Online dating can be frustrating, disappointing, soul-destroying and a minefield. But, let’s face it, it’s probably the most likely way you will meet someone.
Only a few people meet someone whilst out, at work, or through a friend. It just doesn’t happen anymore.
So, if you are looking for love, you haven’t many options available. Online dating is convenient and efficient and provides a good way to establish a new friendship before starting a romantic relationship.
However, it is also full of people just wanting a booty call, sugar daddy, or cougar, and you risk being catfished.
Catfish = a person who assumes a false identity or personality on the internet, especially on social media websites, as to deceive, manipulate, or swindle. Dictionary.com
It can be extremely superficial with people making judgements based purely on looks and achievements, and you can be criticised and called names just because you don’t want to talk to someone.
Photo by Obi – @pixel6propix on Unsplash
Everyone on there is single and looking for something they haven’t got. When you are in your mid 30’s or above and are looking for love, you’ve probably got some baggage. You may have been hurt before, spent a long time single, have problem exes, have children etc.
This baggage is to be expected, but when you think of the number of people on dating sites, that’s a whole load of baggage bumping into each other!
Inevitably you’re going to spend time getting to know people you never meet. Or you will get to know someone, then meet up to find no spark between you. Or you will go on a date and realise they just want sex. You’re going to waste some time.
I spent a few years on the online dating scene. It was a rollercoaster ride. I hated it but couldn’t keep myself away. I was a single mum with no family living nearby; how else would I meet my Mr Right?
I would start chatting with someone I liked, get my hopes up, then I would get ghosted, or they would ask if I wanted to see a picture of their bits, or would I send a picture of mine? I would occasionally meet up with someone to find no physical attraction — either because their photos were filtered or their personalities were ugly.
A couple even lasted a few dates, but then the realisation would set in that they weren’t for me. So disappointing and a waste of time for this 40-year-old woman who just wanted to love and be loved!
And then it happened, I found HIM. I met my husband on a dodgy, free online dating site that was notorious for people just wanting sex. (We weren’t part of those people, we just couldn’t afford to pay for the other sites.)
Through my experience, this is what I learned about how to make online dating work.
Get clear on what you want from online dating.
Sex, companionship, romantic relationship, marriage. Don’t settle for anything else.
Get clear on who you want but remain flexible.
Don’t compromise on values and morals but get rid of “my type on paper”. Your type on paper hasn’t given you what you want before, so why should it this time?
This is an experiment. You are on this site to see if you can find what you are looking for. This is not guaranteed.
Pick the right dating site.
Based on what you want, your age, demographic, and sexual preference.
Choose good profile pictures.
What personality traits do you want to show off? Use photos that show this side of your personality. No filters — what’s the point? You want them to like YOU. Don’t use photos with other people in them — it’s like introducing someone you’ve just met to your kids, family and friends — they don’t need to meet them yet!
Write an honest bio.
Don’t write what you think will attract your perfect mate. It won’t. Honesty and authenticity will attract those that are meant for you. Start as you mean to go on in a relationship — by being yourself.
Look past the photos.
Physical attraction is important, but lasting physical attraction is about so much more than just outward appearances.
Stop playing the game.
“I can’t message him yet; he’s only just messaged me; I’d better wait a day or two.” Just be yourself and go with the flow.
Keep online conversations light and easy. You don’t need to tell each other your life stories within the first couple of days.
So many people chat for months and then meet up to find there’s nothing between them. Online dating is great for getting to know someone so that you feel more comfortable when you meet up. But that’s as far as it should go. You want an actual relationship, right? You’ll have to get out there and meet them face-to-face for that.
Physically and emotionally. Unfortunately, some nasty people are out there, preying on the vulnerabilities of someone desperate for a relationship. Until you know this person is who they say they are, have met up with them and feel comfortable in their presence, keep your private and personal stuff to yourself.
Most importantly — BE YOURSELF AND KNOW YOUR WORTH.
You want to meet someone who loves you for who you are. How will you do that if you are constantly measuring your words and actions and being the person, you think they want you to be?
My recent article goes into this in a bit more detail:
Be yourself on every step of your online dating journey, and listen to your heart and gut. I know it’s rubbish when you realise the person you’ve been chatting to isn’t going to be the one, but it’s better to end it as soon as you realise this than to keep twisting and turning yourself to make it fit.
You are worthy of love, care and attention. You deserve to feel beautiful. You should be admired, respected and valued.
Online dating can work. It did for me, my sister, my niece, one of my best friends, and countless others I know.
It’s like anything worth working for — you’ve got to be clear on what you want and why, keep the hope alive, remain positive and productive and give it your best shot.
You may get the odd moment of hopelessness, but don’t let that lead you down the path of desperation. Stick to being yourself and not settling for anything other than something that feels warm, easy and caring.
Instead, take yourself away for a little while and work on giving yourself the care and attention you need. Focus on the love that already surrounds you (even if it’s just from your dog or cat).
You can’t force or rush love, I should know; I tried to do so for years.
Be yourself, know your worth, and enjoy yourself. It will pop up when you least expect it.
“I like you very much, just as you are.” Mark Darcy, Bridget Jones’ Diary.
“Cause you’re amazing, just the way you are.” Bruno Mars, Just The Way You Are.
“Cause all of me loves all of you. Love your curves and all your edges, all your perfect imperfections.” John Legend, All Of Me.
This is what you deserve.
This post was previously published on medium.com.
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Photo credit:Jenny Ueberberg on Unsplash