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Looking for love in lockdown this St Valentine’s Day is still worth pursuing despite pandemic restrictions, says a dating and relationship expert.

Looking for lockdown love? A recent photograph might help

Oonagh McAteer (39) insists people in Northern Ireland are continuing to find love and are starting relationships in earnest with a genuine desire to find a partner – more than ever before.

And the vaccine rollout is a shot in Cupid’s arm, igniting a newfound optimism from singletons that the dating game will get back to normality in 2021.

In anticipation of St Valentine’s Day, Ms McAteer founder of Diamond Dates matchmaking service in Co Down, has formulated a six point plan to help people find love, emphasising Covid-19 safety and common sense privacy online. She says:

  1. Your profile photos should be recent, decent and feature only you.
  2. You don’t want prospective partners seeing older posts perhaps showing previous partners, which is nobody’s business. Also, older posts could be showing where you live to strangers as well as showing your children or grandchildren, their schools or your car registration, so use your worldly discretion when on public platforms. There are settings on Facebook to help control who sees your older posts. Make sure to keep your profile private.  
  3. If you are on Instagram as a personal profile, keep your settings private.
  4. With Snap Chat, make sure to turn off location settings. 
  5. Don't invite someone to join your account and networks on social media until you know they are genuine.
  6. If you are on a dating app – perhaps for years and still have had no success – you may start to wonder why it’s not working. In some cases people blame the tools or apps, but they could be making a few simple mistakes like putting too much emphasis on looks based on one photograph. This is a common mistake and you could be swiping past someone who shares your values. 

“Failing to prepare is preparing to fail with dating and social media, so a spring clean of social media profiles is a must,” says the dating guru. 

Oonagh McAteer.

Ms McAteer who runs her service near her home in Banbridge, says younger people are using her matchmaking expertise during lockdown.

“I met my husband online and I didn’t like putting lots of information out there or not knowing if people were genuine. Seeing a gap in provision for singles, I set up my bespoke matchmaking service. Diamond Dates now has an 80 to 85 per cent success rate,” she said.

“It’s helpful to have a knowledgeable person match you up with prospective partners and be on the lookout for a companion on your behalf.”

Ms McAteer says she has noticed an increase in the under forties actively seeking serious relationships during the pandemic.

“To respond to this I have combined online dating and traditional matchmaking into a package in time for St Valentine’s Day.

“The package is for people who are confident enough to manage or set up their online profiles, but may be disheartened by computerised dating apps where they may be ‘ghosted’ or find people are not always serious about starting a relationship.

“Falling in love during a pandemic is possible and I am seeing clients who display a fresh and endearing earnestness to fall in love."

Ms McAteer encourages singles not to lose heart and predicts a huge upturn in people dating as a year of social restrictions gradually eases in 2021.

“So now is the time to get things in order – your profile picture, your social media and privacy settings, and the motivation to start interacting with people online with a view to meeting up in person when it is safe to do so. You will find people online now who are not ashamed to express they are lonely and are looking for a loving partner to share their life with. And if you want an enhanced bespoke service, get in touch with Diamond Dates.

Contact WWW.DIAMONDDATESNI.COM or call Oonagh McAteer on 075 1840 3695.

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