Online dating is an increasingly popular way to meet potential partners, and many people end up in a relationship with someone they met online. The latest research in the US shows that the partners in more than a third of marriages that took place in the past seven years met online, and there are indications that those marriages are marginally more stable and happier than the relationships where the partners met in other ways.
But meeting a person through an online dating service, social networking or email introductions can create a lot of anxiety and stress and can also involve some risk. At Psychology Melbourne we have psychologists who specialise in online dating support and advice. They can help you manage your stress and make good decisions.
With their help, you can learn how to increase your chances of successful encounters while avoiding unnecessary risk. They can help you manage your expectations, be clear about your selection criteria and reduce anxiety and stress.
Remember the golden rules of internet dating:
It’s important to manage one's expectations when entering online dating. If the dates don’t work out, they can lead to feelings of disappointment and hurt and over time, reduced self-esteem and confidence. Remember this is only one way of meeting someone, not the only way.
You will come in contact with a whole range of people, some normal and some who are frankly a bit weird, so don’t be shocked if some of these respond to you.
Be careful not to base your self-esteem entirely on whether people like you or reject you online. Remember that this is a virtual world and people don't really "exist" until you are talking to a real person or seeing them live.
Not getting a response? There could be reasons that have nothing to do with you. Learn to move on and focus your energy and time on someone who is showing genuine interest.
Keep doing things that make you feel good about yourself outside of online dating.
A healthy attitude toward online dating and having realistic expectations will help prevent negative feelings.
The more professional sites will ask you to identify your basic criteria of likes and dislikes, etc. Be clear about your "willing to compromise list" (e.g. living arrangements) and your "not willing to compromise list" (e.g. honesty, career) and stick to these to ensure that you are communicating with the right people.
Be clear about your own personal values and the values that you are wanting from the other person.
It may be helpful to see one of our psychologists to help you identify your core values and whether you are aligned to these values and how they play out in your life.
It’s important that you don't let internet dating control your life. Make sure you have a healthy life balance and are continuing to do the things you enjoy outside of the dating game.
Take time out to relax and exercise and continue with recreational activities. Don't make internet dating your second job. If you're feeling overwhelmed or stressed, you can speak to a psychologist to assist with managing these feelings.
Learn to be assertive if you’re not interested in a particular person and they keep contacting you.