More than two thirds of couples are meeting online, according to the author of a new book “Third Time Lucky at Table L2”. The increasing popularity of online dating has prompted a Broadford woman to provide a guide with useful tips to navigate what can be a “quagmire” for those who are ill-prepared to distinguish between a virtual lothario and a genuine lover.
It is a book about internet dating, demonstrating what to expect when looking for love online interspersed with true stories of romantic adventures and misadventures. The book will be launched in the Washer Woman, Ballina, Killaloe on Saturday, September 2, at 7.30pm. Now living in Ballina, Killaloe, her book has a happy ending as she chronicles how she found love just across the river with her current partner.
“I was at a wedding recently where the couple met on “Plenty of Fish”, which was where I met my partner, Kerry Blake, who is in my final chapter,” she said.
“Kerry is from Cork. His father was from Mountshannon. He went to Germany for work for years, came back to Newmarket-on-Fergus, and moved to Killaloe seven years ago.”
While the book is written from a female perspective, for women in their fifties who are looking for love, she believes men can also learn a lot about certain characters to avoid.
The mother-of-three provides tips on affirmation, exercise, diet, and how to meet a new person safely with an escape route if a person isn’t comfortable with their date after making an online connection. She believes it is important for someone to learn how to love themselves before they go out to meet someone else.
In addition to outlining her own experiences, she provides some humorous stories from friends who also engaged in online dating. This is her second book having written “Community at Heart” – who will bury our dead?” outlining the need for more lay people to complete clerical duties. “Third Time Lucky” describes her experiences of three different periods she participated in virtual dating, not the third person she met. The traditional route of meeting someone in a pub wasn’t a realistic option for Ms O’Connell, which prompted her to try internet dating.
“It is a quagmire, it is a confusing way to date. It is rife with scammers who are waiting to find a new person and a bot – a computer set up to hook you in. You think you are talking to a person but you will realise their English isn’t perfect,” she said.
“A scammer can pretend they are coming to meet you, but they are usually an American soldier who is working abroad and needs you to accept a package for them. It sounds innocent enough but then the parcel is held up in customs and only requires €20 to release it.
“This is the scammer can get your bank details. People do get caught out. Men tend to be drawn into scams easier.
“Online dating is also very good because you can get to know the real person if you meet them early on. The virtual person can be completely different from the real person.”
Her first entry to the online dating world was ten years ago when she was in her late forties. She felt, if she met ten people at the time, on the law of averages, one of them would have to be decent. Number nine sparked a relationship for a few years, which she recalls was a “nice but not a long term relationship”. Most of her in-person dates took place at table L2 at Pointe Vecchio. On her third time, she decided to narrow her search and stay local.
“There was a man with a nice profile who lived just across the river from me, but I had passed him by in the past as he had a moustache,” she said.
“Moustaches are not my thing, but I decided to take my own advice and look past the moustache, we could always negotiate this at a later date, all going well. I messages him and was delighted to receive a lovely message in return. We bantered back and forth, and he seemed genuine and nice. he felt authentic.”
While Ms O’Connell was sitting in her car in traffic on her way home from work, she heard the owner of Goosers restaurant say “Hi Kerry”, which spiked her interest as Kerry was the name of the man she was chatting to.
“There are not many male Kerry’s in our area. One look and I saw a nice well-dressed man stopping to chat with the owner. They were smiling together and as Kerry walked away, I could see his moustache, it was my Kerry,” she said. “On my return home, I fired up my laptop and sent a message asking him to meet for coffee. I was rewarded with a smiley face and a ‘thought you would never ask’ response. We arranged to meet the following Wednesday after work.”
On their first date, they went for dinner in a local restaurant, “ate, chatted, laughed and time flew by”. As they hugged goodbye, she realised she had not even noticed his moustache and he invited her to pizza and wine in Pointe Vecchio at that weekend. Following an enjoyable drive along the coast, she knew she was lucky to meet him and cursed herself for not meeting him sooner because of his moustache, which she wouldn’t change now.
“When I fall love, it always stops me in my tracks. It makes me feel giddy and soft. I was giddy with Kerry. Falling in love can feel like floating through air on a misty warm day. It opens your mind to trying new things and building new experiences,” she said.
“We feel invincible and have a great view of our lives an ourselves. Kerry and I have been together for almost three years. We feel so comfortable, relaxed and contented with each other.
“Kerry may not be perfect, but then again neither am I, but we are perfect together. We are happy. We give each other strength and confidence. I love how witty he is, and I really love his belly laugh. I fell in love with how he said my name.
“We have a myriad of differences, but we always find ways to compromise. I am sure Kerry and I are about to discover that like any good love story, life will have twists and turns, but I am confident our story will end in happy ever after.”
In the book, she brings readers into her world of online dating. Readers will learn how to become a “relationship detective” by considering the clues and hidden messages, within the words and photos online.
Online dating is rife with confusing terminology, but with the help of this book, people can learn how to navigate the tumultuous waters of modern day courtship. Written in a light-hearted way, it carried an important message of toxic personalities to be aware of. From dating woes and warnings to ravishing romance, the ample anecdotes with the book will demonstrate exactly what to expect when looking for love online.
The true stories of romantic adventures and misadventures will help people spot the difference between Mr Right and Mr Right Now.
“Most men I met were nice. When I was online dating, I jumped into it without any guidelines, it was all new. I didn’t go near Tinder so I signed up to a website, “Another Friend”,” she said. “After I was single for a while, I tried it for a second time and did meet someone nice. I met everyone from the narcissist, the breadcrumer, love bombing the ghosting guys.
Ms O’Connell has been a pastoral worker in the Diocese of Killaloe, a choir member and a dancer in an all-girl troupe.
In 2005, she enrolled in Mary Immaculate College as a mature student studying an Arts degree in English and Theology, before completing a post grad and a masters in adult and continuing education.