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Online dating has become increasingly popular in recent years, with more and more people turning to the internet to find love. While it may seem like a convenient and efficient way to meet potential partners, there are some things you should know before diving into the world of online dating. As someone who has navigated this digital dating landscape, here are eight things I wish I had known before starting my own online dating journey.

Online Dating is Still Dating (Read: Awkward)

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Just because it’s happening through a screen doesn’t mean it’s any less awkward than traditional dating. You may still experience those cringeworthy moments of trying to make small talk and feeling like you’re being interviewed. Don’t let the digital aspect fool you; online dating is still real dating and comes with its own set of challenges.

That being said, the awkwardness isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It’s part of the process of getting to know someone new, which is at the heart of any type of dating. Embrace the awkward moments as an opportunity for both of you to reveal your true selves, and remember: everyone else online is navigating these same challenges. You are not alone in this.

Don’t Invest Too Much Time Before Meeting in Person

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It’s easy to get caught up in endless messaging and building a connection with someone before meeting them in person. However, it’s important not to invest too much time or emotion into someone before actually meeting them. People can be very different in person than they are online, so it’s best to meet sooner rather than later to avoid wasting your time.

Setting up an in-person meeting fairly soon can also help keep your expectations realistic. An online persona is easy to idealize, but it’s important to remember that everyone has their quirks and flaws. Meeting face-to-face can give you a more accurate sense of who they are, which is vital for establishing a genuine connection. It can be tempting to let the conversation linger online, but remember that the real aim of online dating is to progress towards an offline relationship.

Decide if the Story of How You Met is Important to You

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One thing I didn’t consider before starting online dating was how I would feel about telling people our “love story.” Some people may not care, but for others, having a romantic and unique story of how you met is important. It’s something to think about before committing to online dating.

If you value uniqueness and spontaneity in the tale of how you met your partner, the perhaps more curated world of online dating might feel a bit lacking to you. Alternatively, if you view meeting online as a modern and practical way of finding love in this busy world, then the story of browsing profiles and swapping messages might have its own charm. Ultimately, it’s about what feels right and meaningful to you.

The Claims on Long Term Compatibility Aren’t Proven

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Many online dating platforms claim to have algorithms that can match you with your perfect partner based on compatibility. While these claims may sound promising, they haven’t actually been proven to be accurate. It’s important to keep this in mind and not put too much weight on the compatibility scores.

While compatibility scores and mutual interests can be a great starting point, they cannot fully predict the chemistry that might (or might not) spark when you meet in person. Relationships are complex and influenced by many variables — some of which can’t be quantified or determined through a computer algorithm. So, while these platforms can help initiate connections, it’s up to you to navigate and build the relationship. Keep an open mind, trust your instincts, and remember, it’s okay to take things slow.

Expect Some Untruths

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Unfortunately, not everyone is completely honest on their online dating profiles. People may exaggerate certain aspects of themselves or even lie about their age, photos, or relationship status. It’s important to be aware of this and approach online dating with a healthy dose of skepticism.

While it’s unfortunate, it’s crucial to keep your guard up and not fall for superficial or misleading information. Remember, the goal here is to find a genuine connection, not an illusion built on untruths. Be cautious, take your time, and make sure to verify their story through your chats and even a video call before you get too emotionally invested. This way, you can protect yourself and still keep an open heart in the search for love online.

Trust Your Gut

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Remember, if something feels off, it is. Too often, we ignore our gut instincts, and this is what causes problems in the end. Our intuition is our internal warning sign for danger, trouble, and even good things too. It’s important to listen to that first feeling your intuition sends you. Ignoring it will result in disappointment and possibly hurt.

If you’re uncomfortable with someone or a situation, it’s okay to say no and move on. You must protect yourself first, at all times.

Casual Sex is Not Just for Men

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There’s often a stigma that only men are looking for casual sex on online dating platforms. However, this is not always the case. Many women are also interested in casual relationships, and there are even specific dating services geared to this type of connection. It’s important to be open and honest about your intentions to avoid any misunderstandings.

Respecting the desires and choices of others, as well as your own, is key in any form of dating. If you’re seeking something casual or you’re open to exploring it, just make sure there’s clear communication about expectations. The world of online dating is diverse and full of different people seeking different things – there’s no one-size-fits-all approach. So, always communicate your intentions and ensure you’re on the same page with your potential partner. Remember, honesty and openness foster healthier interactions and experiences.

Don’t Pay Too Much Attention to Photos… at First

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It’s easy to get caught up in someone’s attractive photos on their profile, but it’s important not to put too much weight on them. Photos can be edited or outdated, and they don’t always accurately reflect a person’s true appearance. It’s best to focus on getting to know someone beyond just their physical appearance.

Engaging in conversation and finding common interests can be more beneficial in assessing compatibility and building a connection. While physical attraction is a significant aspect of a romantic relationship, it’s the shared values, interests, and mutual respect that truly make a relationship sustainable. So, when you’re scrolling through profiles, remember to read the bios and pay attention to the details they share about themselves. You might find that the most appealing aspects aren’t always captured in a photograph.

Safety is Key

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I can’t stress this enough. Safety is key when talking to someone online for the first time. When it comes to online dating, safety should always be your top priority. Before you start chatting with someone, do some research. Google their name, check their social media profiles, and even do a background check. Always meet in a public place and tell a friend or family member where you’re going.

So many women and men get caught up in relationships with people who seem to be great at face value. Narcissists and manipulators are great at hiding who they really are. Do your research.

There’s a Dating Service for Every Type

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Online dating offers a wide range of options, and there are specific dating services for just about every type of person. From niche dating sites for specific interests or lifestyles to general platforms with diverse user bases, there is something out there for everyone. Don’t be afraid to explore different options and find the dating service that best fits your needs and preferences. 

Remember, the right platform can make a world of difference in your online dating experience. It’s not about joining the most popular one—it’s about finding a platform that caters to your goals, interests, and lifestyle. So, take your time, do your homework, and trust your instincts. 

Conclusion

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Overall, online dating may still feel awkward at times, but it’s important to remember that it is just another form of dating. Don’t invest too much time before meeting in person, and decide if the story of how you met is important to you. Keep in mind that compatibility claims are not always proven, and there may be some untruths on profiles. But, with an open mind and realistic expectations, online dating can offer a unique opportunity to meet new people and potentially find love. So don’t hesitate to give it a try and see where it takes you!

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