Just who was our Valentine hero?

Nothing gets singles dating like valentines day. It is the one day of the year when usually shy guys and girls abandon pretence and pride and just go for it. In offices up and down the country, in bars, pubs and clubs tonight on UK dating sites everywhere, there will be people who have been building up to declaring their undying love for someone for a while and can’t wait to blurt it out. There will be singles everywhere who just never saw it coming and will be bowled over by proposals that spring up from nowhere to shock and amaze them.

Yes, some may say it’s commercialism gone mad (note the facebook status of those who do – guarantee you it’s: <b>single</b>) whilst those in relationships use the day to fall in love all over again and love the opportunity to express to their significant other just how much they love them. In today’s hyper-connected world, we spend so much time texting and e-mailing, private messaging on dating sites, but how often do we talk and not feel at odds with ourselves if we say ‘I love you’ to the one we do?

In this day and age, with online dating having transformed the way people look at dating as a whole, there really is no excuse not to tell at least one person how you feel about them. As Jake and Elwood once sang, everybody needs somebody to love.

But who gave us this opportunity? Is St Valentine real or is it just a myth that someone could prove love so much that he was honoured so throughout time immemorial by so many lovers after him?  Or did Clintons have a really bad Christmas one year and decide they needed something between New Year and Easter?

Well the jury’s still out about who he actually was but there is one version that holds true, both in timeline and historical accuracy around the time that Valentine’s Day was conceived, albeit somewhat unwittingly, by the saint we honour today who was martyred for the cause.

The common belief dates the sending of the original Valentine’s card to around the time of the Roman Emperor Claudius II. The leader stumbled upon the idea that single men fought with more vigour than their married peers, who longed for their families when they were fighting for the Empire on foreign shores. He subsequently banned all marriages.

However, a Catholic priest by the name of Valentine upheld the church’s belief and continued marrying men (to other women, you understand, he wasn’t a gay bigamist). Claudius II summoned the priest and extended an offer of pardon, providing the priest stopped carrying out wedding ceremonies. Valentine refused and was imprisoned before being subjected to a beating, then a stoning before finally having his head chopped off. However, whilst he awaited his punishment, he wrote to the jailor’s daughter expressing his undying love, no matter what happened to him; the letter he signed ‘from your Valentine’.

However, it wasn’t until 1,100 years later, around 1400 A.D., that sending valentine’s cards was popularised, a tradition we still hold today and was reportedly worth £20M to the UK economy alone last year. If only he’d had some of those royalties and a good agent…

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.

Dating sites – here endeth the Valentine’s Day lesson

When you first sign up to a dating site, there can be a lot of information to take in. One of the best recent innovations in the world of online dating is that the newer dating sites appearing on the market are tailored towards users of existing social media sites. The features are getting more familiar as the line between the two platforms gets thinner with every passing month. So it may all look slightly different but the functionality should be similar.

Most dating sites have an intranet, whereby there is a network for the site by the site on the site, where your inbox is within your dashboard, along with the control over your dating site profile information, such as your likes, dislikes and photo galleries for paid dating sites. Likewise, upgrading to a paid membership now often gives you access to one-on-one video-cam, where you can check out for real that you’re dating a real person and see if they are like their profile photo and personality.

And don’t be nervous about using these features. Everyone on your new dating site has had to get used to the web-cam or the ‘wink‘ feature or the one specific aspect of the dating site which makes it unique. Your blissful ignorance and lack of experience with these features is a sure-fire way to attract interest by asking for help on the forum or chatroom! With all this technology to hand, there is no excuse in being backwards at coming forwards.

When you do say ‘hi’ to someone, be a bit specific about why you have approached them. There are some drop-dead gorgeous profile galleries on show in dating land, which attract literally hundreds of these little ‘hi, I like your photo’ one line introductions – they are mostly ignored. The whole point of making contact with someone on a dating site is because you feel as if you could connect with the person who’s caught your eye. Tell them why (briefly – you can expand, later) you felt moved to contact them and end your introduction with an indirect question. They may be genuinely shy and not know what to say in their response – give them that angle to get back in touch. Even if it’s just because you like someone’s write-up, but they’ve not included a photo – ask them for one. They may be willing to send one privately, but have a genuine reason for their anonymity in the public domain.

