The TRUTH About Online Dating When You’re Ready For a Relationship
Let’s talk about the truth when it comes to online dating. But first, just for fun… fill in this blank:
→ “Online Dating ________.”
Let me take a guess… did you say, “Online Dating sucks “?
No, I’m not psychic… I’m just a dating coaching who hears that phrase multiple times a day.
Just hearing the words “online dating” probably conjures up all sorts of different not-so-fun emotions.
And I don’t blame you for feeling that way.
In fact, I felt that way too. When I was in my early 30’s, I blamed most of my dating frustrations on online dating. I constantly attracted the wrong type of men, was frustrated by the ridiculous messages I received, and suffered through terrible dates when I’d rather be home with my cats.
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It’s no secret that dating has drastically changed through the past decades. We live in a world centered by technology, so of course that has trickled into our love lives.
Now, online dating is way more common place than it is taboo.
- Online Dating Magazine estimates that there are more than 2,500 online dating services in the U.S. alone, with more than 1,000 new online dating services opening every year!
- In January, match.com expects it’s usual 2 million new users to sign up hoping to find love in the new year.
- 1/3 of US marriages are a result of online dating.
Most modern singles seem to be using online dating… yet many online daters are extremely frustrated by their experience. When I first joined online dating, I was so excited and optimistic… and within a week I was overwhelmed and frustrated. There were multiple times in my dating “career” I had to take a break from interacting online and regain my sanity.
>>> So what gives? Is online dating the best invention since the internet? Or should you steer clear of it and just try the “in-real-life” thing?
First, let me just say that all of my advice and guidance is only for the relationship-ready woman. If you’re just dating for fun… then have fun! But my job is helping relationship-ready women successfully date in the modern dating world and find the all encompassing love they deserve.
If this is the season of your life that you’re ready to find love… it’s important for you to know the TRUTH about online dating.
3 Truths About Online Dating
TRUTH #1: You Would Have Never Met Him
Courtship these days is extremely different from the past.
In the past, a single’s potential dating pool was much smaller than it is today. Singles were limited to only meeting each other within their social circle or during their everyday life. Most singles met each other thanks to a neighbor, from school, friends of friends, church, or even from work.
The average age of marriage has also risen quite a bit. In the 90’s, the average age of marriage was 23, while today it’s much higher at around 29. It used to be incredibly odd to meet an unmarried 31 year old, while today it seems more like the norm.
The older we get, the more established we become in our social circle. A recent study shows that, after the age of 25, the number of people we choose to socialize with drastically decreases.
I’ve totally found this to be true within my own life. By the time I was divorced and starting over at 30, I already had my small handful of friends I chose to socialize with. Sure, sometimes we hit happy hour after work with a big group, but when it came to weekend plans… if I wasn’t spending it with Netflix and the cats, I was with my “usual” friends.
Chances are, you’re in the same boat that I was. Your social circle (from work, to every day life, to close friends) is probably pretty established.
This means the chances of meeting your One WITHIN your social circle drastically decreases with age.
You’ve probably already met and exhausted every possible romantic interest with the men in your every day life.
If you’re like me, you’re probably not regularly dating men within your social group or even meeting new men connected to your group of friends.
But if you’re ready for love, there is ONE thing you MUST be doing to find the relationship that you’re oh-so-ready for.
The ONE thing you MUST be doing to find love is… actively dating.
Dating is an active process. Since we don’t live in a Disney movie, your prince probably isn’t out sleighing dragons to get to you. You’ve got to be actively going on dates with new potential romantic interests to find love.
You can’t deny the fact that online dating gives you the opportunity to meet new, single, and relationship-ready men that you will never meet if you stay within your current social circle.
But I’d Rather Meet Men In Real Life
Like while I’m out with friends, or at the grocery store, or even at the gym.
You know what? So did I.
It didn’t take long for me to become incredibly frustrated with online dating and decide I needed a “break”.
