The reality of dating: how to find your next partner

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Dating and relationships have become reality show gold: some people date in the dark and others get married the first time they meet. However, the reality of dating is that it isn't often as simple as it seems on TV.

In the olden days, love was often left to matchmakers or involved sidelong glances at each other from afar. Today, dating can be much more complex and sometimes involves dozens of bachelorettes (or bachelors) vying for your love and affection. Making time to find Mr or Ms Right might not fit in with trying to juggle travelling, making time for friends and family or building a career.

A report by Relationships Australia in 2011 showed that simply meeting enough people was one of the biggest road blocks singles faced when looking for a partner. Fortunately, when it's time to finally settle down, there are plenty of ways to go about meeting that special someone that don't involve a rose ceremony. Here are a few tips that may help you find the one!

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Short Courses

If you believe Paula Abdul, opposites attract. In reality, you're likely to be much better off finding someone that you share similar interests with - 84 per cent of Australian singles consider this to be an important factor in a partner . Taking a class at your local community college, art gallery or anywhere else that offers something you're passionate about means you'll have a better chance of finding someone who you can connect with on an intellectual level.

Speed dating

This is suitable for the time-poor or those who want to skip the small talk and discuss life goals and dreams within five minutes. For an interesting twist, try themed speed dating, such as the Craft Singles Work Shops (based in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane) which holds eight craft challenges (such as composing love songs and making plasticine figures) for 32 singles where you create for five minutes, then move on to the next task.

Meet up with like-minded daters started as a way to connect people to their local community by helping people with similar interests get together. Search online for "Dating and relationships Meetups", then key in your state and home town to find a group of singles who like going out. There are singles groups for vegans, fitness buffs and there are even groups based on age ranges and preferences. Once you've set up a profile on meetup you can browse the current singles groups or start your own.

Online dating

Finding a partner can be as easy as swiping right on your phone a Saturday night. Online dating is one of the most common ways for Australians to find love, along with meeting through friends and family or at work.

Meeting someone online is the third-most popular place to find a match.

OKCupid: Dubbed "the Google of online dating", OkCupid differentiates itself by using a complex algorithm to help people find matches quicker. It's free to create a profile and start looking for love, and there are apps for iOS and Android. It also has thought-provoking data regarding "Race and attraction" collected from its daters over the years. Their approach is: "We don't care what you do, just don't be a jerk about it ."

RSVP: Set up a profile and send and accept virtual kisses, which are free. You can purchase virtual stamps to start communicating with people who interest you with a subscription . RSVP claims one out of every three Australians on its site end up in a long-term relationship, and one in five get married or settle down.

eHarmony: Fill out an in-depth relationship questionnaire so you can be matched with compatible singles based 29 unique dimensions of compatibility. There is a free version with limited capabilities for connecting with matches and paid versions . Since its Australian launch in 2007, 2.6 million people have registered with the site and there have been over 11,000 marriages to date .

Tinder: Tinder is free. You swipe right on the app to express interest. There are limits on swiping and rewinding to keep it genuine, unless you pay for Tinder Plus, where you can "like" to the limit.

Grindr: This phone app for gay and bisexual men is free and shows the location of the nearest possible dates or hook-ups on a map. You tap on photos to see the user's profile, chat and send photos. There is also Blendr, for people of various sexual orientations or those seeking non-sexual friendships. To use, you need to become a subscriber to communicate with prospective suitors. You must be over 18, single or separated . According to the site, 1 in 5 relationships begin online. Membership is free and you must not have been convicted of a felony, or be required to register as a sex offender.

Plenty of Fish: It's free to create a profile and send messages via There are over 3 million active users on the site and you can use their Chemistry Predictor to be matched with other singles who you are the most likely to get along with.

JSwipe: This app is for those looking for a Jewish match, and loads with a spinning star of David. Just fill in your religious sect and kosher status and you're good to go. If you match with someone, a Hava Nagila animation appears along with a "Mazel Tov" graphic of a person being hoisted up on a chair.

iThe Nielsen Company, 2015, Relationship success - study shows sharing domestic duties more important than money or religion, 11 June, viewed 10 July 2015,

iiAddington, T. 2015, 'RSVP jumps into bed with core advertising', B&T, 2 June, viewed 10 July 2015,

iiiOkCupid 2015, We use math to find you dates, viewed 14 July 2015,

ivRSVP, Why RSVP, viewed 24 July,

vSheftalovich, Z. 2014, 'Can you really find true love online?', choice, 4 November, viewed 24 July 2015,

vieHarmony, there's a lot of love in here, viewed 24 July 2015, 2014, Terms of agreement, 5 February, viewed 14 July 2015,