And lastly, a UK dating site is a dynamic thing, a beast subject to metamorphosis as new members sign up, offers on membership deals arise and new innovations in technology enhance existing or introduce new features. It’s not a set and forget platform for you to just activate, sit back and hope for the best. Like everything in life, you’ll get out of your dating experience what you put in. Keep your information fresh, update your profile to match offline achievements to invite a whole new audience, keep safe, but, most of all, dating should be fun!

Enjoy. Have a great Valentine’s Day and we hope you’ve enjoyed this week and the crash course in getting the best from your dating site! Love, one and all, from dating.org.uk. xxx

p.s. Send us an e-mail if you’ve had a success story or tale of woe or if there’s anything you’d like us to cover in the news – we’d be only too happy to check it out. xxx

Widen your net; you’ll be surprised at the catches out there

When you first start out online dating, getting the hang of one dating site can be daunting enough without thinking about juggling multiple inboxes and trying to respond to all of the singles who contact you. Especially in the first few days. Not only will you get genuine messages of welcome (you’ll find that women respond to both sexes with a hearty greeting, whereas men only to women – it’s the old alpha male thing; you’ll soon get used to all that testosterone), but there can often be peaks when you first join any dating site. This is purely down to members or (even admin staff) who dutifully trudge through the new sign-ups to ensure they’re not missing out on anything.

So don’t panic if you think you’re never going to able to cope – it’s just the newbie rush, especially around dates like Valentine’s Day. Some of the paid dating sites do impose a limit on the number of e-mails new sign-ups can receive to prevent exactly this eventuality. If you see someone new and you can’t get a message through, it may be down to this reason, not because they’re not interested – they may just be being shielded from too much of an influx of interested parties. If you are one of those who find themselves not being able to contact someone you really like, set yourself a reminder and keep checking back. A little bit of competition is good for the soul, so they say.

If, however, that avenue is cut off to you for whatever reason and you’re not finding the exact match you were looking for, it may be that you’ve perhaps set your dating site expectations slightly too high. It’s amazing that, from sites boasting millions of members – not all of those may be currently dating, it’s worth stating – you may literally filter your search down to only a half a dozen close matches.

That’s because people are people and there are so many aspects that go into one personality, finding someone with the exact traits you’re looking for, minus the ones you’re not, would be some achievement. All relationships have a level of compromise (believe me, I’m talking from experience, there), so you may only ever find Mr or Mrs Nearly-Right.

If you’re not getting the success from your dating site that you expected, try broadening your horizons. Ask yourself if age is so very important? Does your potential partner have to live on your doorstep before you’ll consider dating them or is it worth going that extra mile for that special someone? And would it be so bad if you were taller than your man in high heels? Well, if he put high heels on to compete then you may have an issue, but really? Joining a dating site is a wonderful new opportunity to express yourself and extend yourself. Don’t blow it by being blinkered.

Let your dating profile picture tell its own story

In the UK dating arena, unlike many other global dating site platforms, profile pictures are critical to the amount of click-throughs and e-mails you get from your prospective audience. Certainly on the Continent, it is the words that matter, even your name can be the difference between whether you’re a dating site genius or utter online dating disaster.

Filtering this aspect of your dating site profile further, there are profile pics that work and those that don’t.

Before we go into the whys and wherefores, when you’re choosing your photograph, think about why you joined the dating site in the first place. Did you just want a quick fling then drop your partner like a ton of bricks come February 15th? Is a fling not your thing? Is it a long-term partner you’re after, a sugar daddy, a cougar, a toy-boy or sugar baby? Your photograph, like the old adage goes, paints a thousand words and it will determine the type of character that visits your profile.

Needless to say, if you’ve followed this week’s articles and set about finding the perfect dating site, choosing the aspects from other peoples profiles that suit you (and turned them into your own words, of course!) and found a membership package that’s ideal, do not let your picture spoil all of the rest of your hard work.

A couple if tips gleaned from past studies: guys, look smart, comb your hair, shave and brush your teeth – yes, even for your photo. You may well have had sixteen pints the night before you’ve asked your mate to come around to take a decent photo, but that cannot show through in your image. A good quality digital camera image that you can crop and resize, depending upon your dating sites perameters and storage limits, is what you need.

