Dating in the Digital Age: Online Dating in 3 Steps

Dear Stephanie,

I’ve never gone out with someone I’ve met online and I am going to take the plunge. What’s the best way to go about it? I’m not really new to dating but am new to blind (sorta) dates.

Sincerely,

A Novice Swiper


Dear Novice Swiper,

I am so glad that you wrote into me with this question, because I can relate. I actually met my own wonderful and amazing boyfriend who I love very much on Tinder, of all places!! Prior to meeting him, I went on my fair share of “blind” dates ranging from really bad to really great. Online dating sometimes still seems weird and mysterious, but when you break it down it is actually just 3 simple steps.

Step 1: Picking the Right App or Website

The first step is to pick a website or app that “aligns” with what you are looking for. As I mentioned above, I used Tinder, and while it worked for me in the long run it was not the very best place to find a serious relationship, in the sense that it is regarded as a hookup app. Because of the app’s reputation and the way people were using it, I ended up meeting a lot of people who were looking for much different things than I was; and as a result I went on some pretty bad dates and wasted a lot of my time. However, when I did eventually swipe across my beloved, he really stood out to me because he was clearly looking for the same thing I was. So all that to say, in the spirit of saving time, pick an app or website that approaches dating and meeting people in a way that you relate with. No matter what you choose, I am a firm believer in “what will be, will be” and I think you will meet your person eventually and no matter what app or website you use.

Some apps and websites to see what works for you:

Step 2: Building your Profile

We all have a photo from a few years ago that we love because we look so damn cute in it!! You might think that is the BEST photo to put in your profile, but you are wrong. Even if you look largely the same, you will still look a little different. AND nothing starts a blind date off on the wrong foot like meeting someone who doesn’t look like what you expect. Unless you somehow now look better…That may sound shallow but it’s true. Everyone deserves to be attracted to their partner. The problem with dating apps and websites IS that is largely based on physical interest first. Then the more important parts of attraction and relationships follow. When you arrive at a date excited and expecting to meet one person and then you meet an older, balder and heavier version its hard not to feel a little deceived. There is nothing wrong with being older, balder or heavier just be who you are now not who you were a few years ago. So extend the same curtesy to your future dates and upload honest and real photos of yourself. I can guarantee your dates will be more fun and foster more meaningful connections, because it is already starting out truthful and there is a mutual attraction.

As for the photos you do post, be sure to show your who you are. We live in such a visual time ( which is why blogging is so hard) and people absorb so much information from photos. In your photo selection pick the photos that make you feel confident and show who you are: your personality, interests, favorite past times, sense of humor and what your idea of fun is. You are trying to paint a whole picture of who you are.

As for your bio, I went for a minimalistic approach and I had a lot of luck posting a John Belushi quote that I thought was funny and that I related to. I believe it gave anyone who came past my profile an idea of what my sense of humor is like, which was something I wanted to convey. Others like a more verbose profile where they go into detail on what they are looking for and all their likes and dislikes. That’s not a bad thing, but when I was using an app I rarely read a whole profile if it was super long. (Because we are so visual or was I just lazy?) I would just rather match and talk to the person to learn those things about them. If I were you, I would think about how much or how little I would want to read about each potential match, then base the length of your own profile on that.

Also, there are a few good apps mentioned above, that have you answer some questions and then they post the answers as your profile making it super user friendly and concise. Hinge is one of them. Check it out.

Step 3: Date Night

Look at you! You matched with someone, they seem nice, interesting and funny!! You also find them to be attractive and they appear to not be serial killers. Bonus!! So you’re excited and a little nervous about the drink you’re getting with them. Don’t be! They are in the same boat as you and certainly feel the same way. It’s human nature.  Just be yourself and try remember that while you want to make a good impression, that this is JUST a drink, or coffee or whatever. It might turn in to something or it might not. Go in with low expectations and a sense of humor because no matter what, you’ll have a story to tell, good or bad. Also, your sense of humor will help you deal with the annoying parts of dating.

Now, be prepared to repeat step 3 a few times. That’s ok and part of the process. Enjoy! Being single can be just as fun and exciting as it is to be in love and in a serious relationship. Embrace this stage of your life.

With Love,

Stephanie

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Me and My Dude. Sometimes we time travel.

Keeping It Cool

Hi Stephanie,

While out for a very late night snack over the weekend my boyfriend got a call from someone named Liz. And then another, and another. Finally I asked who Liz was and with an eye roll and a sigh he said she was an ex girlfriend who “still calls sometimes”. I’m not really *worried* about it but would like to discuss it while we’re both a little more sober. At the same time I don’t want to make a big deal out of nothing. Is it worth bringing it up?

Sincerely,

Trying to be a “Cool” Girlfriend

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Dear Girlfriend,

Thanks for writing in! First, I want to say don’t worry about being the “cool girlfriend”. Of course being a reasonable person is important, but sometimes the cool persona needs to be set aside so you can stick up for yourself and protect yourself. If you’re focused on being the cool girl all the time, are you ever truly being yourself?

