Two years ago, Rowella James – author of the inspirational novel ‘From Darkness to Truth’ – decided to join an online dating agency. With many of her peers already married, or in long-term relationships, Rowella was finding it increasingly difficult to meet interesting, single men. Though opportunities to ‘settle’ had arisen in the past, she had always been clear on what she was looking for – “That intuitive knowing that I had truly met someone I wanted to spend the rest of my life with.” Disappointingly, her decision to turn to the internet for help illustrated perfectly why online dating leaves romantics cold.
Rowella explains that the ‘catalogue shopping culture’ of online dating immediately presented a problem – “For me, it’s about finding a deep and genuine connection with someone. Online, I found it hard to meet a man who hadn’t bought into this ‘tick box mentality’. In fact, I didn’t meet anyone willing to devote time to exploring the possibility of an authentic connection.”
The sheer volume of emails from interested guys could, at times, provide an ego boost, Rowella admits, however many were from chancers looking for easy gratification.
A photographer with a nice smile pursued Rowella until she agreed to meet for a coffee…during which he tried to make long term plans, including the suggestion of introducing their children to each other. Dinner with an airline pilot went well, however Rowella felt obliged to let him know soon afterwards that there was no chemistry…three months of disappointed emails were to follow. Rowella explains “Because every online date is loaded with such expectation, there’s no opportunity to take time to see what evolves naturally: there’s no time to discover someone.”
Business Development Manager, Tim, 38, provides a brutal insight from a male perspective – “I’m not sure how many women realise this, but a huge number of men are just online for sex. For anyone looking for something more meaningful, online dating is unlikely to work.” Rowella agrees – “I know online dating will never work for me.”
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Ironically, many of her friends are under the false impression that Rowella is still single because she has too many ‘tick boxes’ of her own – “As much as I’d like to meet my own ‘Heathcliff’, I have no pre-deposed ideas about who my future partner should be. What’s important is that I meet someone I can be entirely myself with. I’d love to experience the intensity of feeling captured so realistically and beautifully by the Bronte sisters. I’m not looking for a ‘fairy-tale’ ending: I’m just looking for something real. Accepting that this ‘catalogue culture’ is all there is would kill me inside.”
At Attractive Partners, our Personal Matchmakers offer a traditional, life-enriching alternative to online dating. For an informal chat, call our Senior Membership Adviser, Sarah James, on 0800 644 4140.
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Rowella James works as both an author and artist.