Online Dating

posted Dec 14, 2010, 6:38 PM by Ellen Mahloy   [ updated May 12, 2015, 4:11 PM ]
Joining an online dating service is very popular now a days.  And many people have mixed viewpoints and feelings about it.  I've met folks who love and thrive in the process and I've met those who hate it and think it is horrible (and they have horror stories to prove it). 

What I've noticed is that people who dislike the process of dating, dislike online dating and the people who enjoy the process of dating, love online dating.  If a person is comfortable with and confident in themselves, online dating plays to their strengths.  If not, it brings out insecurities, which come through in the composition of their profile, and the result is to go into the process from a position of weakness.

If you wish to online date I have some thoughts and suggestions.
  1. The greatest power a person's profile has is to rule them out as a potential date.  This might sound pessimistic and unromantic, but it is about compatibility and efficiency.  If you know you will never be compatible with a smoker, a republican, someone practicing a different faith, etc., don't date people with these qualities.  In other words, know your deal breakers and abide by them.

  2. A profile is not and never will be a substitute for in person chemistry.  There are many factors that go into chemistry - eye contact, body language, how someone smells, tone of the person's voice, etc. that cannot be assessed online (not even with a video camera).

  3. If there are no deal breakers, accept a date with the person.  Most men take terrible online photos of themselves.  My husband held the camera himself, in bad light on a bad hair day, and he looked like Lurch from the Adam's Family.  Turns out Jeff is quite attractive, but you would never have known from the photo.

  4. Your first date should always be short - such as meeting over coffee/tea. 
    Do not meet for drinks or dinner or a movie or anything where you are stuck with someone you don't know for a long period of time.  Meet in the afternoon or early evening for less than an hour.  If you really like the person, go on another date.

  5. Spend some time planning the best way to present yourself online.  The first thing you should do is plan to be honest.  About half the female profiles go overboard in one of two directions.  Women either lie to make themselves seem better (that includes putting up an out of date photo) or they disclose every personal failure they've ever had in an attempt to be straightforward.

  6. Keep your expectations realistic.  If you have dated lot of different people you probably don't need this advice.  I find that people who have never dated much or have been in serial monogamous relationships tend to have unrealistic expectations of their dates in terms of chemistry and other factors. 

    Most people you date will not be your Mr. or Ms. Right.  And dating the person for 6 weeks, 6 months or 6 years won't change that fact.  You can get upset about it or you can realize that this is just how it goes with dating and not take it personally or blame your date. 

    Dating isn't just about mate selection.  It is about learning about yourself and other people.  It is about social interaction and having fun.  And in the process you will likely find someone who fits you like a puzzle piece.  If you expect everyone you date to match your puzzle piece, you will become hurt and dating will not be fun.

  7. Don't play games with yourself or others.  I've met men who attempt to sweep every woman they date off their feet.  This is a date type I mention in my workshop.  I call him the Prince Charming.  A savvy female dater can spot him, a naive woman may swoon. 

    If you think of dating as a game and you treat dating as a game, you will loose.  If you treat other people's feelings with little regard, you will attract someone who will do the same to you.
Food for thought.