Whether you like them or hate them, online dating sites are here to stay. It seems that most people use applications like Tinder and Bumble or sites like OKCupid and Match.com to find love. But sometimes online dating can be complicated and time-consuming. It can become a full-time job and there are no strict rules on how to do things right. We consulted experts to get their suggestions on what you should and should not do when you are registered on online dating sites.
1. Be safe
One of the most important things to do when you are registered on an online dating site is to protect yourself. Unlike meeting a potential partner through a mutual friend, you don’t know much about the people you meet online. According to Dr. Jaime Kulaga, life coach and doctor of philosophy: “Although online dating can produce lasting relationships and happiness, unfortunately, the Internet can be a place where people scam others and invade privacy.
Be particularly careful when you first meet someone. Dr. Kulaga adds: “When you plan to see the person for the first time, make sure your friends or family know where you are going and never go to someone’s house alone. Make sure your first date is in public (movie, dinner, amusement park, etc.) Safety first!”
2. Use representative photos
While it may be tempting to use a little more glamorous photos of you taken ten years ago, don’t do it. You want your photos to be an exact representation of you. So when people meet you in real life, they will not be surprised. According to therapist Katie Krimer, MS, LMSW: “If you are on dating sites, the first impression is extremely important! Unfortunately, these sites encourage people to judge on the basis of appearance rather than personality – that’s the very nature of online dating.”
Mr. Krimer adds: “To maximize your success in meeting the right person, have photos that reflect who you are and what you look like. The first picture is the first impression you give – try to remember it when you create your profile. Don’t put pictures that are offensive, misleading or that don’t show who you really are.”
3. Don’t limit yourself only to photos of a profile
Even if photos are very important, don’t throw away a potential match just because of the way he/she looks. David Bennett, a certified consultant, interpersonal relations expert and co-author of seven self-help books, says: “Studies show that most people rely mainly on photos for their online dating.
When choosing a partner, appearance is only part of the equation. Bennett suggests: “Give more weight to the personality and forget about the people you know who would not be good for you, even if they are sexy. You will get more satisfying relationships.”
4. Be aware of yourself
It is easy to worry about what your dates want, what concerns you and, therefore, to neglect your own desires and needs. One of the best things you can do in this process is to be aware of yourself.
Krimer suggests that you ask yourself the following questions: “What could/can affect your online dating experience? Do you love yourself? Do you know what you want and what you need? Are you ready to have a serious relationship? Do you trust your personal judgment? What is your attachment style? What core values do you want to align with your potential partner? Are you emotionally ready? Are you a good communicator?”
Relationships are complex and it is important to recognize them as such. Krimer adds: “Recognize all the important factors that make a relationship healthy and work – do you trust your ability to contribute to a relationship in this way? If you are having difficulty in any of these areas, consider that they may affect the outcome of your dating. For example, people who have difficulty loving themselves will often choose partners who will confirm their beliefs about them.”
5. Make it fun
Although romantic relationships are a serious business, make sure you have fun. “It’s really easy to get caught up in the stress of meeting someone, let alone meeting the right person,” says Krimer.
Instead of stressing, she suggests: “Make a conscious choice to think about ways to find pleasure in meeting new people and to value yourself – focus on the process rather than the outcome. If you put too much pressure on waiting to meet someone, you are much more likely to feel disappointed or discouraged if it is not what you expect.”
6. Keep in mind your most important objectives
Krimer also suggests that you keep your goals in mind: “Do you know your goals in relation to what you are looking for – what are your intimacy and relationship needs? Do the people you meet meet these needs? Do you establish relationships with people who have conflicting goals (i.e., you want a long-term relationship, but your current partner only sees it as a fling)? Being honest with yourself and others about what you want in a relationship can help prevent unnecessary stress or uncertainty in the future.”
Choose to spend your time on online platforms where you are more likely to meet other people with similar goals. According to Dr. Kulaga: “There are online dating sites for all desires, whether you are looking for a long-term relationship or simply want to have a relationship for a while. However, keep in mind your greatest objectives when registering on some of these dating sites.”
“If your desire is to find someone who is looking for a long-term relationship, you will not want to register on a dating site that is known for its short-term loves. You do yourself a disservice when you waste time and energy dealing with things that do not have a direct impact on your main goal,” she adds.
7. Use several apps
It is a good idea not to limit yourself to a single app: “Different applications have different strengths and weaknesses. It may take some time to find the right application for you. Some applications are more aimed at a younger audience, while others are aimed at an older audience. Some focus more on relationships, while others seem to be oriented towards adventures and encounters,” says Bennett.
Although most applications and sites have a particular reputation, don’t let this prevent you from trying them out. Bennett adds: “Your own experience with these applications can challenge the typical experience. Try a variety of applications for a few months, then get out of there.”
