Make the most out of love in the age of Tinder
ZOE Stanton knew she was on to a good thing after a total stranger approached her with a belated birthday gift. The 35-year-old had arranged to meet Jac Stanton after they had "matched” on Tinder.
"Jac rocked up with a cupcake with sparklers in it. He scared me because he put it over my shoulder and I thought 'oh my goodness, what is this?' And then I looked at this guy and I thought 'oh, that's Jac from Tinder',” Zoe said.
"No stranger had ever done something that thoughtful or sweet for me.”
After a long walk around Noosa National Park about two years ago, and a second 11-hour date, Sunshine Coast residents Zoe and Jac, 36, knew there was something special between them.
"We both felt it was easy and relaxed. Jac has said to me that by the end of the second date he knew I was the person he was going to stay with. And for me it was not long after, maybe the third or fourth date,” she said.
The pair entered a whirlwind romance. They moved in together before marrying in March last year. They are expecting their first baby in July. Zoe remembered the first time she saw her husband on Tinder.
"I was at home and I remember his profile popped up on the app, and he only had three photos. And I looked at them and I remember thinking 'he looks really nice',” she said.
"He had a really warm smile. And all his profile said was 'I'm looking for Miss Right, not Miss One Night”.
For the uninitiated, Tinder works by showing "user one”, let's call them, profiles of others on the online dating tool. User one swipes right on the profile if they like what they see, or left to disregard the profile.
If the other person also swipes right on user one's profile, a match is made and the pair can start messaging each other. The dating app was created in 2012 and, according to Time magazine, the startup's success earned two of its co-founders, Sean Rad and Justin Mateen, spots on the Forbes 2013, 30 Under 30 list.
In 2014, it was estimated more than 50 million people worldwide were signed up to the app. Last year, Business Insider reported 1 million people were paying to use Tinder's premium tier.
However, despite millions engaging with online dating apps, singledom is actually on the rise in Australia. The Australian Bureau of Statistics estimates by 2030, 30% of all households in this country will be single person households.
In a survey by dating website eHarmony, of more than 1000 respondents, more than a third of Aussie singles (34%) admitted they harboured a secret crush, but 81% said they were either too anxious or terrified to ask that person out.
eHarmony psychologist Jacqui Manning said it appeared singles had become disillusioned with Valentine's Day and had forgotten the tradition of sending a card to a secret crush was designed for them.
"It's time for singles to reclaim Valentine's Day as the perfect excuse to act on their feelings,” she said.
Tinder has also come under fire for being a place to "hook up” rather than a space to meet long-term partners.
Zoe said it was easy to avoid the hook-up mentality if Tinder users were clear about what they wanted on their profiles.
She also put meeting Jac down to a little luck and being at the right time in their lives. Zoe had been using Tinder, on and off, for about a year before she met Jac.
Initially, the couple had not wanted to tell others they had met on the app but did not come up with a cover story before others began asking about the genesis of their relationship.
"We thought we may as well tell people how we met. There's no point lying about it. And for us, Tinder worked perfectly,” Zoe said.
The couple has not only melded on an emotional level. They also decided to create a business that allowed them to spend their time together.
They bought an old caravan, renovated it and converted it into a mobile bar for parties and weddings.
"Our lives just came together quite easily. Maybe because Jac had been in England for four years and had only come back in the December before he and I met. And I had only been on the Coast since July the year before we met. Because our lives hadn't settled back into a lifestyle here, maybe that is why our lives came together so easily,” Zoe said.
"Our love story kind of turned into our business story, in a way.”
The expectant mother also recommended that people needed to have an open mind to get the most out of their own Tinder experience.
"Don't have a set picture in your head of what you're looking for,” Zoe said.
"I know how lucky I am to have met Jac. I have no doubt in my mind he's going to be an amazing dad.”
Tips for meeting online
- Humour is important and dad jokes do work online. Zoe says Jac's opening line reeled her in from the start. "Two aerials met and got married, the ceremony was terrible but the reception was amazing.”
- Don't tell your life story in your online profile. Leave a little mystery for the first date.
- Don't have pretences about what the date might be like. Go in with an open mind.
- Always message a friend or family member the time and place of the date, before you meet someone online for the first time, and message them again when the date finishes so they know you are safely home.