The last few months I have been talking about online dating. I fully support online dating and encourage remaining open to dating in traditional ways as well. When you are dating, you need to be open and available for opportunity when it presents itself! Things may show up in your life in unexpected ways! I have talked about the advantages of online dating here and about preparing to start dating here.
Now that you are ready to go online – what do you do?
- Create an online profile that describes yourself in an honest way. Pick some attractive yet honest pictures to upload. Feedback from a few trusted people may be helpful at this stage. You should be yourself and feel comfortable with your profile. It does not need to be perfect! Remember you can always go in and edit it!
- Sign up and explore the dating sites and services on their free trial offers and decide which feel comfortable to you. Spend the time to get familiar with how they work and experiment a bit. Ask friends about their experiences.
A word on ‘free’ dating sites: I am sure there are some good people on free sites but I believe the saying “you get what you pay for” may be true when looking for date-worthy material. Paying something tells you people are committed to online dating not just slightly interested.
- If you use a matching service, fill out the questions honestly and use your intuition. Do not overthink your answers! You want an honest match, not what you think you should be interested in! These services do filter things for you and potentially save you some awkward dates. They are only as good as the algorithms that run them so continue to trust your gut!
- A cautionary tale – check the details of what you are signing up for. Some services have different ‘levels’. ‘Intimate Encounters’ are quite different than ‘relationships’ or ‘dating’ and some people think they are signing up for one thing and then realize they did not read the details thoroughly enough! Entering an unintended relationship ‘level’ is usually a little discouraging so pay attention!
- When I was ready to go online, I set up a completely ‘invisible’ profile. This does not mean that I had no picture. It means that absolutely no one could see my profile or know I was even on the dating site until I gave them the approval to view my profile. This had the added benefit of keeping nosy people from looking for your profile – I had plenty of friends say they had tried to “find me” just to check out my profile! None of their business unless I wanted their input! (If you are not ‘invisible’ you will not have control over who or how many people can see you.) Invisible profiles may not exist on some sites so ask a site administrator if you cannot find this option and want this kind of profile. I did do this over 10 years ago, so I’m sure things have changed a lot and hopefully, the options have improved.
I am all set up on a service – now what do I do?
- I started leisurely browsing – no rush – no deadline. Mr. Right would appear for me at some point. I took my time and I approved about 3 potential dating partners every weekend. This number to me was manageable and meant I never ran out of options.
- A word about geographic location. How far are you willing to go? This is usually something that you set up, so think about how far you are willing to travel to date. Set up a radius that you are comfortable with. There are people everywhere with the potential to be good matches for you so do not be afraid to limit this to simplify your life.
- After I gave permission and became visible to a potential date’s profile, I simply sat back and waited. If they had an interest, then we started messaging. If there was no interest I moved on and browsed some more. (Sometimes people are busy and take a while so do not delete someone if they do not respond quickly. It may just indicate that they have a full life.)
- I then started sifting through the profiles and allowing those I liked to see my profile. During the messaging stage, I could sometimes immediately know they were not a good prospect and I would take them off my list. Not too much investment of time, energy, emotion or money, so no big loss. If they could not remember my real name – which I always sent in my initial message they were probably juggling too many conversations and I was not interested. If ‘recently separated” was only 5 days when I asked, they were not a candidate I was interested in at this time. If they could not remember what I said or what they told me already – they were not really paying attention and I was done with them. If they could not spell or use proper language I was not interested. With regular dating, sometimes you are much more invested before some of these simple things are apparent. This is a big advantage of online dating. No real personal investment or much emotion is put in until you know quite a bit about the person.
- We would usually talk on the phone and this was also a good filtering opportunity. Some chemistry doesn’t work on the phone so that was that.
- I never took too long to meet people in person if things were going well between us online. Physical attraction is usually either there or not, so it’s best to meet and see if sparks exist in person. It was usually a one-date test, and usually, we were mutually interested in another date or not. Physical attraction just cannot be faked. No sense wasting 6 months flirting online and then having it fall flat when there is no chemistry at your first meeting.
- Watch for red flags. At all the stages of online dating, red flags will tell you quite clearly when something is amiss if you are paying attention. If your gut is saying “NO” to dating someone LISTEN! Move on decisively and know something better is out there. If things are too good to be true – trust your gut. If things do not add up or if there appears to be any deception – trust your gut. Move on to something better.
- Always remember that it is better to be alone than be in a bad relationship. First, being in a bad relationship is just plain no fun and, secondly, you will not be paying attention or available when the right partner does come into your life.
- Be smart and stay safe. Meet in public places. Pay attention to what is going on around you. Tell people where you are going and how long you will be. Write all the details down and leave them with someone or somewhere obvious in case something goes wrong.
- Be yourself and choose to be picky. Do not settle unless it is a good match. Keep searching until you find what you are looking for like good values, chemistry, and compatibility. If one date doesn’t pan out, go on to the next potential partner. Check out one profile at a time. Forget the others. All these relationships will either be a good experience or teach you something that is good to learn.
- If you are planning to spend the rest of your life with someone, you may as well enjoy the process and get what you really want.
- Trust that things will work out!
You may be nervous about false representation:
- Pictures from 10 years ago or 50 pounds ago are a common story. You can listen to why they look so different or just walk away. You do not owe anyone anytime if they have represented themselves dishonestly. (Post a current and honest picture if you want to avoid disappointment!)
- False claims like my personal favourite were the ‘non-smoker’ that obviously smoked – why would they lie about this fact? Did they really think I couldn’t smell the smoke at our first meeting? A pretty immediate turn-off for someone that is looking for a non-smoker! (If you are thinking about quitting, call yourself a ‘smoker’ until you are a non-smoker for at least 6 months and are certain you can remain that way!)
- Yes, some people lie or exaggerate their charms but when you do meet in person these things are usually obvious pretty quickly. Honesty is always the best policy!
- Yes, some married people may be on these sites falsely representing themselves. Pay attention. There are always clues. A friend had a date that kept excusing himself to talk on his phone and when she inquired if everything was alright he said his WIFE was upset and kept calling him! She left that date quickly!
- Google names and do a bit of research! Check out social media and be open to learning more about people. I actually had my own kid’s friends bring me a story home from school about someone I was dating, as someone’s mom had a bad experience with someone with the same name! When I inquired, it was confirmed! Thanks, kids!
Social interaction can always be interesting so enjoy these dates – both good and bad – they can teach you a lot about what you want and do not want in your life. They can teach you a lot about the process and what works for you. You can also learn a lot about yourself and what you truly value. These dates can also be pretty humorous! Treat people well and you will hopefully be treated well too. Enjoy this time of your life. The possibilities can be exciting. Enjoy being single!
Remember you only need to find the ONE RIGHT ONE!
Having trouble managing dating after your separation or divorce or just having trouble sorting out things during a separation? I can help and it would be an honour!
Please contact me.
I do offer a strategy session.
The Divorce Coach in Dundas