Don’t let your stuff affect online dating too!
It’s happened to a lot of us. …discouragement in the dating world that influences a decision to venture into the land of online dating. I mean, in today’s digital age, you’d have to put up a pretty big fight to resist the urge to (at least) checkout online dating. This modality can be a great alternative to the traditional, but let me save you some time and energy with this: Unless you are aware of your bad patterns in dating, you will not find the success you are hoping for when you venture online.
Here me out. If you got what you were looking for offline, you wouldn’t be attempting anything online. Right? I mean think about it. When you are ready to date at 16 years old or 20 or 25 (or whatever age), you didn’t say, “Hey I’m ready to date now, let’s start an online profile!” No, you just go out there and experience. It’s only when these experiences surprise you, or disappoint you, or disenchant you, or frustrate you, or dishearten you…that you decide to see what’ll happen online.
Okay so if this resonates with you and you are still with me, let’s talk about the consequences of old dating disappointments. How many of us do not trust easily, or do not feel confident, or do not effectively communicate emotions? Why is that? Who or what made you skeptical or distrusting or avoidant? And therefore, how do you now act with your dates? Do you often not believe them? Are you skeptical of their motives? Do you have unrealistic expectations for them? Do not think for one second that these wounds of yours will go away just because you decide to date online! Here are some of the things that can happen online, if you do not work on yourself.
TOP 5 ONLINE DATING MISTAKES
- Assuming that you’ll automatically get what you are looking for online. See above for more elaboration but in brief, if you don’t work on your s*&t, things won’t get any better online.
- Writing your profile to attract a particular audience as oppose to writing in a way that celebrates you and who you are. I’m not asking you portray yourself riding on a shooting star as you poop rainbows. I’m simply saying that you have to be real….without trying too hard to be real. Make sense? In other words, as you are writing your online profile, write it for yourself. Write things that you love or get a kick out of. Do not write to tailor to a certain audience. If you customize and censor, you’re starting off fake, fraudulent, and wounded. Write it when you are feeling good and write about things that resonate with your heart. Writing from a place of desperation or longing will not turn out well.
- Sending messages from a place of insecurity, longing, or desperation. First, only send messages to people for whom you’ve seen their picture and read their profile… and for whom you seem to like! Some people just go rampant and message everyone to see what they can get. C’mon! This is an example of a wounded dating pattern. “I don’t know if I’ll get anybody so I’ll just message everybody.” You’re worth more than that. If you’re serious, message only those you seem to like.Second, I realize that talking to strangers is an uncomfortable thing for many. When we talk to someone new, it can be daunting…especially when we are attracted to them. Online dating gives us a buffer of time before we need to act; it gives us an opportunity to take a step back, think, and then act. Now I’m not saying that every move should be calculated, but I am saying that you need to work on your insecurities before you send messages. You literally have to reflect on how you are feeling about yourself beforehand. You need to be feeling good about who you are and what you are saying. If you can’t do this, then you should wait before reaching out (or take time to work on yourself before you (online) date). As you can imagine, there are huge consequences when you message people in a state of desperation, lack, or longing.
- Negatively (mis)interpreting messages received. Receiving messages is an interesting thing too. Often times, we project our wounds into the messages we receive and deduce grossly incorrect interpretations from these messages. For example, a client of mine interpreted the words, “Hey I’m chillin’ with my buddy. What are you up to?” as “He’s just bored and wants to do something. He doesn’t really like me.” I mean, CMON! This person would have to realize that her unhealthy beliefs about dating (or men, or herself) have created a pretty bold assumption that is likely incorrect. She would subsequently need to spend time thinking about alternative (and positive) assumptions instead of always jumping to negative conclusions. When you are receiving messages, you have to identify your limited thinking patterns, bad beliefs, and cognitive distortions and adjust them. If you don’t, online dating will not bring you any more success than offline dating.
- Checking the dating sight abajillion times per day. Think about it. What does checking the dating site a million times do for you? Look deep inside and really think about why you’re doing that? If you are checking often, you are likely checking from a place of lack, longing, desperation or some other similar feeling. If you are not feeling good about yourself, you are likely checking the site to get a hit of self-esteem (self-esteem that you cannot generate on your own). My advice is to STOP IT! Force yourself, discipline yourself, distract yourself…do whatever it takes to not make the dating site the thing that brings you the most satisfaction, joy, and pride in who you are. Set a quota that works for you. I recommend, checking the site once per day maximum (and that’s only if you have communication running with a few people you like). Otherwise, check once every few days. Again, find something that works for you but make sure your wounds (your hurt, your low self- esteem, bad thinking patterns) are not running the show.