How To Find Love By Ignoring The 5 Most Common Online Dating Myths

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What I Learned About Online Dating After Finding The Love Of My Life, IRL

I found love IRL, and I saw what all the smart, gorgeous women have been doing wrong.

Yes, I have found the love of my life. How lucky am I?

In the 6 years since my divorce, I have been in 7 relationships, none of which lasted more than 8 weeks. I have also been on countless dates, dates that happened because of Match.com, OkCupid, POF, Tinder, and Bumble.

And how did I meet my guy? IRL (in real life — which is totally cool according to my daughter).

When I entered the dating world at the tender age of 47, after 18 years of marriage, I had no idea what to do. When I was young, we never ‘dated.’ We hung out, fooled around and then started ‘going out.’ Those relationships usually started because of mutual acquaintances and often involved a messy dissolution, as a result, when they ended.

Today, dating is very different. The wide, wide world of the Internet makes online dating both a wondrous process full of choice and a nightmare that seems in many ways to put the cart before the horse.

RELATED: 10 Signs Your Online Date Could Lead To Lasting Love

For me, online dating was fun because I got to meet all sorts of people but I wasn't having much success. I did believe in the process, though, and wasn't going to give up.

And then I met my guy. And what happened to us changed forever my view of online dating.

Learn how to find love by knowing these little-known secrets about online dating rules:

1. Profile pictures shouldn't be so important.

Most of us know that, when it comes to online dating, it is essential that we have good profile pictures. I know that when I scrolled through my daily matches I looked only at the pictures. If someone caught my eye with a good picture I would click on his profile to look further.

One day a friend showed me a picture of a guy he knew, someone he thought I might like to meet. The guy was tall and wore glasses, which was fine. He also had a mustache, which was so not fine.

I have never like mustaches. And this guy had one so, after exactly 10 seconds of review, I said, "No thanks." I could never date a guy with a mustache.

A few months later, I walked into my friend’s kitchen and there, sitting at the breakfast bar, was the guy in the picture. He still had the mustache. He was the most handsome man I had ever seen. That guy — the guy with the mustache — is the love of my life.

So take profile pictures with a grain of salt. Dig deeper.

2. Search parameters work better if they are wider.

When I filled in the search parameters on every dating profile I created, I had very specific things that I was looking for.

I wanted a guy who was over 5"10", who lived within 50 miles, who was between the ages of 50-56, and who was college educated. Not meeting those criteria were deal breakers for me. I tended to ignore people who didn't match those parameters exactly.

Well, the love of my life is 58 years old and lives 224 miles away from me. He is 6'4" and college educated but I never would have found him if I had been looking for him online. Those two extra years mean nothing and we deal with the 224 miles.

So make sure that your search parameters aren't too narrow. Wouldn't it be sad if you weren't to find the love of your life because he didn't fit what you thought you were looking for?

3. First impressions aren't always accurate.

I have always believed that I would be able to tell right away if a guy I met was the guy for me.

I would know right away by the chemistry that we would have by the way he wore his jeans or the way that he treated me. I can’t tell you how many guys have not had second dates because my first impression of them wasn't great.

With the love of my life, it is true that the first time I met him, I did think he was the most handsome guy I had ever seen. But the second time I met him, not so much.

The day I met my guy I spent less than 5 minutes in his presence and then had to go. Afterwards, we became FB friends and started messaging. There was no romance there, just two people who were getting out of bad relationships who were helping each other out.

We agreed to meet for a drink and because of my initial reaction, I was looking forward to seeing him, even if it only was as friends.

So we met for drinks and had a very nice time. We drank, walked, and ate some Thai food. But, to be honest, I was disappointed. He was really nice and we had fun but, for me, the spark just wasn't there. Maybe it was because he talked a lot about his ex but I just didn't have the same reaction that I did, initially.

So be careful about first impressions. They aren't always as accurate as we might think.

RELATED: 10 Online Dating Tips From The Master Of Old-School Etiquette

4. Just because they don’t ask questions, it doesn't mean they are interested.

For many women, the most frustrating part of corresponding via dating sites, and then on the dates themselves, are how few questions guys ask.

One thing that I learned from the love of my life is that he wasn't full of questions when we first met. He was interested in me but had no idea what to ask, where to even start. So I asked a lot of questions and he was perfectly happy to answer them.

As we got to know each other, my guy totally started asking me questions. The more comfortable he got with me, the more he wanted to know about me. And, man, did he have a lot of questions then.

So, if your guy only talks about himself and doesn't ask you questions, relax. Give him some time. Those questions are in there, just be patient.

5. Being friends first actually changes everything.

How many times do you read in a profile "looking for friendship first and then let’s see what happens"? And how many times do you swipe on by because you are looking for romance, not a pal?

For a variety of reasons, including my less than enthusiastic second impression of him, the love of my life and I were friends for 3 months before anything happened between us.

We were texting regularly and when I traveled north, we would have a meal or go on a hike, but really we were just friends. I even went to Maine to hike with a guy I had met online. The date was nice but we weren't a match and I spent much of my downtime texting with my guy.

And then, one day, we went on a longer hike than normal. We sat on top of the mountain for hours and talked, sharing everything that we were carrying about our exes. Afterwards, at lunch, for some reason (and I seriously didn’t see it coming) I told him I was crushing on him. He admitted that he was too. That night, he kissed me and we were no longer just friends.

And, wow, was that kiss amazing. I knew this man well, respected who he was and just generally liked him. It was probably my best kiss ever.

So give friendship a try. You might be happy that you did.

I have met the love of my life. I am so thankful that I did. And I am thankful that I met him in real life because if I had met him online I would have written him off without a second thought at the first viewing of his profile picture.

So open emails attached to pictures that might not be that perfect. Keep your search parameters wide and flexible. Know that first impressions might not be as valid as you think they are. Understand that guys don’t always know what questions to ask. Explore being friends.

In this modern world, online dating is often our only option and it is a challenging one. But if you apply some of the principles that I have learned about dating IRL to your online dating search you might find success.

And you just might meet the love of YOUR life. Wouldn't that be great?

RELATED: 6 (Surprisingly!) Life-Changing Lessons I Learned By Online Dating

Mitzi Bockmann is an NYC-based Certified Life Coach and mental health advocate. Her writing has been published in The Huffington Post, Prevention Magazine, The Good Man Project, among others. She works exclusively with women to help them to be all that they want to be in this crazy world in which we live. Contact her for help or email her at mitzi@letyourdreamsbegin.com.