Rio Rancho resident Ashlee Dalton is celebrating more than 10 years as one of Rio Rancho’s matchmakers, and she plans to go on being a Cupid for people longing for permanent coupling.

“So, matchmaking: I have been doing it for 24 years, and I landed here 11 years ago,” Dalton said.

Dalton works with The Matchmaking Company based out of Albuquerque but services Rio Rancho as well as other parts of the state.

The company is a dating service that does full background checks on all of its members. Dalton says it is a better alternative to most dating apps, where people are prone to faking identities and making false promises.

According to Pew Research, 45% of single people under the age of 50 use dating apps. Additionally, 88% of people who use dating apps said they were disappointed with the results.

“At the end of the day, matchmaking is personal. It’s not like dating online,” she said.

She continued saying dating is when people “throw themselves out there. … You hope for the best, take people at face value,” she added.

People who use her dating service, Dalton says, are local, and the company makes sure applicants are who they say they are. They conduct nationwide background checks to ensure there’s no criminal history.

But it’s more than that. According to Dalton, the service is not for people who want to get into “flings.”

“The people that come in have to be serious about wanting a committed relationship,” Dalton explained.

The service won’t accept just anyone. People have to be accepted into the program.

She says she encourages the relationships to start with “connective friendships” that eventually turn into long-term committed relationships.

The service matches people and then requires them to go on three dates. The first is a date in a non-alcoholic setting. Dalton says she often suggests Starbucks. She recommends the second date be a team exercise. The last date is a lunch or a dinner. Then it’s up to the members to decide if they want to date more after that.

However, Dalton says people shouldn’t get into a relationship just for Valentine’s Day.

“This is when people settle. They swipe left and right just trying to find somebody to fill a slot without necessarily wanting it to go anywhere. Sometimes that works, but more often than not it’s just a temporary fix to a problem that’s going to be there again next year,” she said.

Her advice is to spend Valentine’s Day with loved ones.

“There’s nothing wrong with being single. Being single just means you’re not settling, you’re picky and you know what you want,” she said.

Dalton says the dating service is all about “not settling.”

For information about The Matchmaking Company, visit the website.