And ladies, a similar message applies. One golden rule – do NOT wear too much make up – guys genuinely like to see the real you, the one that they’ll wake up to every morning. They do not want to see a Beatties make-up assistant whose skin resembles that of the Tango Man and whose eye-lashes and -lids are that thick with mascara and shadow, it could be anyone hiding beneath the war paint.

And, ladies, if you do use a professionally shot photograph, beware that it doesn’t look too contrived. It will convey the message that you and you alone are the most important thing in your life; if a shot looks too polished and you will attract no one if your image is too domineering or ma suggest ‘high maintenance’ from the outset.

Of course, the more up to date the better, but recent studies have shown that women’s photos tended to be from eighteen months ago, whilst men’s are half a year old. But keep them fresh. Remember, non-paying members may only have access to that one single profile picture and not your entire gallery. And singles, to entice them to sign up to dating sites, like an array of different images – your perfect partner may have passed over your image a dozen times but then homes in on a you taken from another angle!

There’s much more on site about dating site profiles if you put that term in the search box. More about profile creation, next.

If you just must have a date by the 14th, stay safe!

Carrying on with our series on how to find a date online for Valentine’s Day, we start off today’s first of three articles – all short and sweet, but nonetheless equally valid – with a sort of: okay, if you must bit of advice.

If you are determined to find a date for Valentine’s Day, you’ve got to be sharpish about it. I’d even be as bold as to say, you’re best off ignoring all of the information about finding your perfect partner online for now and just have a quick fly around the free dating sites, as it’s so late in the day. I’d never normally recommend meeting up with someone you’ve only been talking to for so little time as a week and still don’t feel 100% about suggesting you do so now. But Valentine’s Day isn’t going to put itself back a good few weeks just because you’re not quite ready for it this year.

What I’d implore you to do, if you’ve got your heart set on meeting someone so soon after introducing yourself on whichever dating site it is you sign up to is try and do some background checking in the forums with the other members about the person who catches your eye. At this time of year, the forums should be flying with gossip, questions and member threads – if you’ve got a question, just ask it. If someone has an answer, they will get back to you; at this short notice, there are few other options open for cross-referencing any potential partner.

You’ll not have time to build up any sort of online relationship, so at least if you do manage to tie up your first date (firstly, very well done, you!) everything will be fresh when you meet them and you’ll be going in with a very open mind. For what you’re looking to achieve in the short term, this as good a way as any to really get into the swing of Internet dating, with no time to be held back by procrastination.

What I would strongly recommend for your lightning date is a facility here in the UK that runs in conjunction with the Post Office called Trusted Faces. It is the very first step in offering online dating security. It works very simply and I would urge you to get yourself across to their website, get registered and down to the local Post Office to complete your online passport. Look for someone else advertising theirs, swap tickets to double-check that your are both whom you claim to be and you’re good to go.

More coming up on when and how to pay for your membership

There may be two or three also-rans before you meet The One

In the previous article we alluded to the fact that rushing a date is not the recommended way of going about online dating, but, with Valentine’s so close, there is little other option than to go for it. In reality, however, you may have to prepare yourself for the fact that this just might not happen in so short a time-span. Softly, softly catchee monkey, as the old saying goes, are the bywords for dating site success.

If you’ve ever been to a singles bar, you know that you may have to go countless times before you see anyone who you’d even consider sharing a cab home with, let alone any part of your mind or body. dating sites are similar in that aspect. Some sites charge a minimum of a three month subscription anyway but, if you’re serious about meeting the one, you’re best off taking out three months as a minimum term (read the next article about payment before you pay!).

You may get additional features for that level of commitment, but that’s not the real reason you should opt for three months as a minimum membership. As much as you want to find a date online, it’s unlikely that you’ll spend every hour of every night as soon as you’re back home from work browsing dating site profiles or chatting to singles in the forums. When are you going to fit Emmerdale in if you do?

More likely, you’ll start enthused and the first few nights you may well be on your dating site every night, granted. But you’ll be amazed at how quickly you filter out those who fall outside your requirements and, even for dating sites that boast millions of members, you may only find two or three potential dates who are a close enough match to your must have traits to warrant special attention.

People are creatures of habit and you’ll start to know when those people who you’d consider dating appear on the site and, other than at times when you genuinely have nothing better to do, will coincide your frequenting of the dating site with theirs. So, out of your three month package, you may only spend eight or twelve nights chatting to a prospective partner at best.

