Anna’s also a mom of four and the smitten wife of Eric, her husband of 7 years. And, in a story that’s becoming more and more common for working women, she and Eric met via an online dating site. This week, Anna shared some stories and wisdom about her experience with online dating.
4word: Why did you decide to give online dating a try?
Anna: I found it very difficult in my mid-thirties to find venues to meet like-minded people, and I wasn’t into joining the “bar scene” weekend after weekend. Unlike the college dating approach, there really weren’t a lot of big singles parties to mix and mingle at, and most of my friends were already married! It was really the lesser of two evils and not something I initially was very enthusiastic about trying.
4word: Did you join multiple sites or just one? Why did you choose the site(s) that you joined?
Anna: I joined a few over a couple of years. I learned a lot of lessons about being more cautious about joining the “smaller” ones, which often turned out to be disappointing, or worse, scary.
On the “bigger” sites (Eharmony, Match.com, etc.), I learned to be careful about the “match” that was suggested. For example, my love for my career and passion for work could be matched with the garbage man’s similar answer to his passion for his career, but we certainly were not a “match” in terms of our aspirations.
Setting the “matches” in the context of what the other person really does, what kind of education level they have (fill in the blank with whatever is pretty important to you), became a very critical screening process that none of the sites seemed to be able to do automatically. I had to be careful to quickly screen from my experiences.
4word: When you and Eric went on your first date, did you have concerns about him not being the person he seemed to be online? Why/why not?
Anna: Absolutely! It’s scary to meet someone you don’t know when there’s no “personal connection.” Aunts and grandmas may not have made the best introductions in our youth (!) but you certainly knew the guy would be an upstanding young man who would not try to pull anything over on you!
My advice —
- Spend some time on the phone first and check out whether his claims seem to match with the profile he submitted on the site. So if his profile says he is an award-winning sales man, but he is painfully shy on the phone, there is probably something wrong!
- Start with something simple & short for a first date. Get lunch or cocktails at a local restaurant. Never go for full on dinner first, because it’s hard to get out of, if it’s not working
- Meet him in a visible, public place, just like your mom taught you
- Be clear on your expectations of the date — e.g. “This is a casual get together to play a game of pool, and I shall be wearing jeans and a T-shirt.” That way, no one gets all formal and fancy and ends up feeling out of place.
- Let a friend know where you are going, with whom (all details) and have a way to signal him or her if you need an excuse to get out or get help.
4word: Do you think that online dating has more, less or the same concerns and pitfalls as meeting someone the old-fashioned way?
Anna: I would say it has the same amount of challenges, but they are different. Online dating casts a broader net in the proverbial sea, but it increases the risk that you might haul in a fish you don’t want. Smart women have to be clear in their own minds about what they are looking for. I call them “nice to haves, need to haves and game-stoppers.” Then they need to prioritize who they will actually spend time with and be able to say “no” to a meeting they don’t think will work. Finally they must keep a sense of humor — there are a lot of road bumps along the way!
4word: What advice can you give our readers about how to do online dating wisely?
Anna: Know what you want, focus on it, filter out the low probabilities, keep your standards high … and have FUN!!!
What about you? Have you given online dating a try? Why or why not? Leave us a comment with your story and any pearls of wisdom you learned along the way.