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After an unpleasant experience with a man she met online, Dubliner Jennifer (47), a divorced mother of three, decided to join a dating agency in her native city.
The agency provided a confidential match-making service and after several years of successful dating, which resulted in one long-term relationship, she decided to break out on her own and set up Two’s Company.
I’d always presumed that if I found myself in a threatening, awkward or uncomfortable situation I’d be able to handle myself.” While she doesn’t want to reveal the exact nature of the upsetting incident she says it was “very threatening” and made her realise that her personal safety was her main priority.
“I dipped my toe into online dating on and off for a few years prior to that incident,” she says.
What we promote is real human interaction.” Jennifer first mooted the possibility of establishing a dating agency around 12 years ago, after reading a magazine article about an Irish woman who’d set up Berkeley International, an elite London-based matchmaking agency.
There are so many more sites out there now, it’s a lot more open. If you meet someone online, you don’t know if that person is going to turn out to be psychotic, have some type of psychological disorder or a criminal background.” Two’s Company, the only dating agency in Ireland to receive accreditation from the Association of British Introduction Agencies, operates a “sophisticated and rigorous” selection procedure.Many of her clients joined Jennifer’s agency after growing disenchanted with internet dating and the impersonal nature of meeting online.“People are forgetting how to communicate nowadays,” she says. When they join Two’s Company they are actually going to physically meet someone after talking to them initially over the phone.But, as Jennifer stresses, this only happens if she is confident she can make a good match.And the interview process is the best way of separating the wheat from the chaff.
Raising a family single-handedly, longer working hours, less socializing and financial restrictions mean that for many, the traditional ways of meeting potential suitors are being replaced with online dating and social media sites.