Online dating has been the preferred method of finding a partner for many people for many years. A lot of people have had success and many will testify to the effectiveness and ease of using this method. The industry gets bigger all the time and more and more people are signing up. They pay for the service and like any other expect the maximum for their money. It is basically a love supermarket…the payment of a fee entitles you to be matched with someone compatible. Equally, you have the opportunity to look through hundreds maybe thousands of profiles and contact the owners. On the surface, the law of averages states that sooner or later, someone will take the bait and success in terms of a new love will happen and it sometimes does. We pay our money, we get a choice and it all runs smoothly….except it sometimes doesn’t. In this process, the amount of choice can be a disadvantage. Psychologically, we might think there is always something better on the horizon, meaning we may miss some opportunities in the mad dash to get a new partner.
The fact is, and this has been often confirmed with client experience, is that it is generally as hard to find love with online dating as it is in more traditional ways….and sometimes more difficult. I have identified a few reasons why based on working with many people who have tried this ever expanding service. They will paint a much different story than the one given by the websites and many give up due to frustration at the quality of the choice on offer.
“The choice on offer” sounds rather clinical and cold but the fact is that many people who decide to try online dating are left disappointed by what they find. Many profiles are not complete, give little information about the person concerned and are sometimes downright false with old pictures and “window dressed” information. Trawling through hundreds of these must be a nightmare with the clear thought in mind that most must be taken with a pinch of salt.
Years ago, there was a way to meet people. At local events, work or friends of friends. Once you met someone, it usually went fairly slow. You would meet again but it might take some time. In the days before cell phones and texting, it was either letter or phone from home or a phone booth. You would then meet again and the process seemed to be much more cautious and indeed slower. This, of course still happens today but far less frequently.
In our super charged world, everything is quicker and this includes dating online. Many of the people I know find it difficult to cope with the amount of rejection thrown their way in such a short time span. Of course, this is only natural given the fact that you pay to meet as many people as possible. Not all will be interested….that is a fact of life. However, many feel that there is an element of dishonesty attached to a lot of the interaction. I have heard stories of meetings being arranged and one side not turning up, cancelling five minutes before, stating interest and then blocking telephone numbers and lying about “other” appointments, etc. I am not naive enough to believe this has not always happened but with online dating, it can be very intense and I truly wonder what the real chances of finding someone compatible are in this way. All new profiles that appear on sites are quickly viewed and contacted. I heard one story of a lady who went on a very successful first date with such a new profile but was told it was too early for him as he has not been on dates with others and if she was still interested in two months, she should contact him. Some might admire this brutal honesty but needless to say, she never contacted him again.
I think it is important to go into this process with expectations set at the right level and to have a strategy that works for you, remembering always that safety concerns should be paramount. As a woman on any site, lots of attention will usually come your way. Here it is a case of filtering the serious ones from the ones who are looking for other things. If you are looking for a long term relationship, it makes little sense to meet with someone who isn’t. Filtering for me means phone screening. Here you can get a better idea than with text or email and you can target the ones that seem compatible. Once this has been done, the conversation can move towards meeting. Some like to meet fairly quickly others not and this is down to personal preference but let’s face it, you are not there to gain a pen or text friend. Leading up to the first meeting, you can tell a lot about the person by the frequency and tone of their texts. My thought has always been that if someone is really interested, they will not leave you waiting for days for a response to a text and they will try to expand the conversation. Leading up to the meeting, I feel men have the responsibility to take the lead concerning what the date will be and where. Too many men turn up unprepared and sometimes even ask their date what they want to do. No woman will be impressed by this. It means the man hasn’t taken the time to think about what his prospective partner might like or prefer.
After the first meeting, both sides can decide if they want to pursue things further. Women I have spoken to have truly appreciated honesty at this point and I am sure men are no different. If it didn’t work, just say so. Too often, unrealistic statements are made about second meetings and contact with no substance. This is unfair but happens more frequently than you might expect. If you survive the first round of the “beauty contest”, then don’t rush things. Take it slow and have as many dates with at person as you need. If it doesn’t work, there are plenty of fish in the sea!