I was still ready for a meaningful relationship (and waaaay past the “dating for fun” phase), but I needed a vacation from the “part time job” that online dating had become.
I decided I would just meet men in real life.
At that point, I had overcome most fears I had of speaking to new men. I always made myself incredibly approachable and didn’t mind initiating the conversation with guys I found attractive or interesting.
I started having conversations with new men on the nights I went out. I had my fair share of rejection (that’s just part of dating!) but for the most part, I was able to get the conversations rolling (this took some mad bravery and practice… but I got there!).
Even with me being as approachable as possible… even with me willing to start the conversation first… even with me meeting new men in real life…
How many of those men were single, had compatible qualities, similar values, shared interest, AND were relationship-ready?
→ My experience… not ONE!!!
Meeting new men wasn’t the problem. Meeting men to text with wasn’t the problem. Meeting men I could “hang out with” wasn’t the problem either.
The Problem: I wanted a man that was completely single, had shared interests, wanted the same things out of life, had shared values, AND was ready for a committed relationship. I also wanted “this man” to ask me on a date.
Randomly meeting a man that I was potentially compatible with (and felt the same about me) was proving to be pretty difficult.
That’s when my “ah-ha” moment went off about online dating.
→ When You Meet a Man In-Real-Life— You can tell if you have chemistry or not pretty quickly. You then need to date, text, and talk to determine if you have other important qualities in common (shared interested, same values, similar goals in life, etc.).
→ When You Meet a Man Online— You already know if he has certain qualities you’re looking for (shared interested, same values, similar goals in life, etc.). You then need to go out in-real-life to determine if you have chemistry. (Yes, there are some that are dishonest in their profile, but there are usually ways to discover that early on BEFORE you become emotionally invested.)
Perhaps online dating could be a great modern tool… but I needed to change my approach.
Let me ask you a question: When was the last time you met a man “in-real-life” that was single, interesting, had shared values, relationship-ready, AND asked you on a real date?
A week ago? A month ago? 6 months ago? Never??
♥ If that doesn’t happen extremely often for you… then WHY would you rely on this being the only way to possible meet your one?
He’s not within your social circle… and it’s not exactly easy to meet great, high-quality, relationship-ready men “in-real-life.”
Out of the singles that meet each other through online dating, 75% had no prior connection. They didn’t have friends in common. Their families didn’t know each other… they were perfect strangers. The ability to match people who would have otherwise never found each other is a powerful outcome of online dating.
I would have NEVER met my husband, Kevin, if I didn’t jump back into online dating and change my approach. He lived one and a half hours away from me, we were in completely different industries, and we had zero mutual connections.
If you’re seriously ready for a relationship and THIS is the season of your life that you’re determined to find it: Your current goal MUST be to make yourself open to meeting new single men in a variety of ways.
Don’t dismiss THE quickest, easiest, and least time consuming opportunity (when used the right way) to meet single relationship-ready men.
TRUTH #2. Online Dating Feels Like Online Shopping… But It Isn’t.
Oh my goodness… nothing makes me smile like online shopping. The fact that I can find the perfect outfit for an event, order a recurring shipment of toilet paper, and completely redecorate my living room…all while in my PJs, watching Real Housewives, and eating Baked Lays is AMAZING!!!
I pride myself on being an incredibly skilled online shopper. If I want something… I WILL find it.
Just recently, Kevin and I completely redecorated our living and dining rooms. I had a vision of what I wanted… and damnit… I was going to execute it all while staying under budget.
We quickly found the most amazing dining room table. Silvery wood with acrylic legs… oh it is delightful.
But I needed the perfect chairs to go with it.
I knew what I wanted→ I wanted chairs that were modern, velvet, medium grey, with acrylic legs. I didn’t want cloth, I didn’t want embellishments, and I didn’t want metal legs. In my head, I had EXACTLY what my chairs would look like… and I was determined to find them.
