All those things you knew about dating... gone, out the window! The book has been rewritten. Online dating is a major learning curve for the uninitiated and can cause more pain than pleasure if you don't enter into it with your eyes wide open.
After many years of searching the online dating world and after meeting my now husband through an online dating site, I have narrowed the process down to my top nine things to consider when tackling online dating, successfully!
- Be clear about what you are looking for. Write down the things you want in a partner and only correspond with people you think or feel might match your needs.
- Don't lie! Don't exaggerate your accomplishments, don't use someone else's photo, don't bend the truth in any way. You will come unstuck eventually.
- Don't expect more than you are prepared to give. This means don't go in there with an unrealistic list of traits you want "the one" to have. If you can't live up to the list then the likelihood is neither can he. Be realistic.
- Meet prospective partners ASAP. Don't carry on an email relationship or phone relationship for any length of time. It is far too easy to be lulled into a false sense of security using either of these communication tools. Nothing gives you a clearer picture of who someone really is, than meeting them for a coffee in a public place. If they don't want to meet then end the connection immediately.
- Don't compromise your standards. Stand firm in the type of person you are looking to meet. Just because 20 people email you doesn't mean you have to correspond with them or even meet them at any time. If their profile doesn't reflect the things you are after then simply move on.
- You cannot fix him! If the person you are meeting seems like they are broken, they probably are and you are not the person that needs to fix him. If they talk about their ex during your meeting or issues with other women, take it as a warning sign that something isn't quite right and get the hell out of there ASAP! I cannot stress this enough!
- Don't be blindsided. In my experience those that are super sweet to you and overly accommodating on your first meeting are usually ones that are hiding something. It could be a personality trait, it could be a messy divorce that is ongoing or it could be something more sinister like being a violent personality. Be aware at all times. Don't brush things off that normally would send up a red flag for you.
- Always meet in a public place. It should go without saying but sadly it doesn't. Your first, second and maybe even third meeting should be in public. Choose a well lit area with a coffee shop that is busy as the place to meet. It doesn't matter how romantic it sounds that he wants to meet you on the beach for a moonlit stroll -- NO NO and NO. Your safety must come first.
- Be careful with what information you give out. During first email/phone conversations only give out a first name and consider using one that isn't yours. Never use an email that has your name or date of birth in it. Be aware that when you set up your Hotmail account you probably added your personal details to it so this can all be tracked. Set up a seperate account to use just for online dating with nothing in the account that can be traced back to you. No address, no date of birth and not your real name. If possible, ask to phone him and block your number until you have met. This may seem excessive but from someone who has had to take out restraining orders on men I have met online, I cannot stress this enough.
Sadly the online dating world is filled with the not so desirable element of society. For every one good one you will meet 10 not so good ones. Keep your eyes and ears open and trust your intuition at all times and never compromise your integrity, your morals or your safety for anyone. It just isn't worth it.