You've decided to enter the crazy, mixed up world of online dating. You're unsure, nervous and determined to conquer this dreaded step. You feel overwhelmed and are lacking confidence. It's like diving into a pool of liquid blindfolded, not totally sure if it's hot or cold.
I'm here to tell you what to expect.
First, the sign-up process is a little time-consuming. Once you get past setting up passwords and email notification choices, you are now ready to go onto the profile page. Don't write what you think a man will want to hear, write from your heart and don't be afraid to be truthful. It's important not to show too much vulnerability as to prevent people from taking advantage of you. Most men will state on their profiles that they are looking for an independent woman. In their minds, that means not too needy. Post about five pictures and make sure they are all current. Depending on your priorities, pick their education requirements and salary minimum carefully.
Now that you are set up, this is what to expect.
Emails will start flowing in like a river. You'll see pictures of men smiling, frowning, fishing, skiing, without shirts, without hair and without teeth! They will be all shapes and sizes. Many of them see a pretty face and don't even care about what your specific requirements are. If you checked 6' don't be surprised to get many that are 5' 5".
Passion is a big word amongst their profiles. They want a passionate woman who likes to be touched. What does that mean exactly? They might have just written that they want sex and they want it often.
They are single now, and they are no different than teenage boys.
Some might ask you out by saying, "lets meet for a drink or coffee." That's like saying, "I want a look see, and if I like what I see, I'll spend the money and take you out." Personally, I find it degrading and offensive.
How can someone get to know who you are by a quick sit down? These matches need to be treated like a blind date. You get invited out for a dinner and invest some time to see if there's a connection.
It's easy for a woman to lose confidence is this world of online dating if they're not careful. I suggest to my clients, to view it as a business. Do not invest your emotions too fast until you are sure this is the right position for you.
There are many, wonderful, caring good men out there looking for the same things that you are, but when it comes to feelings, especially some who are still healing, you have to be cautious. Many mistakes have been made by being blinded by optimism. It's not just the women that need to be careful. Many men are vulnerable too. There are women who prey on men for their money. They are gold diggers and opportunists. It's a sad fact.
No one wants to be in this dating jungle, especially if it's after a breakup. It's not a fun place. It's time consuming and exhausting, but it's necessary. I still believe if someone wants to be alone, that's fine too. These choices are personal.
HuffPost Lifestyle is a daily newsletter that will make you happier and healthier — one email at a time. Learn more