8. Don’t be lazy when using online dating sites
It can be tedious to fill out your profile completely when you are on a dating site, but be patient and do it anyway. According to Dr. Kulaga, this is the best way to find someone who matches your desires and personality. You represent yourself in your profile, and this is the first impression that potential matches will see. She adds, “Invest the time and effort necessary to attract the right person.”
When looking for a potential partner, take the time to write something thoughtful. Bennett also agrees: “Don’t use a boring or standard opening message. Online dating is very competitive, and some people have hundreds or even thousands of tastes, matches and messages to sort through.”
9. Don’t take it personally if someone’s not interested
According to Dr. Kulaga: “If someone does not respond to a request you sent them or if someone does not follow up after a first date, move on to something else.
Not only does it hurt you to internalize each rejection, but it can also prevent you from meeting someone you click with. Dr. Kulaga continues: “If you sulk, ruminate and insist that someone has not followed up, it will prevent you from meeting the right person for you.” She explains that ruminating can reduce your self-confidence, preventing you from getting back on track and meeting someone who is even better suited to you.
Celebrate your disagreements instead of getting angry about them. As Dr. Kulaga points out: “Be happy that it didn’t work with the person and that you didn’t waste more of your valuable time. Move on to something else.” Instead of focusing on rejections, spend your time reminding yourself of what is good about you.
10. Do not date someone who is not suitable for you
It can be tempting to keep talking to someone, even if a small voice in your mind tells you that they are not right for you. Dr. Kulaga says it’s better to move on when it happens. “If you send an email to someone and acknowledge that they are not suitable for you, or if you date someone who is not suitable for you, let them know. Be honest, otherwise, it’s a waste of time for the person you’re seeing, but also for you,” says Dr. Kulaga.
Similarly, it is important that you be honest about what you are looking for so that you don’t end up dating someone who doesn’t suit you. Krimer suggests: “Be honest about what you are looking for when you meet people. Nowadays, the word “overwhelming” is often used – someone who is safe and emotionally mature will be open to hearing about your relationship readiness, and you should feel safe by expressing at least a general idea of what you expect from a dating experience.”
When you trust your intuition and clearly know what you are looking for, you will spend more time with people who are more appropriate for you, which will increase your chances of finding someone with whom you can see yourself in the long term.
11. Do not jump to the finish line
Even if you want to be honest about what you are looking for in a partner, don’t let your desire to get married and have children stop you when you start dating someone. According to Dr. Kulaga: “If your ultimate goal is to get married and you have a first and second date with the person of your dreams, don’t do the wedding countdown! You’re going to scare off this person!”
Instead, she suggests: “Enjoy the trip and take your time in this relationship. You may be dying to show an engagement ring on social media, or you may feel like you’re the last one on your list of friends to get married, but don’t go to the finish line right away. Enjoy the process, get to know the person and take the time to create memories.”
12. Don’t play a “game”
You are probably well aware of the “rules” of oral and tacit dating, but when it comes to finding a potential partner, it is best to stop playing the “game”. According to Krimer: “If you had a first date and had a good time, don’t play the “game” and forget the rules. Let the person know shortly after your first date that you really enjoyed the time you spent with them!”
You may think it will make you look too enthusiastic, but it will help you see if you really correspond with this person. Krimer continues: “Either the person will tell you that they feel the same way, or you will know by their reaction or behaviour if they are not interested in pursuing anything else. You don’t have to wait days before sending an SMS or calling – if you like someone, let them know!”
13. Don’t apologize for bad communicators
Krimer says: “My work does not justify my lack of communication – I have had patients who are in contact with doctors who work 17 hours a day and who still manage to send SMS messages to their partner during breaks between block hours. We’re all busy people, but we know we take time when we want to.”
When someone you date doesn’t answer your texts, it’s hurtful. Krimer continued: “Don’t fall into the trap that he/she is just a bad communicator to continually excuse bad communication. Even if texting is not someone’s primary mode of communication, if they are willing and interested in continuing a relationship, it will be reflected in their behaviour. They will find a way to keep you informed and make themselves available to talk.”
14. Do not rush the date
Unfortunately, the meeting process can take some time. Even having a first date can seem difficult. Bennett says, “Don’t expect to have a date right away. Statistics show that about a third of online dating site users never go out together. In a study of Tinder, 70% of users did not have a date. These applications are not magical, and moving from matching and messaging to a real date is just as difficult online as in the offline world.”
Instead of getting impatient to “meet the person”, Krimer suggests “engaging in the experience of encounters with a different mentality”. “Don’t think of it as a success or a failure, but rather as an adventure you are embarking on.” She adds, “Remember your great qualities and that dating can be exhausting and sometimes it takes a long time to meet someone with whom you feel really good.
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