So it occurred to me recently, that without the invention of the internet, my life would not be what it is today. See, I’ve been dipping my toe in and out of the world of online dating for over a decade now and have communicated with many interesting people along the way. Some of those connections turned into friendships, others developed into casual and exciting flings and a few even blossomed into long term relationships. Without the internet, I would not even know my current partner, let alone fallen deeply in love with him.
The internet changed my life in many great ways and I don’t feel ashamed about internet dating, but it hasn’t always been that way. When my loved ones asked me ten years ago how I had met my ex, I told them he was a friend of a friend. Back then, there was a huge stigma attached to the idea of internet dating. A stigma that caused my family to worry about me, question my sanity and whether my date drove a white transit van with a mattress in the back and was handy with rope and duct tape. People considered it risky, dangerous even, but as the internet boomed and online dating became more common, the stigma and fear began to diminish. Statistics indicate that today; up to 1 in 10 adults have created an online dating profile at one time or another.
My experiences with online dating have generally been successful and I finally feel comfortable admitting that I met my partner online. However, as online dating becomes more popular, I have developed a new gripe; online dating guides. You know the ones; they usually feature top ten tips that if followed, will ‘guarantee’ you greater dating success. The problem is that, as a person who generally doesn’t fit into the gender/relationship stereotypes, these lists can be pretty offensive. Some of the latest pearls of wisdom I have come across include the following:
“Women need a man who can take control. If you want her to respect you, ensure you plan the date”.
“If a woman offers to split the bill, decline and insist on paying for the entire evening. She might be willing to pay her share, but will respect you less if you accept her offer”.
“Ladies, if you still want him to respect you in the morning, don’t sleep with him until date three. To help reduce temptation, wear your old granny pants”.
Woman at keyboardThere are many people who are looking for the above in a partner and so long as your date shares your values, there really is no issue. The problem however, is that these tips assume we are all looking for a long term, monogamous, heterosexual relationship and those of us who do not fit into that box are made to feel ashamed of their desires. Take the last quote for example; the idea of the third date rule. I honestly don’t know what to be more offended by; the idea that women should be respected less for expressing their sexuality early on, or the idea that we should feel so ashamed of not looking our best in the bedroom that wearing granny pants should help remove any temptation that we clearly cannot help giving in to.
So, a little about me; I am a naturally dominant, highly-sexed, bisexual female who tends to clash with overtly dominant people and who therefore seeks introverted betas to ravish. I go weak at the knees for alternative, geeky personalities and I am more than happy to arrange the date, pay for it and help them work off that big meal in the sack later that night. Sometimes, I want to express my kinks. Sometimes I am only looking for fun. Sometimes I am not even looking for a man. I am always and only looking to share a great time with somebody who accepts me as I am. These top ten lists manage to neglect a large portion of online daters and I so thought it was high time I wrote my own all-inclusive list on the do’s and do nots to online dating.
Trust Your Instincts:
Some people know what they are looking for and others might be seeking new experiences. You know yourself better than anyone else does and the best thing you can do when dating is to simply trust your own instincts and use common sense. If something feels right, grab it in both hands and thoroughly enjoy it, but if you have doubts, or the red flags are raising, pay attention to them. Step back and consider why it is you feel doubtful. Don’t do anything you do not feel comfortable with.
The healthiest way to begin a new relationship, whether casual or committed, is to accept the person you are, flaws and all, and let your personality shine. If you feel that you need to lie, or even hide aspects of yourself to please this other person, it might be time to question whether they are right for you. It is incredibly exhausting trying to keep up an act and eventually your mask will drop. When it does, you may both discover that you are stuck in a relationship with somebody who does not share your greatest values and desires.
You are unique and you are likely to feel disillusioned if you attempt to squeeze yourself into the cookie cutter mould laid out for you by others. If your date no longer respects you in the morning, because you had a night of hot, sweaty sex, or accepted their offer to split the bill, then consider it a lucky escape from a person who did not share your values and desires. There is somebody out there looking for a person just like you. Thankfully, dating sites are becoming more aware of this diverse need too, so seek out a site that suits your needs, for example casualencounters.co.uk, who tailor to those looking for casual, no-strings fun.
When meeting strangers from the internet, it is important you follow some common sense safety measures, to reduce the risks of anything untoward happening.
Meet your date in a public space, such as a bar or restaurant.
Until you know and trust your date, avoid taking them back to your home, or sharing too many personal details. During the early stages, it is possible you might decide to stop dating this person and the last thing you need then is to discover they have spray painted “Be Mine” on your driveway and joined your Tuesday night spinning class at your gym.
If you decide to go back to their place, let a friend know exactly where you are and when you intend to be back. You could also arrange to check-in via a phone call, to let them know you are okay. Just don’t forget to call them, unless you fantasise about being disturbed mid coitus by a SWAT team battering in your dates door.
Pay attention to red flags and gut instincts. They pop up for a good reason and are usually trying to tell you something doesn’t feel right. Don’t brush them aside as paranoia and don’t be afraid of offending your date. The only people likely to take offence to your desire to protect yourself are people you want to protect yourself from.
What are you looking for?
Couple at sunsetThe vast majority of dating guides give you tips for presenting yourself in the best possible light. These lists of dating ‘rules’ describe how you should and shouldn’t act (Don’t act needy. Don’t be negative. Pull out her seat. Pay for the meal. Don’t talk about your exes. Don’t sleep with him on the first date.), but very few guides suggesting that your focus should be on whether or not your date is a good match for you. If you spend the entire date worrying about how you come across, when will you find the time to consider how you feel about them? This isn’t a job interview or police interrogation. Your needs are just as important as theirs.
Dating should be a fun after all and in my experience, if you follow your instincts, use common sense and stay true to yourself, you are more likely to enjoy more positive dating experiences.