A multitude of choices

These days when there are so many different ways of meeting a new partner, consumers are actually spoiled for choice and as online dating has declined in terms of the number of participants over the last decade or so, other forms of dating have expanded to fill the void. Here we examine some of the choices that are out there and some of the leading companies in each category that provide that specific sort of service.

A little bit of history

If you’re younger than 40 you have actually grown up with online dating and more recently, since 2012 or so, dating apps. But prior to the online dating onslaught in the late 1990’s – www.match.com had been launched in 1995 in the USA and in 1997 in the UK and the other major player www.eHarmony.com in the year 2000 and so people under 40 could probably be forgiven for thinking that it had always been that way and that online dating had always been part of the fabric of our lives. But of course it hasn’t.

Prior to the online dating revolution

Dating agency activity had first began with the launch of The Matrimonial Bureau in London in 1705, but modern dating in the UK was probably started in the 1930s when Heather Jenner and Mary Oliver launched The Marriage Bureaux in Bond Street, Mayfair in 1939. Later John Pattison opened the worlds first computerised dating service with Dateline in 1966, having brought the idea back from the USA.

Personal Matchmaking – The 80s and 90s

Modern day agencies that are still around today began in the 1980’s, with Heather Heber Percy and Geraldine Turner, launching www.countrypartners.co.uk in Shropshire, later www.thecountyregister.com was launched in London from the same stable. These were personal matchmaking brands and both are still around today, they both predated online dating and are extremely well established, as we are at www.searchmate.co.uk , having been launched the same year as match.com in 1998 – so there are clearly alternatives if you look carefully enough.

Post online dating options

After the rise and subsequent fall of online dating, dating apps such as Tinder (launched in2012), Hinge, Bumble and Happn have held sway in recent times but again the problems that besieged online dating have been a problem here. So fake profiles, scamming, disingenuous people, sexual predators and players just looking for a good time – issues that come with a huge volume of joiners who go through hardly any vetting procedures, simply haven’t yet been defeated and may never be.

Speed Dating

Since taking the UK by storm in 2002, Speed Dating, invented by a Jewish Rabbi, Yaacov Deyo in Florida in the late 1990s, has also offered an alternative to some. It has many advantages such as seeing your potential date face to face, right up front, which gives people the chance to check out that vital chemistry straight away. The downside is it may be a little too public for many, meeting in a room with typically 30-40 others, but it does work and is favoured by some.

Dating Events

The other opportunity could well be dating events, such as dinner parties, black tie balls, singles party nights, drinks gatherings to mix and mingle events etc are favoured by some, as it’s seen as a more natural way of meeting than the other formats. Our own sister company RSVP, based in Rutland, offer this type of event, so check them out at www.RSVP-int.co.uk They offer similar types of event to those described and all are popular.

Summing Up

So yes there are a plethora of alternatives to meeting strangers online, if you haven’t felt safe when participating in online dating or dating apps, which is something that seems to affect many. As many as 90% of the calls coming in to www.searchmate.co.uk are from people who have been uncomfortable with meeting people in this particular way. Which is obviously a concern, the big bones of contention being ‘meeting fake or fraudulent people’, ‘feeling in danger’, ‘peoples photographs being out of date’, ‘not being convinced that the person you are meeting is 100% who they say they are’, ‘meeting people already with a partner or significant other or maybe even married people’. We know and understand those feelings and the reservations that people have.

So what do we recommend?

Here we look at a few of the alternatives but letting Google rankings and reviews help you decide what is best for you (other search engine reviews if there are no Google reviews) and what you should be doing in future and which path to take. We look at most of the companies we have mentioned in this article to date:

www.match.com (No Google reviews found but www.whichdate.co.uk rated as 1.5/5 and www.reviewcentre.com as 1.3/5)

www.eHarmony.com (No Google reviews but www.Trustpilot.co.uk 1.4/5)

www.tinder.com (No Google reviews but 1.4/5 on www.Trustpilot.co.uk)

www.Happn.com (No Google reviews but 1.4/5 on www.trustpilot.co.uk)

www.bumble.com (No Google reviews but 1.4/5 on www.trustpilot.co.uk )

www.hinge.co (No Google reviews but 1.5/5 on www.trustpilot.co.uk

www.searchmate.co.uk (Google reviews 4.3/5)

www.thecountyregister.com (Google reviews 4.3/5)

www.countrypartners.co.uk (Google reviews 5/5)

www.RSVP-int.co.uk (Google reviews 5/5)

Your Choices

So YES there are alternatives to online dating and we would be happy to talk to you further about what they are and how we can help. Our Membership Advisers are available from 9am until 9pm almost every day and we are happy to answer you questions without obligation or any compulsion to join. If you’d care to ring us on 0800 644 4160 – it could just be the start of finding love for real, in your life. Please do make that call.