Think you know everything about online dating? Think again.
I recently met Mr. Online Charmer on a free online dating website. Our virtual connection was instant and we spent the next few days exchanging elaborate emails, constantly marveling at all we had in common. Next, moving on to text messages, our flirtatious banter continued as we discussed meeting for our first date.
I was incautiously smitten, planning for a date that was never going to happen. Mr. Online Charmer abruptly canceled our dinner, feigning a funeral he suddenly had to attend. He promised to reschedule and then disappeared into the virtual abyss with all my other Mr. Wrongs.
I was left feeling resentful and skeptical of the entire online dating process. After all, this was not the first time a first date never seemed to happen (read my blog for more detailed accounts of this) and I am always left feeling hurt and rejected. And then I realized that it was my ego — not my heart — that was really on the line. Unfortunately, in the world of online dating, one's ego is the most vulnerable. With that in mind, here are three tips to protect your own fragile ego from falling victim to the online dating game.
1. Don't get too personal. Keep your initial emails short and sweet and save your soul baring for when you are already connected. Many times, we give too much of ourselves to cyber strangers and then wonder if that information scared them away.
2. Don't get caught up in the competition. The unsettling truth is, everyone online dating is in fact, dating. It is easy to feel like you are a contestant on the Bachelor — vying for Mr. Wonderful's attention amidst a sea of hopeful women. Admittedly, my first thought when Mr. Online Charmer ditched our date was assuming he chose someone else to spend his time with. This may or may not be happening. Save yourself time and wasted energy and realize that everyone is looking for their best match and receiving that final rose is no prize if the man in question is not the right one for you.
3. Don't stop dating. Let's face it, online dating can feel like a chore and everyone's goal is to ultimately end their search. However, be careful not to log off too soon. By limiting your options, virtual or otherwise, you are placing a great deal of importance on one person who hasn't committed to you. Remember your own self-worth and never allow a stranger to impose doubt on your pride again.