Suggested considerations for online daters

froggieThis post belongs into the strictly personal category. These are just some considerations of mine. Take the best and leave the rest. Maybe they can help some of you to gain a little more clarity about whom they should be looking for. As we all know: “Love is all around”.  That doesn’t mean we need to create more chaos and drama in this world. We can be smart, avoid some obvious pitfalls, maybe even find our perfect match and help others to do so as well by using our brains at times when enough blood flow is provided to them ;)

WHAT DO YOU WANT?
For starters it might help to write down for you (not the public) what you want to gain some clarity. What have you learned from your last relationship that you absolutely don’t want going forward any longer. What did you miss the most? What is it that you need to work on? What are your must haves and can’t stands?


DEFINE AREAS OF FLEXIBILITY
It is also important to stay flexible and open minded in the process of finding your partner. Make sure your areas of flexibility are big enough or you might miss out on missing that wonderful person right in front of you.

EMOTIONALLY AVAILABLE OR NOT?
If you just came out of a serious relationship you will need some time to detach from that. It doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t be dating but it is something to be clear about. I hopped into the pond right after getting separated over four years ago and had a very different approach back then than I have today. I wasn’t able to connect on a deeper level with any potential new partner in life. I’ve also experienced the same with women I’ve met over the years that didn’t have enough distance from their last relationship yet. We’re just in a phase were we still compensate for issues of our last relationship and haven’t found our equilibrium yet.

LONGTERM OR NOT?
This ties a bit into the section above. Some of us just want to be out there and have some fun. That is legitimate if you are transparent about it but it doesn’t blend to well with someone that is ready to commit. Been there, done that. I met a girl that just wanted casual sex and I went along with thinking that her position would eventually shift. She ended up falling in love with me but was solid on not wanting a relationship with me.  It took 6 months until things blew up but we were playing with a ticking time bomb all along and knew what we were doing. It still hurt.

HOLISTIC VS. LOWEST COMMON DENOMINATOR
How much do you want to be involved into each others lives? This very much determines how compatible you have to be. If you don’t care about talking about everything in life you might be ok dating someone with vastly different political views that yours. In my case it would create a feeling of disconnect because what is happening in the world is a big part of my life and I’d like to discuss it with my partner. Gun laws, women’s rights, environmental issues are just some areas where you could run into constant trouble if you both care but are at opposite ends.

MUSIC
My ex-wife assumed that I don’t like her music and stopped playing it. I knew she wouldn’t be too fond of my favorite tunes and stopped playing them as well because I didn’t want to create a foul mood. We are both music lovers and ended up in a house of silence. I know that I never want a situation like that again. My music taste is very eclectic and I need room to enjoy it. I am also willing to tune in and listen to someone else’s music that’s not my personal preference but there is music that really triggers me and that I can’t be around very much. Music is a strong force. Check out if you are compatible or not. You might just have another ticking time bomb laying around.

RELIGION
If one of you goes to church and the other one doesn’t you have a potential disconnect to deal with every Sunday morning. I’d make sure that you are both ok with that. If you look at your partner as being potentially possessed or obsessed then you might have a hard time accepting her just the way s/he is.

DIFFERENTIATION
Single life can be pretty awesome in a state like Colorado that has so much to offer. Depending on your partner you don’t have to give it all up. Yes you are either in a relationship or not but I believe that you can have a healthy stable relationship that still provides enough room for both partners to be everything they can be. Finding the perfect balance is contingent on the other topics above. But I’d encourage you to be very open and direct about this topic. If you are physically active chances are that one of your is stronger and faster than the other. In that case it is better to go separate ways during workout times. Personally I want to push as hard as I can not wait for my sweetie that is struggling hard to keep up. If I were dating a pro athlete the roles might be reversed and I’d ask her not to wait for me.

If you want the wonderful person you are dating to stay the wonderful person s/he was when you first met you need to make sure that their ongoing development and growth process isn’t slowed or stopped by too much “must be or do together”.

INSTANT CHEMISTRY
I was a strong believer in instant Chemistry. Over the years I’ve learned that Chemistry can also grow over time. The important thing is that it eventually has to be there. I think that if you don’t have the connection with your partner where you thing the world of each other and look at it with the same eyes you might as well better stay single.

My take: it’s ok if the sparks aren’t flying across the table the second you sit down for a first date. Take a step back and reflect on the bigger picture. What if you met someone truly wonderful but maybe something held you back to be all in and ignite the fire? Be open to giving each other a little more time.

KISS ON A FIRST DATE…NO, NOT THAT KISS ;)
That’s the rule I apply for a first date. Instead of making any elaborate plans I suggest to keep thins simple and meeting for a cup of tea or coffee. You might also label it a get-together before a first date. All the digital chemistry can only get you so far. You must meet face to face to figure out if there is any chemistry or potential future chemistry between us. Everything else is just digital foreplay that can be very misleading. If had lengthy wonderful message exchanges with a girls that were absolutely no match for me. It took a mere 0.5 seconds to find out.

DO IT YOURSELF
Over the years I’ve encountered a number of women who didn’t write their own profile and didn’t handle their own communication. That felt like I was dealing with an agent and made for a very unauthentic experience. Everyone that wants to enter the online dating world should make the effort to present an honest picture of themselves and handle replying to prospects themselves. Everything else just takes away from the experience of real people connecting with each other.

