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Six months ago, if you had told Shirley that she was engaged to be married she probably wouldn’t have believed you.She’d been single for almost 5 years and thought it was too late to find a partner.Of course, like dating in real life, it's not without its pitfalls - the main one being the inability to test chemistry.One date had been the Banter King over email but remained resolutely mute during our coffee, forcing me to fill the silence with inane chatter which bored myself, never mind him.And we went through all the typical phases of an e Harmony relationship: structured communication options, emailing, Facebook friendship, texting, and talking on the phone for hours at a time.But we put faces with names at an early stage in the process.I’m not a massive drinker and the idea of going to a bar and plucking up courage to chat up a girl made me feel sick.I have no problem talking to a girl one to one but the pressure in a bar or nightclub to say the right thing or have a witty story was too much.

Back in 2011 the dating website was still considered the last bastion of the sorry singleton, the modern equivalent of the 1980s personal ad, populated by wide-eyed Miss Havishams clutching tattered wedding scrapbooks, and 40-year-old virgins.

Since the advent of Tinder, the dating app of the Millennial, with all its immediacy, accessibility, and sheer ubiquity, however, online dating is no longer a dirty concept. In a world where we spend as much time online as IRL (in real life) it's hardly surprising dating has become something we're as likely to conduct via a screen as socialising, networking, flirting, or working.

After eight years of hedonistic, rollicking singledom, I signed up to two dating websites - one free, one with subscription - and met my partner Glenn after just two months.

My mates have been settled down for a few years now and I’m happy for them but I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a bit jealous.

They were the wingmen so I felt very much isolated, plus I live in rural Ireland where everyone wants to know your business.