As such an unsettling question has been raised: are adults who use matchmaking services online becoming obsessed?

It is not singularly the act of its membership scrolling page after page of like-minded love-seekers causing consternation, for both paid and free online dating agencies, but also the worry that individuals are revelling in the dream itself. Clinging to the hope that their one true love exists just beyond that 14” plasma screen, before which they sit for hour after hour, seems preferable to risking bursting that bubble.

And that is exactly the point that the dating agency representatives who conducted the survey are trying underline. Contributions through their membership fees continue to arrive, month after month, but where are the subsequent success stories?

Of course users of singles dating sites should spend an appropriate amount of time perfecting their own profiles in order to attract that perfect partner. But feedback suggests that members are spending an inordinate amount of their online time touching up their own profile. A more worrying conclusion drawn from this is that members are indulging in their online self rather than actively seeking to approach genuine date candidates, in both the real world and the ever-growing virtual world, too.

The worry for owners of online and adult dating services now recognising this trend is that sectors of its membership are not getting their money’s worth of the services for which they are paying. These ‘personals’ sites, to which they are occasionally referred, offer real opportunities to find love online if the platform is used in the manner intended.

One possible reaction, once members recognise that they have paid membership fees for any length of time but never actually acted upon a request to date, is that they will look to blame the online dating service in question rather than themselves.

This is press that the dating industry, which has worked incredibly hard to assure its solid reputation, is understandably keen to avoid.

So, if you have a success story and found your perfect match online through a dating agency, let them know; they are waiting to hear from you, now.