Have you contemplated sticking your toes into the water of the online dating pool? Heads up . . . the variety and sheer number of dating websites available can be overwhelming and downright scary. The good news is, there’s bound to be a site that meets your needs, no matter your interests. There are well-known sites such as Match.com and eHarmony that cater to a wide variety of users. And there are extremely specific sites like Gluten-Free Singles, ClownDating.com, and farmersonly.com (Yes, those are real sites). So where and how do you get started? Match.com, eHarmony, Plenty of Fish, Ok Cupid, Our Time, and Zoosk are worth checking out if you are new to the wide wonderful world of online dating, but these are only a few of many. Most operate in a similar fashion. And you begin by putting yourself out there.
Set Up your Online Profile
Setting up a dating profile requires you to answer basic questions about your appearance, your religious views, your profession, and hobbies you enjoy. You also have the option to attach one or more pictures to your profile for site members to view. It is important to be honest without revealing too many personal details. Don’t include your last name or information about where you live. Be open about your moral views and life goals. For instance, if you are extremely religious, you may not be open to dating someone who does not share your faith. Be sure to make that clear and save yourself and someone else heartache later on.
Be careful when selecting a profile picture. It should be of you, not of multiple people, your dog, or the ducks you caught on a recent hunting trip. Make your profile an honest representation of who you are. Online dating can be intimidating enough without meeting someone who has completely misrepresented themselves.
Catch and Release:
When you ultimately meet people you’ve communicated with online, it can be difficult to determine whom to keep seeing, especially if you’ve dated more than one person you’re attracted to and get along with. At this point, remember your goals. Ask yourself these questions to determine with whom to take it to the next-level:
· Do we share the same values?
· Do we have similar work ethics?
· Do we have the same family goals?
· Are we good for each other?
· How do they treat their own family members?
If you don’t have the same values and goals now, you probably never will. If one of you believes in saving and retirement and the other is a free spender without a plan for the future, it probably isn’t a perfect match. If you want children and the person you’re dating does not, these are not things you can easily overcome. And if you have already gotten into a few arguments and find yourself falling into a toxic pattern, move on. The relationship is at its best during the dating stage, so keep that in mind. Observe how your date treats friends and family. This is a good indicator of how they will treat you later on.
Unwritten Rules of Online Dating
With online dating, there are some things common sense should dictate.
It’s okay to send the first email if you’re interested. It is not okay is to send more than one if you don’t get a positive response. There are plenty of fish in the sea, so don’t waste time and energy on uninterested parties.
Do not send unsolicited pictures. No one wants to open up a message full of unwanted photos. It’s uncomfortable for you and for the person who receives them.
Less is more. This is true in multiple facets of the online dating world, starting with the pictures you upload. You are going to attract what you put out there, so keep your profile pictures tasteful to attract the right kind of people.
Let conversations happen naturally. When you make a connection with someone, you may be tempted to immediately tell them every single thing about yourself. This can lead to an instant relationship, which can often be unhealthy.
Navigating the waters of online dating can be daunting, but follow these guidelines and you will have better chances for success in your modern romance.