Online Dating for Women: The Dos and Don’ts
As anybody who has seen Catfish will understand, the world of online dating is a tricky business. You may have been chatting to the guy of your dreams for months, but when you finally get to meet your would-be Romeo, he may be nothing like the person you thought you were getting to know. I’ve even had my photos stolen by someone in order to message guys! This isn’t to mean online dating is a bad thing. Far from it. If you aren’t somebody who enjoys meeting guys in bars and clubs, and all the men who work in your office are complete dead weights, or already spoken for, then dating apps such as Tinder and Bumble are useful ways to form a casual encounter or a long-term relationship. You just need to take care when you use them.
DO: STAY SAFE
This is possibly the most important item on this list. While there are wonderful men in the world, there are also those with the intent to deceive and hurt others. When you’re planning that first date, be sure to let your best mates and family know where you are. Agree to meet in a public place, and don’t venture home with the guy if you are in any way unsure of his motivations. If the first date goes well, you may take things further in the future. However, for that first encounter, play it safe, even if everything is going swimmingly.
DO: BE YOURSELF
When putting your photo on your online profile, don’t use a photo of you that was taken ten years earlier. Honesty counts, and as you want the man to be open and truthful with you, you should offer the same in return. Unfortunately, the first impression is everything on dating sites, so it’s understandable you want to use the very best pictures in your possession. However, you can still glam yourself up a little bit when preparing to take a pic. If any guy is shallow enough not to speak to you because of your looks, then they are missing out. Of course, the same applies to you. The man may not look all that in his photo, but if he wants to meet you, get to know him online a little bit before you write him off completely.
DO: KNOW WHAT YOU’RE LOOKING FOR
Let’s be honest; sometimes a relationship is not part of our agenda. There are times when we are just looking for a good time. Whatever the case, be upfront with the guy early on. While you wouldn’t tell him you wanted kids on the first date, you may want to give him some idea of what you’re looking for to avoid wasting your time and his. If a quick fling is all your after, take some contraceptive advice before ending up in trouble. You know the guy should bring his own contraception, but it’s better to be safe than sorry. Talk to the man, find out his intentions, and if your inclinations are the same, you are going in the right direction.
DO: HAVE FUN
You may have been single for a long time, but try not to take online dating too seriously. Yes, you may meet the man of your dreams, but bide your time, and have some fun in the process. Telling the first guy you meet that you love him will send him running for the hills, so get to know the guy first, online and off, and enjoy the experience. The less pressure you put on yourself, and on your planned dates, the better. You won’t be disappointed if you lower your expectations, though you will feel elated if it goes much better than you imagined.
DO: FIND THE RIGHT PLATFORM
As mentioned, there are loads of dating sites and apps available, and they all have their pros and cons. Sample a few of them and use the ones that work best for you. Some cater more to younger people, and others go towards an older demographic. There are apps that are based around casual flings, and others for those looking for a serious relationship. See what’s available, and focus your attention on the app or site that suits your needs best. By all means, use more than one to widen the search, but you don’t want to waste your time, energy, or money, on anything that may not be appropriate.
DON’T: TAKE THINGS PERSONALLY
Unfortunately, rejection is something you are going to have to get used to when online dating. You aren’t the only gal on the block, and the guys using these sites will be as picky as you are. If a guy you like doesn’t follow up on the request you sent them, don’t stalk them, but move on with an optimistic heart and message somebody else. You will be swiping through the guys on the site, too, placing some of them in the reject pile before even giving them a chance, so don’t be surprised if the same happens to you. Eventually, a match will be made; it may just take time for the magic to happen.
DON’T: LIE TO YOUR DATE
The guy may have looked like the perfect fit online, but if after a few dates, you know things aren’t working, be honest and let him know. You will know whether somebody is right for you or not, and that little voice in the back of your head is worth listening too. If your heart doesn’t jump for joy when you’re planning the next date, let him know. In the same way, don’t be led on by the guy. If you suspect he is playing you for a fool, don’t let him take you for a ride. Trust your intuition and make emotionally mature decisions.
DON’T: RUSH THE RELATIONSHIP
The first date might go well, and the second may go even better. You have found the perfect man for you. It’s time to propose… or maybe not! No matter how well things are going, use your common sense. As we said earlier, have fun and don’t get too serious. You will only come across as emotionally needy if you pin all your hopes on this one guy. It may blossom into something incredible, but then again it may not. Be patient, even if he’s the one trying to rush things along.
DON’T: MESS AROUND WITH OTHER GUYS
You are bound to meet several guys at once, and so there may be more than one ‘first date’ happening around the same time period. This is okay, and most people consider this acceptable. However, it may also be a recipe for disaster. When the first date goes well, and the relationship begins to progress, you need to cut your losses and choose one guy from the bunch to pursue, no matter how difficult this may be. If you’re not careful, and you have several guys on the go at once, you may end up with nobody if one of the men discovers your duplicity.
DON’T: PUT UP WITH POOR COMMUNICATION
Okay, there will be times when the guy is busy so you may have to wait a little while for a reply. However, there may also be something wrong. If they aren’t staying in touch with you within acceptable timeframes (not thirty seconds after your text), they may not be the guy for you. For starters, they may be stringing you along, and playing their chances with other women. Alternatively, they may no longer be interested. It’s no good you pursuing somebody through text, phone call, Skype, email, Facebook, house calls, visits to their mother (do you catch my drift) when they clearly aren’t interested in staying in contact with you. Yes, it’s rude and they should be honest with you if they no longer want to stay in touch, but not everybody has the same moral principles you do. Give them a chance, but know when to quit.
DON’T: NEGLECT THE REST OF YOUR LIFE
Don’t pin all your hopes and dreams of meeting the right guy. I hope you do, but it might take time. In the meantime, you have the rest of your life to consider, including those other important relationships, such as friends and family. Ultimately, you are still you, whether you are dating a guy or not. You are beautiful and special, no matter what your experience of the online dating game is like. There will be times when you feel hurt and lonely, but you don’t need to be defined by a romantic relationship. Life goes on regardless, so have fun, chat with a few guys, and see where things lead. If nothing happens, your life isn’t over, so put things in perspective.