The Divorced Person’s Guide To Online Dating

The Divorced Person’s Guide To Online Dating

Internet dating: could two words ever have struck such fear into the heart of the newly divorced?!

Let’s face it, dating can be a daunting experience for anyone.  To worsen matters, it can become a nerve wrecking experience if you’re re-entering the dating world after a long break and a traumatic break-up.

As if you didn’t have enough on your hands without the heartbreak from your previous failed relationship, trying to re adjust to life now on your own but now you disover that you’re an absolute novice when it comes to the new rules of dating!  It’s enough to send you to a cabin in the woods!

Here are some tips for dating after divorce.

Online or offline dating?

Should you find love online or offline? The answer to that relies to a large extent on the amount of time you have at hand as well as your confidence level. It’s quite normal to feel pretty unconfident about your attractiveness after the morale-kicking expereince of divorce, which makes online dating an appealing way to start dating again. However, a word of warning here: just as you may still be in the ‘walking wounded’ category, so may many of the other people you meet online and although you may think you’re ready for a new relationship, you may not be as ready as you think. Be gentle with yourself, and with them!

Choice of dating sites

Should you go for free or paid dating sites? To master the online dating linguo and tricks, give free online dating sites a try.  There’s no reason to think that if it’s free then it’s not as good as the paid ones.  Far from it – free dating sites attract more members and you have a wider choice of partners to pick from.  Once you feel you’ve got a better grasp of the way online dating sites function, you can move to a paid site in order to take advantage of members-only benefits.  You may also opt for a specific dating site as opposed to a more general one. For example if you are divorced, you may want to sign up for a dating site catering exclusively for divorcees. If you are gay, you may go to gay dating sites.  The advantage of signing up for focused dating sites like these is that you are more likely to meet like-minded people who are seeking exactly the same thing as you. It may be that they too are going through the challenge of making co-parenting work!

Your Dating ‘Profile’

Before initiating conversation with you on a dating site, interested dates will first go look at your profile – it’s a cross between a romantic resume and a personal ad, so it’s of paramount importance for you to get your profile right.  This means not only do you keep it updated by checking in to the site regularly, but that you also share information about yourself that makes you sound like someone they’d like to meet. If you’re not sure what to write, take a look at some of the other ads by your ‘competition’ – most people make so little effort with either their photo, their user name or their written description that you really don’t have to make much of an effort to stand out from the crowd!

Psych up yourself

Online dating works like  magic for some, but for many people it can be a chaotic and demoralising experience  Treat it as a fun way to get your ‘dating skills’ up to scratch, rather than the answer to your loneliness or grief. Be aware that there will be people (just like in the ‘real world’) who are not completely honest, and who may take advantage of your new status to spin you a story. For example, some may lie about their current relationship status, for example married men pretending to be single or others may go to extremes to swindle money from gullible online daters. Have fun and be safe!

Create a winning profile

Upload recent photographs of yourself (not that one from ten years ago) and nothing involving your friends or with you ex in the frame (but cropped out!). Choose a user name that is original without being too ‘clever’ and certainly not too despearte (‘lookingforyou’ or ‘amItheone’ shriek of desparation).  Share a funny story about something that happened to you rather than talking about liking movies and going for walks. Almost everyone in the world likes those!  Be honest, don’t moan, don’t list all the things you don’t want, and be personable.

Amount of approaches

The beauty of online dating is that you will never run out of people with whom to initiate conversation! So you can spend hours and hours contacting as many eligible dates as you want and, even if you get turned down by some, there will surely be others who’ll show interest and reply.  There is nothing wrong in meeting a few people and dating them at the same time, as long as you are honest with them about you seeing others. However, if this isn’t your style, say so or you may be hurt if that’s how your date is operating.

Communication is essential

There’s no point signing up for dating sites if you intend to check your mail once every month.  If the internet is not your cup of tea, perhaps joining Meetups in your area might work better for you. Hanging out at bars still works, if you can face it, but the hook-up culture is pretty massive these days, so don’t be naive. With regard to sharing information with someone you meet online – keep communicating through the site as long as possible and don’t share your private email until after you’ve met them. It’s also smart not to say which part of town you live in and meet somewhere central. Not everyone’s a potential stalker, but sometimes it can just be embarrassing if one of you gets a little over keen and starts turning up at your place or work or doorstep…

Before the first date

Before meeting the person, it may help to have a webcam conversation.  Sometimes, the profile picture of a person may tell a completely different history of what he actually is-imagine a profile picture a la Ronaldo with six pack abs and when you meet him in person he not only looks 10 years older but has also taken more kilos-and if you are concerned about physical appearance, this might be a hard blow.

Online dating can help you nurse your broken heart and find your soul mate but before taking any hasty decisions, make sure to know the person well.  Online dating might be new, but remember that the same old rules of dating apply with regards to safety and sharing of personal information.