#page-header-bg[data-post-hs="default_minimal"] .inner-wrap > a { display: none !important; }

The Dos and Don’ts of Online Dating: Wisdom From a Digital Dating Coach

By February 19, 2024 No Comments

After being married for decades, you’re newly divorced or widowed and about to enter the dating world again. You’ve moved to a new town after graduation and need to meet new people, but you’re not sure where to start. 

No matter what your situation is, online dating can be stressful. The Relationship Expert has a few dos and don’ts of online dating to help you better understand the things you should and shouldn’t do.

Do Read Reviews Before Choosing a Dating App or Service

Only some dating services are going to be the best fit. Research them first. Go through a list of services that are recommended for people your age or with your hobbies and interests. Once you have a list, start reading reviews to see what others experienced. If you’re seeing a lot of negative reviews about the site having too many scammers, move to the next. 

Some of the warning signs to look for are:

  • Hidden fees
  • A low number of users
  • More men than women or vice versa, which may or may not make it harder for you to find a potential match
  • Caters more to one generation than another

Many free dating sites don’t make it readily known that it’s only free to an extent. If you’re matched with someone, you may have to pay to send a message. The fees add up quickly, and that’s why paying for a subscription might be better for a few months.

Don’t Skip the Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policies

Before signing up with any online dating site or installing an app, read the terms and conditions and go over the privacy policies. You want to look at how your information is used and stored. If you stop using the service, do they automatically delete your information or do you have to ask?

If you run into problems, how easy is it to block other users and get support from the customer service team? What information do you have to provide? Can you use a VPN to block your IP address, which can be traceable, or does the service block IP addresses within its messaging system? Any dating service you choose needs to have measures in place to keep members as safe as possible.

Do Create a List of Important Qualities

Make a comprehensive list to use for guidance. You don’t have to stick hard and fast to the list, but it does help to have guidelines on the type of person you want to meet. 

Sit down and write out a list of the things you do and don’t want in a match. If you are completely certain you can’t stand someone who only listens to country music, note that. You might want someone who loves to read before bed, note that too. 

Try not to stick too much to looks. You do need to find your partner attractive, but physical attraction is only a small part of the greater picture. 

Don’t Make Yourself Out to Be Someone You’re Not

Do everyone, including yourself a favor, and don’t lie on your profile. So many people try to build themselves up on their online profiles. While it may seem harmless, it’s a turnoff once your date realizes you lied. Have you ever seen the show “Catfish?” It’s filled with possible love interests that could have been such great matches had the other party simply told the truth from the start.

If you dislike sports, don’t put it as an interest just because you feel it will draw more attention. You may feel that the extra pounds you carry are going to send potential matches running, but it’s worse if you lie about who you are and what you look like. Be honest. 

The final tip for building your profile is to be descriptive without saying more than you should. Keep it positive. If you’re an empty-nester and feel lonely, it’s not something to dwell on. You could say looking to expand your horizons and leave it at that.

Do Take Time to Get to Know the Person

Make sure you take your time getting to know another person before a face-to-face meeting. Chat online for a week or two and advance to phone calls. If that goes well, give video chats a try. After a month or two, you should feel comfortable enough to meet in person.

For the first few face-to-face dates, there is going to be some awkwardness. It’s normal. Try to keep the conversation flowing by asking open-ended questions. Instead of asking if the person likes to read or watch movies, ask what the person would recommend for you to read or watch next. 

Listen to your instincts. If you’re still not certain, pinpoint what is making you hesitant. There’s a chance that your brain is noticing something that your emotions and heart are ignoring.

Don’t Choose a Private Setting for Your First Date

Even after talking online and video chatting, you must put your safety first. Ideally, you want to be around as many others as you can for the first few dates. 

See if the person would be willing to go on a group date. Bring a couple of friends you have and let them do the same. There’s safety in numbers, and it takes the pressure off. If things don’t go well, you can leave with your friends. If they do go well, you could split up and do something on your own. Still, keep it to public settings for now.

Some good venues for your first date alone are a coffee shop, a restaurant, or a movie theater. If you have a larger budget, consider a hot air balloon ride, a scenic cruise or horse ride, or a concert/movie in the park. The goal is to have fun but also have people around to help you if something goes wrong or seems off.

Do Try New Things

While you’re looking for people to go out with, try new things. You’ve always stuck to a certain type of person, but you haven’t had a lot of luck. Try someone you’d never imagine dating and see how it goes. You might find that’s the small change you need to be successful in your dating life.

You’ve always looked for people who are like you. You like watching movies, but you’ve never been interested in musical theater. You find a person who interests you, but the interest in musical theater is a turn-off. Try it anyway, as you could have the best date you’ve ever had. If you don’t, you’ve gained important insight into the things you’re looking for.

Don’t Believe You Have to Do It Alone

Whether you’re reentering the dating scene after years of being in a steady relationship or marriage or are brand new to dating, you don’t have to do it alone. Your friends may not provide the support and guidance you need, but that doesn’t mean you’re on your own.

The Relationship Expert, Jaime Bronstein, LCSW, is here to support you. Let Jaime know how she can help you gain confidence, find the right match, and enter into online dating in a safe, smart way. Reach her by email or phone to arrange a virtual consultation.