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Online Dating – hmmm by Dr. Candess M Campbell
One of the most fun articles in this Relationship series I have written this year is this one on Online Dating.
Talking to women and men about their dating experiences and especially online dating has been interesting at least. This article will address online dating for those 40 years and older. We would be delighted to have you comment on your experiences, whatever age.
Being privy to some online profiles has been amusing! My first reaction when reading men’s profiles was I should teach them how to write a profile. As I delved into this whole process, the issues of finding a partner through dating sites go much deeper than the profile. Men and women both had feedback and here are suggestions about online dating.
1. Issue – The profile has one line of information.
Example – “man Looking for trust respect and loyalty, the main ingredients for a good relationship.” (Copied exactly)
Fix 1 – Take some time to tell about yourself. Sharing your lifestyle is important. If you are looking for a long term relationship, the woman will want to know if you are compatible by reading who you are and what you do every day.
- Enjoy gardening and cooking what I grow.
- Love to travel to nearby towns and go antiquing.
- Spend my weekends boating, skiing, cycling, on my motorcycle.
- Family is important to me. I have 2 children I see weekly.
Fix 2 – If you don’t have good writing skills, have a friend edit your copy. Whether it is a woman who has barely finished high school or a woman with a doctorate, when she reads this one line, she will click NEXT!
2. Issue – Photos that don’t show the face or are not current.
Fix – Present yourself online with a true representation of yourself. When you meet the woman in person, you want her to be happy to see you.
Issue – Ugh! Photos with your shirt off (unless you are on a beach and it is appropriate!)
Fix – Hey guys. If the woman posted photos where she was scantily clad, that may be a turn on for you. The women I’ve talked to with regard to men say, no way!
Issue – Photos of your motorcycles. Seriously?
Fix – Women want to see you in your environment. Have a nice bike, boat, car, or home? Share a photo of yourself with your toy. Six photos of your motorcycle will limit you to a very small percentage of responses.
3. Issue – Contacting women who are clearly not a good match for you!
Fix - If you are unemployed or retired and can spend hours on the Internet “fishing” for dates, think before you contact women who clearly have a full, vibrant, active life. Think about whether or not your lifestyle is a match with hers or not. Will you be happy with a woman who doesn’t have time to respond to your emails or will only be available on some weekend?
1. Issue – Having a vague profile.
“I like long walks in the sun.” Just about everyone likes long walks in the sun. Quote from my male source “What they’re basically saying is I have no personality.”
Fix – Have a profile that has something interesting to say. For instance if you are really active in kayaking, running and doing triathlons, say so. That would make it easier for someone who’s not as active to know that the two of you would not be a good match. Figure out what it is about you that makes you special and then communicate about that. Share your passions and interests. What are your talents?
2. Issue – Not knowing what you want or not articulating what you want in a relationship.
Fix – Be clear about what you want in a relationship. Do this in positive terms not negative terms. “I want to meet someone who likes to run daily.” Not, “I don’t want someone who sits around all the time.” In your profile, give the man some indication of what you want so he can decide if what he has to offer fits with you or not. For instance let them know if you want a homebody, someone intelligent, fit, healthy, and goal-oriented.
3. Issue – Photos that are not easy to see or no photo.
Fix – Have a good headshot and at least one photo that shows your body ideally in profile. When you meet this man, you want to show up looking like your photos.
Having worked your profile so it accurately represents you, now is the time to make contact or respond to contacts. To be successful at making good contacts, it is important that you are communicative. Read their profile and send an email that allows for dialogue. For instance, “I see that you like music. Who are your favorite musicians? What was the last concert you attended? What three concerts would you like to attend in the next year?” This starts a nice back and forth discussion.
Read their profile before you contact them. Many people have shared that they clearly say “no hunters” on their profile and then they get a contact from someone who loves to “fish and hunt.” Screen out what you don’t like. Maybe you want someone who has a big family or you don’t want someone who smokes. Be clear on what you want and see what their profile says. If you are not sure, then ask. The experience you create in the beginning of your online dating will color the whole experience. Take the time to make your experience successful.
Not everyone on dating sites is honest. Don’t develop too much of a relationship through emails. It’s best to get on the phone with the person or better yet, to get on Skype or Google Hangout. I have a thing about voices. The wrong voice is an automatic turn off for me, so I make sure I hear someone’s voice right away.