And, just because you’ve had the chance to vet your partner before meeting them doesn’t equate to a perfect match offline. You may have to get through a few dating site members (not physically, unless you want to earn a reputation) before you begin to see the results you hoped for when you first signed up and began your online dating journey.

Learn to love ‘copy and paste’ for your dating site profiles

One of the things that you soon get to learn about paid dating sites is that the information they ask you for at sign up can be a lot more than you’ve been used to filling in on the free dating sites. This is even moreso the case when you join a matchmaking site – those that compare your personal information with its other membership and, based on a scientific algorithm or other compatibility method, will pair you up with whom ever their calculations see fit.

A quick word, here. You may have read about dating sites that employ relationship experts and dating coaches. These are very real and are growing in popularity for the lovelorn single who’s working hard building up their nest-egg and doesn’t necessarily have time to do all the searching themselves for a date, but has the money to pay someone else, namely your dating coach, to do the groundwork on their behalf.

If you have the cash to hand to accommodate this facility, then great, but we’re talking serious wedge for that personal touch where you get a one-on-one session with the site’s resident expert. It does take the algorithmic guesswork out of the equation, as they will have spoken to all of the members on their dating site in the same confidential manner. We’ll discuss those at then end of the week, but if you want to find out a little more in the meantime, just enter ‘relationship experts‘ in the onsite search facility on the home page and it will bring up all the relevant articles on our site out of the 200+ posts, to date.

Going back to the Mental note article, this is where you need your notepad that you wrote down all of the good stuff from the other members’ profiles you browsed, earlier. Only this time, re-write your profile based on the key issues that define you in your word processing software (MS Word, notepad, roughdraft, NoteTab, etc.) and save the file somewhere you can access it easily. Also, you can set your browser to remember your ‘autofill‘ information – this will save a lot of time when filling out the basics of your membership application. But never store your card payment details – most browsers allow you to deselect that information when indicating what you want storing in your cache.

You can then copy and paste this information for every dating site you sign up to. Every site has a theme, so you may just need to tweak the odd word or ten, but it’s better than writing 1,000 words every time you sign up to a new dating site. Okay, that’s it for today. Back tomorrow with more about dating sites and what you need to know to get you that date for Valentine’s Day!

Okay – found a dating site. What next?

One of the key deciding factors about the dating site you choose is if it’s a facility that allows you to do a local search. Most, even the free dating sites (a word about them later), have give you the option to locate a prospective partner within easy reach. It’s no use falling in love with someone from Adelaide in time for Valentine’s Day. Even if you can stretch to the cost of the flight, getting the time off work and even booking a flight so late in the day may be an issue to get you there in a week.

In all honesty, we would not advise jetting off half way around the world to meet someone you’ve only known for a few days chatting on a dating site anyway, purely because of the risk factor involved and the danger you may be unwittingly putting yourself in. You will soon learn, either by using your dating site directly, from the forums or via the bounteous knowledge we have posted on dating.org.uk under the tag online dating security that not everyone you meet online is in fact who they say they are

How serious are you about dating online?

There are, in essence, three main types of dating site, with regard to cost. There are free dating sites, mainstream paid dating sites and high-end dating sites, whereby as long as you have the money, your dating site will do everything apart from actually go on the date for you.

We’ll conclude today’s articles with a look at free online dating, it’s positives and negatives and then take a peep at the two types that you’d need to shell out for tomorrow: Should I pay to find my love online?

Free dating sites are great for getting to know the ropes, availing yourself of the types of facilities that you’d expect to find to help you find your Valentine’s Day date online for zero cost. If you’re only looking for a partner for a special occasion and you’re not a paid member of any other dating facility (or the one you’re on is not cutting the mustard), then these sites can be your get-out-of-jail-free card.

Many paid dating sites also have a free section, where you can check out the calibre of their membership (you may only get access to one photo at this level, though), perhaps who’s in your area and, quite obviously, they’ll show you just enough of their website to entice you to put your hand in your pocket and pay for the upgraded facility.

The pitfalls of free dating up next: The common downsides of the free online dating service

Valentine’s Day – is anyone that bothered, this year?