After a week of searching online… I hadn’t found the exact chair I had in my head. Kevin took it upon himself to search… but every chair he showed me had something “wrong” with it (wrong color of grey, not velvet, buttons, etc).
“Baby,” he said to me one night, “I just don’t think you’re going to find that exact chair. You need to pick something else.”
I responded like any other self-proclaimed interior designer would, “NO! I will find those chairs! They’re out there! I will NOT settle!!!”
Then, one night while watching Shark Tank and snacking on sour gummy worms, on page 152 of an Amazon search (cue in the baby angel music): I FOUND MY PERFECT CHAIRS!
There they were! Just waiting for me to search hard enough… Just waiting for me to click through enough pages… Just waiting for me to pass up all the wrong ones.
My chairs are now in my dining room and I smile every time I see them.
I did that. See?
→ If you search hard enough online… you can find the perfect “anything”.
You want a strapless, long, purple maxi dress?
Ok great. Change the color settings, select the style of dress, and start sorting. With 1,000s of options, your brain is wired to help you quickly sort and eliminate anything that isn’t ideal.
If you just keep sorting and searching, you WILL find your perfect dress. It’s ok if you pass up a dress that was “almost” right because there are so many other options.
→ This just reaffirms the belief: If you search hard enough… you will find your perfect anything online.
Your Brain Sees Online Shopping
The layout of online dating and shopping are so incredible similar, that it’s natural for us to interact with both platforms in the same manner.
When we encounter a new experience, our brain does a great job of assimilating that experience into something we already know.
Our brain steps in and says, “Oh, I know this! We’ve done something like this before. Let me help you have the best possible experience.”
The lined up photos, the criteria selection boxes, the search bar, the “quick view”…
You’ll find these features on almost any online dating AND online shopping site, so it’s no wonder we have a tendency to behave the same way on a dating site like we do on a shopping site.
Before Online Dating
In the past, before online dating, the dating pool was much smaller. As we talked about earlier: singles were limited to their own social circle or meeting in-real-life to find a relationship. This smaller dating pool impacted the way singles initially interacted with each other:
→ When a single relationship-ready man met a new woman, he would look for a potential connection. He was subconsciously looking for why he SHOULD date her and see if something could develop.
Now, thanks to online dating, the dating pool is never ending. The next potential date is only a swipe or a click away. This has drastically changed the way singles initially interact with each other:
→ When a single, relationship-ready man is viewing a dating profile or even meeting a new woman in-person, he’s looking for why he should move on to the next. He’s subconsciously looking for reasons he SHOULD NOT date her. He doesn’t have time to see if something will develop because there are so many other “potentials” to sort through.
>> And you know what? You’re probably doing the same thing!
People are multi- demential. You can judge a dress based on the photos, description, and reviews… but you can’t accurately judge a person based on a few photos and a few sentences!
Plus, there are so many amazing, successful, intelligent singles that just simply don’t know how to come across as amazing, successful, and intelligent on a dating profile.
(→ That’s just one of the reasons I created The (FREE) Perfect Profile Kit.)
The biggest problem I see with online dating today is:
Singles are screening for PERFECTION instead of POTENTIAL.
Online dating isn’t online shopping. You can’t approach it like it is and expect the same results.
I Made This Mistake Too
This was actually one of my biggest mistakes I made early on with online dating.
I was determined to find the perfect guy for me and didn’t want to waste my time with the others. If I saw any (even tiny!) reason that he didn’t seem like the perfect man for me… I’d move on. I wasn’t going to “settle”!
But this isn’t how relationships work. Relationships are about connecting and sharing your life together. You can’t connect with a web page… and if you are… you’re at risk for only dating the “perfect on paper” men that rarely are actually perfect for you in person.
There IS a way to pre-screen based on the important qualities and pre-qualify before going on an actual date.
Changing your approach first starts with acknowledging your current approach.
>>> Online dating isn’t online shopping.
Now, repeat that.
>>> Online dating isn’t online shopping.
A real fear many of my clients have is that this means they might have to settle.
