Online dating has more ups and downs than a roller coaster and can feel more treacherous. It is made up of extremes…reading the perfect profile…imagining passion and love for years to come…meeting face to face…dreams dissolving within minutes when he doesn’t look like the photo or she doesn’t really have that wit in person. It is not for the feint of heart. It takes courage, endurance and emotional maturity.
Here are 5 helpful tips for surviving digital dating:
Recognize that disappointment is built in.
It’s a numbers game. Looking for that one lifelong match takes kissing a lot of frogs. It’s just the nature of the process. It’s not that you can’t find the person of your dreams, but it takes trial and error. Disappointment and rejection will occur frequently.
Be prepared to weather those ups and downs.
Know that you will be rejected and it hurts. Or if you are the rejector, you may feel your hopes dashed again and again. It takes inner fortitude to go on this ride. Learn to recover from disappointment and rejection and use your healthy coping skills to deal with them (exercise, eat well, sleep, relax, talk with friends). Build your emotional resilience.
The key to surviving online dating is managing expectations – in fact, lowering expectations. It’s almost impossible to do in the initial hopeful moments of meeting someone online. Recognize that when reading that perfect profile or swiping right on the photo, you are forming an image of someone based on very little information and a lot of wishful thinking. That image is amplified by your dreams. Flesh and blood can’t live up to the fantasy. She may say she’s funny and you see yourself laughing together for years to come. Or he says he likes to cook and you think you’ll be a great match because you don’t. Notice how much you are building this person into your soulmate before you’ve met and take it down a notch.
When you are rejected (numerous times), realize that the other person was expecting their long-sought-after ideal too, and you might not live up. You can’t live up to it because the fantasy gets created based on limited digital information long before they actually meet you. Know that people can put up road blocks around intimacy and you just might encounter a stop sign. It’s not always about you.
Watch out for falling in love too quickly.
It can feel good to be someone’s fantasy. The other person is full of passion and believes you are the “one” and shines all that happy attention on you. Watch out, you are set up for the inevitable fall off the pedestal. So, take it slow and see how the relationship feels once the honeymoon period wears off.
At the beginning of a relationship, it takes time for you to reveal your true self and for you to learn who your partner is. It is by experiencing life together that your complex humanness is revealed. This is a good thing – it challenges you to show your true self, practice acceptance around the qualities of the actual person whom you are dating, and develop a deep, lasting bond. Online dating fueled by hopes for meeting the “one” is an opportunity to take on the ups and downs of love and to grow your emotional resilience.