Six years ago, my now husband and I met on an online dating site. Back then, I was often too embarrassed to admit that we originally connected that way, but nowadays, it seems that online encounters — whether through apps or websites — are responsible for the majority of relationships. It’s become quite a popular avenue for soulmate searching, with almost a third of US singles reportedly meeting their last first date online
, according to Match.com.
But despite the many successful relationships that have begun virtually, online dating can also reap a frustrating series of letdowns. I know people who’ve had a longtime presence in the virtual dating scene and still haven’t found that special someone.
I’m no online matchmaking expert, but since my husband and I met within just a few weeks of joining a dating site, I think there are a few things worth sharing that made our experience a simple and fruitful one:
Get on video chat quickly
My husband asked if we could Skype just a few weeks after we first connected. I was resistant because I wanted to look my absolute best and at that time, video chatting seemed awkward. Couldn’t we just keep texting so I didn’t have to put on makeup?
But he was persistent and I respected that. He wanted to make sure the person behind the screen was really the girl in the pictures. Plus, video chatting is a good way to get a feel for whether or not there’s any potential chemistry between two people.
In this day and age, it’s super, super
easy to get on some form of video chat. There’s a plethora of ways
through which to make it happen so if someone is resistant (like I was), be suspicious. As a Complex article citing 10 rules for online dating
put it, “If the object of your affections refuses to , realize that something is very much awry.”
Find out fast if you have common goals and priorities
No, you don’t have to be the over-eager beaver who, right off the bat, asks how many kids a potential partner wants, or if they prefer a spring or autumn wedding. It’s totally okay to start off with casual small talk, but do be smart and ensure the other person wants and values the same things you do.
I knew, for example, that I wanted to be with someone who had the same spiritual beliefs as mine, so when it became clear that a guy didn’t share that, I cut things off. [I’m not at all saying both parties in a relationship must possess identical religious beliefs, but this was a priority for me.]
If family ties and support are important to you, it’s probably not a good idea to get involved with someone who isn’t on good terms, or doesn’t keep in touch, with his family.
There are some easy ways to find out quickly if someone’s values clash with yours. Make sure to check out their profile and see what telling info they put in there. More importantly, you can simply ask what someone is looking for in a partner. If they consider that question too invasive or don’t ask you the same thing, they’re likely not looking for a serious relationship.
Go with your gut, not your FOMO
There’s a tendency, especially for females, to agree to dates with people they’re not really feeling something for because they’re afraid it might be their soulmate and they’ve got a case of FOMO (fear of missing out).
Here’s the thing, though. If the person is the one for you, life will bring them back. I know it sounds remarkably cliche, but with dating — and life in general — it’s the healthiest attitude to have.
I originally ignored my husband’s first message when I saw that he lived 500 miles away. But a couple of days later, for whatever reason, my gut told me to check out his profile, so I did and it piqued my interest.
If your gut tells you someone isn’t a great match, don’t doubt yourself. Go with it and move on.
Steer clear of flakesters
If someone is interested in you, you’ll know. They’ll be responsive. They’ll ask questions. They’ll prioritize you. If they keep you guessing and don’t seem dependable, do yourself the courtesy of keeping your life free of their flakiness.
All in all, online dating is just another way of connecting with Mr. or Mrs. Right. Meeting your soulmate the old fashioned way is still totally possible so carry on with life gracefully, working to make yourself the best you can be so that you’ll be ready for that special someone when they show up.