Know this: I NEVER want you to settle when it comes to a relationship. You shouldn’t settle and you won’t settle (not under my watch anyway!).
Let this fear go… but realize the real fear you should have.
♥ The real fear you SHOULD have is: Missing the opportunity of an amazing connection with an amazing man because you never gave it a chance.
I want you to screen for POTENTIAL and then allow an opportunity for a connection to develop.
That is the only way you can actually know if a true connection exists or not.
(Related: Want to be a great first date? Click here to grab my FREE guide: “5 Secrets You MUST Know About The First Date”.)
TRUTH #3. Online Dating Is Like The Gym
Stepping into a gym for the first time (or even first time in a while) can be intimidating.
There’s so much equipment, machines, and weights. Knowing how to operate all that stuff can be overwhelming.
If you’re looking for certain results (build muscle, lose weight, etc.) there’s definitely a learning curve to using everything the right way.
Haven’t you seen “those” people in the gym?? Working out so incredibly “hard” but doing everything about the exercise wrong?!
They’re either going to hurt themselves or eventually wonder why they aren’t getting the results they thought they’d get.
Naked And Afraid Times
In the distant past (which I like to call the “Naked and Afraid Times”) humans naturally stayed in shape. They were incredibly active just to find food and survive. This naturally maintained their weight and muscle development.
>>> Can you imagine the look on our ancestors’ faces if we told that “in the future humans will run on machines that stay in place and repetitively lift heavy pieces of iron“??
That just sounds crazy… and very unnatural.
But in our world of screens and office jobs, we have to choose to live an active lifestyle. For many modern individuals, a gym is necessary in order to stay healthy and in-shape.
Using a gym’s machines and equipment doesn’t come naturally. To be successful in this unnatural environment, you must learn the necessary skill set.
Let’s say you join a new gym and start going everyday. Your goal is to lose a few pounds.
If after a few months of using the gym, you haven’t lost any weight- don’t come to me and say, “Shauna! My gym is broken. It doesn’t work! I haven’t had any results, therefore, there must be something wrong with the gym!”
No girl. Your gym isn’t broken.
→ You just don’t know how to utilize it the correct way… just like Online Dating.
It’s Not Natural, It’s Learned
Online dating isn’t something that comes naturally. In fact, when you really think about it… it’s kind of weird!
But with the way our world has changed, you can’t deny that online dating is THE best modern tool to meet new single men.
→ If you’re not happy with your results in the gym: Change your approach and you’ll change your results. Learn from a trainer or take the time to figure it out on your own.
Just don’t keep doing the same thing and expecting different results.
→ If you’re not happy with your results with online dating: Change your approach and you’ll change your results.
If you change nothing… NOTHING will change! Accept that some things in our modern world don’t come naturally and require some adjustments.
If I can change my approach and change my entire dating experience… so can you.
You can learn how to:
- Create a profile that will attract high-quality men.
- Pre-screen and pre-qualify potential dates.
- Move from Online to OFFline.
- Enjoy your dating life.
Accepting that what you’ve been doing isn’t working allows you to start making changes.
Finding Your One Online
Remember this: You are only looking for your ONE.
Of course you’ll still encounter men that aren’t right for you. In fact, 99.999% of men aren’t the right one for you anyway!
However, if this is the season of your life to find love— don’t let your dating frustrations get in your way and prevent you from utilizing every opportunity you have to meet great, relationship-ready, single men (and that includes online dating!).
I understand how hard it can be to keep putting yourself out there… but I can also tell you it’s so incredibly worth it.
I enjoyed my single days… but I’m really enjoying sharing my life with the right One for me.
And he didn’t show up at my front door or magically appear. No, I took ACTION. I made CHANGES (never to myself, but definitely to my approach).
THAT feels f’ing amazing.
This is what I want for you.
So start taking ACTION for yourself. Make yourself open to meeting available single men in a variety of different ways.
Let go of what online dating has been for you and the advantage of what online dating can be.