The benefit to online dating is that you can bridge time and space. You can find other people that are in the dating mode too that may even live in a different town. But how do you increase the chances to find the mate you are seeking?
Figure Out What You Want
Think long and hard about this. First, are you talking dating, long-term relationship or marriage? Try not to get caught up in specific hobbies or careers. Focus on the connection and relationship. If you want a tennis partner it will narrow your possibilities. Playing tennis at the club will make finding a good relationship easier. A good partnership will share each other’s interests.
Think big picture such as family or not? Would you rather travel or pursue interests? If raising kids and family is important, maybe look for someone who has more than one kid already. If you are in your 40s or 50s and you want family and long-term marriage maybe avoid never married no kids. In your late 20s and early 30s lots of people have not been married and do not have kids yet. There is a difference between raising toddlers and hanging with teenagers.
Look for someone with a track record of what you are seeking, stable job, healthy lifestyle, family. Do you want someone local or are you open to a long-distance relationship that can end up together? These are not hard and fast rules, follow your heart and the connection. Find what feels right to you.
How to Write a Good Profile
A good profile has a little bit about your life experience, lifestyle, interests, family but then about the kind of relationship you offer. Talk about how you are in relationship, what your strengths are, spend some time thinking about this. I believe this part is important. Are you a good listener, how do handle conflict, read some of the posts here about what makes a good relationship and add couple things that resonate with you. Avoid writing a profile that is “all about me” or too short. Seek people with a well written profile including what they want and offer in relationship.
Good Recent Photos
Post more than one photo and have more than head shots. Have a friend take a few pictures of you outdoors in nice weather. Maybe switch outfits every few shots to mix things up. The most beautiful pictures I have seen were taken of mom by her daughter in front of the flower garden at home.
If family is important to you, consider include a group family picture(s). If privacy is a concern you may avoid this. Post recent photos, there is nothing more entertaining than showing up for that first date to find you partner has aged five years form your expectations. Include the month and year taken in the caption of the photo.
Girls Reach Out to the Guys
Seriously, women are the gate keepers to relationship and intimacy. Nothing happens without the women’s say so. Interest from a woman says a lot to a man. It also lets the woman select what kind of mate she is interested in. Guys you can send out a lot of emails but sometimes it is best to be patient and wait to be contacted first.
Tip: avoid spilling your life story on the first date.
If no one is contacting you after a month, have a friend of the desired gender look at your written profile and pictures to see if it should be updated. Stay current on the site, visit every few days to see who is viewing your profile. Sometimes sending them just a wink is a good icebreaker. If you let it go for a few weeks, you will appear like you are on break and not currently seeking someone.
Selecting Someone to Contact: Learn Personality Types
This takes experience but start figuring out who is serious and who is not. Who has put time into their profile. How emotionally mature are they. Are they solid, stable and good at relationship or lonely and needy? Ask about their last relationship and breakup. Are they still friends with their ex? If they say just negative things about their last partner(s), that may tell you something.
Read between the lines. It is more what someone does with their life that says the most. If their life is built around their kids, they probably will be good at family. If someone is coming out of a long-term marriage, ask if they are wanting to get right into another serious relationship or meet a few new people first.
Etiquette Email and Profile Visibility
It is okay to send a wink if you like as a first contact but a personal note is a bit better. If someone contacts you that you are not interested it is probably better to just not respond instead of sending them a rejection email. If someone contacts you that you are interested in but you have been away, say so at your first opportunity to they know you are still interested. Keep the communication up if you are interested. Be polite and treat the other person as you would like to be treated too. If you can’t make a date, let them know by calling in advance, not the day of. Once you start dating someone focus, hide your profile so you are not communicating with others.
Be Positive and Supportive
There is nothing more attractive than a partner who is a cheerleader in what you are doing in life. Find out how you can help; inquire how it’s going. Support will come back your way. One plus one with positive energy can equal three!
Learn from Your Mistakes
You will get closer to the right match fastest if you can honestly understand why the last relationship(s) did not work. Own your stuff. If you met your ex online, see if you can figure out what you missed early on that did not work out. If they were just not interested in you don’t try to make yourself more fantastic, try to find the type of person who is more interested in someone like you!
Long Distance Relationship
This one is partly personal preference and partly practicality. Relationship really happens in person. Talking on the phone and email can get you up to the first meeting but sustaining it becomes difficult no matter how good the chemistry.
Many times it comes down to whether one party is mobile enough to relocate. If you have an established job, home and family try to find out early on if someone you are communicating with is more flexible or not. Generally it makes the most sense to have the person that would potentially relocate come visit first. If that person does not want to visit, they are unlikely to move. Ask if the person considering coming to visit you has a connection in your area or if you or your community offers something they are seeking.
If someone is coming a long distance to meet you or vice versa, put your best foot forward. This is a big scary first step. Try to make it special, have fun things planed that you both enjoy. Have your place cleaned up, the kids on good behavior. Read more about long-distance relationships here.
What Dating Site Do you Choose?
Generally there are a couple larger dating sites, some free and some paid. I recommend investing the money to join a paid dating site and avoid the free ones. I figure that people are more serious if they had to pay a little too. There are some other niche sites focused on everything from your religion, spirituality, environmental, fitness, etc. You may find someone more in tune with you on these but the population of people is smaller but definitely worth a try if that is important.
Be Safe, Have Fun
Meet in public on the first date. Regarding contact information. If you are meeting someone locally, keep you contact information email, phone, skype confidential until you can meet in person.
However, long-distance, if you feel comfortable, you may have to start emailing and talking on the phone to get to know them before one or both of you takes the big step to travel to meet in person. Give your travel information to a friend or someone in your family. You can try to check them out on the internet but do not tell them you are doing that, you will sound creepy. Trust yourself on what feels right. Read your dating site’s safety tips.
It comes down to figuring out what you realistically want, finding a good way to put it out there and then look for someone who is a good fit for your needs. Have fun, go meet someone wonderful and be someone wonderful for your future mate!