First Call or Meeting
When you get to the first phone, Skype or Google Hangout call or your first meeting, this sets the stage for a possible next step. Some of the feedback I have gotten about this step is that the person spends the whole conversation talking about their self. They don’t inquire about the other person.
One person shared that early in her online dating experience, she met with a man at a coffee shop prior to any phone conversation. When they met, he spent the first 10 minutes talking about why and how his life was such a mess. She said she was overwhelmed and didn’t know how to respond. She tried to listen and be positive, but he continued on for 10 more minutes about all the negativity. She got out of the situation as politely and quickly as she could.
Unless your goal is to find someone to act as a counselor or mother, show your best side first. You may a have family or work issue that is difficult at the time, but you don’t have to lead with that.
This is true for whenever you meet someone. In fact, I was walking Domingo, my Cairn terrier this morning and a neighbor came up to talk. Luckily I had headphones on and I motioned to her I was on the phone. The first and only time she and I had talked, I felt like she had held me hostage. She spend 30 minutes telling me her life story even when I said, I have to go. I didn’t want to hurt her feelings and be a bad neighbor, but I had a client in a few minutes and she wouldn’t listen. I won’t get into that situation again.
One man I met with shared this recommendation. He said in the first meeting, do not go on at length about your ex. This happened several times with women he met online. I even saw in a man’s profile, “Not interested in stories about your ex.” If you have issues about your former spouses or partners, get therapy and get over it. Don’t bring the past into the future.
Share the positives in your life. Share what you enjoy doing and be honest. If you say I enjoy traveling and you have not been out of the city for three years that is not a good representation of who you are. What you want to do and what you do are not the same.
One male source said, “Listen and be engaged in the conversation.” Come with something to talk about and be willing to listen. We talked about the “ping-pong” style of communication and how unsatisfying it is when one person shares and the other picks out a phrase and then takes the conversation back. For instance if he says “I have a boat that I keep at Priest Lake and I like to go there in the summer time,” you don’t respond with “oh, I went boating with my husband all the time. We had a boat at lake Coeur d’Alene.” It would be better to ask him more about his boat, his experience at the lake and whether or not he fishes. I understand when you read this that it seems to be common sense, but the reality is, for many it is not. Somehow relationships scramble the brain and play havoc with good manners.
Online dating Red Flags shared by men and women:
1. Neediness – If you have a big hole in your life, fill it with some healthy, fun activities. A relationship will not fix your life and will only cause pain for both of you.
2. Control – If anger or being a control freak ended your last relationship, get help before you get into the next one. Remember, wherever you go, there you are.
3. Chemical Dependency – If your drinking or drugs have created problems in the area of family, your social life, work, health or legally, take care of this first. (AA and NA are the best treatment for most people!) Link http://www.aa.org Link http://www.na.org
4. Codependency – If your pattern has been attracting partners that you end up rescuing and then resenting, Stop NOW! Read Codependent No More, give yourself at least 6 months to heal and then look for a healthy relationship. (Link to Codependent No More https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/1050701247)
5. Emotional Health – If you are emotionally unavailable and can only feel through sex and touch or if you are an emotional mess and attach rather than connect, find a therapist and heal this first. Although in the beginning of a relationship, this intensity may be fun, the fall will be hard.
6. Unavailable – This is surprising to me, but many of the men on dating sites are married. Be sure to exchange information and meet right away. Another way someone may be unavailable is they have children that take up much of their time. They also may not be free to be with you due to a complicated living situation, such as caring for an elderly parent. These are all important to check out early on.
7. Long Distance – Sadly, too often I have heard that long distance relationships started through email and then phone calls and went on for weeks or months before a meeting was scheduled. Then when it was time to meet in person, they “had a crisis” and requested money from you or they said they couldn’t get the time off work. In the end, the person never really intended to meet you and often they were manipulating for money or phone sex.
If you are curious about this manipulation, it is called Catfish and there is a film you can watch. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1584016/
Lastly, I suggest you begin the online dating process with using your intuition. You will get a sense of the person from the beginning through the photos or what they are writing. Take time to focus on your gut, listen to yourself and most of all, and be gentle with yourself.
Candess M. Campbell, PhD is the #1 Best-selling author of 12 Weeks to Self-Healing: Transforming Pain through Energy Medicine. She is a Blogger, Intuitive Success Coach and International Psychic Medium Healer. She has practiced as a mental health and chemical dependency counselor for over 30 years.