Dear Readers – Here’s the follow-up to yesterday’s column about horror stories from the online dating scene, as experienced by some women. Let me be clear that I welcome hearing from the men’s point of view, of their reports of shabby treatment by women during online dating.
Yet many people have found that Internet Dating IS a useful, accessible, practical way to meet people, especially once past the age when school and single friendships abound. For the mid-30s to seniors, online dating is extremely popular, and success stories give many people hope that it’ll work for them too.
Since I’m frequently asked how to deal with people’s specific online relationships and their fallout, here are some general tips to survive and perhaps even thrive in this dating scene:
#1:Your Profile - Be honest. If you find yourself tempted to cheat a little e.g. on age, be aware that other profiles may also be left of the truth. If you recognize discrepancies upon meeting, cut the person off right then (unless 52 looks as good to you as you thought 42 would).
#2: His/Her Profile - Read carefully. If there’s nothing there that draws you other than looks, forget it. Looks change, and the photo may be old or someone else’s.
#3: Email Exchange - Don’t carry on this way for too long. No matter how interesting the chat, it only tells you that the person knows how to chat… the content may not be real or sincere. An “online-only” relationship with someone you’ve never met is NOT a relationship.
If you’re looking to “date,” it means getting out to meet the person, not hunkering over a computer. If you’re hoping for a relationship, the sooner you meet, the sooner you’ll know if he/she wants the same - or just trolling for sex, or married and cheating; or playing several people at once.
#4: The First Meet - Try to keep it a date, not a job interview. When you start being queried through “the list,” suggest you two just talk… about something current that’s happening in your city or the world, about something interesting each of you read/saw/did recently.
“The list” can be so limiting… e.g. Do you golf? Maybe not, but maybe you’ll learn. Or find you love the same music, books, restaurants… and golf is the only thing you won’t do together.
#5: Chemistry - If you feel it, that’s great. But don’t raise expectations too soon, or you might appear needy. This comes across online sooner than you realize, with that one text too many.
If you don’t feel chemistry, but have a good time with someone, don’t cut him or her off right away. Just say you hope you’ll be good friends. It can help each of you expand your network, and meet others through the new connection…. e.g. their other friends.
#6: The Finish - It’s not necessary to reject someone you’ve met with cold and unkind brush-offs. First, if someone who contacts you is of no interest, just don’t answer that email and you won’t be giving someone false hope.
Second, if the first date feels all wrong, just be clear that you won’t be going out together again.
Remember, there are some people out there who are worrisome, reactive, or easily given to anger. So be self-protective when you plan that first meeting – somewhere neutral, not your place, or his, with someone you know aware of where you are and expecting you to call when you get home.
I met a great guy online; I had an instant interest just from his profile.
We met soon after connecting, and I also felt instant chemistry. He said he felt the same. We had three great dates, and I learned a lot about him. We talked all night and I did sleep over on that last date, as there was openness and passion between us.
I was shocked when I never heard from him after I emailed him several times asking when we’d get together again. I humiliated myself by getting nervous and looking clingy. It’s turned me off the whole Internet dating method.
You felt interest and passion and showed it. It’s far more human than humiliating. You may’ve scared him, but that doesn’t mean he didn’t have feelings for you, maybe just wasn’t ready for it.
Let some time pass, then send a good-wishes email with no questions. It’s worth a try.
Tip of the day:
Internet Dating exposes you to far more people, but also to more risks, so proceed with caution.