We have seen many of our friends and acquaintances struggle with some aspect of online dating. Both E and K of E&K here spent several years dating online. And we actually grew to enjoy it, learn from it, and carry the lessons we learned over to our relationship.
Here are the most valuable lessons we learned during our years of online dating:
1. You have to love yourself first.
The most important thing you can learn from any amount of time that you spend being single is to accept yourself, take care of yourself, and treat yourself as lovingly as you want your future partner to do. Accept everything you’ve ever been. Embrace who you are at this time in your life. Move fearlessly toward who you want to be.
2. You can do this your way.
This is your time to be yourself and do it your way. There are no requirements for how you present yourself online, who you date, what you do on dates, how many people you date, or anything else you choose. Do it all exactly as you wish, every step of the way. It will make you more confident and make the process more fun.
3. Dating is fun.
Online dating allows you to meet new people, try new things, learn a lot about yourself, and prepare for the most meaningful relationship of your life. Even in the worst moments, you’re just collecting hilarious stories to tell later. The more you decide to enjoy the process, the more patient and confident you will be.
4. Dating takes time and effort.
Successful online dating requires something of you. No more than you want to put into it, but some amount of time and some amount of effort. Being proactive is essential to successful dating and relationships. The magic of modern technology brings you the ability to meet countless potential romantic interests almost instantly and with very little work. Just a tiny investment into that magic can bring big rewards.
5. Ambiguity is A-OK.
Part of the journey of dating is not always knowing everything for sure. Feelings, connections, and relationships in online dating can seem fleeting, fickle, and unexpectedly complicated. Stay patient and open. Don’t give up on yourself or on the value of your online dating experience. The important things will always become clear in good time. In the meantime, embrace the question marks.
6. Honesty is always the best policy.
The anonymity allowed in online dating tempts some people to lie about any number of things – height, income, age, beliefs, intentions. At no point will lying help you get what you want in dating and relationships. If others are lying to you, you’ll find out soon enough. And if you lie to them, they will, too. Be honest, and you will attract others who are honest with you.
7. Like attracts like.
Our differences can certainly ignite passion in romance. But even when we have differences, we have to share some important interests, values, dreams, attitudes, and lifestyle choices in order to have good and lasting relationships. Get real about who you really are, who you want to be, and who you want to attract. Project your best self to find your best match.
8. Nobody owes anybody anything.
You will inevitably experience both guilt about rejecting others, and heartbreak about being rejected, during any time spent online dating. It’s OK to disappoint someone who wants to be with you. It’s OK for them to disappoint you. Until both parties have clearly agreed to some kind of commitment to one another, all is fair in dating. It’s best to build your own confidence that doesn’t depend on pleasing others or on their doing what you want.
9. There is someone out there who wants you.
There are matches out there right now who wants to be with someone just like you. Probably not the first person you meet, and maybe not even the twentieth. But with patience, you will find that person. Trust that there are more than enough fish in the sea. Trust that you deserve mutual attraction. Trust that you will find your special someone.
10. Safety first, worry last.
Messaging and meeting up with strangers is exciting enough. Worry about safety issues is a sure way to ruin any potential enjoyment or genuine connection you might share with someone. Your safety should be non-negotiable. Take reasonable precautions for your own safety, and respect the precautions that your dates want to take. Always listen to your gut feelings. Ditch any dates who don’t respect your limits. Save yourself for those who value your peace of mind.
Learn how to apply these principles to each step of online dating, as well as additional online dating essentials, with Log In to Love.