2020 was challenging, to say the least, but the people you’re about to meet in this blog post happened to find love amidst the pandemic. The UK had gone into its first lockdown and Sophie and Mike found themselves messaging each other on Plenty of Fish one night, and the rest is history!
Names: Sophie Mei & Mike
What city are you located in?
We’re in Yorkshire.
When did you meet on Plenty of Fish?
We actually met during the first lockdown in the UK when we started chatting on Plenty of Fish. We stuck to messaging at first until restrictions eased up. When we were able to finally meet, Mike gave me a personal training session as we both love fitness! He is a body transformation coach and I do mental health blogging and vlogging so it worked well as we had a lot in common.
I understand you met during the pandemic, what was that like getting to know each other during these times?
Absolutely bizarre times! I think it either makes your relationship or breaks it. We have seen the best and worst of each other in a short space of time, so we’re lucky enough to say our relationship is stronger because of it and feels like we have known each other forever!
What made you want to try online dating? I know you liked your experience on Plenty of Fish best, what was it that you liked so much about our app vs. others?
I work in the media and have always done bellydance as my side hustle on top of working as a presenter and journalist so I’ve attracted the wrong type of people in the past! I love my work so I never had time to date juggling work and being a single mum. Lockdown gave me the time I needed to reflect and actually fulfill my desire for a decent partner who complimented me rather than hindered my progress in life. Even if I hadn’t been in lockdown, online dating works best for me as I can do it around my childcare, fitness, dance, and work!
I learned about Plenty of Fish over a Zoom call with some of my girlfriends who are also journalists. I had already tried apps and a few sites but never met people with aligning values, even when I tried sites reflecting my faith. Plenty of Fish straight away seemed like a better caliber of matches and provided the detailed profiles I was looking for. I actually said, “please don’t add me on social media” on my profile as I was looking for a relationship rather than just random encounters or more followers. Although Mike did add me in the end on my belly dancing profile, I could see that his profile seemed legit and he was into fitness and business too so I gave him a chance!
How has dating during a pandemic been different from before?
Intense! It was challenging as I hate texting and calling because I already have to be online all day and on social media with my work.
I know you’re a big mental health and fitness advocate, what are your best tips for singles who are currently dating during the pandemic?
The pandemic has made things tough mentally and physically so self-care is so important and finding a trusted support network online/over the phone/video call or groups is something I recommend. I set up Squats and Sparkles – Women’s Health Club on Facebook to chat and communicate with like-minded women about our holistic health, mind, body, and even relationships as they all play a part in our lives.
Once I felt good mentally and on top of my fitness game, I had the right mindset to date and find someone with matching values. It’s always a good idea to be in a good place with yourself first before looking to date.
When you first saw each of your profiles, what was it that stood out to you?
A filter-free smiley photo of me was what attracted Mike to my profile! I was in fitness gear and my description was genuine and stated that I was looking for a relationship. Photos without filters really help someone to get to know you for who you are (preach, Sophie!) and for me it was important to add my hobbies and values – fitness, business, family, ambition and non-judgemental values are a must.
Who messaged who first and why?
Mike messaged me, I am a bit old-school only in that sense. He had to lead the way until we were officially a couple.
How do you overcome challenges together?
If in doubt, we workout – literally! We have been through so many hurdles already just to see each other and Mike has traveled a lot! I think the fact we both are open-minded and have a positive mindset, means we are fit to make the best choices we can. I needed someone with strong biceps as I have a lot of baggage to carry (lol). Luckily, Mike just comes with a cat and a gym!
Do you two have a shared guilty pleasure?
We both love coffee and protein bars as well as going on outdoor adventures. Mike is finally catching up with my energy and enthusiasm for exploring the outdoors and we have done the Yorkshire Three Peaks and been on outdoor spa breaks so far. Mike loves eating out whereas I love shopping and dancing, but luckily we love any quality time together so we compromise.
What’s something you’ve learned from one another since you’ve been together?
Mike has helped me with my technique with exercise and has encouraged me to lift weights which has transformed my mind and body! He’s also shown me that I deserve to be in a positive relationship and how helpful and healthy that is! He has been consistent and very patient with all my social media photography and vlogging of our daily lives. I have taught him about media and marketing for business and also how to be more sociable and to create a home rather than a man cave!
What is your best piece of advice for those using Plenty of Fish to find their partner?
Quality over quantity when it comes to dating! At times I said I need a Personal Assistant to help me with dating and inbox messages. It’s all about knowing what you want but also being flexible if you meet someone you really gel with. Go in with an open mind as it is better to find a soul mate than just someone who ticks your boxes!
Sophie and Mike now work and live together between their homes and are running our own Mind and Body fitness business called Strong Leader and write newspaper columns on mind and body workouts.