I am an online dating success story—I trapped a man! Okay, we trapped each other, but we met through Match.com. And even though I joke about being featured on match.com commercials as a ‘real’ example, I will probably never be selected. Mainly because I made about a thousand mistakes online dating before, by a miracle and hard work, I found ‘the one.’
Please note, I’m speaking for the female side of things, which is inherently easier when online dating. Match.com was the only site I had experience with, too, so keep that in mind if you are interested in other platforms. Also, most people online dating on a site where you pay for membership are pretty serious about dating. They want to settle down. Try Plenty of Fish or OkayCupid or Tinder if you are looking for something else.
When I joined, it was 30 days ‘free’ and $60 for two months, so the agreement was $60 for three months. I set up my profile and made quite a few mistakes. Some of the pictures I posed I hadn’t blacked out my friend’s faces. And some match.com guy recognized one of them. And it was pretty embarrassing for me! So, if you have pictures with other people, take the time to black out their innocent faces.
Now, everyone knows you are picking your best pictures, and that’s no crime. Photoshopping is a crime. Posting photos that aren’t you is a crime. Dudes posting shirtless photos is a crime. Girls posting photos of themselves in a cute tank top that accidentally looks like they have two long braids is also an unfortunate crime:
To be fair,I had no idea until some guy complimented my braids. Those are tank top straps, I swear.
My profile was short and sweet, with enough real details. Don’t be too cute, don’t lie, don’t lie by omission.
As a girl on match.com, I got plenty of emails and ‘winks’. It can be really time consuming to answer emails. I suggest emailing back and forth a few times to feel the guy out, and then meeting him in person. It’s easy to get comfortable sending emails and investing too much time in that area. And then when you meet the guy in person, there’s no chemistry and it was all a waste of time. So, don’t be like me. Keep the emails under control otherwise you’ll exhaust yourself and have hours’ worth of emails to reply to when you get home from work.
Expect some work, too. Yes, dating is fun, but meeting online is also a bit of work. You have to invest time in your profile, in searching out matches, and in responding to emails. I spent a lot of time online dating and it was a surprising amount of work, even though some of it was fun work.
Another thing I did wrong was drag things out too long in person. Eventually I decided three dates was the cutoff number. It gives you a good amount of time to figure out if you’re interested and can give some variety to dates so that you can see different aspects of the person you’re dating. Some people are really nervous on the first date, so I always took that one with a grain of salt. Unless you are creeped out or decidedly not interested, I’d give it three dates. I made the mistake of dating for too long and dragging it out because most of the time I felt neutral about a guy. I’d go on the fourth or fifth date and still feel unsure (which was my heart’s way of saying he’s nice but still, no). Dragging it out is just wrong. Set him or her free and move on. Especially if they’re nice. They deserve honesty.
Compromises are key. There isn’t a perfect ‘match’ out there for you, trust me. That list of 30 traits isn’t doing you any favors. I almost passed up on meeting my husband because he was still in graduate school and I had finished school the year before and didn’t want to have anything to do with a grad student, really. Luckily, by then, I had learned to compromise. It turned out to be not a big deal in the end.
As always, if you feel uneasy about any date, don’t go! There were one or two that I ended up not meeting because of this vibe. The rest of my dates I always met in public and in busy places. Let someone in your real life know where you’re going and who you’re meeting with. Safety first.