6 Things To Know Before you date online:
This by no means is an inclusive list of things to know before you decide to take the plunge into online dating. However, it is a great start.
I was newly divorced. I had an exciting new career and an established family routine. I had given myself the time to heal and feel independent again.
I was now ready to venture back into the dating world.
And with whom?
When I was younger, years before I had ever married, it seemed so easy to date. I would go out with a group of friends and just introduce myself to a guy who I felt attracted to. If I felt it wasn’t going anywhere, I simply wouldn’t give him my number at the end of the evening. However, now most of my friends were either stay at home moms (more power to you, as you have the truly difficult job), college students, or colleagues. My usual mode of finding a date (and a lot of my confidence) had nearly vanished some years ago, and was replaced with forehead wrinkles, a few gray hairs and my go to sweat pants.
If you are here reading this, you might be in a similar situation or simply thinking about venturing online for the novelty of it all. Until fairly recently, “online dating” seemed to have a bad connotation, at least in the part of the country I was from, and left some of our mothers shaking their heads at the Sunday dinner table. However, with people’s busy schedules, advances in technology, and societal pressures to be hyper-career-focused, a media savvy generation has helped to make dating online not only convenient but necessary in some cases.
If you are going to try to date online, there are some things that you need to know:
- There are 8 men for every woman online
Sorry guys, its true. More men than women are opting to swipe right. If you’re female, understand that this gives you a bit of an advantage. Use this knowledge wisely.
Like what you see (and read)? Great. But, take your time. Remember that there are a lot more guys competing for your attention. Be kind, but don’t feel pressured to commit to exclusively dating one person.
- What your goal is for dating
Before you even begin to think about writing your first dating profile, take the time to sit down and think over what your goal is for dating? Are you new in town and looking to network? Are you looking to find one person to date exclusively? Do you want to marry/re-marry? Ask yourself the hard questions, and be truly honest with yourself.
Speaking of being honest…
- Honesty really is the best policy
When you decide to make your online profile, think about what you want to convey to a potential date. If you’re looking for someone to just go to the movies with, say that. If you have religious or moral standards that are non-negotiable for you, be sure to lay those out. Be honest about the above-mentioned things you are looking for. It’s especially important to have a portion of your profile dedicated to sharing what can be expected from you as well. If you like staying home every Thursday night to read poetry to your cat, say that. Just as much as you want a potential date to know what you expect from them, you need to lay out enough information to help any potential dates know if they want to date you as well.
There was nothing more disappointing than meeting someone and finding out that he hated dogs, children and lattes. I am of course exaggerating and completely making up the lattes part.
I know that he saw my face drop. I just couldn’t help it. I had to be honest:
“I’m really sorry, but I can’t see this going any further. These are all things that are very important to me. You’ve said that they are not important to you. You seem like a great person, but just not for me.”
As I remember, he was very polite, which I appreciated, and even asked me for another date (which I declined). I personally felt that it would have been disingenuous to continue the date.
- Safety first
I cannot stress enough to someone reading this to take measures to keep yourself safe (and not just women). Before you ever make an online dating profile, go through your social media accounts. Lock them down. If you have children, make any pictures of them hidden, and I suggest not ever using their actual name on a social media platform (just a good rule of thumb anyway). And for goodness sakes, don’t check in on your social media accounts. People are creatures of habit, and the last thing you want is for someone with less than genuine intentions having your photo and locations where you frequent.
The next suggestion that I have may seem excessive, but I felt necessary to feel safe: invest in a public data account. Before ever agreeing to meet someone, mixed in with typical conversation, I would ask things like:
“Are you native to _____________?” “What’s your sign?”
I asked because people will usually give up more information than what you ask for. I wasn’t truly interested in knowing if they were born in the same town we lived in or if they were a Virgo. I wanted the information to look them up on my public data account to make sure I wasn’t talking to someone who had a past that I couldn’t live with.
If someone passes your checks and balances, and you agree to go on a date with them, let someone that you trust know where you are and a time to check back in with you. I would sometimes even take a selfie with my date, and playfully say,
“oh this is too cute, I have to send this to my gal pal.”
The above may seem over the top, but I felt it necessary to feel safe, while letting my date know that there were other people who knew we were on a date.
I did go on a date once where the guy protested when I said I was sending the picture to my friend. I politely ended the date. I later found that he was married, and not a serial killer, but I chose not to pursue that relationship any longer.
- How much time are you willing to commit.
Be honest with yourself, and anyone you are communicating with, just how much time you are putting into dating. If you are only checking your messages once per month, it may be a good idea to let any potential dates know this. The same is true in your expectation of commitment of time from any potential dates. If you would like a good morning text, brunch text, evening call, etc. please let them know.
Enjoy the time that you are spending while dating. If a date goes south, get a group of your closest friends together and have a laugh about it. I ended up dating a lot (I mean A LOT) before I met my future (now) husband. There are some terrific people I dated whom I respect tremendously; there were some who were first date (or second date only) people who I could eliminate as fitting in my “long term plan”, and some who sent unsolicited dick-pics (who were laughed about over a bottle of wine with my girlfriends), and of course THE last first date I ever went on…but that’s a story for another time.
In conclusion, enjoy the process. Know yourself, what you want for your life and with a partner. Be flexible, but don’t settle.
As always, don’t let a perceived Taboo define how you achieve your goals