When finding love ain’t straightforward (Part 2)

For the context regarding this series of posts, please read the first post of the series here

In this second post, I will be sharing my experiences with corporate dating services, and I include under this category, private dating agencies such as Lunch Actually and the public dating agency, SDN.

It all began when my private network of friends ran dry, and I decided to tap a wider network. As such I signed up for an SDN event which turned out to be enjoyable but also stressful. For a start, everyone was there with an agenda, and I continue to be amazed at how focused they were on the goal. Most of them were out to shine and attract someone’s attention, which created a rather performative environment. I was so overwhelmed and nervous that I didn’t think I did very well, though I did go out with someone I met there.

Based on my limited experience with SDN, I would say that you do meet fairly decent guys there, all of whom were quite ready to settle down. There were quite literally your guy-next-door type, which debunked the myth I subscribed to prior to attending an SDN event, that people who joined SDN must be weird, which proved to be false. Furthermore, I had friends who met their spouses through SDN events, which further strengthened the case for SDN.

However, most of the men I met at SDN were overly task-oriented. They were literally there to shop for a wife and if you weren’t ready for accelerated courtship and not ready to be in the family way, then the guys at SDN would not have been a fit for you. Truth be told, when I joined SDN, I was there primarily out of curiosity and I wasn’t ready to be tied down. As such it was pressurizing to be dating someone who had KPIs to fulfil and a timeline no less to keep to. Needless to say, things went downhill quite quickly. That said, I believed this was due to poor timing on my part more than anything else, and I would sincerely recommend SDN as a credible avenue to any single man or woman who is looking for a life partner.

Knowing what I knew about SDN and the type of guys I would likely meet there, when I was ready and certain about settling down, I turned again to SDN for help, only to find out I no longer qualify to attend many of their events due to the age limit! *gasp* Philosophically, at the age or stage where I needed the most help, this public agency was unable to help. I can’t help but be tickled by the irony of it all.

Not to be discouraged, I turned to private dating agencies for help, which turned out to be not that great an idea. The first agency I tried was Lunch Actually. In fact, many years ago when Lunch Actually first started, I made an enquiry and was given a quote of approximately $1,000 for 10 matches. To me, this already felt expensive. A couple of years later, the price went up to $1,000 for 3 dates and I found out recently that it is now $2,500 for 3 dates. It certainly felt that there was a huge demand for their services for prices to have gone up so much over the years! Given that this move required heavy upfront investment, I decided to ask around for reviews and advice.

All my Christian single girlfriends gave a negative review. Firstly, not many Christian men signed up with these agencies, for there were not many Christian single men to begin with. Secondly, due to the lack of Christian men to match with Christian ladies, some consultants have advised their clients to let go of what they claim to be the ‘religion requirement’ so be more open. To each his own, but this certainly does not sit well with me. In addition, one friend shared that she was not only stood up by her matched date but the consultant also let slip that the agency did not verify the information provided by the other party. This certainly was not reassuring!

Some of my non-Christian girlfriends do meet interesting guys through matched dates by other agencies such as It’s Just Lunch, but have yet to meet their life partner through this avenue. As such, I would strongly dissuade someone from forking out all this money when there are cheaper options e.g. SDN that fulfil a similar purpose. For those who would like to pay and save themselves some hassle, do make sure you at least sign up with a reliable consultant representing an equally reliable agency. Also, please find out the terms and conditions for refund so that you know how much latitude you have as a client, e.g. Lunch Actually makes partial refunds after the first date if you would like to discontinue their services.

P.S. There will be one final post to this series to share my online dating experiences. Stay tuned!

And the next time someone asks me why am I still single, I shall refer them to this series of post and save myself some time. 😊

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