If only I'd known these things going in...
I've read hundreds of online dating success stories and most of them are very inspiring.
I do believe that when it's used as a tool, many online dating sites can help you meet a guy who otherwise you wouldn't cross paths with in your day-to-day life.
The trick is keeping in mind that an online dating site it only a tool — it's not a relationship.
This might sound funny, but so many make the easy mistake of getting their emotions tied up with their keyboard, when we just don't know who is really on the other end of that keyboard!
Unless you meet in person, face to face, you really can't know who is typing back to us.
With that being said, there are a few things I've learned in 5 years of online dating.
Maybe you can learn something from my experiences and my mistakes, which might make it easier for you to navigate the waters of the online dating world.
1. You just can't "make it happen" in online dating. No matter how hard you try.
There are some things in life that you can "make happen", but those are only things that you can directly influence with your attitude and your consistent behaviors.
Things like growing your business to help your clients and customers feel great about themselves (my personal mission is to help 7 million women worldwide feel good in their own skin), or getting fit in mind and body.
These are projects you can undertake and directly "make it happen" because you are the one taking the action to create the results, even when your business involves hiring employees to help you grow.
However, when it comes to meeting dudes through an online dating site and finding a healthy, committed relationship, you just can't "make it happen".
Because none of us can control other people ... and if you could, would you really want to do that?
In online dating, you have no idea if there's even a mutual attraction until you meet in person.
And then it takes time to get to know each other.
There's no such thing as an "instant relationship" — even though online dating makes people think it should all be quick and simple.
It's not! At least, that's been my experience.
Since you cannot control whether or not the guy you meet is even on the same page as you (though you can write a better profile to weed out ones you definitely would not be compatible with), it's likely that you'll meet many many men on your way to meeting "The One" guy you'd be thrilled to spend time with.
While I do feel inspired by the numerous success stories I have read from online dating websites, those people who succeeded in meeting their match did not have to "make it happen" — meaning that they did not have to force the other to like them and commit to them.
You CAN take the action to put yourself out there...
But whether or not you'll find a mutual connection is not something you can force.
2. There is no relationship if you're not sitting across from each other, face to face.
Do you ever watch Catfish on MTV? I find that show fascinating, and there are actually a lot of people out there who think that they are in a "relationship" when they have never met the other person face to face.
It's not hard to get sucked into this false sense of relationship when you share intimate details of your personal dreams and ambitions with another through a keyboard.
But the fact is that unless you are dating each other a minimum of once a week in person where you can see them breathing in and out, then you're not in a relationship.
I firmly believe that there is no such thing as "online dating". You're really just meeting someone online.
I have made the mistake in the past of jumping into a fantasy world of unreality with some dude I never met in person.
Unfortunately, every time I did this and we did end up meeting in person, the fantasy never lived up to the guy in front of me. After so many times of doing that to myself I decided that I would not share as much with any guy I'd never met face to face.
I included in my online dating profile that my definition of dating took place in person. Doing this cut down on a lot of email from guys who knew they were only looking to "chat" online.
Seriously, I just don't have time for that.
3. Your weight is not a problem in online dating (but THIS might be).
While most of my permanent weight loss coaching clients are married, I have also had amazing coaching clients who were single and wanted to meet the man of their dreams.
But because they were not happy with themselves (or their weight), they weren't finding success in online dating — or offline dating!
What each of my clients ended up discovering while I coached them to struggle-free weight loss — and was my personal experience, too — is that all of their relationships began with themselves.
They were able to see that their weight was only a symptom of more pervasive life problems which intersected in their dating life and all other areas of their life.
Once the root of these problems was healed, weight loss became struggle-free for them.
They stopped sabotaging themselves. They stopped holding themselves back.
They stopped emotional eating and binge-eating.
They were able to live healthy and fit to drop the fat and keep it off.
But even before they reached their end goal weight, all of their relationships improved.
It was easier for them to date and easier for them to feel good about themselves no matter how a date might turn out.
Each of my single coaching clients learned that their weight had never been what was holding them back from meeting the man of their dreams — it was their relationship with themselves that had been getting in the way.
They were finally free.
4. My dog will always be there for me.
The fourth thing I learned in 5 years of online dating is that I can always count on my dog. Seriously!
I actually love my dog to bits, and I have now changed what I would want in a man, because of my dog — no joke!
Here's what I mean:
My dog is fun, healthy, smart, cute, athletic, loyal, and he even listens to me. Most of the time. ;-)
And now, I won't date anyone who is not as fun, healthy, smart, cute, and as athletic as my dog. If we go beyond a couple of dates and the guy is not loyal and he isn't a good listener then I won't keep dating him.
See how simple I've made it? And yes, I'm really being serious.
Through these long years of online dating I have gone from a place of "I've gotta make it happen NOW!!" to "I am happy with where I am today and I only want a man in my life who would enhance what I already have going on".
I do not need a man to complete me.
I am happy now and I am excited about what I am creating in my mind-body weight loss business as well as in my life.
Unless he would add more value to my life (and of course, the same goes for me) then I am fine going along as I am.
5.) What matters most is that you're genuinely happy with yourself. Now.
THIS is really the key to the healthiest, must fun and fulfilling relationship of your dreams: Get happy with you NOW.
Yep! That's it right there. It's not going to matter how many men you chat with on online dating sites or how many men you meet for coffee or how many men you go on "real dates" with, unless you're happy with yourself first.
You see, all relationships start with the relationship you have with yourself.
If you're not happy with YOU without a guy, then it won't matter how long you online date and search for "that one guy" of your dreams.
You've gotta become "the one" of your dreams for yourself first, and then it will be easy for you to attract your match in a man.
Get happy with yourself now.
Get happy with your weight, get happy with your eating habits, get happy with your life, and if there's anything you don't like about any area of your life or body, then get coaching to change it.
Why? Because it's the quickest way to get the results you're seeking.
JoLynn Braley is the founder of The Inner Self Diet, the diet that isn't a diet. Since 2009 JoLynn's coaching clients have proven that once you get a weight loss mindset, it will be easy-peasy to drop the fat and keep it off. Grab your FREE Gift from JoLynn to learn more about the state of your mindset. Discover what's really been stopping you from losing weight for good (and what you can do about it). Click Here to get it now!