7 Tips for Finding Authentic Love on the Internet. ~ Amy Angelilli

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Photo: Amy Angelilli

When I turned 40, shit got real.

What am I doing with my life? Why am I burned out at work? Why do live with my ex husband? Why do I have so many cats? Why are dark circles taking over my face?

There was a lot of work to do.

One huge task on the ever growing “to do” list of life was to find love.

Good luck with that.

When you’re an adult, you don’t often have the luxury of meeting new people with the frequency you did when you were in college, or a regularly drunk 20-something. You go to work. You go to yoga. You go to the coffee shop. Basically you go to the same places and do the same routine and run into the same people. This is the reason why Internet dating has exploded.

Where else can you access an enormous pool of single people all looking to meet someone outside of their existing circles?

But we’re not all looking for the same thing. Worse still, is that some of us pretend we’re looking for one thing when the reality is we want something completely different. Mix that into a contrived platform where most of us are inventing rather than showcasing, and it’s a wonder anyone finds anyone for more than a one off hook up.

I found the love of my life online. It was not an accident. It was work that was done with intention and authenticity. There’s that word again. Let’s back up and look at what the majority of people are doing online, including myself before the shit got real on my 40th birthday.

Most of us post the required information and tack on a semi-decent photo to online dating web sites. We list what we do, what we like, what we don’t like, what we’d like to do. We don’t, however, discuss who we are. This is the magic behind Internet dating.

The Internet is a contrived platform. It can be used for surface meet ups—meeting up for a beer, meeting up for a movie or even meeting up for a booty call. These are all fine things if both parties only want surface level dating. However, when someone wants to find a deep, authentic connection, let’s call it true love, it can also be done using this contrived platform. But we need to be authentic, intentional, honest and open with what we put out there on the World Wide Web. We need to have the Internet work for us, and it can, if we let it.

A month before I turned 40, my good friend told me to completely redo my online profile and redo it authentically.

“Speak from the heart,” she said.

My first reaction was “Yeah, right, whatever. It’s not me; it’s everyone else on the Internet that sucks.”

A month after I turned 40, my thinking shifted. In a quiet moment alone, I looked at my profile. It was fine. The information was correct. I wasn’t telling lies. But there was nothing right with it for what I wanted. I wanted a life partner, not a beer buddy. I had barely scratched the surface, so how could I expect to find anything beyond surface level interactions? I was my problem, not the millions of men online.

In one night I transformed my profile from a “let’s hang out” message to an honest open call for a meaningful long-term relationship. I used these guidelines:

1. I was completely honest.

There’s nothing wrong with saying you don’t want to date someone older than 50 if you really don’t want to date someone older than 50. If you would consider it then don’t limit yourself, no matter what your friends think or say. They are not you and they are not going to be in your next relationship.

2. I was open.

And let me be clear, I was open in that I let readers know who I was without betraying myself. I did not leave myself vulnerable, but, instead of saying I like cats, I put it out there that pet overpopulation is one of my passions and a societal issue that concerns me.

3. I dug deep.

This is so hard for many of us as we don’t want to open ourselves up to strangers. However, how is a potential love of your life going to know if you are different than the thousands of other profiles that are online? Everyone likes to travel. But how do you like to travel? I had just returned from Africa and the experience forever touched me for a number of reasons. I wrote about it.

4. I put out there what I really wanted.

That means not only did I not lie to readers, but, most importantly, I didn’t lie to myself. All the time I was putting “beer buddy” out there I got just that and wondered why I was getting frustrated. I, in plain English, said I wanted a deep, authentic, committed relationship. We’re not in high school, so we don’t need to be concerned about being “cool.” We need to be real. If the real deal is what you want, say that.

5. I didn’t fill my narrative with things I didn’t want or don’t like.

Negativity in an online profile is toxic. Stay away from it. I said I liked a career that included meaningful work. I said I wanted a partner who wanted to travel responsibly. The reader can then conclude that the opposite of those things are dislikes. When you meet in person, you can go over all of your likes/dislikes in detail. That’s what makes dating fun—getting to know each other.

6. I was passionate.

I’m not talking about sex. I am talking about life. Some questions to mull over: What are my values? What can’t I live without? What excites me when I wake up in the morning? What are my beliefs? How do I look at the world? How am I moving my life forward?

7. I did, in fact, speak from my heart.

What’s in my head is all well and good, but I was looking for the love of my life—not a business partner. Let your heart shine in your words and even in your photos. Post photos of yourself doing the things you love.

After hours working and reworking my profile, I posted it. Later that night, my future husband dropped me a note with only one line. It wasn’t much to go on. His profile was mildly amusing. His photos were terrible. But one thing was clear. He appreciated my new profile. For that reason alone, it was worth an in person meeting. Exactly a year later, on the anniversary of his writing just one line to me, we were married.

I’m not saying your story will be like mine. After all, my story is already taken! I am saying that an authentic, deep, committed relationship can be found using a cold, contrived, impersonal tool.

Do the work and please send me a wedding photo.


