Some may hate it, some may love it. Truth is dating trends have changed and online dating is part of modern culture and will not go away anytime soon. If not, it will have an even prevalent role in shaping the nature of human relationships.
Meeting someone online was once considered scandalous and superficial but today, with all the hectic lives and busy schedules most people have, online dating is extremely convenient and helpful in finding a romantic partner. Online dating, as anything in this world, has both its upsides and downsides. But if you stick to some basic rules, you can be successful in your search for the best match.
If you’re in your forties and you’ve decided to give dating a second chance, online dating can give you access to a wide array of candidates. However, to make sure you increase your chances of finding love, check out these online dating habits you need to get rid of by age 40. Leave ghosting to teenagers and keep your eyes on the prize!
Using the wrong app
You can take your chances on Tinder, but if you really want to find someone your age, you’d better opt for apps like FirstMet, where users are over 30 and you don’t risk swiping right for trouble. Tinder is usually used by teenagers and young adults in their 20s.
If you feel up for it, you can also try Raya, an exclusive but extremely popular dating app for A-listers like celebrities, fashion models, athletes, which can give you access to more high-quality matches. The good news is you don’t have to be a celebrity, just possess some valuable traits and assets to make you become one among the 8% of applicants that get accepted.
Posting “sexy” photos
According to Sameera Sullivan, a dating coach whose clients are mostly people over the age of 40, you should post natural photos that reveal parts of your personality. She suggests avoiding selfies, bikini or topless photos, as they will give others the wrong impression about you from the very first click.
Rather than appearing vain, put photos that could be used to start a conversation about hobbies, passions etc. For instance, if you post a pic of you riding a bike or traveling, it could generate comments like “Your photo is great! Where was that taken?” and the conversation could easily start from that point on.
Not posting enough photos
According to most dating specialists, your dating profile should not be overflooded with your photos; keeping it within reasonable limits, like four or five photos, is the best approach, they say. You can link your Instagram account, if you have this option, and post there more pictures for your followers and those who are really interested in getting to know you better.
Make sure you have clear photos of your face, as well as full-body shots. Be yourself, be confident and don’t try to deceive anyone. This brings us to the next section.
In the era of smartphones and beauty apps, everyone on social media has edited their photos at least once in their lives. Whether it’s adjusting the colors or retouching the wrinkles, enhancing the lips and so on, people present a distorted version of themselves in the online world.
That’s one of the reasons Sullivan disagrees with posting selfies on dating profiles. Selfies are easier to manipulate. You wouldn’t want to go on a date only to discover that your date seems disappointed that you only resemble the person in the photo, you’re not really that person. The best and most honest approach is to post recent photos that show that you are beautiful just the way you are (cue Bridget Jones’ Diary).
Making your bio too short
Your photos are not the only ones that can offer information about yourself and let others get a glimpse at your personality. You can also use your bio as a conversation starter. Let’s say, for instance, that you like painting and paintings. Someone interested in getting to know you better can use this piece of information to ask you about your favorite painter or your favorite painting. If you love camping, someone could ask you about your favorite camping spot or tips to pitch a tent. The possibilities are endless, so make sure your bio includes some info to be used as talking points.
It’s normal to feel proud about your accomplishments, education, professional success, kids and whatnot, but no one likes a pure braggart, not even other braggarts. It’s one of the most off-putting things you could do when interacting with people.
If you’re an intelligent and overall great person, you don’t have to brag about it, it will be easily spotted through conversation. If you have to point your awesomeness out by yourself, chances are others might not consider you that awesome after all.
Another absolute turn-off is being a complainer. Whether it’s the weather, work or life in general, complaining is a sure way to make people cut the conversation short and never try to talk to you ever again. It’s normal to feel like venting every once in a while, but a constant complainer can be recognized from the very first words.
“Use some sense of humor, of course, but nothing negative and don’t try to explain why you are there,” Sullivan told me. “You are on the app or dating site so take responsibility and don’t whine! No one likes whiners!”
Sticking to one app
One of the best perks of online dating is that you can cast a broad net in your search and test several bodies of water aka dating apps rather than sticking to just one. There’s nothing wrong with creating a profile on various dating websites and apps to increase your chances of meeting people you can connect with on various levels.
You might also want to consider paid membership with some of the dating websites, as it will give you access to a wider array of people with the same goals as yours. Usually, members of paid websites are more serious about finding a relationship. Now, no one is saying a paid membership is a 100 percent sure way to the love of your life, but it can help you find better matches and waste less time.
Having more profiles on the same app
It’s ok to have more profiles on different dating apps, but it’s definitely not ok to have several profiles on the same app. Your goal should be to narrow your searches and connect with someone with the same goals, principles, hobbies etc. not to be matched with people just to satisfy your ego.
