Love on the Internet
|Online love on online dating sites
|My husband and I had met on the Internet, so we are a living proof that Internet romance can be successful. I can honestly say that we are a perfect match. Yet, I am aware that there are disaster stories as well, from all kinds of shocking discoveries when two Internet daters meet in person to pure scams. With the anonymity the Internet offers, it is too easy for dishonesty to find its way into the process. We are often asked how we succeeded, and whether it was hard to weed out the wrong people and make the right choice. Many are curious about how we handled the long distance relationship and whether it is possible to really get to know someone through letters, e-mails, and phone calls. Many ask why we had turned to the Internet to begin with. Let me try to address all these questions one by one.
Who looks for romance online and why?
I have met people who think that only losers and sex-daters look for partners on the Internet: losers go online because they cannot meet anyone “in the real life,” and sex-daters because it’s a quick way to find someone just for sex and nothing else. While both categories certainly do exist, there is also a third one, and I think it may be the largest: decent men and women who are serious about meeting their special someone and creating a family. The reason they go online is usually because they know exactly what they want in their future life partner, and they do not wish to settle for less. Call them picky; they are. They realize that with the help of the Internet they will have the whole world at their fingertips, so they are simply expanding their search. Many of these people are hard-working professionals who have little time for “regular dating,” which is another reason why they turn to the Internet. Daily e-mailing and chatting does not take that much time and yet allows, if used wisely, to get to know the other person just as well as if you were going out and spending time together.
In our case, we were both picky and busy. My husband lived in a small community where there were not many single women of the kind he would be interested in. I, on the contrary, lived in a huge city, but faced the same problem: somehow, there were not many single men around me who had the qualities I was looking for. I worked full time and overtime, leaving home at 7:00 AM and returning around 9:00 PM. My husband ran his own business and was often on the road, traveling for 3-5 days almost every week. As you see, we did not have much time for going out.
Chose the right dating website
If you consider looking for your future life partner online, make sure you chose the right website. It is usually easy enough to see whether a particular website is for marriage minded people or sex-daters. Look at the people’s profiles, see what they are saying about themselves and the person they desire to meet. Their descriptions and stated priorities will speak for themselves. Of course, there is always a chance of a sex-dater posting an ad at a “serious” website, but usually, the two do not mix. Another thing I always advise is to chose a website that lets you fill out a detailed profile, not just a brief ad stating your age, height, weight, and hair color. The more you can share about yourself and read about your potential mate, the better. When good profiles are available, you will narrow down your search quickly and easily. You won’t even need to contact certain people to see whether you are compatible, you will read their information and know it right away if they are not someone you would be interested it. I had joined a dating website that offered a brief questionnaire and a detailed profile; you could start with the first and fill out the second later on. There were some folks there who never did that, they just filled out the questionnaire and never went any further. For me, those were the profiles to disregard automatically. It told me that those people were not serious enough about finding their other half, they did not care to give it the full effort.
Know what you want
When you have found the right website, the next step is, of course, to find the right person. Knowing exactly what you want in your future life partner helps a lot. Hopefully, you already know that. If you are not sure, you might have to sit down and think about it, very hard, before you start looking at the profiles. Here are some helpful questions to ask yourself: What do you value the most in a man/woman? What qualities are you looking for? What type of a personality? Character? Mindset? What about education? Would you prefer a college graduate? Would you only date someone with a college degree?
If you have never been married, is it important to you to find someone who has never been married as well? Would you consider someone who has been divorced? How about a widow/widower? How do you feel about children? Do you want any? How many? How soon? Is it okay if your future spouse has children from previous marriage? What about religion? Politics? What about hobbies and sports? Would you like your mate to fully share your interests, or would you like someone whose interests are different than yours so that you both can learn something new? Which ones of your preferences are a must, and which ones are negotiable?
Be honest in representing yourself
Now that you have made sure you know what you are looking for, it is time to put together your own profile. Portray yourself truthfully. We all know how it often goes on a “regular date,” when both the man and the woman are trying to impress each other, putting their best foot forward and, consciously or not, trying to be different from what they really are. Don’t make the same mistake on the Internet. The reality is going to hit sooner or later, so honesty is the best policy. Yes, you might get more men to write to you if you say that you love to cook (more women if you say that you always clean your house and never watch sports), but if it’s not true, what’s the point? You will not be able to live up to the image you have created, you are only setting yourself up for disappointment. So, if you hate cooking, say so. If you don’t like partying, don’t pretend that you do. It’s okay. There are other people who feel this way, and they will be glad to find someone like them. My mother used to advice me not to tell men that I was a novelist, “because them writers are no good housekeepers, and no man would want such a wife.” I did exactly the opposite and stated in my profile that I was a writer, and shared that it was one of the most important things in my life. Did I scare off some men by doing that? Perhaps. If so, they were not right for me, anyway, and I’m glad. My husband later told me that my being a writer was one of the reasons he had become interested in me. He thought it was fascinating, and he always wanted a wife whose occupation would go with her anywhere she moves.
Get to know each other. Build a relationship
When you start writing to people and eventually focus on one person with whom you feel a special connection, it is important to get to know them as best as you can. Talk about everything, address all the subjects that are important to you, ask for their opinion, and do not spare any efforts on thorough discussion and answering each other’s questions. There is nothing wrong with flirting and joking, but remember that it is not shallow chit-chat that builds a relationship. My answer to the question of whether it’s possible to really get to know someone via e-mail and phone calls is yes – if you are serious about it. Brief e-mails and funny phone calls will accomplish nothing. “Hi, how are you, I’ve just got home from work, see ya,” does not tell you much about the person, does it? You may be writing every day, but it is the quality of what you write that counts. If you do a good job communicating, sharing and learning, you will feel like you really know each other when you finally meet.
Meet in person
Is it possible to fall in love over the Internet? I don’t think so. It is certainly possible to find someone special, become very interested in them and grow attached to each other, but you don’t know whether your relationship is going to work until you meet in person. There are cases when people finally meet, and something doesn’t “click.” It happens; there is just no chemistry. For that reason, I would recommend to guard your heart and not to think in terms of “being in love” before you have met, not to mention making marriage proposals and getting engaged. You might feel very strongly that you have found the right person, but until you have met and spent some time together, you cannot vouch for anything. Your meeting is the final test. Do not rush into it, but do not postpone it indefinitely, either. If you meet prematurely, it might feel like a date with a stranger, and if you delay it too long you might develop the habit of having this virtual friend in your life. This is not fair to the other person.
Of course, there are circumstances beyond our control that may force us to postpone the meeting. My future husband and I had first planned to meet for Christmas, then it had turned out that he could not make it. My next vacation was only available in May, so we waited till then. If you have valid reasons for a delay, there is nothing wrong with it. The other person will understand, and it will only strengthen your relationship.
And the last thing: what to do if you meet, and there is no chemistry? I would say give yourself some time to get over it and move on. It is a sad situation, especially when one person does feel the attraction and wants to continue the relationship, but the other does not. Just like with “regular dating,” be honest, and do your best to part as friends. You might decide to continue to remain penpals for a while, or you might feel that it is better to stop writing altogether.
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PS: Flower of the month is Peony. Peonies embody romance and love, and are regarded as the omen of good fortune and happy marriage.
|Online love on online dating sites