To Match or not to Match — The ins and outs of online dating.
Every day we are faced with the reality of being single, in a relationship, married, divorced, or “it’s complicated.” Relationships as a whole have seemed to become more difficult as the years have progressed. Consequently many questions arise when you meet someone. Is the physical attraction necessary to move forward? Is previous relationship history a good indicator of how he/she treats all relationships? Is career focus a good sign of healthy commitment habits? Can we realistically know all the answers in one, two, three, or ten dates? And do we ever really fully know our partner in a given amount of time? This brings me to my discussion of the ins and outs of on-line dating.
Today, 40 million Americans use on-line dating. We have an abundance of sites to choose from, e-harmony, match, zoosk.com, flirt.com, Christian mingle, black people meet.com, farmers only.com, ourtime.com, beNaughty.com, uniformdating.com, JDate, Gay.com, are only a few amongst the many others that are out there. Is on-line dating the new and improved way to filter out your dates? Or is it perhaps just a virtual world that still allows for us to deal with deception? Are these on-line profiles a projection of our ideal self? Most importantly, are people out there looking for true love?
A study conducted by the science daily found that when couples had built up a significant relationship by emailing or chatting on line, 94% of them were more likely to meet for a second time. However, other studies have found that 80% of online daters lie about their height, weight, or age on their profiles, as well as other details about their lifestyle, jobs, salaries etc. How do we protect our emotional self, while at the same time exposing ourselves to risk taking and trying out new things?
One important question to ask yourself is what am I looking for? Am I hoping for a good time or a steady relationship? It is important to be aware of your own expectations/anxieties before going on the first date. Men and women who are desperately looking for a relationship may not be able to be in the present while on the date. Our internal monologue may be more focused on questions such as, “Is he or she the one? Is he/she marriage material?”, and this CANNOT be concluded from one meeting. The only expectation that one should have on a first date is that at the conclusion of your time together, you will have a better sense of who they are. Be aware of your comfort level, conversation, and focus on being present and mindful. In the on-line dating sphere of romantic encounters, I have noticed that people can fall into three major categories, explained as follows:
The chronic dater is in the endless search for perfection. They have a detailed list of characteristics that they want. If the date falls short of these characteristics then they gladly scratch them off the list and quickly go on to the NEXT one! One important rule is to avoid assumptions and predictions. Go on a second/third date and be curious about things that may need more clarity.
The one hitter quitter is just looking for good old SEX. They are not invested in meeting the person at a deeper level. There is little interest in the conversation, and little interest in your past, present, or future. All that’s in their mind is what type of undergarment you have. Are you a G-string gal? or a tidy whitey gent? All you can do as their date, is pick up on this early on. The one hitter quitter will at some point ask a more intimate question. It is hard for them to contain their one and only goal. Your job is to be clear and say no. They may be very charming but if this is NOT what you are looking for, acknowledge it, and move along.
The over sharer tells the date their entire life story. They may show you pictures of previous dates, or start talking about their exes. Daters! EX-talk is not okay. If you need to process a past relationship or still feel stuck, use other resources, anyone, but not your date. It is okay to be silent for five minutes and allow the other person to talk. The over sharer may end the date and not know anything about their date. Use those assertiveness skills and let the dater know that “too much is too soon.” Even if the date didn’t work out, at least you were honest and gave them a good piece of advice.
On-line dating serves as a modern day form of emotional connectedness. If it is not treated with care, it can result in a headache. Having a relaxed, positive attitude about on-line dating seems to make a significant difference. It is crucial not be fixated on the outcome, enjoy the company, and see where the relationships takes you!