From Tinder to Plenty Of Fish, the dating scene has certainly gone digital. Niamh Haskins speaks to someone who found love online.
Trolling through several sites on the internet, thumping like or swiping right to every person you think may be the one and scanning profiles like nobody’s business, that’s just your average way to find love online. 
 
With this fancy modern age we live in, there are thousands of ways to meet new people - dating websites like Tinder, OkCupid, match.com and Plenty Of Fish are just a few and even a poke on Facebook might help you find the love of your life.
 
Over the past few years the numbers of people using online dating websites have soared. The most recent statistics collected by Ipsos MRBI, showed that a staggering 150,000 Irish people use Tinder alone. 
 
According to figures from match.com, one in four relationships start online, however, online dating is a topic that has only recently become acceptable to talk about. 
 
Last year sparked huge interest in the world of online dating after a woman was allegedly assaulted in Dublin after meeting up with a guy she found online. 
 
People who don’t use online dating find themselves asking questions as to why do people use it and how do things like this happen? 
 
We see the advertisements on television, but never cease to wonder what actually goes on or how it works. The thoughts of online dating for many may sound daunting. 
 
A friend to the online dating universe, Sandra Mason (34), gave Campus.ie a first hand account of her story.
 
Sandra’s Story
I was in a relationship with a guy who’s name I can’t say, but we were engaged for six years. He had no intentions of getting married so I decided to break up with him. 
 
After that, I did the usual thing of pubs and nightclubs. Eventually, I just got totally fed up of trying to meet guys there.
 
I took the plunge and decided to see if I could get lucky online. Well not get lucky in that sense, but find someone who would commit to me and that I could commit to also. 
 
I did up my profile using Plenty Of Fish (POF). Viewing people’s profiles online you get to see and learn so much more about a person.
 
Safety was the only concern I had, at times when I was saying yes to going on dates I kept asking myself what was I putting myself into. 
 
Before any date, to make sure that the guy I was going out with was real, we would video call each other. You can’t be too safe with so many people putting up fake profiles.
 
I went on dates with a few guys, but I wasn’t enjoying it. I feel that I just wasn’t into it. I was about to quit, but then I saw this guy. We chatted back and forward nonstop and went on our first date a week later. 
 
We did the generic type of thing by going for dinner, but ended up staying out all night. I knew from then that I really, really liked him. We hung out a lot after that, so things happened without either of us noticing. 
 
Five months after our first date, he proposed, but we had already been talking about it for a few months. We both decided that it was what we wanted and that it was worth it. 
 
For me, online dating was an experience, but one that was really worthwhile because I found the one for me.
 
One thing I would say to someone trying it out is don’t be afraid to ask questions. I found a person that I really love, and without that, I wouldn’t have just had my first wedding anniversary. 
 
Be Safe
For most, the process of finding a person and meeting up with them is usually fine, but sometimes going on a date with someone you don’t know can be totally dodgy. 
 
If you do decide to become the next Tinderella, here are a few tips to ensure your safety:
 
  • Meet in a public place
  • Trust your instincts
  • Let a friend or family member know where you are meeting the person
  • Do not agree to anything you are uncomfortable with.