Though many still meet the so-called “old-fashioned way,” more and more people are turning to the web to find that special someone. Online dating is becoming more mainstream as there literally is a site out there for every interest, age, sexual orientation, etc. You name it, and there’s probably a dating site out there for you.
One plus of online dating is that you can virtually “meet” people before you meet them face-to-face. Through detailed profiles, various compatibility questions or even dating applications that rely on friends of friends, you can get to know someone fairly easily and quickly. Completely blind dates are now a thing of the past. After all, when you first meet someone in person, you rarely get the full picture of who they are right away or even important details like his or her life passions and relationship goals. But when you scroll through people online, all those key details are displayed right up front, making it that much easier to meet Mr. or Ms. Right.
However, navigating the online dating waters is not just about throwing up a profile and crossing your fingers. If you're looking for love in the digital universe, here are a few tips to increase your chances of finding the best match for you.
Know your options
Do your homework before you go and sign up for the first dating app or service you come across so you know which ones will work best for you. Sure, there are general dating websites, but there are also a plethora of other sites that cater toward people of a certain age or religious background, and other niches – think dog lovers, cat owners, farmers and more! Some apps even work with your social media accounts to help you connect with people you already might know through a friend of a friend. And, there are still others that send you daily lists of potential matches, picking out people that would best fit within certain parameters you set. With so many types of sites and services, you'll soon find one that you feel comfortable using.
You are unique, beautiful, sexy and interesting. So make sure that you bring it out in your profile. But, be honest! While it may be tempting to concoct a supposed smarter, funnier, cooler, maybe even younger version of yourself on your dating profile, you're better off being honest about who you are and what you’re looking for. After all, in the end, you want to find someone you can really be yourself around – a true partnership where you and your significant other accept each other, flaws and all. Plus, being honest from the beginning means a lot less time wasted on guys you aren’t actually interested in and more time meeting potential matches that you actually mesh with.
You may be quick to discard a message from someone who's not your regular type (maybe the person is into music you don't really like, is older or younger than you are, is shorter than who you typically date, or has a few too many photos of with Mr. Whiskers, his cat). While, yes, it's important to be discerning when you're seeking love online, don't overlook potential partners based on what you think you want or what you think your ideal partner looks like in your mind. Who knows? You may just be surprised by someone amazing if you allow yourself to be open to new possibilities.
Just as you would if you met someone in real life, you should exercise a healthy amount of caution when you're dating online. Don't give out your personal information until after you have met. And, no matter how old you are or how much experience you have with dating, only share what you feel comfortable sharing, which may include where you work, details about your family or specifics on where you live. Be sure you get together in a public place for the first few dates and meet your date there instead of meeting at either of your homes. While you may feel like you really know someone after messaging with him or her, you still want to stay safe.
Finding love takes time; if it didn't, it wouldn't be so special. And, while it's easy to feel a little burned out after receiving messages from people you aren’t interested in (and possibly never hearing back from the couple you are), know that online dating is a bit of a numbers game. You may have more than a couple not-so-awesome dates, but stick with it; perseverance in dating, as with anything, is required if you want the payoff in the end. Keep yourself out there and stay motivated – it's really just a matter of time before you find your ideal match. Your perfect match may just be one click away.
- Mashable: Six Online Dating Tips
- The Huffington Post: Six Reasons Boomers Fail at Online Dating
- Elite Daily: Your Type Is the Main Reason You're Single
Journalist Natasha Burton has written for Cosmopolitan for Latinas, Maxim, Cosmopolitan.com, and WomansDay.com, among others. The author of "101 Quizzes for Couples" and "The Little Black Book of Big Red Flags," she is regularly called on as a relationship expert by various media outlets around the world