"Firstly I would like to encourage readers to bear with me. I remember reading other people's stories when I first went on the Parship website and being dubious as to whether they were real and wondering what percentage of people really manage to meet future partners online."
There are a number of reasons for this. I was very busy with work and I did not put enough effort into searching for an ideal match. The problem with all of the other sites I found is that you are inevitably drawn to photos of people, and sometimes you don't even bother to read profiles or chat online to people on the strength of these. To some extent this is little better than trying to bump into your future wife in a bar.
With Parship it is different. (I know this sounds like a cheesy dating advert or something but it really is true). Because you cannot see anybody's photo you have to read profiles and exchange emails. The compatibility test is better than anything I found on other websites. Only somebody who is serious would even bother to take the time to fill it out. And yet once you're up and running it works very smoothly and you quickly start to benefit from the time you invested in creating your profile because inappropriate matches have been cut out.
The compatibility test definitely does something right. Before meeting Margret I went on 12 dates with people I had met on Parship and without exception they were all really enjoyable and lasted the entire evening. I never felt the need to invent an excuse to leave. I remember being disappointed that there was no spark, or physical attraction, with my other matches but because we had a lot in common to talk about I knew that it was working with Parship and that with patience there was a very good chance I would strike it lucky.
That obviously proved to be the case and I cannot begin to describe how happy I am that once I found Parship I persevered with it for four months. I have encouraged every single friend I have to do the same. Finally, despite everything I say about photos - and I stand by it - I do believe that guys in particular should go to the effort to find a decent one! Sooner or later if the profile is appealing and the chat is good you will want to see somebody's photo. Margret would never have agreed to meet me if it weren't for our email exchanges being so good but it is not worth taking that chance!
We were a 69% match. It wasn't the highest score I had with another Parship member but it was high enough for me to take notice of him. The test was really fun to do and interesting too. I think it's important as it did really help both of us sift through the many, many people on Parship and find people we had something in common with. I LOVE the fact the photos are not public. In my line of work I don't want to have my face plastered all over a website... and also it meant that I gave people a chance before seeing their photo. I also don't believe photos are a good way of working out attraction, as people look different in photos. Jake’s photos were awful, but I gave him a date because I loved his emails. Thank goodness I did!
I had only been on the site for a week when I was contacted by another member who was also 31, also a journalist and also lived in South London. I think he winked at me and I responded by writing ''You are 31, a journalist and living in South London, maybe you are me and I am talking to myself'' I think he found this very funny as he wrote back straight away. We exchanged photos pretty quickly, after the second or third message. I wasn't sure about him in the photos, but there was something about his messages that I really liked so I decided to give him a chance.
Our first date through Parship - now our 'meeting' anniversary... was the 12th June 2009. I remember it was a warm evening and we had arranged to meet for a game of tennis. As I approached the big wooden building I saw a figure some 20 odd metres away... I remember seeing this dark, handsome man and hoping he was Jake. The handsome man turned, smiled and walked towards me. It was him! He was MUCH better looking in real life... (Even today I often joke with him about his awful photos). After the tennis we headed to a restaurant, where we ordered wine and talked for hours! I remember he had a lovely laugh - it was so lovely being able to talk to someone for ages and not feel bored, uncomfortable or keen to leave! When they kicked us out, at around midnight I think, he walked me to my car. I felt like kissing him but chose not to, as I wanted to keep him keen I guess...
During the date I commented on his really old Nokia phone and I also expressed shock at the long length of his nails! 2 days later I get a text from him saying '' If I promise to cut my talons and work on getting a new phone, would you agree to see me again?'' I, of course, said yes and the rest is history!
I knew pretty much after a month or so that this was the real deal. We fell in love and after 10 months Jake took me away to the Lake District where he proposed with a lovely diamond ring. A year after that…July 23 2011... we got married in Tuscany with all our friends and family with us. I love Jake more than I can say. He is everything I have ever wanted in a man; handsome, smart, kind, patient and funny. We complement each other perfectly and we are also very similar in our views about life... it just works. Who knew the love of my life would live only 10 minutes away from me but would find me on the internet. Before I went onto Parship I was a real sceptic. I didn't think the net dating thing worked... I thought it would be weird and contrived to meet someone this way. No, no, no. It works so well because it gives you a chance to meet people you would probably not bump into otherwise! We are now living together in South London and planning a family soon!