A couple of years ago, I decided to try online dating.

First, I tried Tinder which is a dating app where you swipe left or right on pictures of people you are considering meeting up with. 

I had a lot of trouble getting dates and the date I did go on didn’t work out as the man didn’t suit the photo I had of him. I eventually made my excuses and left. 

Dating apps like Tinder, Hinge and Bumble are free to download, but you should always check if you have to pay for certain services or subscriptions, or you might get an unexpected shock like I did when I discovered I was being charged for the Tinder service which I didn't realise I was. 

After this experience I looked online for dating websites like Match.com. Again, there was a price for this, so I didn’t join as I thought it was too expensive. 

Then I found the Happily Dating project which is open to people with a learning disability and autistic people. This was recommended to me through a support worker called Susan from Centre 404 who provide some of my support, including handling my personal budget.  

Susan helped me to get in touch with the Happily Dating project manager called Helena. There was still a fee which is £25 pounds for a consultation meeting, and £120 pounds for 12 months membership to pay for this service.

My support worker who deals with my personal budget suggested I could use this to pay these fees which I agreed to and she then helped organise. 

I went to a meeting with both Helena and Susan and it was discussed that Helena would send details of a possible person to arrange a date with.

It is suggested that you meet the person at first with a support worker as a chaperone to make sure you are safe. I ended up meeting a person called James with my support worker as a chaperone. I also did the same thing on my second date. 

I now see James on my own and we are just friends which suits me better. 

I know most people like doing everything online nowadays, especially because of coronavirus, which will probably enable people to do more virtual meetings and socialising. I think that this is a good thing, as long as it works for you. 

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