Instead of creating various versions of you, one who likes sports, another one who likes reading and so on, stick to being your best version, the one who likes various things and is not afraid to take risks.
Hiding important information
According to Sullivan, one of the most important things when dating online is to be honest and upfront. Whether it’s your looks, your financial status, you being a parent, you don’t have to hide it to impress someone else. They will be anything but impressed when the truth comes out. And you know it will eventually.
So, instead of coming out as a liar, be confident about who you are. If you are a single parent, be proud of it instead of hiding it. Being confident is hot, no matter how you look at it.
Read also: 21 Relationship Goals for 2021
Not being clear about what you want
If you’re ok with having an open relationship or you’ve just been through a divorce and are not currently looking to start a serious relationship, Sullivan suggests including that in your bio. You wouldn’t want to message back and forth with someone only to find out at some point that you don’t want the same type of relationship.
Being clear about what you’re looking for is a good way to avoid disappointments. “Knowing why we’re dating removes confusion, keeps us from staying too long with people who aren’t right for us, and moves us in the direction of finding good partners, faster.” relationship coach Kari Tumminia, MA, author of No Bad Dates. If you’re only looking for some horizontal dancing, you can say it in a tactful way. If you’re just looking for a friend, not a romantic partner, you can also say it from the very beginning.
Making too many rules early on
On the other hand, you don’t want others to see you as too stubborn and inflexible when it comes to your dating criteria. Even if you are only interested in casual dating or serious relationships, you don’t have to remind them every time you engage in a simple conversation. Make your intentions known from the start, yes, but pay attention to the dynamics between you and stay open to new experiences, even if it is not according to your initial plan. You never know when a casual relationship can turn into something serious.
Sending a boring first message
Would you answer a message saying “Hey, how’s it going?” If it worked for Joey from Friends, it doesn’t mean it will also work for you too. Instead of saying a simple “Hi”, Sullivan recommends saying something that shows you’ve checked their profiles and paid attention to what they said in their bio or with their photos.
One other thing: don’t write an introduction and send it to all your matches. It will feel impersonal from the get-go. If you work in the same industry, have the same hobby, use this to your advantage and create an engaging first message that will convince them to answer you back.
Sending a creepy first message
Creepy messages are like the admission fee everyone has to pay to find the perfect partner. But cringe-worthy messages are definitely not helpful in scoring a date with someone. No one thinks highly of people who send messages that seem like catcalling. If you’ve considered sending someone a message that starts with Hey sexy, stop right there.
Taking too long to answer messages
Some people are reticent to tech additions and avoid online dating sites for fear they won’t know how to navigate and interact with other people via technology. They don’t spend a sufficient amount of time on dating websites to properly interact with other people and find the ones that you can really connect with. When it comes to online dating, it’s crucial that you stay active and check your profile constantly so that you don’t miss out on messages or lose the thread of the conversation.
Instead of fearing technology and going too long without answering your messages because of it, let technology work in your favor and do only half of the heavy lifting in terms of dating.
Taking too long to make plans to meet in person
According to Sullivan, this is one of the biggest mistakes of online daters. People are willing to message back and forth with someone but they are not willing to meet that someone in person. At least, not anytime soon. Many dating apps are trying to give them a nudge into that direction by limiting how much time you can chat with someone before you have to switch to text.
Texting works as a confirmation that you find each other interesting enough to want to also see each other in real life sooner rather than later. This leads us to the next section.
Going overboard on a first date
If you’ve been chatting, texting and decided that there’s some sort of chemistry between you, enough to go on a date, don’t turn your first date into a show. in other words, don’t start spending big just to impress your date and have them think you’re someone you’re not.
Sullivan recommends keeping things simple and low-cost- like having a walk in a park and getting some coffee at Starbucks. It might seem like something teenagers do but dropping a wad of cash every time you go on a date might help your love life (or not) but it will definitely not help your budget. You don’t need to hire a band of Mariachi to serenade your date; just keep things simple and nice. The right person will appreciate it!
If you’re out of ideas, get inspired from this list of Amazing First Date Ideas for People Over 40.
Treat others the way you would like to be treated, otherwise, your actions will come back to bite you. Unfortunately, not everyone in the online dating world goes by this motto and some have no problem playing games, without so much as thinking twice about hurting their feelings.
One of the worst online dating trends is ghosting, not answering someone’s messages or calls without giving any explanation as to why they’ve stopped doing so. Ghosting can extend to someone you’re dating suddenly disappearing from your life, just like that. Another popular online dating trend is breadcrumbing, leading someone on romantically through social media or texting but not wanting to meet in person. Here’s a more detailed explanation as to What Is Breadcrumbing and How to Recognize This Manipulative Behavior.