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The Early Starter
by Diva


Chen Huixin, 28, an associate editor, went for her first dating event three years ago. Since then, she's gone for at least one event a year, usually with a female friend her age. She goes when she has time and when the events interest her. The youngest of our four interviewees, Huixin went for her first dating event - a speed-dating session - when she was 25. Since then, the eloquent university grad has attended three events and won't rule out more.

Huixin says it's not unusual to see women in their early or mid-20s at such events. "I've even seen undergraduate girls," she adds. At the start, she signed up hoping to meet friends outside of work. But in the last three years, finding a future husband has also become a priority. "There are milestones that you pass in life, like getting a university degree or your first job.

Right now, my next life goal is to get married and start a family," she says, adding that she has not been in a serious relationship before. Besides dating events, she's also widening her social circle by volunteering twice a month as a teacher at MINDS, a non-governmental organisation for the intellectually disabled.

Her Mr Right? Someone not more than five years older who's professionally driven and with whom she can communicate. She hopes to find him by the time she's 32, and going for dating events is a first step. "It's harder to find someone when you're older, and you might get discouraged more easily if you face rejection," she says.

Plus, finding the right one takes time. Huixin knows of couples who dated for years before breaking up, and end up having to go back to the dating drawing board. She herself has had to spend time filtering out duds. Like that one time at a dating event when she met a guy who seemed "awesome" - tall, handsome and doing well in his career. But though they barely knew each other, he called her the next day to tell her that her voice was "husky", and quizzed her on her views about cohabitation.

They didn't go out. That said, she describes most of the guys at dating events as decent and friendly. She went on a couple of dates with one such guy last year, though it didn't lead to anything special. She is not currently dating anyone. Based on her marriage "timeline", Huixin's got four years to find Mr Right.

She points out that the median age of marriage among Singaporean women is between 28 and 29 years old - not too far off from where she is. "Now's the time to start taking charge of my love life," she says.

Huixin's tip: "If you've never been to a dating event before, aim to have fun and to get a 'feel' of things. Generally, the best events to meet younger guys in their 20s would be social mixers - like board game nights - and travel events."

More young ones?

More young women are attending dating events. "It used to be very rare for ladies below 25 to join, but their numbers have been slowly increasing," says Michelle Goh, who has been in the matchmaking industry for five years and is founder of Completeme, an SDN-accredited dating agency that specialises in organising group events for singles. "They're still apprehensive and will usually come with friends. But it's good that they're taking charge of their love lives."


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