Searching: Judge Jules (not a real judge)

Online dating is no longer the taboo that it once was. In modern times, gone is the stigma that was once attached to the lonely hearts adverts for those searching for romance. Online dating is meant to connect compatible singles looking for love, long-term relationships or something more casual but I see my fair share of failed relationships walk through my door (in fact I have dealt with more divorces than I have attended weddings). I am always curious to know what ignited the initial flames of romance. A dozen red roses and reams of romantic poetry? A passionate weekend in Paris? A meeting of eyes across a crowded room?

Increasingly it is more likely to be meeting in an internet chatroom. More people are meeting online and getting hitched as a result than ever. One client having met her Beau online, fell madly in love and skipped gaily down the aisle just three months after meeting, only to saunter into my office (not so gaily) six months later as he did not turn out to be quite the Mr Swipe Right she had hoped. Consequently she was bitterly disappointed to learn she could not have a divorce until she had been married for one year.

Is there a trend between online dating and the rising divorce rates? We can pick up potential partners now like picking a pair of curtains. We put our desired credentials into an algorithm and voila your potential suitors are displayed for you to browse through at your leisure. Somewhat fickle or a well thought out selection process?

There is another aspect. The misleading pictures and profile write up can undermine the whole concept. You rock up for a date with 6’1” Richard, only to be greeted by a 5’4″ Dick (short for Richard I hasten to add). Disappointing when you have spent time and effort messaging the person for several weeks before summoning the courage to meet. Amusing for the best friend bystander who helpfully chips in with ‘It’s not all about the looks.’

So to return to the original line of thought. Is there a link between online dating and the rise in divorce? The jury is still out, although interestingly there has been a surge in the divorce rate of the over 65’s, which has been put down to the fact in part that they are more socially connected now in the dawn of the ‘silver surfer’.

I ponder at what will be the acceptable dating methods in another decade. Pick one up at the bargain bin? Withdraw from the hole in the wall? Collect at Amazon? Who knows?

Dating sites endorse avoiding the minefield of small talk and niceties with a stranger who may make you regret ever leaving your house by heading to a dating site that is more suited for you. A word of caution. Before you swipe right, look left, look right and in the words of me dear old Gran, give em a good looking up and down too.

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