Last week, I joined a dating site. I’m not beautiful. I’m not young.
I did not post my most stunning photos. I did not sing praises of how amazingly accomplished I am. I did not list tons of interests or activities I enjoy. And yet, in the few hours that followed, over 500 men expressed their desire to meet me.
I’ve been out of the dating scene for a long time. I was either in a relationship or healing from one. I refused to join the internet dating madness. I believed I would meet the man who belongs in my life without relying on electronic interactions. And I did.
But then things changed. I moved and felt increasingly lonely—longing for a man’s presence in my life. As I changed houses and cities, I decided to try a dating site for the first time.
Now there is much I am learning about dating online.
The first thing I discovered was how so many men are hungry for women’s attention, human warmth, intimacy, and romance. In other words—a relationship.
I was surprised by the number of men specifying that they are looking for a relationship and not just casual dating.
The next shock was how many men are interested in women over 40. The myth that there are no men in their 40s and 50s who are available and interested in women my age evaporated within minutes of being on this site.
I also realized how clueless we all are in the art of connection, internet interaction, and romance.
Inspired by my online experiences, here are my best tips for the men out there dating in this modern, technical age:
1. Please introduce yourself.
Only two men out of the hundreds that contacted me stated their name, signed their note, or said even a few words about themselves. Women feel safe when you introduce yourself, and safety is important for a woman. Especially in this kind of forum.
2. Writing “hi beautiful” doesn’t work.
There is not an easy way to respond to this, much less to make a conversation out of it. It may have worked in the 90s when people still met face to face, but meeting on a dating site leaves out the information our senses could provide. Voice, body language, the way we speak or look at each other, the ease with which we communicate. In other words, the exchange of live energy between us. In the digital dating world “hi” simply doesn’t cut it.
3. Make it easy for her to respond.
What you want is a response from her. What she wants is a dialogue. Women love conversation. The easiest way to start a conversation is to be interested in her. Show attention by asking about something she cares for. This means you must read her profile and notice a few things you can ask about. She probably left clues all over the place to make it easy for you to pick up a conversation.
4. Be a good listener.
What you call her laundry list is a simple way for her to show you what to talk about. She is testing you to see if you’re paying attention. She doesn’t necessarily expect you to do these things with her. She hopes that you’ll listen and are sensitive enough to pick up on what matters to her. So if she’s written, “I love yoga,” ask her about that! This tells her that you are interested in who she is. Give her a reason to choose you over all men that are after her!
5. Leave a hook.
Usually, this is a question that’s easy for her to reply to. Keep the flow going. Your job is to lead. She will follow.
6. Provide safety for her by revealing something about yourself.
I can’t emphasize the importance of this enough. The more she gets to know you, the safer she will feel. I know this might be uncomfortable for most men, but that’s what creates safety for women. She doesn’t know who you are or if she could trust you yet. Just like you don’t know if she’ll reject you. You both take a risk. She risks her safety; you risk hearing “no.”
7. Ask her on a first date.
A coffee date seems to be the norm now. It’s sensible—saving money and time by rejecting each other in the course of five minutes. But it’s also boring. There is nothing memorable about it. It’s well known that attraction shows up more easily when you’re taken out of your comfort zone and have the adrenaline pumping. Create it.
8. A date doesn’t have to be expensive to be memorable.
Use your imagination and offer something you really like doing. Then include her in it. Invite her for a walk or a bike ride if you both like that. Meet her on the tennis court if she likes tennis. Show her a museum you like where your knowledge can shine. She’ll be ignited by hearing you talk about something you are knowledgeable or passionate about.
When you choose a place to meet, think of what you like as well and what would make you feel confident and happy. Meet her in a park. Walk the labyrinth downtown. See a historic building together. Meet at a bookstore if you like books. You’ll discover a lot about her just by observing what she’s drawn to. A book you encounter is a great way to strike a meaningful conversation and to get to know each other in a fun way.
9. Help her feel good about herself.
If you can help her feel good about herself, chances are she’ll reciprocate. A woman feels good when she is seen and heard. To do this, pay continuous attention, listen to what she has to say, and be fully present. As time goes by and your connection deepens, she will trust you, respect you, love you, and choose you over every other man.
10. Don’t get caught in the not enough game.
When you meet a woman who excites you, stop looking for more. See what’s good about what you have there. Enjoy her. Cherish her. Love her. Appreciate her. Call her your own. Allow yourself to have, not just to search. Know when to stop looking for that elusive “perfection.” Notice when you get caught in the nets of the addiction of fishing for a better fish. Looking for the perfect woman can leave you lonely and unfulfilled. You might be surprised how easy it is to be happy when you say, “This is enough.”
When you share yourself with another (imperfect) human being, you will feel more alive, happier and more fulfilled because you have shared your life, and yourself, with another. Let her enter your life and your heart, even if she does not cover all your requirements for perfection.
Author: Gina Brezini
Editor: Danielle Beutell
Copy Editor: Catherine Monkman
Social Editor: Callie Rushton