This Valentine’s Day, I’m giving up dating apps and looking for love in unconventional places

just feel so happy that I’m doing things my way (Picture: Minreet Kaur)

It’s Saturday morning and the sun is out. It’s a bit chilly but I’m up bright and early, deciding what to wear for Park Run. 

When I arrive, I see lots of people, and it makes me feel excited knowing someone here could be the person for me.

After the run, I speak to a few people and can’t wait to return next week.

In 2008, I divorced my then-husband and have now been single for 13 years. I’ve been looking for the right person for about eight years now. 

During that time, I have tried dating apps – both those for Asians, and those specifically for Sikhs. 

However, due to the number of horrible experiences I’ve had – from being catfished to meeting some of the strangest people – I am scarred for life and have decided to give up for good. 

Many men online are just interested in a one night stand by the way they talk to you. I felt so put off when a guy messaged me straight away saying lots of very forward comments like: ‘You’re so beautiful, you’re just the type of person for me, can you send me your pictures?’ 

I’m not sure if it’s because I am in my 40s, and I didn’t grow up using apps in my earlier years – but, to me, there is something special in meeting someone organically. It just feels more natural and comfortable. 

So, in my quest to meet a partner, I’ve now turned to signing up for unconventional events. 

Already in 2022, I have enrolled for things including cookery lessons, wine tasting, ramblers’ walks, singles’ holidays, tennis club, golf, and book clubs.

And, a big one for me stems from something I love doing – keeping fit and running. I’ve signed up for a weekly Park Run – a free weekly event every Saturday, taking place at parks across the country. 

As well as the potential to meet someone with similar interests to me, these are all really interesting things that I would never have done before. I want to explore, meet new people and do things outside of my comfort zone. 

MinreetEven if I don’t meet someone, I can still enjoy the activity I’m doing (Picture: Minreet Kaur)

Rather than swiping on random people, based on pictures – I want to go to events I know I’ll enjoy, with someone who enjoys being there, too.

After two years of this pandemic, I believe it’s time I got myself out there and found the man of my dreams – because I’m sure he exists somewhere. 

I am a chatty person and wherever I go, I make friends. My new plan is a different way of finding a partner – but I just feel so happy that I’m doing things my way. 

Dating apps made me so unhappy as I just find guys are so sleazy, and aren’t respectful. You have to spend hours scouring dating apps to find perhaps one decent guy. I just don’t have this time, or patience. By meeting people at events, you get to meet a real person – and there isn’t the worry of whether the person is pretending to be someone else. 

It’s hard seeing others with partners moving on in life, and I feel like I’m in the same position I was years ago. 

I want to meet someone I can share things with. Things like going to restaurants, having date nights, travelling, and chilling on the sofa. I want a companion who I can share my good and bad days with. 

I think my loneliness is the reason I feel it’s down to me to make that effort. I want to challenge myself to do lots of different things, in the hope that I come across ‘Mr Right’ without even realising – and without the pressure of dating apps.

Even if I don’t meet someone, I can still enjoy the activity I’m doing. 

The beauty of these real-life events is that you can speak to someone casually and develop a friendship. Then, if you feel there is a spark, you take it further.

I am not someone who wants a bit of fun, or a one night stand. I am not desperate – I am looking to meet someone with whom I can share a future, settle down and have a family with. 

And so, I am undertaking as many different types of events there are. I have told myself that every week, I need to be doing something different to meet new people. 

A friend of mine, who is also single, has said that she will come to the events I’m signing up for, because she too has had enough of dating apps. 

I know we are moving to a more digital world, but I am old school and love traditional ways of meeting people – and doing things like my parents would have, when they were introduced. 

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I’m also open to introductions – and I always tell people I am single and looking to meet someone. For me, it’s no longer about the religion – and more the person. It was about religion at first, but now I’ve realised that there are so many people out there who are decent, single and I could connect with them if I was more open-minded. 

And I know there is someone out there for everyone, but it’s all about timing. So, until I meet that special someone, I am on a mission to conquer all these unconventional events. 

I want to meet someone kind, caring, genuine, funny, who has character. Next time you hear from me, I hope to be married to a man from Park Run. He exists, I know it. 

Do you have a story you’d like to share? Get in touch by emailing jess.austin@metro.co.uk. 

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