5 Lessons for Online Dating

I hate to admit it, but after my divorce my dating skills were rusty. I didn't have a clue where to meet sincere, accomplished men or how to behave once I did.

In my sheltered condition, I couldn't distinguish between an eagle scout who wanted to bring me chicken soup and a convict whose smiling mug was featured on the FBI's top ten list. What to do? A friend tipped me off that quality singles were as close as my computer. Then I scurried off to the local bookstore and stocked up on how-to tips from the dating gurus.

Guess what? Self-help authors pack some useful advice for women when it comes to meeting your match. Here are five lessons that helped me make the most of online dating:

  1. Test drive. Remember that the point of dating is to explore your options. Search for local singles, browse around and communicate with lots of people. Dating is a sensory smorgasbord and a mutual job interview; enjoy the flavorful possibilities. Remember that you're checking out your potential mate's credentials, and there's no obligation to hire someone today. You may be disappointed if a particular connection doesn't pan out, but there?s no need for recrimination and regret. Just be grateful you got the heart-wise info you needed early. Take the bumpy road in stride and drive on.
  2. You're special. Believe it. Express this confidence by taking good care of yourself physically, mentally and emotionally. Show it in everything from your willingness to smile at strangers to the positive vibes you put into your free member profile.
  3. But not that special... When you've been away from the dating world for a while, any attention may seem seductive. Keep in mind that sweet words and thoughtful gestures could be short-lived. As much as you'd like to, don't assume that you're his one-and-only just because he's coming on strong. Men find lots of women attractive.
  4. You can't create chemistry. Wear flattering outfits, choose hairstyles that make you look pretty and if you want, get your teeth fixed. But if you put your best face forward and the object of your affection makes it clear that he doesn't find you romantically stimulating, move on. The most self-destructive thing you can do -- ever -- is campaign to change his mind. Your energy is best spent elsewhere.
  5. Time is on your side. There's a lot of wisdom in treating each phase of dating differently. It's impossible to discern someone's true character in a week. Before you commit yourself, browse lots of profiles, quick search, meet a variety of singles and enjoy the explorations. When it's appropriate, let one special relationship develop and deepen over time. Hindsight will reveal whether it really was true love at first sight.
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