Dating is a minefield. Years ago, people would meet at the dance hall, start courting, get married - life seemed simpler. Nowadays, if someone gives you a drink in a bar, you’d be worried they had spiked it.

While online dating apps help to connect people looking for short-term and long-term relationships, they can also pose a whole new set of problems. It’s a tricky playing field to navigate, no matter what you are looking for. Relationships are not always straightforward and can give rise to confusing situations and emotions.


In fact, a recent nationwide survey, conducted by Dara & Co has revealed that over 50% of women aged 35-54 and nearly 25% of men under 45 acknowledge having experienced unhealthy relationships.

It also showed that 54% of respondents acknowledge experiencing feelings of loneliness. This statistic sharply increases among specific demographics, with 77% of females aged 18-24, and 62% of those uncomfortable with their financial situation reporting heightened feelings of isolation. Furthermore, 34% of participants admit to not loving themselves completely as they are. This sentiment intensifies among specific age groups, reaching 46% among females aged 25-34 and further escalating to 48% among females aged 35-44.

Dara & Co

As mentioned, this survey was conducted by Dara & Co — a new Irish consumer-focused edtech platform committed to transforming people’s journeys by addressing the rising challenges of unhealthy relationships.

With a dedication to inclusivity, accessibility, and personalised experiences, Dara & Co aims to stand at the forefront of reshaping the way individuals approach personal growth and relationship education.

“I look at my own mom and dad, (they’ll be married 46 years this year), how their relationship evolved and how they stuck it out together,” says Naomh McElhatton, CEO of Dara & Co.

“And then I look at my own relationships. I have a tough agenda now as to what my expectations and standards are in a relationship. If they’re not good enough, it’s not happening. Unless somebody is really bringing something to the table, it’s going to be very hard for me to even trust or get into a new relationship because I’ve been let down in the past, and I don’t want to go through the heartache again.

“A lot of my girlfriends are either separated or on their second marriage. There can be feelings of isolation and loneliness when you’re going through these situations. This is one of the key things I want to achieve with content on Dara & Co, to bring comfort and reassurance to people. For people to know they’re not on their own and not the only one going through this.”

Naomh is an award-winning, seasoned entrepreneur, speaker and mentor renowned for her female leadership in the technology and digital education sectors. In addition to her role at Dara & Co, she is a recognised thought leader through her work as a STEM Ambassador and is the Entrepreneurial Lead for Women in AI Ireland, who are passionate about AI that champions diversity and inclusion.

“By taking heed of these survey statistics, we are committed to addressing the core needs of users,” she says.

“The platform goes beyond traditional learning by placing humans front and centre at every touchpoint, providing reassurance and peace of mind through genuine connections and expert guidance.

“I think we have an opportunity here to create something that is a change-maker for all adults, no matter what stage of your journey you’re on.”


Dara & Co offers advice through people-led articles on the platform, covering areas from personal growth to relationship resilience, wellbeing, dating and sex life. Advice is brought to life with a selection of masterclasses from experts in areas such as sex, burnout, online dating and coming out.

The other two pillars of the platform to engage with users are events — online webinars held regularly with a broad range of professionals — and the Dara & Co podcast, hosted by editor Elaine Burke.

“We’re already rolling out phase two which is a forum,” says Naomh. “We want to bring people together. For example, young farmers in rural Ireland who might feel disconnected can come on, register for the platform, and talk about their genuine interests with other people. It’s giving people the opportunity to have new conversations and that’s what we want to do — reconnect people.

“I think it’s so important, especially given where we are at the minute, we need more human interaction. Hopefully we will help provide that.”

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