If you are new to Dating Online, then there are probably lots of things about it which are a bit unclear to you. Even people who have been doing it for a while often have lots to still figure out about it!
Some common questions include:
Why do Online Dating at all?
People join online dating sites for a number of reasons: finding a partner, to find a marriage partner, for fun, making friends, to have a good time, or for sex. The percentage mix varies by age group, with older people taking generally looking for a partner of some type. Whatever the motivation, the main reason people go online dating is that it works! As a minimum nearly everyone (who wants to) will have the opportunity to get to know several people who could be right for them.
Perhaps the over-riding reason to try online dating is that it is great for meeting people that you would otherwise never meet. Additionally, you get to choose who you meet and can do some pretty sophisticated searches / screening of profiles before you even begin to communicate with them. Even if you never meet in person, the chances are that you will strike up some pretty interesting conversations with pretty interesting people.
Does online dating work?
In a word – yes! Online dating works very well whether you just wish to strike up friendships online or get to know each other in person. It may take some time, and you should absolutely not expect that the first person you meet will be “the One”, but give it some months and there is a very good chance that you will find yourself going out on some very enjoyable dates. Once you get to the stage of meeting in person, there is a pretty good chance that you will actually like each other. In my experience there have only been a couple of people that I met who I decided that I really didn’t like when I met them. What is less predictable is whether you feel attracted to each other. This need not be of the “thunderclap from heaven” and music playing in your head variety, and it can take a meeting or two to develop, but meeting someone who you not only like but feel attracted to IS important.
More on what to expect and how to approach the first in-person date will be discussed elsewhere on dating-online.info, but for now let’s just say that it is of course the occasion when the picture you might have built up in your mind meets the reality of what they are actually like… any “misunderstandings” or bending of the truth (eg how tall they actually are) will quickly be recognised.
Will everyone know I am on an online dating site?
Probably not, but if they do – so what?! Stick to reputable online dating sites and put up a profile which is straight-forward, pleasant, and level-headed and what could people possibly say about it if they saw your profile? On most sites you can only view profiles if you register (even the free ones) and even then, someone would have to do quite a specific search in order to find a particular person.
It’s normal to try online dating. A recent survey found that 43% of 25-34 year olds are using online dating services, while this percentage is smaller for older people (largely because they are more likely to be in relationships already), online dating is pretty normal behaviour among single people of all ages these days. If you are older, then either your own children or your friends’ children will confirm that this is the case.
Are online dating sites sleazy?
Most online dating sites are not sleazy, although some certainly are. The best way to avoid the sleazy ones is to stick to the most popular general dating ones (which you will often find listed in mainstream newspapers and magazines), particularly those where people can verify their profiles. You will find a few suggestions on Dating-Online.info. Obviously there will always be a few weirdos on any site, but don’t be discouraged by the odd strange message. The vast majority of people who use online dating sites are using them to find a partner.
There are some sites which exist mainly to facilitate “hook-ups” or “casual dating” where one night stands or sex chat seems to be the order of the day. These are sometimes off-shoots of some of the otherwise reputable sites, but it is usually pretty clear which is which. If that is what you are after – good luck to you – but most of us are not into that and will choose to stick to the mainstream sites. In my experience it is almost never the case that people who stick to the mainstream sites will end up with their profiles on the hook-up style of site (ie the mainstream sites are quite safe, in that respect).
A hook-up site, however, is extremely likely to be part of a network of sites all owned by the same company and putting a profile on one hook-up site is highly likely to result in it appearing on several others in the same family – each catering for a slightly different adult taste. The wrong answer on the survey form for an otherwise seemingly mild site can get your profile propelled onto an altogether more raunchy site which the company also owns. Once that starts to happen it can be extremely hard to even find where your profile has ended up (other than by noticing the weird messages you might start getting), and almost impossible to get the profiles taken down. Beware of posting photos you wouldn’t like your mother (or daughter) to see, in particular!
How much information should I put into my online dating profile?
Online dating profiles are used to provide the site’s search engine with information for people looking for a particular type of match, but they are also good conversation starters. How much information to share on a profile depends on your personal comfort level, but it really will help you to find the right sort of person (and for them to find you). So, always put basic information such as your gender, the type of relationship you are after (there are usually multiple choices), the town or general region you live in, age, height, and some of the things which interest you (think what you might like to have a conversation about at a dinner party).
In the dating sections such as the ones which ask you to describe yourself, the sort of person you are looking for, and what a nice first date might be, do put something (and use good English, not text-speak). Don’t stress too much about this. Use it as an opportunity to speak in general term about what you like, and think about including a few things which might be conversation-starters (remembering that you might have the same initial conversation dozens of times, however!). Stay away from sensitive topics, avoid saying controversial or provocative topics and things which could easily pigeon-hole you (to avoid only attracting one sort of person or conversation).
If you are worried about writing a few paragraphs, just think of stuff which will help give a flavour of the type of person you are or are looking for. Write in a way that doesn’t give too much detail away, yet gives a good impression of you. It is once you begin chatting with someone that you can both share some details – that’s called getting to know each other :).
What should I NOT put in my online dating profile?
Never put information such as your phone-number, email, facebook page, instagram or twitter handle, “DM” / Direct Message information, or your actual address in an online dating profile. You will have absolutely no control over who can see these if you do, and you may get unwanted contacts. Likewise, from a safety perspective don’t put information about your family (especially children’s names or photos), the places, pubs, restaurants, and other places which you like to frequent. It is a bit unlikely, but occasionally stalkers can emerge.