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How to make online dating work for you

Written by Emily on December 28th 2015

It used to be that online dating was looked down upon. It was deemed fit only for the desperate spinsters who could literally feel their ovaries shrivelling up, or who still lived at home with their elderly yet kind parents who felt that, at the age of 36 it was time their daughter moved out and a) got a cat called Greg or b) got a boyfriend called Greg. And the pool of Greg’s to choose from existed mainly of men (also potentially living at home) wearing nicotine coloured nylon shirts with short sleeves and working in a forgotten government department in Slough.

But these days, after many success stories, online dating websites are visited more than any other in the world. (OK, I blatantly made that up but it could be true.) What I mean is, it’s no longer a stigma to say “we met online”. Gone are the days when those 3 words would cause your colleagues to back away and request a desk relocation or have your friends frantically call each other once you’d all left the pub to discuss which clinic they were going to book you into.

As the stigma of online dating has faded like an autumn tan, more and more sites have popped up, all claiming to have your “dream partner” just waiting in the wings. All you need to do is pop up a great profile by adding a couple of inches onto your height, coming clean about your tapestry obsession (or not) and hunting out a pre-holiday weight photo. But the reality is, it’s all a bit more complicated than that.

Take Hannah (** fake name alert**) for example. She’s a client of mine who first approached me because she couldn’t find that exceptional person that she clicked with and who wasn’t just looking for a no strings attached arrangement. She was on just about every dating site and was getting increasingly frustrated with the matches she was getting. Now, there are many different components to my programs and we worked together on some (what I call) foundation stuff before moving to the online dating section of the program, but as soon as we did, I could clearly see why she was attracting the wrong guys. She had made the classic mistake of getting so obsessed with how she came across, that she had unwittingly built a profile that she thought would attract her perfect man, without trusting that SHE was already enough and didn’t need embellishing. Her profile wasn’t a true reflection of her at all. So we worked together on her self-image and I also revamped her profile using these 3 tried and tested criteria.

1. Be honest about your numbers. We all think it’s cute that you’re going to turn 21 again at your next birthday but unless you date a blind guy, he’s going to see 36 years of wrinkles on your face. Same goes for weight and height. Just because you were 55kg at one point in your life (like a decade ago), doesn’t mean you can claim it as your current weight; nor can you wear heels high enough to add on those extra inches of height that you think men find attractive but you don’t have.

2. Don’t give away too much on your profile. No one needs your life story and you want to remain a mysterious creature worth getting to know. NEVER lie, but maybe you don’t need to tell him about your collection of Smurf figurines before meeting him face to face.

3. Choose a happy, casual profile picture. Pictures to avoid are… Any type of selfie (you look self- obsessed); photos with your parents (I shouldn’t need to explain that); group shots (too hard to work out which one you are); any picture that’s not current (see #1).

Once Hannah had a profile that reflected who she really was, she began attracting a much better calibre of man and once I went through online dating etiquette with her, she managed to weed out the timewasters and had a string of awesome dates, one of which has led to a fulfilling relationship which she’s still in now. Hannah learnt that online dating shouldn’t be any different to meeting a guy face to face. Whether you meet online or at a live drawing class, you need to be yourself. Because that’s who he’s falling for; that shorter than average, still carrying that holiday weight, Smurf collecting you. And you’re fabulous just as you are.

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