(This post is not sponsored or affiliated with Match.com; I’m just sharing our story!)
I was a divorced mom of three children–three children from two different fathers. One father was my ex-husband, and my daughter’s father was no longer in our life. I worked full-time, and could spare maybe one date night a week. Oh, and I lived with my parents while I was saving every dollar I could to (hopefully) buy a small condo.
Where in the hell was I going to meet someone that wanted to date me?
Full of confidence and self-esteem as I was… 😒 … I joined Match.com.
I got a ton of messages from (sorry, not sorry, guys) a bunch of losers. If you’re a woman considering online dating, I need you to know upfront that the majority of the people you’ll meet online are just there for sex. I had everything from men asking me to “dominate them,” married men looking for a side chick, and lots of “friends with benefits” inquiries. All which I declined. I started messaging back and forth with a guy who seemed decent enough, and we actually scheduled a date… until he asked if he could “crash on my couch” if he got too drunk to drive. No thanks. I cancelled the date and went out for a girls’ night instead.
I had scheduled several dates with men who seemed harmless at first and then started giving off a strange vibe, so I ended up cancelling the date.
Trust your gut, ladies. Comment below if you have a crazy online dating story to share!
I was about to give up. I figured I would just get into reading romance novels and adopt like twelve cats.
And then my cousin passed away tragically.
I went out of town to be with family and was out of touch with Match.com for several days. I glanced at a message or two, but I wasn’t paying any real attention to anyone. And then one message caught my interest. I can’t even remember exactly what his profile looked like, but I remember he had left several messages. I messaged him back, told him I wasn’t really using Match.com much, but he could text me.
And I’m so glad he did.
We had a fun, easy connection from the very beginning. We decided to meet after about a week of texting, and when he showed up at the restaurant and got out of his truck with flowers and a hug, I was smitten. He was cute, nice, thoughtful, funny, and he made it instantly clear how much he cared about his two little girls.
The rest is history. We met in October, were engaged by March, married in September, and he’s the absolute best partner imaginable for me.
Do I believe it’s possible to find love in online dating? Yes, obviously I now have to say I do! But you definitely have a lot of “weeding” to do first.
If you’re looking for love in online dating, here are 5 important tips to remember:
Pay attention to red flags. I cannot stress this enough. Chances are, if you’re attempting online dating, you’ve been through at least one bad relationship already. You know a lot of the red flags to look for, but when you’re just “talking” online, it can be easy to ignore those negative signs. Under many circumstances, I’m an advocate of giving people the benefit of the doubt. But when it comes to online dating, if something feels “off” before you’ve ever even met the person, cut your losses. The last thing you want when dating after divorce is to waste your time going down the same road you’ve already traveled.
Be intentional. You do not need to strike up a conversation with every person that messages you in online dating. Let’s be honest: if you check out someone’s profile and you know that you would not be interested in getting to know that person, responding to that person with anything other than, “I’m sorry, based on your profile, I don’t feel we would be compatible” is not in anyone’s best interest. Do not feel the need to “be polite” (I was guilty of this at first). Be intentional with your responses: Check out their profile, read their initial message, and if you’re immediately turned off, don’t waste your time (and his).
Know what you want, but have an open mind. This sounds contradictory, I know, so let me give you an example. When I started online dating after my divorce, it was because I was tired of attracting the same type of men that I was meeting in my “circle.” I knew the core qualities I wanted in a partner: loyal, honest, passionate, motivated, kind, attentive, funny, and good with children. What I didn’t know was where that person might live, what he would look like, or what other kinds of qualities (and maybe even quirks) he might have. When I met the man that is now my husband on Match.com, he was a “country boy”–a cattle farmer who lived an hour away (I was raised in the suburbs), had two children that he co-parented with his ex (on opposite schedules from my boys’ co-parenting schedule), had voted for Trump (I did not), and was Catholic (I am not). At a first impression, several of those factors did not seem compatible with mine. However, I was open-minded enough to give him a chance to show me his core qualities (I’ll talk more about core qualities in an upcoming post–be sure to subscribe to be notified!). I quickly found him to be loyal, honest, supportive, passionate, hard working, hilarious, affectionate, great at communication, and an amazing father. He was everything I was looking for at the core, but I had to realize those core qualities may come in places and in types of people that I had previously overlooked. Know what you want, but be open-minded enough to look past the surfaces qualities of the person to find out what their core qualities really are.
Have thick skin. If you’re still feeling vulnerable from a recent divorce or break up, it’s not going to be a good time for you to try online dating. There were many times that men would message me online with lewd, rude and sometimes downright hurtful comments, just because I either wasn’t responding to them, or wasn’t giving them what they wanted. Remember my warning earlier, a LOT of men are just looking for sex. If you’re wanting to make a real connection with people, be ready to be strong enough to take whatever rude or derogatory comments may come your way when you stand up for what you really want. Also be bold enough to tell a guy to get lost when necessary.
Be safe. I may be in my thirties, but I let my mom know who I was going to meet and where I was going to meet them when I was dating online. I didn’t end up going on the majority of the dates I had scheduled, but the ones that I did, I made sure at least one person knew where I would be. Safety is your number one concern when meeting a stranger. Always meet in public and never go home with someone until you’re confident you know them well enough that it’s safe to do so. You can also look up people by name on state and federal court websites and on the sex offender registry before you meet, just to be sure they don’t have a criminal history they haven’t disclosed. Be safe, and be smart!