Sick of dating apps? Maybe face to face speed dating is more for you

Ashley Vallance has been online dating on and off for the past five years and calls it exhausting.The Windsor, Ont., woman is single.She says trying to meet someone on an app has become superficial — and she’s looking for something more.”It feels a lot like it’s an ego boost for a lot of people just to swipe, swipe, swipe, have some conversations and rarely let that play out to an actual date,” said Vallance.As an alternative, the 35-year-old, who’s hoping to one day meet a potential life partner, has launched a group called Windsor Love Link — featuring face to face speed dating events.Ashley Vallance is the founder of the face to face dating group Windsor Love Link. (Submitted by Ashley Vallance)The first one is being held May 14 at a downtown restaurant in her hometown.”I think it’s time that we get back to the basics of dating and get back to the face to face that we’ve really been missing out on in our era of technology.”WATCH | Here’s what dating app burnout looks like: Here’s what dating app burnout looks likeAfter years of swiping, have we reached the point of dating app burnout? Therapists and researchers say that might be the case.Vallance says many of her friends are in the same boat she is when it comes to relationships. And, that the event has been well received so far — especially from women.”They’re super excited to do something other than online dating. Because being in the trenches of that myself, it’s exhausting.”I think people are excited to see something a little different here in the city.” Although it does not necessarily imply a lack of relationships, according to Statistics Canada, more Canadians are living alone than ever before. 4.4 million in 2021, it says — up from 1.7 million in 1981.While research from data analytics company Singles Reports suggests Vallance isn’t alone when it comes to online relationship frustration. The U.S. survey found 80 per cent of the some 500 adult respondents said they had experienced some level of emotional fatigue with it.’Is anybody worth just two pictures?’Vallance says face to face relationship building is a much clearer indicator of who a person is or claims to be — and that a few photos are never the best representation of someone.”Is anybody worth just two pictures? Body language and chemistry is something that I think is really felt in person, and I think it can be felt quickly. I think that’s really messed with online dating.” WATCH | Why so many people are single right now: Why so many people are single right nowMore people than ever are single in Canada — with the biggest drop in romantic relationships among those in their mid- to late-20s, according to Statistics Canada. Why is that, and what does being single look like today?Giving someone an opportunity to lose the superficiality of online dating, she says, will hopefully make the dating scene more authentic and simpler to navigate.She says the speed dating event also gets people out of the bars — and on a more level playing field to figure out if someone’s values align with yours.”I find a lot of online dating is just people looking for conversations. They’re catfishing. They’re ghosting. It’s really hard to find somebody when you’re looking for a genuine life partner. It’s really hard to find somebody who is searching for the same thing.”Windsor Love Link is a new face to face dating option for people in the Ontario border city. (Windsor Love Link/Facebook)The Windsor, Ont., speed dating event will see each participant get a scorecard to mark down who they’re interested in or not. At the end of the night, the cards will be returned to Vallance to see if there are any matches.”I’ll be sure to share their contact information with each other. So hopefully it leads to a second date.”Vallance’s goal is to eventually expand to include the 2SLGBTQI+ community and a wider age range.LISTEN | Meet your match: in-person speed dating in coming back in Windsor, Ont.: Windsor Morning8:20Meet your match: in-person speed dating in coming back in Windsor

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