I'm a huge advocate of online dating. I mean I met my boyfriend of six years on Guardian Soulmates and I've since forged a unique business helping people find love online. In fact, I truly believe everyone can find love online. But... let's not pretend here, online dating sucks. However, just because it sucks doesn't mean it's not worth trying or that it's not going to work for you. Here are the five main reasons online dating sucks and what you can do about it to kick-start your love life.
You're exposed to toxic people & situations
One of the main things that sucks about online dating is that by opening yourself up to new and different types of people, you are also putting yourself at risk of meeting people who are toxic and just generally bad for the soul. Perhaps they are people who are only dating to feed their ego or perhaps they are already in a steady relationship or maybe they are emotionally immature etc. Sadly this is hard to avoid if you put are putting yourself out there like you need to, so you need to have a plan to minimise the pain in dealing with these types of people. With everyone you contact and meet, pay close attention to how they treat you. Every interaction they have with you either on email, on the phone or in person will give you clues as to who they really are. Take those clues at face value. If they keep blowing you off at the last minute on text or they disappear for weeks on end, or they are too clingy and controlling or just generally displaying behaviour that you're not keen on, then don't make excuses for them. Make it a priority to set some dating boundaries and dealbreakers to protect yourself.
You give your power away
If you're a bit of a people pleaser or you're a naturally passive person or maybe you're lacking in the conviction that you're a kick-ass cool person who is worthy of love and acceptance, then dating can be super tough. If you give your power away to the other person, when online dating, then chances are you're going to have a miserable experience. You'll let someone else take charge of your dating life and as we've seen above, who knows who you might meet. Online dating is a lot easier if you have 100% faith in yourself, know your own worth and take control of what you want to do. Otherwise you could end up getting hurt and manipulated. You need to be you, but choose to be the best version of you.
If you're a people pleaser or naturally passive, then take the time to remember it's fine to please people you know and love, but pleasing people you've only just met isn't necessary. Or if your confidence is really low after taking a battering from a previous relationship, then it might be worth booking a session with a dating coach.
You're expecting it to suck
We all know deep down that if you expect something to turn out a certain way, then it's probably going to turn out that way. Well hey that's true for online dating too. If you're going out on dates, with the news ticker 'online dating sucks' running through your head, then you can bet your bottom dollar your dating experiences are going to suck. The best way to end this is to change your mindset. Change your news ticker (you know, that unhelpful, negative inner voice) so that it's saying something more positive and supportive. Try something like 'lots of people find love online and enjoy the journey' and then find some examples to back that up. Write a list of all the good things that come from online dating and take the time to remind yourself of them when you start feeling low about online dating.
Here are some things I loved about online dating:
• Meeting new people
• Discovering new bars/restaurants in town
• Getting out your comfort zone (that's where life gets exciting)
• Trying new things
• Getting a snog
• Making some real friends
• Making a great business connection
You're not being authentic
If you're pretending to be something you're not, to appeal to people who might otherwise not date you, this is pretty much going to end badly. It might be tempting to do this, but what's the point of falling in love when you're not being real. The love won't be real either and will fall apart when the truth comes out.
You're taking it too seriously
When I was online dating, I realised that the only time I was enjoying it was when I wasn't taking it too seriously. You just need to relax and enjoy the ride and if you aren't feeling it right now, take a well-earned break from it and come back when you're feeling refreshed. If you get all serious about it, you scare people off, you're no fun and you'll be miserable. Dating should be fun! Dating should be the most fun you've had in a long time. And if it's not, take a break or move on to the next one.