A few years ago, I found myself in my mid 30’s and single for the first time since my 20’s. My 13 year marriage had ended and my ex-husband had already re-married. I didn’t want to try and meet people in bars, so I bought a subscription to an online dating service. I did some things right and I did some things very wrong, but I did meet the man of my dreams and married him a few years later. Recently, a friend of mine asked for online dating tips. Here are tips based on my personal experiences:
1. Use a paid site; this will eliminate some potential problems right up front.
2. Do not use your full name and consider using an alias; this may prevent you from being “googled.”
3. Consider setting your social media accounts to private during this time. This may keep those who are not your friends currently from gaining too much personal info about you.
4. Do not post specific personal info on your dating profile; keep it general. For example, instead of listing a specific grade, school, or system where you teach, say you are “in education.”
5. Use the site’s contact email and don’t use your personal email or give out your phone number until you have had a meeting and you are comfortable giving out this personal info.
6. First meeting/date should be in a public place; meet there don’t let them pick you up. Consider a coffee shop, lunch meeting, or ice cream/yogurt/smoothie during the day for your first meeting. This is not a large time or financial commitment by either party, but allows enough time to see if there is mutual interest for a more formal meeting. This is also necessary for your safety.
7. Be open to meeting people who may not meet your age, race, or other restrictions. You will never know who you’re missing if you don’t give them a chance.
8. Set personal boundaries before you start the process, before you meet someone, and after you have had a few dates. What is going well and what isn’t? Some boundary examples are: meeting your children, sexual boundaries, monetary, time, etc.
Online dating produces many different results for many different people. Know in the beginning what your goals are, follow the tips listed above, and hopefully, your’s will be a great experience!