I dabbled in internet dating in 2000, paying my monthly dues to the cyber service as I weaved in and out of the system. I'd pop in to see who was new, make a few dates and then if nothing happened quickly, I'd run to my comfort zone of offline dating. But, when my heart was broken in the "real" world, I'd reconnect to the internet and begin the process again.
I'd hear countless stories about people meeting online and marrying; it just never happened to me. After six years of email exchanges, hundreds of dates and trips to California, Chicago and DC to meet people, I decided that if I was looking for someone serious, I'd better make a commitment too.
So, I changed my approach and opened my mind to dating people who I would have earlier discounted. Within weeks, I found myself in love, engaged and planning a wedding. I learned that adopting a few healthy habits can change your dating experience. As the New Year rings in, make a resolution to change old patterns. Following are seven habits taken from successful online daters who have found love online.
1. Refresh, Refresh, Refresh
Refresh your profile and photos. Keeping current is important. It says that you're active and serious about showing people who you are and what you have to offer. Did your family recently visit you during the holidays? Post the photos of you by the Christmas tree or Menorah, with your children or grandchildren. Leading a full life is attractive.
2. Decide on Deal Breakers
Make ones that really matter. If you hate cigarettes and a pretty-looking lady says that she's a smoker that could be a good reason not to pursue her. At this age, it's highly unlikely she'll give up her pack-a-day habit. But, if a person lives two towns away, and you're only willing to date someone who lives in your local area, that could be something you'd want to reconsider. Figure out what's really off limits and compromise on things that are smaller.
3. Consider Timing
For me, timing was a critical factor. I met my husband online three years before we began dating seriously. We had gone on one date and although he seemed nice enough, he didn't seem like my type, so we never went out again. Years later, he saw my profile posted online and had the courage to write me again. We decided to go on a second "first" date to see if anything had changed over the years. Interestingly, the second time around felt right. We ended up falling in love and married nine months later. Maybe I had a bad day three years ago."
4. Be Open
We all have those checklists of what we're looking for in a mate. Blond, ‘5'7 and cooks a hearty chili. Muscular, successful and helps with the grocery shopping. Finding someone who you can neatly check off the boxes on your list of criteria can be a big feat; sometimes even impossible. My friend Lisa would only date corporate men but when she met Kevin, a physical therapist who was handy around the home too, she realized that having someone who could fix her leaky sink faster than she could dial a plumber, was more appealing to her than a man who wore a suit and tie all day.
5. Look Beyond the Photo
By now you probably know, it's not all about looks. Meeting someone goes far deeper than a pretty face or full head of hair. Next time you're looking for someone online read their profile first before glancing at the pictures to see if there's an attraction. It's tough not to peek, but if you can do it, you may find that you're interested in someone who you may have initially passed by. Let go of the superficial.
6. Truth Counts
Keep things honest in your photos, on your profile and in person. The most common complaints from online daters is that the person wasn't honest in their profile. They said they were thin when in fact they were slightly overweight. They said they were 51 when they were actually 58. If you are serious about meeting someone, stay true to yourself. The right person will like you for who you really are.
7. Go out again
You made it to date one and while feasting over chicken marsala, you noticed that there weren't any sparks. Just because fireworks didn't blast off the first time, it doesn't mean chemistry can't develop over time. Sarah, a full-time mom and school librarian, fell for Ben a retired Navy captain when she learned of his love for sailing on their third date. The way Ben spoke about his pastime set her fire blazing. If Sarah had stopped at one date, she never would have found those feelings. Let go of any judgments, negative thoughts or preconceived notions until you've had three dates.
8. Bonus Tip
Have fun. Don't take dating so seriously. Meeting people, who aren't right for you initially, can help you find the one who could be right forever.
Lori is a writer living in Brooklyn, NY. She is currently working on her memoir-in-progress, Single to Baby.
By Lori Bizocco for SeniorPeopleMeet.com
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