Sorry, let me stop laughing before I go on.
Look, it’s highly unlikely we will ever find a perfect anything online, least of all a human being.
This is mainly because none of us is perfect. It’s one of the simplest pieces of advice you can get about online dating, but as we get caught up in the thrill of the virtual chase, we tend to lose sight of this fact.
Stop looking for your soul mate and start looking for good people whose company you enjoy. If you drop all expectations, what you’ll find is that, over time, your pool of like-minded people has gotten bigger. Always a good thing.
Think of it like a 12-step program slogan for meeting potential partners: One date at a time.
One of the complaints from singles of all ages is the inability to find one person who meets all the criteria they’ve set for an ideal relationship. Filling someone else’s psychological shopping list is a tall order for anyone to fill, never mind having someone fill our own.
Fear not, dear daters! There are a few easy methods to address these concerns. The first step is to determine exactly what it is we’re looking for.
Here are some basic topics to consider before deciding what type of Internet romance works best for us:
Recognize where we are in our life.
Did you just get divorced or quit a job in which you felt trapped? Are you seeking the freedom of being “out there” and meeting new people? Are you looking for someone with whom to grow old? Or are you looking for a few rolls in the back of your SUV?
Answering these questions honestly will help determine the kind of date who would best suit you.
If we are feeling more free than firmly planted, then dating multiple people may be a good idea.
Just be sure that if the polyamorous path is the one you decide to take, be open, clear and honest about that from the start—beginning with your profile right down to that moment just before sex.
It really stings when we’re dating someone who we think is in it for the long haul, only to find they’re hauling their backside out of someone else’s bed right before a date with us. (Trust me on that one. I learned the hard way.)
Once we know what kind of dating we want, we need to narrow down what kind of person can offer it to us.
For example, if you want a long-term relationship but are having a difficult time finding that one person who’s as fetching as Benedict Cumberbatch, wants to explore the Grand Canyon, bike across France, loves singing show tunes in the shower and likes to sleep in until noon on Sundays, it’s probably time to prioritize.
Sounds great, but how should we prioritize?
What are the essential qualities your partner should possess? List these things in your profile. You may be surprised by what those qualities truly are.
For example, several eons ago when I was first in the online dating arena, I was quite proud of the list of qualities I wanted my potential partner to have. (Honesty. Open communication. Playfulness.) And, I often found dates who possessed them.
However, I neglected to add one specific requirement, mainly because I thought it might make me sound needy: I love to be loved. Demonstrably. But in simple ways: love notes, spontaneous massages, listening—in short, being kind on a daily basis.
The result was that I found decent men, which was a blessing. But they were only on good behavior for a few months before they began to take our relationship for granted, settling into the safety of the mundane. The vibrancy went out of the relationship, and I went with it.
Of course, we need to recognize that healthy, long-lasting relationships involve people who begin with fundamentally similar qualities but who also accept the reality that we human beings change and grow with time. If you are really seeking a commitment, then you must first honor the uncertainty of the future.
If you are interested in finding a partner, but still not sure about what you are looking for then, go ahead—browse the online dating profiles and date like a demon.
Just make sure you are honest about exactly what you need—with yourself and your potential date.
Love elephant and want to go steady?
Author: Rachel Astarte
Editor: Emily Bartran
Photo: OTA Photos/Flickr