Everyone is on line dating now, even folks who aren’t exactly single. While the days of meeting someone special through friends, business, volunteer work, or the church or temple aren’t dead, in the age of technology, they do feel old fashioned. The most common way now for couples to meet is through the internet. Popular on-line dating sites like Match.com, e-Harmony and Plenty of Fish (the last which is a subsidiary of Match, its parent) are trolled and patrolled by hundreds of thousands of love and companionship seekers every day. Through these sites, many people do meet and fall in love, get married, and become happier people.
The trouble with online dating is that that it’s a minefield, which is true of any kind of dating. Dating has its risks, and anyone who has ever gone on a date can relate their own tales of woe about mistakes that were made. The most common mistakes include dating someone who is wrong for you, dating someone who isn’t truly available, or dating someone who deceives. And these aren’t even the worst dating failures! Scary to say, but a bad date mistake can be life threatening, or put you in other kinds of danger.
A recent poll of avid daters who use the Internet came up with a list of frequent mistakes people make with online dating.
Don’t look at it as a form of entertainment Sure, it’s a hoot to scroll through a sea of faces and personal pages and lyrical descriptions, imagining who your next big love will be. But if you want to make your online experience a success, you have to take the whole meeting and mating thing seriously. Even though that guy with the Tarzan chest and toothy grin caught your libidinous attention, can you really see yourself in a relationship with him? Ditto paying too much attention to matches who are too young for you, live too far away (it’s romantic but not practical fantasizing yourself moving far away, to someplace you’ve never been, like, say, Oklahoma or Maui) or with anyone who otherwise seems completely improbable.
Do talk and text before the first meeting A woman friend recently told me she’d had the habit of never talking on the phone to any of her Match dates because she was afraid she’ll pre-judge them negatively, simply by their voice! She admits that this has led to a lot of disappointment at the first meet up. While she’s taking a break from online dating now, she says in future she will definitely talk AND text with a person prior to making a first date. “I don’t like doing it,” she said. “But it is crucial.”
Should you judge people by their spelling? Some people care a lot about spelling, syntax, and punctuation, and carefully read every word someone they’re thinking of dating posts on their Match page. Why? Because they’re searching for external clues to indicate what this person is really like (and how smart they think they are). Others think spelling is immaterial. Does spelling count? That’s up to you.
Make sure he's taking you seriously A certain sense of formality or at least sincerity should come across in your early conversations and messages with anyone you’re thinking about dating. Is that person sending you a lot of random messages that don’t seem personal at all? That could be a sign they’re more interested in volume over content. While it may be flattering they’ve texted you dozens of times, those quick Hi’s and How are you’s are not the behavior of a someone who honestly is prepared to develop a lasting relationship.
Don’t get caught up in conflicts Some people, believe it or not, go on dating sites not so much because they hope to date, but because they’re itching to do battle. Being alone and lonely in front of a screen is a breeding ground for bad behavior. Back in the bad old days of the early internet, before dating sites, when the chat room reigned, people who sought out other people to pick fights with were known as flamers. Flamers are still out there, but they’ve traded the chat room for the dating room. Beware anyone who sends angry text messages!
Don’t limit yourself to actual dating sites Think about meeting your next big love on a social site such as Facebook. Facebook isn’t exactly an online dating site but it can function the same way. For one thing, it’s a path to reconnecting with someone you once knew, loved, or once worked with. If you liked the person then, chances are you’ll still like them now, so if they’re available, check it out.
Last but not least:
Remember what anyone says about themselves on a dating site is just their version.
Be willing to date someone up to ten years older or younger.
Beware of people who have been working the dating sites for years. It’s a clear indicator that for them, online dating is a career. Dating is what they’re interested in, not relationships.
Remember that while on line dating can be a lot of fun, finding someone who is right for you is a job that takes time, effort, and due diligence!
Eve Marx is the author of 8 sex books. Her titles include "What's Your Sexual IQ?," "Flirtspeak: The Sexy Language of Flirtation," "The Goddess Orgasm," and "101 Things You Didnt Know About Sex."
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