Before I met my husband, I tried online dating. I experimented with several websites, and I had some positive experiences and some not so positive. I learned that online dating isn’t much different from any other kind of dating. There are some things to be aware of before an expedition into the online dating world and I’m going to list five lessons I learned from my own experience.
1. Read reviews before participating on any particular site, and don’t put all your eggs in one basket.
Without listing specific websites, it goes without saying there are many, many online dating sites available. Some are free, some require fees, and it’s really up to you what type works best. Each site has its own culture, a vibe, if you will, so look into ones of interest and see how their process works and if it would suit you. Don’t be afraid to try a bunch, especially if you’re not satisfied with a particular service.
2. Paying for a service does not make an online dating site better.
If you don’t have the funds to spare, don’t be afraid to try some of the free online dating sites. They both have advantages and disadvantages and paying a subscription fee doesn’t necessarily ensure success. For instance, one of my friends subscribed to a paid online dating website after trying their free weekend, and never met anyone she liked. Another friend, my best friend, met her husband on a free dating site.
3. Be cautious. Protect yourself.
Many dating sites offer a little anonymity and allow users to communicate with each other though the website and exchange messages that way, without revealing personal email addresses. That’s a great way to start out. Don’t rush into phone calls or meeting at a personal residence. Don’t be too hasty to share your address, phone number, or even your email address too soon.
Take your time; meet in public locations with lots of people around until you’re sure you feel comfortable and safe with the person you’ve just met. When you connect with someone through the forum of a dating site, it’s very easy to become caught up in the possibility of future relationship magic and throw caution to the wind. Just remember, you don’t know that the person is describing themselves accurately, and until you know for sure, it’s okay to be a little more guarded.
4. There could be a potential connection, even if the first date wasn’t perfect.
I met some pretty nice people through the online dating process. There were quite a few where we never met, but it was nice to be able to meet people in the same boat. One guy seemed pretty arrogant on our date, but I found out later he was attempting to cover up his nervousness. First dates are nerve-wracking for everyone, so don’t be afraid to make another date and give the person another chance if things didn’t go quite right.
5. Don’t let yourself become discouraged.
Frequently, it takes time for potential dates to respond to your profile. It takes time to meet people. Sometimes, it seems like you’re getting replies from all the wrong people. It isn’t a reflection of you, your personality, your appearance, your intelligence, or whatever else tests your self-confidence. Dating is hard.
Rumi, a wise Persian poet, wrote: “What you seek is seeking you.”
You deserve to be loved, there is someone out there for you, and you will find them.