You may shy away from online dating because you’re fearful, or it feels too impersonal a way to find romance.
You may think that only losers and scammers are on these sites.
But you’d be wrong.
Plenty of good people just like you are there, looking for someone special.
But proceed with some caution.
Adding to my previous post, 3 Signs You Need to Lower Your Online Dating Expectations, I’m suggesting 2 more notions about online dating that may keep you from finding true love using these sites.
2 More Ways Your Online Dating Expectations May Be Unrealistic
1. You expect online dating sites to send you good matches.
If you’ve spent even a few weeks on any online dating site, you know they often send you matches that are all wrong for you, for various reasons.
It happened to me all the time.
I’m not a drinker or smoker, and noted on my profiles that I didn’t want to be matched with men who were either. But I got plenty of matches with drinkers and smokers.
Dating sites have an explanation for their poor matching attempts.
They say they want you to break free from your notions of who is right for you. They want you to experiment and date people you may not initially go for. True love may not be packaged just the way you expect and hope for.
Granted, you should have an open mind about some things, like appearance, hobbies and interests.
But wouldn’t it be foolish (and a waste of time for everyone) if I had gone on dates with the men I was matched with who drank and/or smoked? I could never have a lasting relationship with them.
Here’s something you may not have thought of: From the dating sites’ point of view, if you find your ideal partner right away, they’re out a lot of potential revenue.
They make millions of dollars from people who renew every month because they still haven’t found the right one. It’s in their best interest to keep you there, regularly renewing your membership.
The best way to circumvent the bad matches they send you? Be proactive. Don’t sit back and wait for these sites to find matches for you.
Sure, pay attention to the matches they send you, but mostly ignore them and go in search yourself. I had much better luck that way.
Know what kind of people will be a good match for you, and regularly troll the site looking at profiles. Especially keep an eye out for new members.
2. You expect that a long, getting-to-know-each-other period . . . before you meet in person . . . will seal the deal.
I can tell you from experience that people can come off very well in their online profile and by text, IM, email and even by phone . . . but then can present in person as an entirely different person.
Sometimes their online profiles and written communications with you aren’t written by them. They have someone helping them. So, when you meet them, they can barely string the words together to have a conversation.
In my preceding post noted above, I touched on the pervasiveness of lying on online dating profiles. You have to expect that lots of people are stretching the truth or blatantly fabricating.
I remember several times on first dates having a hard time recognizing my date because he looked nothing like his profile photos.
Some other times, my first dates confessed that they didn’t actually do the things they said they did in their profiles.
In a Psychology Today article, Ryan Anderson noted a study of more than a thousand US and UK online daters, which found:
“A total of 53% of US participants admitted to having lied in their online dating profile. Women apparently lied more than men, with the most common dishonesties being about looks. Over 20% of women posted photos of their younger selves.
But men were only marginally better. Their most common lies revolved around their financial situation, specifically, about having a better job (financially) than they actually do. More than 40% of men indicated that they did this, but the tactic was also employed by nearly a third of women.”
A few times in my dating life, I spent several weeks getting to know a man by email and phone, and felt very encouraged about them, going into our first meeting.
We’d meet and things were sour right off the bat. I could tell he didn’t like me (usually because he avoided making much eye contact) or I was turned off by him. Everything fell flat for various reasons.
In a Huffington Post article, Rebecca Adams (@Rebeccadamss on Twitter https://twitter.com/rebeccadamss) described a study citing an online dating “tipping point”:
“Too much online communication before a first date causes a person to idealize someone they’re interacting with prior to actually meeting them face to face.
This, naturally, leads to a letdown upon meeting someone who doesn’t match lofty expectations. That tipping point occurs after 17 to 23 days, according to the researchers, so you don’t want to wait longer than that to pencil in a get together.”
The lead researcher in the study, Artemio Ramirez, Jr, also noted that people communicate differently online than they do in person, which can add to the disappointment when you meet in person.
“Essentially, too much online interaction makes you think you know a person better. Plus, even if someone isn’t lying in their profile, people aren’t the sum of their favorite books, movies and music, so there’s only so much one can glean from such limited data.
But since it’s natural for online daters to read between the lines and assign additional characteristics to prospective partners, the real person that meets them on that first coffee or movie date may not live up to their expectations, particularly if they’ve had too much time to craft a ‘dream’ version of the person.”
How to avoid getting discouraged on first dates and stay motivated in your online dating.
You may not want to hear that you need to lower your expectations with each date. After all, each new first date holds the potential of finding “the one”.
Although it’s a difficult concept to embrace, expect to do a lot of dating and expect some of it may be agony. Assume you’ll have your share of bad first dates.
It’s not the end of the world. It’s just one date, that you’ll learn and grow from.
After all I went through with bad first dates and some pretty horrible men I dated, I still recommend online dating without reservation. There’s such a vast pool of potential partner there, it just makes sense to keep your toes in that pool.