Outsource dating. The game has changed

5 mins read

Finding companionship in a fast-paced world is considered an onerous, timely matter. For some, a viable option is contracting a third party to restore balance in a demanding dating pool.

With the rising costs of living, many have taken on extra hours at work. In some instances, others scored second gigs. Between that is kids, taking care of parents, play dates and community or church. When you calculate the time left for dating, especially if you rely on the digital world, finding romance runs the risk of becoming just another completed task with the touch of a button. But what are the emotional and psychological implications behind this? We explore this question and dating for the mature adult in Ark Republic’s TinderLove series.

“Dating is tough right now—on average, singles spend 10 hours per week on dating apps,” said founder of the matchmaking and dating coach firm, Matched With Love, Darci Roberts.

Scott Valdez, Founder of VIDA Select can certainly relate to that sentiment. At times, clocking 70-hour work weeks, he had little to no breathing room to make any romantic connections, even with a dating app at his fingertips. As a result, Valdez hired his friend, a writer by trade, to interact with potential prospects on his dating app. Soon after, Valdez’s other acquaintances expressed their desire to recruit the same wordsmith. After garnering the writer’s services, one of them landed a nine month relationship, and the other set up his dating profile. 

While this sounds bizarre in the world of dating for old school wooers, this is a gradually growing courtship method in a world of awkwardness spawned by the digital age. “It was really just kind of a validation…[It was] like ‘hey there are probably lot’s [of other people] that would want to do this if it were available to them,’” Valdez told Ark Republic. From this experience, VIDA Select was born.

With virtual dating assistants, VIDA Select helps clients sift through potential baes. Since its launch, there have been a number of engagements, marriages, and babies who were born. 

“I wish we would’ve done a better job of keeping track at the beginning, but at this point there have been hundreds of long-term success stories. And we probably have a lot more than we even know about because most people don’t stay in touch with us a year later,” observed Valdez. 

“But we know for example almost 80 percent of our clients will leave our service because they’ve met someone within about three months.” 

Even Valdez found someone. “I had a 4 ½ to 5-year marriage directly through the service. I was a little more involved than my clients I think, just because I like to give feedback and keep my own skills fresh. But I largely just delegated it to my team. They were doing all the searching, swiping, and messaging.”

Still, with all of the technological advances in meeting someone, there are some drawbacks to how dating apps are set up, according to BMC Psychology discovered. In their swipe-based dating applications (SBDA) study, they found that people who use SBD report higher levels of depression, anxiety, and distress compared to those who do not.

“Dating is an emotional roller coaster. It’s not easy,” said Trenia Norford, founder of matchmaking firm Connectricity.

Valdez pointed out, “I think the emotion that a lot of people feel on dating apps makes it harder for them to get the results that they want. I think in some ways it can cloud their judgment.”

Pew Research Center study released February 2, 2023 found out that eight out of ten adults who are 30 and under use Tinder. Forty-six percent of Americans who have used online dating sites say they have used Tinder. After Tinder was Match, Bumble, okCupid and eHarmony. Photo credit: Cottonbro/Pexels

According to the virtual dating assistant founder, when emotions are involved, people tend to think a little more unreasonably. During the waiting period of a response, the average person forgets that the digital world has asynchronous timing. That means a potential cuddle buddy can holler back within five minutes or five weeks. For the admirer, their waiting and wondering can turn into wild thoughts. “Like, ‘she hasn’t [texted back] in three hours’ and [so] we feel the urgent need to send another message to see why she hasn’t responded to us,” explained the computer love aficionado. 

“It’s part of what makes our approach more effective if we take a more unemotional, rational, and scientific approach that most people would not take. It produces much better results,” said Valdez.

Unfortunately, people approach dating like they would anything in life.

“They just kind of throw stuff against the wall to see what sticks…They throw up a profile, slap up some pictures [that] probably [are] not that appealing, and just hope for the best.”

It’s interesting, according to Valdez, how most people claim finding a person, marrying them, and starting a family, is one of the top three most important things they want to get figured out in their life.

“[But] if you look at what they’ve done so far, it looks like it was done by someone who doesn’t care. But they do care,” said Valdez.

“It’s important to find recurring things that caused your previous relationships not to work and what made some of the relationships a little more happier and satisfactory…[It’s about] doing like basic exploration work of understanding who it is that you’re [looking for],” Valdez continued. 

From his point of view, it’s really about connecting with and understanding what people are looking for, then taking a thoughtful, and in some cases a more systematic approach in finding that individual in a way that is unemotional. 

Catch up on the TinderLove Series | The real struggle: Getting back into dating after relocating from a big city 

Quick. Change the subject.

Fortunately, Valdez has never been in a situation where he went out on a date with a match and got lost in conversation. Why? Because he, in reality, was not the one doing the messaging. 

“I think the key is that your profile and some of the initial messaging is really crafted for you. It’s something that we do for all of our clients.” 

Indeed, Valdez wrote messages for prospects in the event they liked the outdoors, traveling, and more. His reasoning is to prevent any difference between his voice and the voice his dates would hear in person. 

“I had a lot of foundational [responses] that were really written by me that felt like me and we do the same for our clients today,” Valdez continued.

In the unlikely event that a slight discrepancy in your speech is recognized, you could always chalk it up to the fact that people write differently online than they speak in person, according to Valdez.

“I’m sure you’ve chatted with someone who seemed pretty humorous online and you didn’t laugh once on the date.”

As well, clients still have access to their dating apps. “Most of our clients prefer to not look at it. [But] before they go to meet someone, they’ll go through those messages.” Moreover, screenshots and other comments are provided on why your virtual dating assistant thinks someone is a good match. 

Despite the availability and convenience of virtual dating assistants, everyone’s dating experience will be different. It will undoubtedly take some time to decide which mode of finding someone works best for you.

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While Valdez and others chart new territory in the dating app world, it makes one wonder where companies that offer so much personable services are going with encroaching AI. But for now, the digital woo woo is working. Whether you decide to use a dating app yourself or hire a helper to handle the grunt work for you, it’s ultimately best to be as specific as you can. So if you were one of the many, like me, who left expensive cities such as New York, D.C., or Los Angeles, then migrated South, you are probably still figuring out how to navigate the landscape regarding affaires du cœur.  Whether you have mastered eating squirrels and raccoons or are tied to chopped cheese, it would be wise to make your assistant aware of that or state it explicitly on your dating profile.

Journalist established in 2001, inspired by transformative leads.

The TinderLove series looks at dating for the mature adult. Sorry millennials, the Generation Xers and Boomers need love too.

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