A woman has launched a dating app for widows and widowers looking to find love again.
Founder Nicky Wake, who was 49 when her husband died from Covid, said new users must provide a copy of their spouse’s death certificate or a link to their memorialised Facebook account to create an account on Chapter 2.
Wake, now 51, told SWNS she started the app after becoming disillusioned with modern-day dating, comparing it to the “wild west”.
She said: “Modern-day dating is like the wild west, and as a widow, I was extremely vulnerable and a little bit broken which is hard to explain to someone who is looking for a hook-up.”
Wake’s husband Andy died from Covid in 2020, after suffering a catastrophic brain injury in 2017.
“I started dating when I felt strong enough,” she said. “I met Andy online but modern online dating had changed hugely.”
Nicky said her online dating experiences included being sent unsolicited nude images, and going on dates before realising the men were married.
“I always do due diligence when dating, I try to get their full names and Google them and one of them had a criminal record,” she explained. “Then there is the usual, people sending you unsolicited d*** pictures, having dates with the most boring men in the world.
Explaining how she had the idea for Chapter 2, Wake said: “When I go to widow meet-ups the conversation often turns to ‘have you started dating again’ and people meet each other through widow meet-ups and I thought there was an idea here.”
She realised there wasn’t a secure dating app exclusively for widows – and came up with the idea for Chapter 2.
Nicky said: “We have made the platform really safe and secure, to sign up you either need a memorialised Facebook account of your late spouse or you need to send a copy of the death certificate and I personally vet every single member.
“Within the widow community the phrase ‘chapter two’ means your next person,” she added.
Wake revealed she met Andy on DatingDirect.com in 2002, and the pair clicked instantly with each other. They got married two years later in Jamaica, and welcomed their son Finn, now 15, in 2007.
She said they were “living an idyllic happy life” until Andy suffered a heart attack in 2017.
He was taken to the hospital and received treatment, and the couple felt like they had a lucky escape.
Four days later, he suffered another heart attack and Wake had to perform CPR for 30 minutes.
Andy suffered a “catastrophic” brain injury because he didn’t get enough oxygen to his brain and subsequently required around-the-clock care.
Nicky said: “He couldn’t walk, he didn’t know who I was, and he didn’t know where he was. He was hugely distressed and didn’t understand why or anything.
“Very often he didn’t have a clue who I was when I came to visit which is utterly heartbreaking; he wasn’t the man I married at that point.”
Andy was in a care home for three years, before “Covid took him in 2020”, Wake told SWNS. “Now it was about me trying to rebuild my life,” she said.
She went on to say that one of the hardest things about being a widow is deciding how and when to tell people that you’re dating again, explaining that it can be “hugely upsetting”.
“I think if I can help some people find some joy, that helps me make sense of my loss,” she added.
Additional reporting on SWNS