I am amazed at how many couples I now see that report to me that their relationship commenced online. It seems that what was once an unusual occurrence is now becoming the norm. Many people prefer the convenience of perusing online profiles rather than standing in noisy bars and clubs to meet potential partners.
I have seen many couples that have created a great relationship from meeting their partner online. And I have also seen many singles that find online dating is a merry-go-round of disappointing connections and dates that go nowhere. I have devoted this post to providing information that may assist you in navigating some of the pitfalls of love in the online world.
1. Have a profile that reflects who you are and what you stand for
One of the biggest time wasters online is having a profile that is vague, old or downright dishonest. We have all heard of scenarios where people use photos from 10 years ago or describe themselves in a way other than they are. Dishonesty will probably always be a part of the online world, however, you can take a stand for who you are and what you believe.
Think of your profile as a relationship business card. You will attract what you put out there, so think clearly about what you are looking for and be honest and upfront. It is much more likely that you will attract people that are looking for the same thing.
2. Fast connections don’t have to mean fast relationships
Frequently I see couples that speed into a relationship with one another without taking the time to get to know each other. We now live in a fast-paced world where anything we want or need is at our fingertips and available on the internet. However, no matter how excited, passionate or ‘in love’ you feel about a new relationship, it does take time to get to know a person.
The other pattern I see is when a person becomes a serial dater. By this I mean they become adept at connecting online and dating many people, however, they never get past a second or third date because they lose interest. This fast food love is exactly that; they get a ‘quick fix’ from the initial excitement of meeting someone new, and then quickly move on when there is the possibility of going deeper. If this is you, you may want to consider what are your blocks to getting to know someone a little deeper, and perhaps even experiencing emotional intimacy.
3. Take time to reveal and discover
Take your time to reveal yourself and to let your new date reveal themselves. Part of the joy of a new relationship is the gradual deepening and getting to know your partner. When this process is rushed or big commitments are made early on, you have not had the time to invest in building a solid foundation for your relationship to rest upon. I am reminded of the phrase; ‘don’t push the river, it flows by itself.’
Relationships have a life of their own and it is important to respect the natural pace and unfolding that is needed to create a strong and secure relationship. When you take this approach to your new relationship, you are less likely to regret rash decisions and you can then relax and enjoy this lovely time of your relationship.
4. Be clear, respectful and honest in your communications
As I have written in another post about ending relationships online, it is vital that you communicate with others as you would like them to communicate with you. Unfortunately, the relative anonymity of the web and the convenience of not having to communicate face-to-face has meant that many people now start and end relationships online with little consideration for the feelings of the other.
If you are clear, respectful and honest in all your interactions with your online dates, you will not only avoid possible relationship breakdown, but will also be encouraging others to do the same. As a rule of thumb, if you imagine you would be comfortable saying what you are typing face-to-face, then there is a good chance that the communication is respectful.
5. Stay connected to the real world
As amazing as the internet has become for connecting with others and facilitating new relationships, don’t forget to stay connected with your world outside of the internet.
It is easy to immerse yourself in reading dating profiles for hours and hours and perhaps not even meeting anyone, or feeling too nervous to set up that first date. Try to avoid endless messaging back and forth by asking to meet in-person in a public place that is safe and secure, so that you can get a good sense of the person in the real world.
Also, be careful not to neglect your real-world friends and family. Work to strike a balance between online interactions and spending relaxing and enjoyable times with those that you care about. The more that you can be present with those offline, will only enhance your overall happiness and life satisfaction.
Check out the funny video below about how a woman hacked online dating.
Do you need relationship help?
Since 2003, Clinton Power has helped thousands of couples and individuals as a counsellor and psychotherapist in private practice in Sydney and online in Australia. Clinton regularly comments in the media on issues of relationships and has appeared on Channel 7, The Sydney Morning Herald, and ABC Radio. Clinton’s eBook, 31 Days to Build a Better Relationship is available through his website or Amazon. Click here to take Clinton’s relationship checkup quiz to find out how well you know your partner.