The reality of dating: how to find your next partner

Dating and relationships have become TV reality-show gold: some date in the dark and others marry the first time they meet

But when it’s time to finally settle down, there are plenty of ways to meet a special someone that don’t involve a rose ceremony. Here are a few tips to help you find the one.

I've lost my number, can I have yours?

Short courses

You’re likely to be better off finding someone with similar interests — 84 per cent of Australian singles consider this to be an important factor in a partner. Taking a class at your local community collegeart gallery or anywhere else that offers something you’re passionate about means you’ll have a better chance of finding someone who you’ll connect with on an intellectual level.

Speed dating

This is suitable for those who want to skip the small talk. For an interesting twist, try themed speed dating, such as Craft Singles Work Shops (based in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane) which holds eight craft challenges (such as composing love songs and making plasticine figures) for 32 singles where you create for five minutes, then move on to the next task.

Meet with like-minded daters

Meetup.com started as a way to connect people to their local community by helping people with similar interests get together. Search online for “Dating and relationships Meetups“, then key in your state and home town to find a group of singles who like going out. There are singles groups for vegans, fitness buffs and  groups based on age ranges and preferences. Once you’ve set up a profile, browse the current singles groups or start your own.

Online dating

Finding a partner can be as easy as swiping right on a Saturday night. Online dating is one of the most common ways for Australians to find love, along with meeting through friends and family or at work.

Meeting someone online is the third-most popular place to find a match.

OkCupid: Dubbed “the Google of online dating”, OkCupid differentiates itself by using a complex algorithm to help people find matches quicker. It’s free to create a profile. It has data regarding “Race and attraction” collected from its daters over the years. Their approach is: “We don’t care what you do, just don’t be a jerk about it.”

RSVP: Set up a profile and send and accept virtual kisses, which are free. Buy  virtual stamps to send a message. RSVP claims one out of every three Australians on its site end up in a long-term relationship, and one in five get married or settle down.

eHarmony: Fill out an in-depth relationship questionnaire so you can be matched with compatible singles based on 29 unique dimensions of compatibility. Since its Australian launch in 2007, 2.6 million people have registered with the site and there have been over 11,000 marriages to date .

Tinder: Tinder is free. You swipe right to express interest. There are limits on swiping and rewinding to keep it genuine, unless you pay for Tinder Plus, where you can “like” to the limit.

Grindr: This app for gay and bisexual men is free and shows the location of the nearest possible dates or hook-ups on a map. You tap on photos to see the user’s profile, chat and send photos. There is also Blendr, for people of various sexual orientations or those seeking non-sexual friendships.

match.com: To use match.com, you need to become a subscriber to communicate with prospective suitors. Membership is free and you must not have been convicted of a felony, or be required to register as a sex offender.

Plenty of Fish: It’s free to create a profile and send messages via POF.com. There are over 3 million active users on the site and you can use their Chemistry Predictor to be matched with other like-minded singles.

JSwipe: This is for those looking for a Jewish match, and loads with a spinning star of David. You just need to state your religious sect and kosher status. When you make a match, a Hava Nagila animation appears along with a “Mazel Tov” graphic of a person being hoisted up on a chair.

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