Secondly, I would feel the same way, of not wanting to be worried about these calls, because I trust my boyfriend, but my antenna would definitely go up because the circumstances are a little odd. Late night, multiple calls, ex-girlfriend…I would hate it, no matter how cool I am or wanted to be.

Only you will know if you can really trust your boyfriend, but I do think it is a good thing that he was upfront and honest about it when it happened. I would try to let that bring me some ease. That being said, from what you wrote and the fact you even wrote in, says to me that the whole situation still bothers you. So yes, it is worth bringing it up. If you don’t talk about it, it will fester in your mind and turn in to something bigger than it is and lead to mistrust between you and your man.

I don’t think it will be a super uncomfortable conversation. You already know the hard stuff, and you know he’s annoyed by her calling him, which is a good thing. Since you’re not trying to make this an episode of Maurie, I wouldn’t make it a big sit down conversation, that will add a lot of pressure that I don’t think is needed. When you’re running errands or some other low key thing, ask what you want to know regarding this scenario and let him know that this bothers you and that you would prefer if she did not call him late in the night, at the very least. I am sure that you just want confirmation that there is nothing going on between them.

Please let me know how this turns out! I hope for all the best.

With Love,

Stephanie

P.S – I hope you all had a wonderful and Happy Thanksgiving.

Breaking PROMises

Dear Stephanie,

My 16-year-old daughter was dumped at the last minute by her boyfriend before prom after cheating on her. She had the dress and everything. Her older sister’s good friend ended up stepping in to take her, while the ex-boyfriend went with the girl he cheated on my daughter with. Late in the summer, the boy started  trying to make amends and wants  to get back together. So does she now. We’ve resisted her spending time with him and said no. Her personality even changed to being sad a lot, angry, and darker, but she and her sisters all think he is ok now, is sorry, and deserves a second chance. What do you, being young, suggest?

Sincerely,

A Momma Bear

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Dear Momma Bear,

Thanks for writing in. I really appreciate you seeking my advice on this but honestly, I am not sure at all how to approach this as a parent. I very bluntly want to say your daughters are being naive. Which is only a by product of their age. (Assuming they are all close in age.) Thank goodness they have a mom who is seeing that boy for the untrustworthy person he is.

If that were my sister I would hope that she would stay far far away from him. I’m a firm believer in forgiveness, but not everyone in every scenario deserves a second chance. Especially, in matters of the heart. Cheating, lying and public embarrassment are absolute deal breakers for me. Remind your daughters to maintain their high standards and  that even if he is truly sorry he does not deserve a second chance because what he did was too egregious. In my experience, a guy like him is only sorry and want’s to win your daughter back, because he thinks that’s what he is supposed to do. It’s a game for him.

As I said before, I don’t know what to suggest to you as for parenting advice but I don’t think you should force them apart, more than you have. Keep the boundaries that you set, but I think more than that will only push your daughter farther from you and the support of her family and into the arms of that fool. Even if they are “forbidden” to see each other, they will find a way through lying and sneaking around to be together. Which is the last thing you and your daughter needs.

In the meantime, keep talking to your daughters about how no one should settle for someone who hurts them in such a way. In these talks, be sure to make it clear that if and when it all goes south there will never be an “I told you so”, just a shoulder to cry on. It does seem like they need to learn the hard way, but hopefully they will just take your word for it.

With Love,

Stephanie

 

To Swipe or Not To Swipe

Dear Stephanie,

I’ve just come across a friend of mine’s boyfriend on a dating app and I don’t know what to do next. All the photos/ bio info are very recent and current. They’ve been dating for a while, so I know for a fact this was updated recently.

She and I aren’t as close as we once were and I worry if I bring it up it wouldn’t be well received. Regardless, I still care about her and obviously want what is best for her.

Should I bring this to her attention or just swipe it away?

Sincerely,
🐝

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Dear🐝,

Thank you for writing in. Let’s make the bottomline the first line here: You should tell her what you saw, regardless of where your friendship stands. Us ladies have to stick together.

I know some people might argue that you are sticking your nose in somewhere it doesn’t belong, but this is the type of scenario that you have to take a second to think about what you would want if the roles were reversed? If I were your friend, and you came across such a thing, I would want to know immediately. I don’t care if we just had a giant fight, or I haven’t seen you or spoken to you in years, or we are thick as thieves. I would be thankful for the knowledge and glad that someone has my back in a time of such deception. If you were in a similar situation, what would you want?…That’s your answer.

If you end up reaching out to her about what you saw I think there can be 2 outcomes:

  1. The Worst: Her longterm boyfriend is cheating on her in a very public way.
  2. The Best: There is some agreement between them and she is aware he is out there swiping away and things are OK.

So let’s hope for the best, that she is ok, happy and aware of what his going on in her relationship; and that she is glad that she has a friend like you in her corner.

With Love,

Stephanie

If anyone else has different approach, please leave a comment below. I would love to hear your point of view.