Meet Your Mate online: Outswim the Other Fish in the Sea
According to consumer reports, as of 2018, one in every five single people who were dating had gone out with someone they met through an online dating site. Roughly the same amount said they were currently with someone that they met while dating online.
With the growing acceptance of online dating, women need to proceed with caution, both for safety and success, and online dating in the United States is growing from 2017 to 2020.
In the previous year, Consumer reports that 17% of responding married couples met while dating online.
The success dating story from Molly Niles
Molly Niles knew what she wanted from online dating: “If I'm ordering up my perfect guy I want tall, handsome, rich and smart.” Niles was a 33-year-old Pilates and yoga teacher who turned to the Internet after three failed relationships with men she met the “normal way.”
“I was so frustrated by my dating situation that I finally said, why not?” she said.
Niles’ situation was not unique. One in five people in a new committed relationship met their current partner through an online dating service, according to a recent survey conducted on behalf of Match.com. One in six couples that married in the last three years met on dating sites, including Molly Niles and her new husband, Alan.
Niles dove into online dating with a devil-may-care attitude, but a few key pointers can help keep afloat Internet dating newbies as they dip their toes in the digital dating pool.
Pack a Punch With Your Profile
You have only three to four seconds to grab the attention of a potential date. Reel in the reader with a powerful headline and use your profile to paint a multi-dimensional picture of your life.
“I love kids and enjoy the outdoors” is generic. Instead, try “I take my niece and nephew hiking every Saturday, and we’re really getting excited about our backpacking later this summer.” This shows a potential mate that you are family oriented (and not intimidated by taking responsibility for children), that you like the outdoors and that you set goals and make plans to achieve them.
Put simply: “You want [your profile] to present a life that someone would want to be part of,” said Tina B. Tessina, aka “Dr. Romance,” a psychotherapist and author of “Money, Sex and Kids: Stop Fighting About the Three Things That Can Ruin Your Marriage.”
Tessina also advocated closing your profile introduction with a “tease” – “’I'll tell you more in person’ would be a good way to go,” she said. This creates a sense of intimacy and prevents you from over-sharing.
Niles feels lucky that she only went out with two other guys before she met her future husband. She struck out with her first Match.com date. “The problem was in his picture he looked like Brad Pitt … when he showed up he looked like Quasimodo,” she said. While most online daters aren’t expecting Brad Pitt, establishing false expectations with a misleading photo inevitably leads to disappointment and distrust.
“If you responded to your own profile, are there lies or omissions that you would feel make you feel you'd been duped?” That’s the litmus test that Dave Grossman,, encourages his members to use when assessing their dating profile. If you do “lie” by omission in your profile, own up before the first date, Grossman advised.
Alan almost didn’t make the grade for a date with Molly Niles. He was outside her age range and only looked average in his picture. But Alan’s profile demonstrated he was thoughtful, smart, close to his family and a good uncle, Niles said. He showed enough of the traits Niles wanted in a mate to get her interested.
Meet Your Match
Keep your e-courtship short. Until your digital correspondence evolves into a real-world date, “you're missing so many of the cues you get from seeing a person face-to-face, not to mention from seeing him or her interact with other people,” cautioned psychotherapist Tina B. Tessina. That’s one reason relationship experts advise against drawing out online correspondence for more than a couple back-and-forth exchanges. Extended correspondence often creates a false sense of intimacy that can lead to disappointment when the actual meeting occurs.
While you’re at it, keep first encounters short. If you’re a good match, it will leave the other person wanting more. If not, it will give you an out before you resort to a fake phone call to escape. Coffee, lunch on a weekday or brunch all are fine options. Grossman was among the fans of shorter first dates. “You can always suggest extending into a meal if it's going well, but there's no need to lock yourself in,” he said.
Molly Niles planned to do just that on her first date with Alan, but their chemistry led them to extend their coffee date through lunch and a walk on the beach. “We had an easy, natural conversation that just flowed,” she said.
Keep It Moving
Close the door as soon as possible if you’re not interested in someone, whether or not you meet in person. Niles cut a coffee date short after 20 minutes with one potential match: “I just wasn't into him right off the bat,” she said. Do it as nicely and honestly as possible, and don’t take it personally if you’re on the receiving end – as that rejected suitor did, calling her “stupid.”
Niles almost cancelled her first date with Alan after that. But she’s lucky she didn’t as bachelor number three turned into The One. In fact, he took his profile down after their second date – Niles waited a few weeks, but never went out with anyone else.
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Step to Step to Date a single Online
- Write a profile that attracts attention. Do not exaggerate, but don't hesitate to point out your good qualities, achievements and interests. Be self-assured, says Metro Singles. Be sure to fill the profile out completely, so that you don't seem too inaccessible. Be selective about the information you share, but be honest.
- Choose a good picture to add to your profile. It is best to use a good quality head and shoulders picture. If there is space for an additional photo, consider a full-length shot. Metro Singles advises leaving pets out of the pictures in the beginning,
- Focus on compatibility, advises Metro Singles. If you stretch too far to accommodate someone who is very different from the type of person you want to meet, you will be disappointed and chances are that so will he.
- Monitor your account. If your profile doesn't generate many responses, look at what others have written. Is there a way you can improve on your profile to make it stand out from the rest?
- Pick up the phone. After you initially contact a potential date online, you should establish telephone contact as soon as you can. It is easier to get information about a person when you speak, as opposed to sending them messages online. Metro Singles advises making a list of questions before speaking on the phone. Give a mobile number rather than your home phone number, if possible.
- Agree on the type of date and where to meet. Establish a way to recognize one another on the first date, says Metro Singles. Meeting in a public place is ideal, but you don't want to miss your date. It is a good idea to establish a greeting, as well (for example, is a hug acceptable?), according to Romance For All. This way, no one will feel awkward. You may want to keep the first date short to build suspense.
- Send a thank-you e-mail after your first date, says Romance For All. This reestablishes contact so that you don't seem to disappear and by expressing your gratitude, you establish that you are interested in hearing from this person again.
- Discuss comfort levels after the first date, if you plan to go out again. Make sure things don't proceed faster than makes either of you comfortable.
Tips & Warnings for dating online
Tell a friend where you are going and who you are seeing in the event of a problem.
Do not meet at someone's home or office. This may seem paranoid, but not everyone has good intentions.
This avoids any possibly dangerous one-on-one situations. I advise you not to give out any personal information that might put you in a vulnerable position until you get to know someone.