The fourteenth of February is rapidly approaching. If the date’s not ringing any sudden bells and you’re in a relationship, either offline in the real world or with a virtual partner in an online dating capacity, you may want to check what next Tuesday stands for. This may save you picking up an earful down your handset, your private message inbox going quiet for a few days or letting a potential partner down most terribly, on the most romantic day of the year. But, to be honest, from what I’ve read so far online this year, no one in dating land is looking forward to Feb 14 at all. Is this usual?

This is my first year writing in online dating land; I truly expected to find articles galore embedded with 22-font (or foot) bold pink text, love hearts and fluffy bunnies bordering every page of every blog and dating site, but that’s just not the case.

Does Valentine’s Day really hold such dread for singletons that the only people to comment on the occasion are those harping on about how they cannot see the point of declaring their undying love for someone special on one day when true love should flourish in a relationship every day, from the minute one half of a couple awakens until they both curl up and go to sleep all cuddly together every single night for the rest of their lives?

If that’s the common belief of how long term relationships work, held by those looking to spark perhaps their first serious time around the block via their dating site platform, I’d suggest notching up a few short term relationships first if it’s that feeling you’re looking for. Make the most of that ‘loved-up’ emotion, getting plenty of Valentine’s Day gifts and looking forward to buying them instead of agonising over the ‘what to get this time?’ question that comes with being with someone for fourteen and a half years…and certainly don’t take down the old dating site membership, just yet.

In my personal experience, I have to go with the flow – Valentine’s Day works great for those just starting out on their first real relationship or if it’s early days in a new partnership. But if you’re single with little prospect of hooking up with someone from the office, bar or dating site, or if you’re married or living with someone who you’ve been seeing for as long as you care to remember, it does all seem like a lot of effort (and expense, keeping card shops, florists and chocolatiers in business) for the reward.

Still, there’s over a week left, folks. Try something new, join our dating site – your perfect partner could be waiting online for you, now, big fluffy bunny, box of All Gold and soppy, 22-foot card waiting to be posted. It may be the year that Valentine’s Day does kickstart your love life. What are you waiting for? With all my love xxx ????

Being single is not a contageous disease

So, yeah. This girl was sick of being treated like a social leper just because she’d been dumped after Christmas. It’s not the best time to be without someone, Valentine’s Day, but that’s only if you’re constantly reminded about the fact that you are single and not dating. All of the friends you’ve been sociable with recently as part of a couple are finding your company hard to deal with when you turn up without a significant other on your arm.

It’s not like you’ve lost your wallet or your purse, is it? If you go for a meal sans beau, it’s not like you’re going to do a runner just because you’ve only got one bill to pay for. Okay, you may have to dip into your purse a little further than the rest of the party as you’ve had no one nagging you along the lines of ‘Don’t you think you’ve had enough, dear?’, but if that’s the only price, you can live with it. And so should they. But they can’t, and that’s the real issue.

The subject of your being single can be the elephant in the room, sitting in the seat opposite you where, up until recently, sat your partner. You can almost hear your girlfriend kick her fella as he’s about to ask you if you’ve had any luck on your dating site? or have you heard from ‘x’ since the split?...
…where x is the ex, obviously.

As well as your friend may have batted your corner for you over dinner from the ignorami, you know deep down that’s because she wants to check out the health and temperament of your dating welfare herself, when the two of you are on your own. It may be that you all met on your dating site and she’s itching to tell you about the guy she’s been chatting to on your behalf or, worse (if the friendship’s only recent), she could want to introduce you to a guy she had a lot of fun dating
…which then begs the question: why aren’t you still with him, then?

However, you do tend to find that a bathroom stall apart is as close as your dating friends want to get. Remember, this is leprosy and it spreads. Your happy-couple friends do not want to catch what you’ve got, no sirree!

And so it comes as no great surprise that, as the coats go on and your coupley friends are all heading back to one of their homes to talk ‘people-in-love-with-each-other’ talk, your best buddy asks what time your taxi home’s booked for…
…you make one last excuse to nip to the powder room and order that cab either screaming or crying, it could go either way.

Being a singleton is not a disease, but only to other singletons. To anyone in a relationship you are unclean. This Valentine’s Day, if you can’t meet up with someone off your dating site between now and then, remember to pop a bell around your neck, just to let everyone know you’re comin’! And how…