87% of singles think online dating is a great way to meet people, according to a recent study commissioned by Spark Networks, the owner of JDate.com. But while online dating has rapidly become a popular way for couples to meet, navigating it skillfully is what determines success – and I define that success as meeting a life partner. Contrary to how first-time subscribers may perceive online dating, it isn’t shooting fish in a barrel or throwing darts at random. Online dating that leads to marriage requires creativity, and stamina. Here are some useful ideas.
1. Stay Positive
Online daters often complain about not receiving responses from many of the people they contact. And some women feel disappointed about the small number of men that do respond. A likely explanation is that most people simply don’t have time to respond to everyone who contacts them, sometimes even those they’re interested in dating. Unless the number of responses is zero, the quantity is less important than the quality. Meeting someone with life partner potential isn’t like finding the proverbial needle in a haystack, but it does require a fair amount of grit and determination. Don’t take it personally if your email invitations go unanswered. Just move on.
2. Stay Fresh
Unlike fine Bordeaux, your profile doesn’t improve with age. I’ve helped women friends write their profiles and select photos, and since I feel it’s important to keep both fresh, I help them update their profiles and post new photos every six to eight weeks. Is this necessary or worthwhile? Each time my friends update their profiles and post new photos, they receive several emails the same day or the next. No matter how terrific your story and photos look initially, after a few months your profile begins to look shopworn and familiar. Think of your profile page in the same manner as fruit. It should be fresh, juicy, and appetizing.
3. Get Specific
Dating online offers the opportunity to dial in and fine-tune your dating preferences to the nth degree, so don’t waste it by spamming the opposite gender. When I first started dating online, I wallpapered the available women with emails in the erroneous belief that more is better, and that I was increasing my odds for success. Neither was true, and getting lots of responses from women only put me back at the starting line, confused and overwhelmed. A narrow approach works best, so if you know what you absolutely must have in a partner, in terms of core values and beliefs, stick to your game plan.
4. Stand Out
While not everyone can be a creative writer, anyone can create a profile that features sharing a passion with a partner. For instance, instead of listing every city you ever visited, pick your favorite and write a short screenplay depicting what sharing it with a lover might look like. Mine was Paris, and my video clip included holding hands strolling along the Seine on a sunny morning on the way to the Muse’ D’Orsay, a late lunch afterward at a sidewalk café, making love as the sun begins to set, falling asleep in each other’s arms, going out for drinks, and ending with dinner at an intimate, candle-lit, neighborhood restaurant. The number of women who appreciated my fantasy surprised me. My sweetheart/partner, a Paris enthusiast, was one of them.
5. Don’t Give Up
Your future partner is out there in cyberspace, and he or she is just as anxious to meet you, as you are to meet them. Your worlds just need to collide. While some amount of luck helps, giving up isn’t an option. Nothing worthwhile in life is ever easy, and that includes meeting your life partner. Pouring over profiles and sending and answering emails can feel as exhausting as a workout after a while. Take a break when you’re suffering online dating fatigue for as long as it takes to feel refreshed and enthusiastic again. Someone jaded from online dating is unlikely to be an interesting date anyway, so listen to your inner voice, and treat yourself kindly.