The search for a soul-mate can be an eternal quest for many people; a constant stream of broken romances and serial dating in the hope of finding "The One". Love may blossom over the office water-cooler or in the meal-for-one frozen food section of your local supermarket, but for others, the perfect partner might prove harder to meet. Raising "Twos company dating agency dublin" family Twos company dating agency dublin, longer working hours, less socialising and financial restrictions mean that for many, the traditional ways of meeting potential suitors are being replaced with online dating and social media sites.
But according to Jennifer Haskins, who gave internet dating a go, these have their pitfalls when it comes to separating "the men from the boys". After an unpleasant experience with a man she met online, Dubliner Jennifer 47a 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 Twos company dating agency dublin her own and set up Two's Company.
Now the most successful introduction and dating agency in Ireland, Two's Company has members ranging in age from 25 to 80 years throughout Ireland, north and south.
While its head office is in Dublin, it has a virtual office in Belfast and Jennifer says she is seeing a marked increase in the number of people from Northern Ireland signing up. Many of her clients joined Jennifer's agency after growing disenchanted with internet dating and the impersonal nature of meeting online. When they join Two's Company they are actually going to physically meet someone after talking to them initially over the phone. It's so much more personal than being in touch with someone via a smartphone or Facebook.
That really has to evolve. What I'm seeing is that people are getting disillusioned with internet dating and realising the downside of it. 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.
Having worked in manufacturing for many years, she had the necessary entrepreneurial skills to put her plan into action. She sold up her bakery business and went back to college, to study psychology, counselling and executive coaching. Inshe "Twos company dating agency dublin" up Two's Company. I'm fascinated by psychology and what makes people tick and have built up a library of books over the years," she says. Also, having been married, separated and divorced with three grown-up children helps me to empathise with other people.
I come at it from a non-judgemental approach and try and understand what it Twos company dating agency dublin that I can do to help others. When her marriage broke up, Jennifer picked herself up, brushed herself down and started socialising again, trying her hand at speed dating and internet dating. She found speed dating - an organised activity where people would-be partners through a series of short conversations - a strange experience, while internet dating left her feeling too vulnerable.
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. 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. Potential clients undergo a telephone assessment first, then a face-to-face interview, which Jennifer is quick to point out is relaxed and informal.
If the team feel there is someone on their books that is a suitable match, they will take the new client on. But, as Jennifer stresses, this only Twos company dating agency dublin 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. In seven years we have never had one incident, not even a hint of anything happening. We are very safe. People are investing physically, financially and emotionally in this process. It really does sort out the men from the boys, the women from the girls. It's not a platform for one night stands or flings. They have made a decision to come to us, they are looking for a life partner, a soul-mate.
That's what they come to an agency for. Jennifer based her agency on the model of the now-defunct Dublin one she previously belonged to.
She also went over to England to check out dating agencies there. And it's even bigger still in the US and Australia.
While her experiences of internet dating and speed dating may not have been positive, Jennifer was impressed with the calibre of men she met through the agency she'd signed up to. And though she is currently single, she did meet a man whom she went out with Twos company dating agency dublin several years. There seemed to be a higher level of sincerity, they weren't just in it for fun.
I was meeting people on a one-to-one basis. I'd have one date, if it worked, we'd take it forward.
If it didn't work, we'd go back to the agency and we'd be introduced to someone else. It wasn't multiple dating though. There was no juggling around or anything like that. It was all very respectful, secure, honest and transparent.
That's what I wanted for my agency too. Jennifer says she would never dream of using her own agency to meet a man, although her friends tease her that she's in the perfect position to sift through the suitors to Twos company dating agency dublin Mr Right. I have to be ultra professional. I'm always in business mode, so that would never be on my radar. She believes the stigma of joining a dating agency is slowly fading, but that Ireland has still some way to go before it catches up with other countries, where it's common practice.
Nevertheless, she admits that her clientele are still reluctant to go on record and talk publicly about their experiences. Our clients come from right across the board and we have memberships to suit all budgets and types.
As time goes on that is building and building. Something else I'm very particular about is that we have a healthy ratio of men and women.
Men are more reticent about coming forward to join up which means Twos company dating agency dublin quite often, there is a waiting list of women. Jennifer finds that when it comes to looking for love, men are less pro-active. And that's where she feels many people fall down when it comes to meeting The One. If it hasn't happened, how long are you going to wait or are you actually going to play a part and be pro-active in making it happen?
Whatever we've achieved in our lives, from going to school or college, getting a good education, a good job, playing sport, has been the result of being pro-active.
So why would we not apply this to our love lives? If I want to meet someone, then am I going to do about it? I can go to a bar or a club, take up a hobby or sport, or join a dating agency. Then the universe will respond. Love has no age limits either, she says.
Everywhere in the world, there are lonely people from 19 to 90 who want to feel loved. Others says to me: But why should we differentiate?
They have as much right to be loved as someone in their 20s. In the seven years that Two's Company has been running, Jennifer and her staff have seen many success stories, including engagements, weddings and babies. Last year was a particularly bumper period for happy endings, with a total of 10 proposals. But if you think the agency boss is brushing off her hat, Cilla Black-style, to attend numerous weddings, you'd be wrong.
Twos company dating agency dublin prefers to maintain a discreet distance from the loved-up couples, but says she gets plenty of thank you cards in the post.
Few albums have been subject to the sort of praise lavished on Astral Weeks. Van Morrison's second solo album, which was released 50 years ago this month, was described by Bruce Springsteen as possessing "a sense of the divine" while the late, influential and Ailbhe Griffith was just 21 when she was sexually assaulted on her way home from work.
Nine years later, on what she calls 'a wonderful day', she confronted her attacker. A screening of a film of that encounter, with Ailbhe, now 35, playing herself, takes By James Baldock Monday evening, a little after seven.
I am in a cafe, waiting for my son to finish guitar practice, staring at my Twos company dating agency dublin and crying over the death of a year-old man. A native of east Belfast, she has represented the area over the last 17 years at Belfast City Council, the Assembly and Westminster.
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