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How Can I Be Successful with Online Dating?

By: Danielle Bertini, LPC

It’s been more than two decades since the launch of commercial dating sites like Match.com, which has evolved into a multibillion-dollar industry around the world (Orbuch, 2010). According to a 2019 Pew Research Center study, three-in-ten U.S. adults say they have ever used a dating site or app (Vogels, 2020). And although roughly 57% of online daters said they’ve had an overall positive experience on these platforms, 47% said that their recent experience left them more frustrated than hopeful (with hopeful being only 28% of the individuals). So, how can you make online dating a safe and successful experience? Orbuch (2010) offers nine tips.

  1.     If technology isn’t one of your strong suits, or you aren’t sure what to put on your profile, try asking a younger close friend, relative, or co-worker to help you out. The chances are pretty high that someone you know already knows the ropes and would be willing to coach you a bit! Many online dating sites and apps also offer tips to help you get started. Don’t let a lack of familiarity keep you from participating.
  1.     Honesty is important in online dating, from your profile information to your photo. You don’t want to lie about your age, background, personality, etc. Although not everyone will take this advice, it’s important to not start a relationship on a lie. Somewhere down the road, people will find out that you aren’t want you say you are. Besides, it’s difficult to build genuine connections with people if they aren’t based on the truth!
  1.     One of the great things about the technology-driven world we live in today is that there are SO many different online dating websites and apps based on specific interests. You can find specific dating apps and sites for anything from your religious orientation, to your interest in the paranormal world. There truly is a space for everyone, and anything!
  1.     Although it’s important to be honest on dating sites, it also is important to protect your identity and anonymity. You wouldn’t give personal information out to stranger over the phone, so why would you do so over the internet? Make sure to get to know the person well before you provide any more detailed information about yourself. Legitimate online daters will understand your reasoning for doing so and will probably do the same themselves.
  1.     Going off of the tip above, never provide your last name, address, or any other personal or financial information to a person you haven’t met. Also, never give money to someone you don’t know or haven’t met in person.
  1.     Take your time getting to know someone online. Studies have shown that relationships typically develop faster online. People have different preferences for something like this, but it might be a good idea to not rush things and wait at least a week before you meet face-to-face. You can even slowly progress from talking online, to then doing video or Facetime chats before you make the decision to meet in person. This helps you to get a better sense of whether your personalities are a good match.
  1.     When you are ready to meet up with someone in person, arrange to do so in a busy public place, such as a coffee shop, bookstore, restaurant, or other retail outlet. It is also smart to not have your date pick you up or drive you home. Let someone else know about your plans, where you’re going, what time, and your date’s name. Keep your initial meeting relatively short. If you like the person, there’s always time for longer dates!
  1.     Listen to your gut. Pay attention to early warning signs that someone might not be legitimate or might not be presenting themselves honestly. For example, do they want to know all about you, but seem vague in sharing details about their life? Do they profess their love for you after a couple of hours or days? Online dating is a great way to find people with common interests, however building a relationship takes time and attention!
  1.     Think before you act and don’t be talked into any action that is not in your best interest or makes you feel unsafe/uncomfortable.

If you find yourself struggling with online dating, you may find it helpful to talk with one of our therapists at Symmetry Counseling. You can contact Symmetry today by calling 312-578-9990 to get matched with one of our licensed counselors. 

References

Orbuch, T. (2010, June 7). Nine Key Tips for Dating Online Safely and Successfully. Psychology Today. https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/the-love-doctor/201006/nine-key-tips-dating-online-safely-and-successfully. 

Vogels, E. (2020, February 6). 10 facts about Americans and online dating. Pew Research Center. https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2020/02/06/10-facts-about-americans-and-online-dating/.

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