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Ed: B. Bemel

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anonymous Feb 10, 2014 1:41pm

I loved to hear that, because recently I met someone, after been so long with another person that just used to say that he did not know if he still in love with me.
We finally separated. But I never thought I could find someone, someone that I could fell like talk to about anything
For 15 years I was completely in love with my ex-husband. But my husband did not fell the same.
The I met this new person, that thinks so much like me, and he is having the same problems with his wife.
That is what is stopping me to go and met him.
He still married, I don't know what I am going to do, the only thing I do learn is that on line, and on the phone you get to know someone so deep. And you can get very involved.
And like you said we got very involved till we finally saw each others pictures. I guess the same with us, we did not fell the need to see how we looked, but what we felt.
We speak everyday, but we have never seem each other.
I will let you know what happens in future.
I am in Brazil. My ex in UK. And my heart is not broken anymore.
Any way, good luck to you, and I found your love history really sweet, lot's of happiness to you both.
Bless you.

anonymous Dec 15, 2013 7:55am

You are awesome

anonymous Aug 8, 2013 6:07pm

This is lovely, and well written. Yes, when we are open, conscious, and aware of our needs, we will find people that "fit" and the dating world becomes our oyster. I have personally done a re-write of my own a few months ago, and have had so many more appropriate people contact me. It's no longer a numbers game or a matter of finding "the one" but finding one that best works for me. And it's *working*, and feels like my efforts are being rewarded.

anonymous Aug 8, 2013 5:31pm

For one reason that I think I found in your article I have made click with someone very special x me we are not in love but we are good friends 😀 I enjoy so much your article thanks a lot and keep writing please 😀 it would be delightful to read you again,

Sincerely Terg.

anonymous Aug 8, 2013 3:41pm

I was referred to the article by a mutual friend and think the article is well written, charming in its way and could easily be of value to many readers – isn't that the idea? – to write something that is actually of service and encourages friends and foe alike to contribute to society by sharing values that have positive import.

anonymous Aug 8, 2013 3:36pm

I was absolutely honest with who I am and what I was looking for.
I too found the love of my life online. I adored him, he was everything I had ever wanted in a man – in fact he was like my twin soul. How could we be so much alike how could we love the same things, how could we be so closely aligned ?
He is a predator – an online predator. And he mirrored everything I had in my profile .
I have barely survived. He is a narcissist and a psychopath and his pattern is to meet someone online, entrench himself in their lives – then control and destroy. He "turns over" a women about every 3 years, but of course I didn't know that then. I had been by myself for 14 years. I am a professional, and was grounded and at peace with myself and the world when he contacted me.
Be careful not just what you wish for but how much you tell the world about yourself online. Amy was lucky! there are so many people out there like me who have been shattered. I also married this love of my life – and in the process lost money, family and almost lost my sanity.
I'm not a weak woman by any means, this man is so good at what he does you just don't know what hits you.
Be careful – or better still learn to love yourself – we are all we need to complete our life.

    anonymous Aug 12, 2013 5:53am

    Thank you for this. A dose of another reality and I am so sorry this happened to you. IMHO, marriage no longer holds any specific meaning – a 50% or so divorce rate proves that those vows are, in reality, suggestions, not true promises. It is a financial convenience in many ways, but the potential backlash and/or divorce outweighs those benefits. Our society still insists that *true love* is what we should have and should seek otherwise our lives are incomplete. Hard to undo a lifetime of brainwashing but it's possible I think! Relationships can be lovely and if they are true and good they will last without a contractual commitment and empty promise. The best advice, as you say, learn to love yourself and know you are complete!

anonymous Aug 8, 2013 6:52am

I've dabbled in online dating and like many of my friends, I don't love it. To be fair though, the author is correct here. The problem with my online dating experience is me! Truth and authenticity are NOT the same thing. Truth is easy. Authenticity is difficult, especially in a contrived setting. Ms. Angelilli is brave and based on her writing, capable of communicating the important and real aspects of any story with humor. So even if you are adverse to online dating, share this story with your friends. You might end up being two degrees responsible for their next great love. Ms. Angelilli of course gets one degree credit!

anonymous Aug 7, 2013 2:59pm

I loved this article. The words "intention" and "authenticity" really resonated with me. To often we cheat ourselves by not communicating our intentions properly. Now, to go re-write my online profile!

anonymous Aug 7, 2013 11:20am

I do love it when the universe provides some validation. Two days ago, After 6 months of online dating, i removed all profiles and have begun rewriting it. This time speaking from the heart. Your article is dead on with at least my (43 year old) online dating experience..gone is the fear that my artsy, adventurous deep thinking personality will limit my "likes" I really only need the one "like" anyway. He may be online or he may be on the hiking trail or in one of the small town diners i like to explore and photograph. The trick, as you point out so well, is knowing that even online you attract what you are so be authentic.

anonymous Aug 7, 2013 9:48am

I must admit that I do know the author. But I'd like to say from a purely objective point of view, this article works because–like she did with her online profile–she spoke from the heart.

anonymous Aug 7, 2013 9:09am

I do not believe in love online

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Amy Angelilli

Amy Angelilli married the love of her life on the anniversary of their first communication on a dating website. Now that she is no longer busy online dating, she has more time for ecotourism, restorative yoga and comedy improv. Her greatest performance was as Nurse Nancy where she insisted cats wear condoms and dogs take birth control pills to combat pet overpopulation. Since that didn’t work out so well, she created the theater experience 3 Blind Dates to showcase the phenomenon of modern dating … without using a script. Follow her, Nurse Nancy or 3 Blind Dates on Facebook.