When someone in my Finding Love Over 40 Facebook group meets a great guy and the relationship looks like it’s going to last, the first question other women ask is (can you guess?) “Which online site did you use?”
It’s a mistake to think that success with online dating has all that much to do with which site you use. As long as it’s not brand new and there’s a substantial database of potential partners to choose from, your chances are basically even.
BUT, all is not equal in the online dating world. The smarter you are about how to leverage online dating as a “tool,” The more successful you will be. And some online dating sites have more sophisticated tools, which means greater success in actually finding your ideal match.
Here are my top 11 guidelines for online dating success. Which are you missing out on?
- Invest and test. To see if online dating is going to work for you, you need to invest the time and money to test it out. Don’t expect to load a profile and get responses from really great men right away. When you are new to any online dating site, you are the new girl in town – your profile picture and summary go out to everyone. Most of those initial contacts (which can feel overwhelming, BTW) can be safely ignored – especially if they start with “hello beautiful.”
- Take time to write a profile that is uniquely you. Don’t expect to get good results with just a profile picture and a laundry list of demographics and characteristics that you want in a man. You will get too many contacts from men you are not interested in and no contacts from the ones who really matter. Your profile should reflect your value, your values and what you want most in a relationship. It’s not a one and done exercise. As you date and learn more about what you want and what you don’t, you will want to fine-tune your profile to reflect new insights.
- Expect online dating to be a part time job. To do it right, you need to expect to block time to edit your profile, sort through contacts, reach out to some potentials that meet your ‘ideal man’ profile, and correspond with whom you have interest. You don’t need to respond to everyone who contacts you. You also don’t need to respond to winks, flirts and likes. You should respond to only those who match your vision of your ideal partner.
- Pay for premium features and “leverage the math.” I spend more time on this in the online dating profile training where I actually demonstrate how this works, but you will have MUCH better success online if you leverage the algorithms they use to match you with potential partners. Typically this means, at a minimum, answer a LOT of questions on their quizzes and surveys (more than 500 if you are using OkC). Use advanced search features to get closer finding men who match your values – especially your ‘non-negotiables’.
- Hide and block liberally. Expect that most men who contact you online are not going to be a match. No worries! You can hide or block them. This is practicing good online hygiene because when you hide or block men who are not right for you, the men who are left are of a much higher caliber. 😉 big tip right there.
- Update your profile and your photos regularly. When the search results get stale, update your profile. On most sites, if there is something new about you, you will automatically increase the number of times your profile comes up in random matches or searches.
- Talk first. Texting can be flirtatious and fun, but to get to know if you have chemistry with someone right off the bat, talk to them on the phone first. Have a set of standard questions you ask your “potentials” that are aligned to your values. Filter out those who don’t match what you are looking for so you don’t waste time – there’s nothing more draining and deflating than wasting time with the wrong guys. If someone doesn’t get out from behind the text, that’s a red flag. He either doesn’t have the confidence to meet you or something else is going on. Always ask for a phone call first.
- Google Second. During your phone call, ask for his first and last name (never date blind!). Do a google search of your date. Knowledge is power. Not only will you feel safer, but by looking at their Facebook or LinkedIn profile and potentially their website, you will get a clearer picture of who you meeting.
- Have low expectations. This is soooo important! Don’t get all hyped up on the texts and phone calls and start living a fantasy relationship before the real first date. Just have the expectation that you are going to meet someone new and maybe you’ll click and maybe you won’t. This evens out the emotional ups and downs of dating and allows for real surprises when it turns out to be a really fantastic time.
- Wash, rinse, repeat. This is the step that 99% of women don’t do and it is hands down the most important step for you to master in finding the right guy online. After each date, ask yourself: “What did I just learn from that experience? What did I really enjoy that I’d like to repeat again? What about it was a “never again” experience? What did I learn about my likes/dislikes? What did I learn about myself?” Take those insights (it’s best to write them down) and weave them into your dating profile as part of your story. If you want a different experience, you need to change your point of attraction. (And remember, if you update your profile, you are automatically triggering an update online and you’ll show up in more searches!)
- Limit yourself to top the three or four dating sites. In the online dating sites review I shared, there were three that consistently popped to the top of the list and a bunch of runner ups. Check out OkCupid, Match.com, Plenty of Fish and Bumble. Others like Elite Singles or Meet Mindful, might be the newer platforms on the block, but that also means they have fewer members. If you are serious about love, Tinder isn’t likely going to get you there as there’s no place for a serious profile. Be sure there are enough men in your geographic area before you drop down cash.
It’s true that online dating isn’t for everyone. Yet, fifty percent of women over 40 are divorced. The percentage of women over 55 using online dating sites to meet a mate has more than doubled since 2013. And, more than one third of U.S. marriages started online.
The problem I see most often with women who are NOT successful online is they make the critical mistake of blaming online dating when they don’t have success. They say, “online dating doesn’t work” because “there are no good men out there,” as opposed to looking at why THEY are not having success and others are, and adjusting their strategies accordingly.
There is someone for everyone. Here’s to your someone. I guarantee he is searching for you just as hard as you are searching for him. Is the ‘real’ you being seen?
Here’s to you finding real love – online or off.