Another DIY consideration: don’t ask for or expect anything you can’t bring to the table yourself. If you are overweight you have no business to ask for someone physically fit. Drop the pounds or be fine dating someone a little chubby as well.

PICTURES PLEASE
Don’t even think about not posting current pictures of yourself. If you can’t do that then wait until you are ready to do so. Spare the world with a whole set of landscape shots. You can share those at a later time. This is the time to show people how you really look like. Eyes, face, body. There is no need for showing too much skin but athletic and fit or normal and body type are very stretchy terms these days. Give the other online daters a chance to make up their own mind.

DO NOT LIE
Every lie will eventually get uncovered. It takes away from the collective trust the online dating community requires to function well. You are not just harming yourself and your future ex but everyone else out there.

LOOK OFFLINE
Yes this post is focusing on online dating but I’d encourage you to not neglect the opportunities to meet someone old-fashioned style. After some time of extended online dating it can feel refreshingly different and give you a new perspective on your dating efforts.

BE OPEN TO FRIENDSHIP
I haven’t met the one yet but I have met amazing people and made wonderful friends both ways: bumping into strangers and turning them into friends and meeting someone for a first date and then deciding that just friends is the much better route for us to take.

KIDS
Be very clear about what it entails to combine your existing children with your dating life. I’ve have met women that had sole custody of their children and no support network. It turned out that they were pretty much undateable and 100% incompatible with my lifestyle.

I’ve been a step-dad for 8 years and I would encourage everyone that considers entering that territory to learn what it entails. It can be brutal. It means that you will always be the number two as long as the kids are still in the house. Those kids will also say mean things to you, no matter how nice you are.

The situation is a little different if there is split custody. In that case your potential partner might be super busy catching up on other things s/he has neglected during the time s/he had the children.  Don’t expect that the time without the kids will all automatically be all quality time.

If you like children you will also encounter very rewarding moments. Still, it is a huge consideration to make.

Make sure your take on how to raise children lines up with your partners ideas. You might be perfectly well compatible in all other areas but this can be a constant source of frustration. You partner will make all the final calls and you should make sure you can back her up. This starts with simple things like TV time or censoring online access and goes all the way to disciplining kids. Would you bail your step-child out if s/he would get busted for drugs? How about your partner?

And then there is the potential added “bonus”: My step-daughter which I had accepted as the only child I’d ever have was essentially pulled out of my life at the time her mom decided to move out of state. Be aware that this is a risk for you as well. You might form a strong bond with one or more children but they aren’t yours and they might be gone again if things with your partner don’t work out. That doesn’t serve you nor the children.

MONEY MONEY MONEY
That’s another biggie to be very clear about. I’ve dated women that earner significantly less money than me. Some were ok with it and some others were constantly uncomfortable and there was little I could do. I also dated women that made more money than me. I was very clear from the beginning that I might not be able to join them on every trip around the world they might want to take. I just didn’t want this to loom around and I’d encourage you to address this as well.  If one of you has saved up for retirement already and the other one is in nowhere land you have another topic to talk about. It’s really an easy and quick conversation to have but don’t put it off too long. It will haunt you.

QUESTIONS TO ASK
This reemphasizes the point directly above but applies to many other areas as well. I am trying to avoid prolonged unclarity or even potential emotional pain by cutting to the chase. I give potential partners every possible reason not to date me very early in the process. I also look at the potentially dividing subjects and am very open about them. I’ve learned that it is much better to address those than to make assumptions. You might learn that some potential big issues are total non-events. If it turns out to be the other way around then you’ll know what to do.

THE BIG NO-BRAINER
Did you meet someone that is almost perfect but has to change a few things in order to do so? Forget about it. Unless you see and accept that person as who s/he really is with all their imperfections you are doomed. In essence you are just projecting a model of yourself on them and like the parts that match your personality. That’s not true love. It is a conditional limited love that has no chance to prevail.

BE READY TO THROW IT ALL OUT OF THE WINDOW
What if you find someone that swipes you off your feet but that is incompatible with regarding to those guidelines above? I’d encourage you to think a moment and of you are ready to throw it all out of the window to just go for it. This post might have encouraged you to develop some rules for yourself but many rules are there to be broken. Remember that this is not a one woman/man show. It takes two to tango.

That’s the beauty of taking the plunge. Your life is join to change regardless. You can take the controlled approach or go flat out. It’s like hopping on waterside not knowing where it ends. What could be more exciting than that. In every relationship you are heading for the unknown. You might as well go flat out. Somehow you’ll end on your feet again :)

Did I scare you enough? I hope not. Some of us are really better of alone but relationships have a lot to offer. Decide what’s best for you and go for it!

FINAL REMINDER
Don’t forget to connect with people in the real world. Miracles still happen without you swiping your credit card at the online register of the big dating sites. I’ve made some great connections by just being open and ready to connect. Trust me, you can still connect with people without knowing half their life story prior to getting together.

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  • TracyAnn

    I think the fact that you” have thought” about what you want is so much more then ninety percent of single people after being divorced. Yup! Scared me a little, but mostly because “someone must meet my list” and I am pretty sure Prince Charming isn’t real. Really nice article