Many people have a love-hate relationship with online dating. Whether it’s because of matches who are using old pictures or lying about their age, or matches who never want to meet up, chances are at least a few people you know have experienced frustration and disappointment with online dating.
On the other hand, there are many people who have had successful experiences with online dating. There was a time when online dating wasn’t the norm but these days, it may feel like you’re less likely to meet a potential partner in real life than it is to meet them online.
In order to have a successful experience with online dating, the process requires patience and awareness of how you may be getting in your own way. If you’ve been feeling frustrated with online dating and want to increase your chances to have success with the process, consider the following tips:
1. Preserve your dating energy. It’s easy to get tired of using dating apps and websites, especially if you’re swiping on matches all throughout your day. The more burned out you become, the more drained you will feel and the less energy you will have for potential partners who would be a good match. Consider using a dating app 1-2 times/day for a set amount of time. This allows you to preserve your dating energy so that you can show up as your best self with the matches you already have.
2. Check in with yourself before deciding to swipe on a dating app. Have you ever gone to the grocery store when you’re really hungry and ended up grabbing everything in sight?
Similarly, if you’re feeling sad, lonely, or hopeless, it’s going to be difficult to make decisions that are aligned with your best interest. You may be more likely to overlook red flags or swipe right on profiles that clearly include a dealbreaker because of how you’re feeling.
Instead, consider using a dating app or website during times when you have more energy and are excited about talking to and meeting new people. If you’re not feeling great, allow space for your emotions to come up and when you’re feeling more grounded, you can return to the dating apps.
3. Limit the number of matches you are talking to at a time. When it comes to online dating, it’s easy to get overwhelmed by all of the options. Consider the number of matches you can talk to at one time without feeling drained. A lot of people have the tendency to search for more matches before talking to the ones they currently have. This doesn’t allow you to get to know your current matches and puts you in the mindset of constantly searching for the “next best thing.”
4. Assess what you find most draining about online dating. Take some time to evaluate where in the dating process you may be experiencing some energy leaks and how you can recharge. For example, a lot of people tend to scroll through dating apps all day long, which can feel tiring. Others feel drained because they are pushing themselves to go on a certain number of dates per week, which can start to make dating feel like a job. Some other common complaints online daters have include matches who don’t ask them out after a certain amount of time, don’t respond to a message for long periods of time or don’t ask them any questions.
Once you consider the aspects that you find most draining about online dating, it can help to have a game plan for addressing the issue. For example, if a week has passed and the person you matched with has not asked you out, you may consider mentioning you would like to meet up to see what the response is or you may decide not to continue the conversation further after you’ve asked your match a few questions and they are not engaging in the conversation to help it move forward.
5. Rather than focusing on what you don’t want, include what you do want in your profile. After dealing with the same type of situation enough times, many people start to emphasize the things they don’t want in their dating profile in order to save time. An example of what this looks like on a dating app profile is, “Don’t message me if you do X, Y, Z” or “Not here for people who waste my time.”
The problem is that leading with what you don’t want can come across as negative and turn off potential partners who could be a great fit for you but know nothing else about you. Instead, consider including information in your dating profile about what you’re looking for.
6. If you need a break to recharge, take one. Have you ever tried to put furniture together and felt stuck or overwhelmed because you thought you would never be able to assemble the pieces? This may have resulted in you trying your hardest to push through despite running on empty or giving up altogether. You may be surprised by how much more you can get done when you take a break from trying to assemble the pieces and come back to them at a later time.
Similarly, in other areas of life, it can be difficult to have a clear perspective or focus on tasks when you’re feeling stuck or overwhelmed. If you’re in a dating rut, you’re usually not experiencing the fun side of the dating process. If online dating is starting to feel like a chore, it may be time to consider taking a break.
Have you ever chatted with or been on a date with someone who has seemed “so over” the dating process? It’s going to be tough to connect with someone on a deeper level if you’re feeling burned out and not fully present. Taking a break to recharge can help you refuel and potentially increase the likelihood that you will have more dating success when you’re ready to dive back in. Decide how much time off you would like and reflect on ways that you can recharge during your break.
7. Be honest with yourself about your relationship needs, intentions, and dealbreakers. When you know what you want and you’re honest with yourself about that, it can help you navigate online dating with intention, rather than wasting your time.
Consider creating a list of your top five relationship needs and three to five dealbreakers. If you’re not sure what your relationship needs are, consider how you feel most loved and cared for in a relationship. If you’re not sure what your dealbreakers are, consider the things you were most dissatisfied with in your previous dating and relationship experiences.
Referring back to this list when you’re online dating can help you date with intention and filter out matches who are not compatible with you. Although you won’t know right away whether someone has a dealbreaker or can meet your relationship needs, some profiles or initial conversations can help give you that information.
For example, if you want a relationship and you’re really attracted to someone but they have stated they are just looking for something casual in their profile, or you don’t want kids and they clearly state they want them in their profile, there is no use in trying to waste your time or theirs.
Sometimes, it’s not completely clear what someone is looking for but once you are in touch with what you want, you can find out more when you message them.
8. Do not focus exclusively on one match or spend endless amounts of time talking to someone before meeting up. If you spend a lot of time talking to one match before meeting up, you may be more susceptible to getting prematurely attached and overlooking red flags, especially if you are feeling excited about this person and the future potential. Observe when you may be focusing on someone’s potential and bring yourself back to the present.
There is still so much you don’t know about this person and investing this amount of energy into a match before meeting them may cause more frustration and disappointment in the long run if it doesn’t work out vs. If you were focusing on the present and you were also exploring other dating opportunities.
9. When you get frustrated, remind yourself why you are dating in the first place. It can become easy to lose sight of why you’re dating in the first place if you’re feeling frequently feeling bored or disappointed. When you remind yourself why you’re doing this in the first place, it can help connect you to your motivation for dating and get you through the tough moments.
Connect back to the reason why you’re dating in the first place and reflect on the positive examples of couples that inspire you. Visualize how you want to feel when dating and audio record yourself describing it in detail or write it down. This can be a powerful reminder of your motivation for dating in the first place.
10. Consider whether there is anything you learned from previous online dating situations that could benefit you now. For example, some people find that chatting on the phone or scheduling a video call before meeting in person saves them time because they realize they don’t click with the other person. Others find that by asking early on what the other person is looking for, they don’t waste their time.
11. Find a way to showcase your strengths in your profile. Think about how your friends or family would describe you to a potential significant other. What are three qualities or strengths they love about you? See if you can find a way to incorporate some of that information into your profile.
12. Get feedback from others about your dating profile. First impressions matter, particularly when it comes to online dating. Think of your dating profile like the trailer for a movie. If the preview for a movie isn’t enticing, it doesn’t matter how good the movie is, no one will want to see it.
Showing your dating profile to friends you trust or a dating coach can help you get clarity about the message your dating profile is sending and if there are any aspects of your dating profile that can be improved. Most importantly, your dating profile should feel authentic to you.
Disclaimer: This post is for informational purposes only. This post is not intended to be a substitute for professional or psychological advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your mental health professional or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding your condition or well-being.
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