Updated: March 18, 2014 4:15PM
We recently heard from I’m Ready Already, who said the worst thing that’s happened to her in the year since her divorce is internet dating.
Today, Jennie gives her and the rest of us some tips for finding cyber love.
JENNIE: I met my current partner on a dating site.
I also had another serious relationship that started on that same dating site. When I hear other people’s horror stories of online dating, I never know exactly what I did differently that it’s worked out so well for me.
For those who might need to tweak their technique, here’s what I did:
1. Message many people. Some people try to get exclusive with one person right away. The messaging phase should be about variety and seeing whom you hit it off with.
When I met my boyfriend, I had actually “targeted” another guy and had friend-zoned the guy whom I’ve now been with for over three years.
When things with the guy I targeted blew up, I sheepishly crawled back to the dating site. My boyfriend was still there, so I gave him a chance to meet in person. And the rest is history.
2. Meet the person at the right time. For me, meeting someone after a couple of weeks of messaging was the right way to go. You don’t want to meet people after the first message, but you do want to meet someone. If someone is messaging you endlessly but balking at meeting, move on. (That’s one I had to learn the hard way.)
3. Don’t give a lot of personal info right away. Don’t meet at either of your homes. Don’t give your last name. My boyfriend and I didn’t even exchange phone numbers right away. Usually by the second date, that info comes out.
4. And obviously, don’t sleep with someone the day you meet them. Even if you’ve been chatting for a few weeks, you don’t know this person. My current boyfriend and I barely managed to wait till the third date, but we would never have hooked up on the first date.
5. Finally, don’t blame all disasters on the fact that you met online. It’s astonishing how often I hear of people who’ve had bad dates or who break up after a relationship and then say, “I never should have met someone online!” Bad dates and breakups happen regardless of how you meet. They’re a part of life.
And occasionally you’re the problem. I had one friend who was a very dysfunctional dater. She tried the online thing, met some middle-aged guy, had sex with him in a motel, then felt really ashamed and dirty afterwards, saying “I’m done with online dating!” Well, it wasn’t the website’s fault she slept with some weird old guy!
Similar things have happened to her with people she’s met through work or at parties. Her issue was that she didn’t think she could say no. Thankfully she did meet a nice guy in real life and they’re engaged now.
6. Bottom line: Dating websites can be a goldmine, but you do have to dig a little, take a little time (but not too much), and just treat it as another way to meet people, not as a way to solve all your dating woes.
Do you have a technique for successful online dating? Send your tale, along with your questions, problems and rants to firstname.lastname@example.org.