Five Signs You May Need a Break from Online Dating

Online dating is a great way to meet new people and potentially find love, but it can be exhausting. Some former online daters even told us it feels like a part-time job: you sift through the various profiles out there, look for things that appeal to you, try to contact the possible dates, physically GO on dates, and then hope that things progress from there. It takes time, effort and energy. And over time, it can wear you out.

While you might not want to lose precious time in your search for a mate, there might come a time when you should take a break from the exertions of online dating. You don’t want to get completely burned out; that will skew your judgment and make finding a truly good match even harder for you. So how can you tell when you’ve reached your threshold and need to step back? Dr Greg Kushnick wrote an article for Huffington Post that outlined some of the key signs to watch for. They include:

  1. You check your dating apps almost constantly. This is an obsession that shows you’ve gotten far too attached to the process. If you can’t go an hour between glances at the screen, it’s break time.
  2. Little letdowns cause major upset for you. A small dealbreaker, rejection or other hiccup in your dating process shouldn’t feel like the world is ending. If you’re tempted to cry into a pillow because the person you messaged turned out to be a smoker, you need to step back.
  3. You only go on first dates, never second ones. Something is clearly not quite right if none of your meetups continue for more than one evening. Maybe your perspective is off; maybe a temporary break in dating will help you clean your slate a bit and start fresh.
  4. You complain about online dating like you’re a victim of something horrible, but you keep on doing it. If you bitch about the process, whine about how no one is suitable, or badmouth the experiences you’ve had, you come across as bitter, and that vitriol festers in you. If you complain, take some time away from what you’re complaining about.
  5. You’re depressed or anxious, and getting more so. If you are already prone to depression or struggle with issues like depression and anxiety, online dating won’t fix anything. In fact, it could be making you worse. If you have depression, you should be spending your main efforts on helping yourself get better. That way, you’re more likely to be in the right mindset to find a healthy match, and you won’t be expecting anyone to come along and make everything magically better (because that simply doesn’t happen).

Dealbreakers: How To Choose Some (And Stick to Them)

If sharing a laptop in the park is incredibly important to you, be sure to stick to your guns.

If sharing a laptop in the park is incredibly important to you, be sure to stick to your guns.

When you’re navigating the waters of online dating, you encounter a wide variety of people. Some, of course, are fake people (bots), but you can probably spot those. They’re the ones that keep flirting with you in chat even when you reply with things like, “Seriously, if you’re not a bot, say ‘no bot’ right now, dammit.” But many of the people you meet online are real, genuinely interested, and full of their own quirks, personality traits and habits.

Not all of these quirks and habits will suit you, of course. Some things will just not be compatible with your own life or personality, no matter how cute the other person is or how well they spell. For many people, smoking is a major dealbreaker; for others, things like religion, children or political opinions can ice the interest. So how can you figure out what YOUR dealbreakers are?

Start by looking at your own interests. Are you heavily religious? Do you really, really care about politics? Do you want kids someday? Are you a drinker, a smoker, a recreational drug user, etc, and either way, do you have strong feelings about these things? Think about the many beliefs and interests that are truly important to you, and then think about how you’d feel if you spent time with someone who was diametrically opposite to those things. Does it feel like it would be a punch in the gut to spend time with someone who says they’ll vote for Trump? Does the thought of kissing a smoker turn your stomach? These are visceral reactions that you can’t ignore. Trust your instincts on things like this, BEFORE you have someone standing in front of you to test your resolve. And figure out which are more important than others.

Second, don’t apologize for your dealbreakers. You are entitled to your own desires in a relationship, and that’s nothing to be sorry about. Some people might get annoyed with you, even hostile, if they find out that something about them just doesn’t jive with you. But that’s nobody’s fault. Different people don’t always mesh, and there is no reason you should have to feel obligated to change yourself, alter your beliefs or suck up an uncomfortable situation just so the other person can feel better. Be true to yourself and honest with others. That doesn’t mean you can’t be flexible on a myriad of other things — after all, compromise is vital in a good relationship — but when it comes to true dealbreakers, compromise is usually not a good idea.

Last, be patient. In the hunt for a perfect mate, it’s easy to make excuses, rush through the process and overlook red flags in order to be in a relationship. But dealbreakers almost always come back on you. For example, if you’re a guy who doesn’t want kids, and you start seeing a woman who does, don’t think that you’ll be able to “bring her around.” She probably thinks the same about you, and in the end, if you’re both solid in your desires for/against children, you’ll both be in for a world of heartache. No matter how pretty she is, how much you fit together in other ways, how great her laugh is…. in the end, a dealbreaker is just too big to skip over. There are many, many other potential dates out there, some of whom WILL fit the bill for you, so take your time and don’t rush it.

Going from the Web to the Real World: Three Tips for Meeting In Person

So you’ve found someone on a dating site that you actually click with. You exchange some winks, some flirts, some chats… Yep, definitely a match. So now it’s time to plan the first in-person meetup! After all, that was the point of making an online dating profile in the first place, right?

Is your date already planning this outcome? If so, trust your gut and run.

Is your date already planning this outcome? If so, trust your gut and run.

Getting ready for the first in-real-life meeting can be stressful. Where do you go? What do you do? Most people know that they should plan the first date for a public place (it’s safer on both sides that way), but beyond that, what’s the best option? Judy Cole of Men’s Fitness had some tips for guys looking to plan the first face-to-face experience with a new flame, and really, these tips can apply to guys OR gals.

