What I Learned From Meeting the Love of My Life Online
I’m about to celebrate my one-year anniversary with the most amazing guy I’ve ever known. We have a happy, healthy, and loving relationship, and I’m not embarrassed when I tell people that I met him online.
Thankfully, the stigma of online dating has eased over the years, becoming almost non-existent among 20-somethings. The question is no longer, “Should I do online dating?” but, “How the hell do I meet someone good online?”
I spent countless hours browsing OKCupid, messaging guys, responding to messages, and meeting people. It took me two years and 25 first dates to find my love, PJ. Believe me, there were many times I almost gave up hope: After the aspiring screenwriter who claimed to have a loose connection with a famous director and was on the verge of his big break. After the L.A. blogger who, following a reasonably pleasant date, walked me to my car, looked at his watch, and literally ran away from me down the street. After the cute indie musician who flaked out on me so many times that I eventually had to take responsibility for his continued rejections and take a good, long look at who I was and what I was doing.
So how did I end up meeting someone great after so much ridiculousness, disappointment, and wasted time?
First of all, I realized that online dating is a numbers game. It’s like applying to jobs. You have to send your resume out to a lot of people and go on a lot of interviews before you find the right fit. The key is not letting the discouragement get to you. It will take time, patience, and resilience. I know, it’s easy for me to say all of this now, but it certainly wasn’t easy for me to do at the time. I had to take extended breaks from online dating to recover from feelings of frustration and burn out.
My second recommendation is to be sure that you’re honest and open in your profile—without over-sharing. Talk about the kind of person you are and the things you like to do. Don’t pretend to be more active, more social, more anything than you really are. I, for instance, admitted on my profile that I could be shy sometimes, especially when meeting someone new. I also said I enjoyed going out now and then but often liked to stay at home, watching movies on the couch.
Even though I worried that saying I was shy would show weakness or admitting that I was a homebody might make me seem like a lazy couch potato, I wanted to find someone who accepted those things about me. I didn’t want to meet a super outgoing, ultra outdoorsy adventure guy. I wanted to find someone who liked my low-key personality. Just be careful here not to disclose too much or get overly personal. Anything more than a few paragraphs will be too much for anyone to read. Your profile is meant to spark curiosity and a conversation, not give your life story.
Finally, it’s important to be honest with yourself about what you’re looking for and to not be afraid of making the first move when you find someone you’re interested in. I read lots and lots of profiles and sent many first messages to guys. When I read my future boyfriend’s profile, I was drawn to the way he described himself. He came off as a very sensitive, caring, considerate person. His profile was short but concise. It wasn’t filled with a ton of specific interests, favorite bands, or unnecessary details. He wrote about being an artist and said he wanted to find someone who enjoys “looking up at the night sky, dreaming of possibility.” I think that last line was what got me. I sent him the first message, and he thought that was pretty awesome. Guys don’t get even close to the number of messages women do and really appreciate when you show interest and start the conversation.
I’ve known a lot of people who discount or give up on online dating because they don’t meet someone right away. But if you’re serious about meeting someone, you have to actually meet people. A lot of people. It isn’t always fun, and it isn’t always successful, but it can ultimately be very worthwhile.
Alana Saltz is a freelance writer and editor residing in Los Angeles. Her work has been published in a variety of literary magazines including vox, poetica, Feast Arts & Literary Magazine, and The East Jasmine Review. She is also a contributing blogger for The Urban Dater. Alana currently studies creative nonfiction at Antioch University, Los Angeles’ MFA in Writing program. You can find out more about her at alanasaltz.com or follow her on twitter @alanasaltz.