4 Things To Keep In Mind Before You Try Online Dating

A couple kiss in this fuzzy black and white shot of coffee
Nathan Walker / Unsplash

I never ever thought about online dating. I did not even know it existed! I got (amicably) divorced over five years ago in 2013. And after 11 years in the marriage, I was definitely out of touch with the dating world. To make it worse, I did not date much either before I got married. My ex-husband was the second boyfriend I ever had. So, you could imagine how lost I was when I entered the dating scene again.

I remembered vividly the first time I heard about online dating. It was from my good friend at the gym. She just moved from another town a couple months prior. She told me that she signed up on Match and within the first date from this site, she met her guy.  When I heard about her story, they just started dating for a few months. Fast forward to a year after that, she got engaged and now married! Just like that! So, to me, I was very optimistic that I would find someone that easily.

But my traditional side persuaded me to give an old-fashioned way a try. My friends helped to set me up on dates. I actually went on some of them. Most of them were great guys but for one reason or another, it didn’t work out. I need to be clear that I was not in the market for a hookup. In the beginning, I was very optimistic and hopeless romantic. I would go out on a coffee or dinner date with most of the guys who asked me. To me, that was my way of learning more about guys as I didn’t have much of dating experience. I’m grateful that I did.

I knew that I had a very busy schedule and with my kids with me 50% of the time I didn’t have much of opportunity to meet quality guys. Also, I believed (and was told) that I have quite an ‘intimidating’ appearance. Coupled that with the fact that I didn’t know how to approach a guy, it’s probably scary for guys to ask me out. So, after disappointments from the traditional way to meet quality guys, and one day out of boredom, I signed up on a dating site. It has been quite a valuable experience for me. If you are like me, or just want to try it out, I strongly encourage it. But couple key points to keep in mind.

1) Be honest with yourself why you want to try the online dating. There is no right or wrong reason. But in order to get the best out of it, be clear and honest with yourself. Some people, like me, get into it to find a serious relationship. Some do just to meet some new friends and hang out. Some do mainly for physical release. Like I said, there is no right or wrong reason but it should be clear so you don’t get hurt or disappoint anyone.

2) Depending on your reason to get into it, it dictates how you present your profile. My profile was full of good and honest (ok, very blunt!) information. I tweaked it over the years as I gained more and more experience of what should be presented up front, etc. I personally would not pay attention to a profile that had no photos. And I usually hit a delete button for three obvious reasons: 1) If a profile explicitly states that he was in it for sex only or 2) The tone of the profile showed that he has so much bitterness in life. Nothing turns me off more than bitter people. Or 3) A smoker. Sorry, I can’t and won’t date a smoker.

3) Which site to choose? Well, I personally have tried Match, eHarmony, EliteSingles, OurTime, and OkCupid. From my experience, being on a paid site doesn’t necessarily mean it’s better. There are all types of guys everywhere. It’s not the site, it’s HOW you use the site.  And trust me, if you’re a newbie, it takes time to get a hang of it (well, unless you’re totally lucky like my friend). I haven’t tried Tinder mainly because I prefer knowing a person more than just a snapshot on the screen before deciding to swipe left or right. I would suggest starting both with 1) unpaid site, and 2) paid site if you can afford it. Regardless of where you choose to start, knowing what you want makes it easier to navigate. Every site has ‘free trial’ period. Take advantage of that. You will find out that you like a certain site more than others mainly maybe because how the layout looks like.

4) Don’t forget to live your life! Trust me, once you get into an online dating world, it could be very addictive. I checked my phone all the time to either see new matches or if anyone liked my profile/sent me a message. Remember that you will meet your prince on the dating site only if he signs up on it too. Makes sense? So, live your life, do whatever makes you happy. You can’t force love or relationship to happen, a healthy one anyway. Don’t be obsessed with online dating and expect that you’d find someone great right away. It usually doesn’t happen that way. You shouldn’t let go of your usual circle of friends or family. Treasure and cherish them. Once you’re happy and enjoying your own life with your own company, you will radiate that kind of energy. People are attracted to happy people, period.

Over the years, I took a break from it every few months just to regroup and focus on other things. It’s been over five years now and more than 60 guys that I went out with, mostly coffee dates. I’ve ‘disabled’ my profile for now. I met someone about two months ago and recently he just asked me to be ‘the woman in his life.’ Maybe I’ll write more about this in another post.

So, if you’re skeptical, don’t be. Try it out. It doesn’t hurt (be sure you set your boundaries and listen to your own intuition). You might as well make some new friends and learn a thing or two about yourself. Good luck! TC mark

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