  1. Go on a real date. This seems obvious, but many people who meet for the first time after an online connection do it in super-casual places, like Starbucks. Treat this like a date with someone you already know in real life. You don’t necessarily have to pay for a whole meal, but choose a decent restaurant, a classy bar for drinks, or a pleasant al fresco lunch spot. Make it feel like you care about the effort your date put into getting ready and meeting you, because they probably DID make an effort.
  2. Watch for telltale signs of trouble. On a first date, it’s easy to ignore or completely overlook red flags in the other person. Watch for things like a date who asks too much about how much money you make, doesn’t look or seem very much like her online profile, or is already planning several dates down the line. My brother recently started dating a new girl, and in under two months, she was talking about what their wedding would be like. That’s a huge no-no, and when it happens, you have to be ready to split. Don’t lie to yourself about what your dealbreakers are or what you’re willing to put up with: a red flag is a red flag. Even if it’s nothing in particular that bugs you about the other person! Our gut feelings are often a great indicator of something being just not quite right. Follow your instincts.
  3. Know how to get out safely, if you need to. Women are told this a lot, but it applies to men, as well: Aside from meeting in a public place, you should know where the exits are, tell people where you’re going, and have a plan to get out if things get hairy. Sometimes, that means having a friend call you partway through the date in case you need an excuse to bail. Again, this isn’t a negative thing for either side of the meetup. This is a safety thing. Meeting someone in person when you’ve only known them online is a risk, and even though the vast majority of first dates from dating websites go fine, it never hurts to be prepared.

20 Things You Should Never, Ever Say on a First Date

And now for some slightly lighter fare.

For most people, the do’s and don’ts of first date conversation can vary quite a bit. Some people say never to talk about politics or religion, while others insist that those topics are vital in getting to know if someone is a good match. Talking about exes is generally a no-no, while discussing music is usually safe. Some things, however, fall firmly in the do-not-say category. In the spirit of humor (and just a touch of uncomfortable realism), here’s a list of twenty of those particular no-go comments that should get you kicked to the curb in no time flat:

  • Do you have a photo of your mom? I want to see whether you’re going to age well.
  • What are your feelings on roleplaying as badgers?
  • Mind if I take a quick blood sample?
  • I think Hitler was somewhat misunderstood.
  • You can’t be a REAL gamer unless you play [insert obscure game here].
  • I’m a better driver when I’m drinking.
  • What does your hair smell like?
  • This tie is made of real baby seal pelt!
  • I’m not a crazy cat person. It takes at least 10 cats for that, and I only have 8.
  • I’m pretty sure the moon landing was a hoax.
  • Come on, don’t you read the science? Vaccines cause autism!
  • Want to hear about my kidney stone experience?
  • If climate change were real, it would never be snowing out.
  • You should meet my parents! And look, they’re right over at that table!
  • Well, I’m currently married, but it’s just a green card marriage so it doesn’t count.
  • Does this rag smell like chloroform to you?
  • You sure you want to order that? It has a lot of calories, and you probably don’t need them…
  • I like that shirt on you! It’s a lot better than the one you wore last night when you were sleeping.
  • Sorry to rush you, but I have another date after this one.
  • I’m gluten-free, dairy-free, meat-free, egg-free and sugar-free. Also I’m allergic to water, but I take a pill for that.

From Winks to Drinks: Four Tips for the First Date

You’ve met someone online that you seem to really click with. You’ve exchanged messages, shared personal details, and expressed an interest in meeting IRL (in real life). Sometimes, this is the biggest hurdle to online dating: taking the relationship from cyberspace to personal space. Here are a few tips to help you make that leap as smoothly as possible.

1. Don’t wait too long to set up an in-person date. Some people email, text and chat for days, even weeks, before they try to venture into a real-life setting, and by then, the pressure is really on. Instead, if you’ve exchanged a few messages and you seem to be a good fit, set up the date now. Waiting doesn’t help anything except to make the other person think maybe you’re not all that interested after all.

2. Pick the right venue. You need to meet somewhere in public for the first time, so you can both be comfortable. Don’t pick someplace trashy or low-brow, like a parking lot or a fast food joint. By the same token, don’t go over the top with a fancy schmancy dinner. Instead, try a trendy bar for drinks, or a fun bistro for lunch. Places like this keep it a bit casual without being TOO casual, and they allow for talking in relative privacy so you can get to know each other better.

A cozy bar is a nice spot for a first date... just watch those drinks.

A cozy bar is a nice spot for a first date… just watch those drinks.

3. Safety first. Women hear this a lot, but it matters to men, too. When meeting someone from the internet for a date, you have to consider your personal safety above all. Meet in person, have a charged cell phone on you, know where the exits are, and NEVER leave your drink alone. Both men and women have been the victims of date-rape drugs and other awful situations, so even if you think you know this person really well already and you can totally trust them, err on the side of caution. It’s worth it.

4. End on a good note. If you like the other person and want to see them again, suggest another meetup before the first one is even over. Something like, “Hey, if you’re free this weekend, I know a great club a few blocks from here.” Then follow up within a day to confirm the plans. If you DON’T like the other person, be straightforward about it. You can say something like, “I’m really glad I had the chance to meet you in person. I’m sorry that I just don’t feel the chemistry that I hoped I would, but I hope you do find the right person!” They might get upset, but at least you didn’t leave them hanging.

If you’re just not sure whether you want to see them again, suggest that you touch base via text or email again soon. You can say something like, “This was fun, I’m glad we could get together. Let’s text later and see how we both feel about doing this again sometime.” Then definitely text the other person within a day or two so they know you weren’t just blowing them off.