For a long time, I have wanted to tell you about my online dating experiences because I think I may have figured it out. I know a lot of people are scared of online dating, but no worries. It’s not as scary as you think if you have some guidelines. But, let’s start at the beginning of my online dating journey.
My divorce was finalized in August 2016. I was married to my high school sweetheart but probably only stayed married to him for pure nostalgia. I think I liked the thought of being able to say I was married to ‘my high school sweetheart’, but the relationship didn’t really give me any joy or sense of belonging. It did not fulfill my needs.
I’ve always known that I was the type of person who preferred to be in a relationship so I knew I was going to need to get back out there in the dating game. The first order of business was for me to be clear about was important to me in a man and a new relationship. If not, I was going to end up with someone like my ex and I was not having that. At this age, ain’t no body got time for that. It became really clear to me what I didn’t want (using my ex as the example) so I had to be careful in how I presented that information to others. There were a lot of things I settle with in that relationship and I didn’t want to do that gain. I also didn’t want anyone to think I was a ‘Bitter Betty or Negative Nancy. (BPM).
I was familiar with an online dating site call Black People Meet (BPM) so I decided to start there (www.blackpeoplemeet.com).
During this process I developed three (3) rules for online dating. : I call them my 3 P’s
These 3 P’s go both ways. I applied them to myself and hoped that he was using this same guidelines as well.
When it comes to your picture, use profile pictures that show you in your best light. I still believe that first impressions are important so make those pics count. Make sure your pictures (and only a handful of them) show you looking your best. A couple of head shots and a couple full body. Too many pictures is overkill. Just you, no kids and no pets. There is this issue in the online dating community that people don’t look like the pictures in their profile. I find that unbelievable. Why would you want to pretend to be someone you are not. So you want to show your true, authentic self.
Have a completed profile. Be sure to answer all the questions honestly. Here is where you get to state what you are looking for in a partner and relationship. Make sure this isn’t a bitching session where you talk about all the bad things that have happened to you in previous relationships. Be positive and hopeful about what you want in your future. And be reasonable in your expectations. Your prince (or princess) may not really exist the way you describe him/her.
And lastly, be picky. Here is your opportunity to be picky about who you choose to entertain. You don’t have to go out with everyone. I think online dating is the perfect place where you (especially if you are a woman) have all the control. I still believe that men are the ‘hunters’ so I wait for them to start the conversation. I know that is a little old school, but just the way I prefer it. I’m not sending messages or flirts to anybody. I wait. I believe real men should do that. Once they start the conversation, I get to choose whether or not he is someone I want to get to know. I will check his pictures and his profile to make sure he has some of the characteristics I am looking for. If not, I keep it moving. For example, if he smoked, that was a deal breaker for me. I’m not doing that. I’m not going to waste my time or his.
As I began this process, I knew I was going to have to kiss a few frogs before I found someone who I would consider moving forward with. And that was as true as the sky is blue. I met a few guys and genuinely gave it a good try. You really do get to know people over time, so don’t expect it to be perfect out the gate. The first 2 were a bust, but I was not discouraged.
So here is the funny thing!!! One day, I decided to reach out to one of the previous guys I met online. I wasn’t reaching him by phone so decided to see if he was on BPM again. He wasn’t, but since I logged in I noticed I had 200+ messages. Most of them were the annoying ‘flirts’ that were being sent to me. BTW, that was one of my hard and fast rules. I would only respond to men who actually took a few minutes to write a real message. No flirts!!! No, ‘ I like your profile’, ‘I like your smile’, etc. Anyway, while cleaning out my inbox, I got a real message and decided to respond to him. Seven months later we are still going strong. Best message I ever received and responded to online. 🙂 Look at God!!!
So, I am a real example that online dating does work. You just have to be clear about what you want and what you don’t. Don’t settle!!! Use my 3 P’s as a guideline to see if it helps you in your journey. Online dating doesn’t have to be as scary as some people think it is, but still be safe. Let me know how online dating has worked for you.