I shared a blanket with my fiancé—two years before we actually met.

by Russ Haywood

This is the story of our founder, Russ Haywood, and the journey that sparked the creation of Parallel. It’s a story of relationships ending and beginning, all while slogging through the dating world’s inherent inefficiencies. If you want to try out our solution, a relationship compass, feel free to download Parallel now on iOS or Android.

I shared a blanket with my fiancé (also the mother of our two children)—two years before we actually met. We were dating other people at the time but shared a blanket on a grassy hillside alongside a circle of distant friends. We casually talked about her move to California and our favorite set of the day (electronic indie duo Matt and Kim). The evening sun was great, a field mouse ran across everyone’s feet, and that was it. No phone number, no love from afar. We stumbled on with our teetering relationships until each inevitably ended. 

Two years later, on April 2nd, 2016, I happened to attend a First Avenue concert with a friend and his wife, who started a quaint conversation with the random blonde lady standing in front of us. I eventually asked her a question of my own, “Is she excited about any upcoming concerts?” She lobbed me a softball, “I am but don’t have anyone to go with…” That same day she’d informed her landlord that she was sick of the Minnesota loneliness and was returning to California and her ex. If we hadn’t run into each other that night she would’ve journeyed West.

A month into dating we discovered a mutual friend online—my ex—and that we’d already met.

Two humans and a startup are born

We’re in our late thirties so romance and life accelerated quickly. Now, we’re locked down in a pandemic with two extremely small (and adorable) children without daycare or grandparents. Occasionally, as I stare blankly in total ‘2020 Overwhelm’ I wonder…What if we hadn’t spent two years apart after we first met? What fine adventures we might’ve had, sans children, if each prior relationship had moved along faster?

What if a “relationship compass” could’ve helped us navigate or avoid our doomed relationships? What if when we’d first met at that concert we’d been single and knew exactly how compatible we really were?

Current dating apps don’t exactly provide this kind of guidance. Instead of asking the hard questions, they encourage people to make snap swipe decisions based on a few photos and words. If an app does prompt users to share their intentions, politics, or hopes for the future, users’ complex answers are typically boiled down to a badge on their profile. Without guidance, it’s easy to end up on an early date where one person is really just looking for something physical, while the other is only in the market for something serious. Or worse, to end up in a full-blown relationship with someone who is incompatible. Even if you originally matched, all deep mismatches will eventually surface, dredging awkwardness, ghosting, hurt feelings, and wasted time along with.

What would the dating world be like if we were all upfront about our relationship needs and wants?

Hypotheticals like this one led me to become co-founder and CEO of Unveil.Social, SBC™. We built that “relationship compass” (we call it Parallel™) because we want everyone to know how much tremendous social and romantic potential sits right next to them, totally ignored.

Better Relationships, Faster

I wanted to create a service that helps two people safely test and deepen relationships. So Unveil Social™ did just that. Parallel’s process requires four easy, straight-forward steps.

Intents screen in the Parallel app
  1. “What do I want?” Privately fill out surveys for each relationship type you’re actively looking for. Invite your current date to do the same before you meet in-person and securely pair your devices. 
  2. “What relationship types are honestly available for us? New romantic relationship types seem to debut each month! Dating is no longer limited to “Long-Term Love” and “Hookups”, so it’s past time for a better tool to discover what relationship types you and your date ought to explore; from Something Forever to Something Platonic, and everything in between. 2020 Side Note: Can you trust your date in a pandemic? Parallel helps you both articulate your Something Pandemic expectations. Pair your devices from +6ft away to unveil what navigating a pandemic truly means for each of you. 
  3. “What does this relationship actually mean?” You both have every incentive to be as honest as possible, as Parallel’s facilitated double-blind conversation first shares where you complement each other.
  4. “What’s next?” Now, with all your expectations and big questions in the open, the two of you can move forward together, in parallel, on an honest path that perhaps neither of you expected…

To check out our “relationship compass”, head on over to our second blog post, or download it from the App Store or Google Play Store.

Do you have a “missed connection” that you later reconnected with? Do you have other ideas on what might be missing in modern dating apps? Drop a comment below to continue the conversation.

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