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Tuesday lunchtime in any Central London restaurant is filled with the usual mix of business meetings, lunching ladies and couples, perhaps on a first date with the polite gleam of hope in the eye that this could be leading to maybe more.

However in some cases it’s pre-determined that the “maybe more” is highly unlikely. Many ladies it seems have resigned themselves to the idea that a great deal of men on dating sites are looking for nothing more than a leg over. The women of the online dating scene have grown a thick skin, and in a survey conducted by matchmaking agency Catch Me Cupid it seems 54% of women admitted to going on at least one date purely for a free meal.

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We spoke to one such lady who has pushed this trend to its limits, let’s call her “Sarah”, a stunning young woman in her late twenties with a job in retail and living in the capital. Sarah admits to going on up to three dates a day simply to cover each meal. But interestingly she said she was in fact looking for Mr. Right amongst the all eating and drinking, even if they are all inputted into Sarah’s cunning spreadsheet which helps keeps a record of each one and avoid slip ups.

“I am looking” Says Sarah “but I say yes to nearly everyone who asks so I can meet lots of men and save money on eating in nice places too, I don’t feel I’m being deceptive as each man has a chance, he could be much better in person that I expect, but he just doesn’t know how many men he is up against.”

So how can daters guard against this and other unscrupulous practices of opportunist out there in the online dating forum. Siobhan Copland founder of Catch Me Cupid advises taking time to get to know the person you’re interested before going on actual dates.
“We always meet every potential match in person before we can recommend them for a date with one of our clients. We vet their Linkedin account to check their credentials and ensure they are in a position in life to be suitable for a professional single. Before rushing to meet someone you’ve met online take some time to have a few phone conversations, not only will you see if you get along but you should be able to ask questions that check the other persons sincerity. If someone has a genuine interest in finding someone for a long term commitment, talking for a while before going on an actual date won’t put them off.”

Siobhan also recommends making more effort to meet offline. Do people still do that!?
“Dating sites are increasing their presents in offline events such as bar mixers, there are also web sites devoted to introducing singles in the real world. No instant messaging or awkward first dates, instead the old fashioned singles bars are making a comeback. To choose which best suit you find something happening in a place that most appeals your taste, so if you like upmarket soirees try a Knightsbridge Buddha bar Mixer or perhaps you’re more health conscious and singles yoga would be a more likely place to meet your ideal partner. We try to get our clients to meet at a mixer first, no only is it less pressured but they can feel organic about their meeting and guarantees no time wasters.”

To book a consultation with Siobhan you can join the network here
Also check out singles events at http://www.meetup.com/London-Social-Singles/

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