Photo Credit: “Online Romance” by Don Hankins
When is it time to start dating after a significant loss?
I hear many of you giving this question careful consideration. Some of you decide to not date. While others jump into dating almost immediately to distract themselves from the loss.
With instant access to thousands of dating profiles, you can literally start looking for a dating partner in minutes. While some of you may be excited by dating, others may be so nervous your hands are shaking just thinking about it.
I think confidence grows as we face hard stuff. Hearing the inside scoop on online dating and knowing yourself is a good place to start growing. You don’t have to lose yourself when you start dating if you know yourself and what you want. Trying new things and meeting new people is a fun way to grow your confidence.
The Inside Scoop on Online Dating
Since I didn’t meet my husband through online dating, I have invited a guest to share the ins and outs of using this type of service to find potential mates. While she’s not an expert on online dating, she is an expert on growing confidence. Let me introduce, Linda Hewett, writer and coach at The Confidence Café.
Marci: What is your experience with online dating? Did it work for you?
Linda: I started online dating in 2003 after my husband died. At first I was a bit scared. I’d heard negative stories about the dangers of online dating but decided to dip my toe in the water. After all, what was the worst that could happen? And it did ‘work’ – I met my current husband 5 years ago and we’re still together!
Marci: How do you know which online dating sites are right for you?
Linda: Take advantage of the free trial membership, so you have time to explore and assess if the dating service is right for you. I used to sign in as a man in order to read the profiles other women were writing. This gave me a good idea of the clientele and what they were looking for.
Marci: In an era where the lines between public and private are blurring, what personal information would you suggest leaving out of your online profile?
Linda: When you write your profile, you’re writing an ‘advertisement’ for yourself. You’ll get an idea of how to put this together by reading other profiles. Be as honest as you can, even about your age. And make sure your photo is recent. It’s your choice, but I wouldn’t share your address or phone number on your profile.
Marci: What safety suggestions do you have for making the transition from talking online to meeting in person?
Linda: Here are my ideas:
Tell someone you trust exactly where you’re going, what time you’re meeting and ring that person when you get home.
Drive yourself. Don’t accept any offer to pick you up from home, (yet!) so your address stays private. Also, if you drive yourself you can leave at any time.
Have your mobile switched on and its battery charged.
- For safety and comfort reasons I suggest you meet for the first time during the day, for a drink or a coffee. That way you’re not lumbered with someone who’s not for you, for a long, tedious and time-wasting evening.
Marci: How do you know you are ready to date after a significant loss?
Linda: I feel it’s all about ‘instincts’. The only way is to try it and see how you feel. You can make it clear in your profile whether you’re looking for a casual/platonic friendship or whether you’re looking for more than that. It can start as a friendship, and stay at that, whatever you choose.
Marci: I know not everyone reading this is looking for a life partner when they sign up for an online dating service. I think it’s so important to know why you are using this service and stick with it. Anything else you want to share about the online dating process?
Linda: Be selective when you start getting emails. It’s very flattering to have 17 people emailing you with invitations to ‘chat’. If you’ve been single for a while it’s easy to get stars in your eyes and go out with any half decent man who emails! But be clear about what you will or won’t accept.
Remember they won’t all be who they say they are. Sad but true. However, nothing is fool proof in the dating world either. So long as you do your research and don’t expect to find the ‘one’ in a hurry, you’ll enjoy the process of looking!
Please join the discussion and share how you knew you were ready to start dating again…
Linda Hewett is a writer and trained Life Coach, with a special interest in confidence issues. Her life experience and eight years of Confidence Coaching enable her to empathize with her readers’ problems. She helps them solve their issues in a practical and down-to-earth way that works. Visit the Confidence Café for more information.