But sometimes, online dating gets overwhelming. It can become a full time job. And there are no hard and fast rules for how to do it right. I went to the experts to find out their suggestions for what you should and shouldn't do when you're online dating.
Do stay safe Shutterstock One of the most important things you can do when online dating is protect yourself. Unlike meeting a potential partner through a mutual friend, you don't know much about the people you meet online. Jaime Kulaga , life coach and PhD. Kulaga added, "When you go out on a first date, make sure that friends or family know where you are going and never go to someone's house alone. Make sure that your first date is somewhere in public movies, dinner, theme park, etc.
You want your photos to be an accurate representation of you so that when people meet you in real life, they get what they expect. The first photo is your first impression — try and remember that when you're coming up with your collection. Don't put up photos that are offensive or deceiving or that don't demonstrate who it is you really are. David Bennett , certified counselor, relationship expert and co-author of seven self-help books, told me, "Studies show most people base online dating primarily on the photos.
While this isn't bad, it's the main reason so many people complain that sorting through the duds online is too much work, because just because someone looks good doesn't mean they are dating or relationship material. Bennett suggested, "Give personality more weight, and swipe left on guys and gals you know wouldn't be good for you, even if they're hot.
You'll get higher quality matches. One of the best things you can do in this process is to be self-aware. Krimer told me, "Check in with yourself before you get out into the dating world or whilst dating. Do you know what you want and need? Are you ready to be in a serious relationship? Do you trust your judgment? What is your attachment style? What fundamental values do you want to align with your potential mate?
Are you emotionally ready? Are you a good communicator? Krimer told me, "Acknowledge all of the important factors that make a relationship healthy and work — are you confident in your ability to contribute to a relationship in these ways?
If you experience difficulty in any of these areas, consider the fact that they may affect the outcome of your dating experiences.
For example, people who have trouble loving themselves will often choose partners who will confirm their beliefs about themselves. Krimer told me in our interview, "It's really easy to get caught up in the stresses of meeting someone — let alone meeting the right someone. If you put too much pressure on the expectation of meeting someone, you're much more likely to feel disappointed or discouraged if it's not what you expect it to be.
Krimer suggested that you keep your goals front and center. She said, "Do know your goals for what you're looking for — what are your intimacy and relationship needs? Are the people you're meeting matching those needs? Are you getting into relationships with people with conflicting relationship goals i. Being honest with yourself and others about what it is you want in a relationship can help prevent unnecessary stress or uncertainty later on.
Kulaga told me, "There are online dating sites for everyone's desires. Whether you are looking for a long-lasting relationship or just want to 'play the field' for a while, online dating has you covered. However, you want to keep your bigger goals in mind when entering some of these dating sites.
You are doing yourself a disservice when you waste time and energy on dealing with things that don't directly impact your bigger goal. Bennett told me, "Different apps have different strengths and weaknesses. It may take some time to find which app is right for you. Some apps cater more toward a younger demographic, while others skew older. Some focus more on relationships, while others seem geared toward flings and dating around.
Bennett added, "Your own experience of these apps may defy the typical experience. Try a variety of apps for a few months and then go from there. You'll save a lot of time you would have spent going out with the wrong people.
You are representing yourself in your profile, and that's the first impression potential matches are going to see. Bennett told me in our interview, "Don't use a boring or standard opening message. Online dating is very competitive, and some people have anywhere from hundreds to even thousands of likes, matches, and messages to sort through. A hey or WYD isn't going to cause you to stand out. But in most cases, it's not worth it to take rejection personally. Kulaga told me, "If someone doesn't respond to a request you sent them or someone doesn't follow up after a first date, move on.
Kulaga continued, "If you sulk, ruminate and dwell on the fact that someone didn't come through on a follow up, this will hold you back from meeting the real Mr. Celebrate your mismatches instead of getting upset about them. Kulaga's words, "Be happy the person didn't come through and you didn't waste any more of your precious time.
Krimer told me, "Going into the dating world knowing that you have a lot to offer can really buffer some of the potential effects of dates not working out and can help you not to personalize dating experiences that may be perceived as rejection. Kulaga told me it's better to move on when that happens. She said, "If you are emailing someone back and forth and recognize this person is not a good fit for you, or you go on a date that just wasn't your cup of tea, let the person know.
Be upfront and don't lead people on. Not only does this waste their time, it is wasting yours. Krimer told me, "Be upfront about what you're looking for when meeting people.
In this day and age, the word clingy gets thrown around a lot — someone who is secure and emotionally mature will be open to hearing about your readiness for a relationship, and you should feel safe in expressing at least a general sense of what you want from a dating experience. Don't jump to the finish line Shutterstock While you want to be honest about what you're looking for in a partner, don't let your desire to get married and have kids get in the way when you first start dating someone.
Kulaga told me, "If your ultimate goal is to get married and you go on a first and second date with someone dreamy, don't blurt out the marriage countdown!
You will scare this perfect match away! You might be dying to show off an engagement ring on social media, or you might feel like you are last on your list of friends to marry, but don't jump to that finish line just yet. Enjoy the process, get to know the person and create memories before you drag them into your pre-written agenda. Krimer told me, "If you went on a date and had a terrific time, don't buy into the game-playing and rules. Let that person know soon after your first date that you really enjoyed your time!
Krimer continued, "They'll either reciprocate if they felt the same way, or you will know by their response or behaviour if they aren't interested in pursuing anything further. There's no need to wait days before you text or call — if you like someone, let them know it! It seems like poor communication has become standard in online dating.
But it doesn't have to be. If they want to communicate with you, they will. And if they don't, cut them loose. Krimer told me, "Don't buy the I'm really busy with work excuse to justify lack of communication — I've had patients who are in relationships with doctors who work 17 hour days and still manage to text their partners in breaks between OR time. We're all busy people — but we know that we make time when we want to make time. But don't just brush it off.
Even if texting isn't someone's main mode of communicating, if they are ready and interested in pursuing a relationship, it will be reflected in their behaviour. They will absolutely find a way to check in, keep you in the loop, and make themselves available to talk.
Even getting on that first date can feel difficult. Bennett told me, "Don't expect to get a date right away. Statistics show that around one third of online dating users never go on a date. The number was as high as seventy percent without a date in one study focused on Tinder. These apps aren't magic, and going from matching and messaging to an actual date is pretty much just as hard online as it is in the offline world.
Don't look at it as a success or failure, but rather as an adventure you're taking on.