Here are the 4 things you must do before dating online to prepare yourself to safely and quickly find the love you are looking for.
What Are Your Relationship Goals?
You need to define your relationship goals before you get online. Are you just looking to date someone new or different or even a hookup? Or are you looking for a long term monogamous relationship or marriage?
You need to be clear on what you want first, because different types of online dating websites excel at one or the other. Plus, how you present yourself online will determine what kind of people you attract — those interested in something casual or those that are more serious.
I’ll be reviewing the different online dating site in a different article so check back for that. I’ll also address how to best present your self in a dating profile later too, so check back for that as well. You can also sign up and download my ebook on dating online if you want the answers now.
Is This the Right Time In Your Life to Meet Some One?
You should be settled and aren’t about to move across the country to start grad school or a new job. You also need to have the time and not be working 100 hours a week on some massive project or have three jobs just to pay the rent.
Online dating takes time; up to 1-2 hours a day if you are doing things right, not including time for second and third dates. Women often get inundated with emails from guys, especially when they first join a site, which can take a lot of time to sort through even if you don’t respond to most of them.
Guys can also spend a tremendous amount of time writing emails to women and going on first dates. I will teach both of you techniques to manage the time factor, but even with the techniques, 5 minutes a day is not going to cut it.
You also need your own place where you can be alone with someone just in case and not be living on someone else’s couch. You may get away with it for a few dates, but eventually if things go well you will want to be alone with your new paramour and you will need a place to take them that won’t embarrass you or send them running.
Finally, you need to be financially stable enough that you can afford to go on dates and pay for the extra expenses involved in dating. Meeting for coffee on a first date is cheap and works well as a first date, but second and third dates often involve drinks and/or dinner so you need to be able to afford it.
That said, you don’t have to take a second or third date to an expensive restaurant, just an inexpensive one with good food and a good atmosphere. Save the expensive restaurant for their birthday or popping the question.
Are You Emotionally Prepared?
Being emotionally prepared is the most important way you need to be prepared. That means you over are (mostly) over your ex. You are not ready if….
- You still live with your ex.
- You have had sex with your ex – even if it was casual – in the last month. One month is the absolute minimum and the longer it has been the better.
- Your ex still thinks you are a couple because you’ve been vague about your relationship being over. If you have a restraining order against them then you are okay and it’s on them if they won’t accept that it is over.
- You are still crying about your ex. This can take a long time, over a year sometimes. It’s really embarrassing if you start crying about your ex on a date. Plus, you don’t want to compare everyone you meet to your ex. Give your self enough time and if you are still crying after a few months, consider going to therapy.
- You think all men are cheaters or abusers or you think all women just want a rich guy or to take a man’s money. If you have any blanket beliefs or biases like these, you need to get over them first. Counseling can be very effective for this.
- You have really poor social skills or you are compulsively proper and couldn’t email someone you don’t know or you feel like you must respond to every email you receive. Even if you meet someone, you won’t be able to take it any further. Again, counseling or formal psychotherapy can do you a world of good.
If you noticed a theme of counseling or therapy for many of these emotional situations you are correct. Counseling and therapy are highly effect for so many different types of relationship challenges. While coaching is helpful from a skills/technique focused “do this, don’t do that”, counseling and therapy work on the deeper causes of problems. They don’t work quickly like coaching can, but the results are long lasting and often help many areas of your life, not just the specific problem you sought help for.
However, whether or not you go to counseling or therapy, I do strongly recommend two books to help get you ready as possible for online dating and the best relationship possible. The first is Why You Are Not Married…Yet by Tracy McMillan. It’s the best book I’ve ever read on how to be the right person for marriage (not how to marry the right person, I’m writing that one). She’s funny and good writer so it’s easy to read, but still has great psychological and spiritual depth.
The second is Feeling Good by David Burns, MD. It’s not a relationship or dating book, but rather it will teach you how to stop thinking all the illogical thoughts and assumptions that we all grow up with that cause so many of our emotional and relationship problems. It’s an older book, written in the 1980’s, but its still one of the best and easy to find, just try any used bookstore or Amazon.
Are You Physically Ready to Date?
Whether or not you are ready in the first three areas, you should start working out and get in better shape. Please don’t become anorexic or The Rock, but being fit isn’t just attractive, it’s good for your health. Just remember that you can’t just diet, you need to build muscle too. When you diet without building muscle, up to half the weight you lose is muscle and not fat.
That a serious problem because muscle it the main place you burn calories and if you loose a lot of muscle you burn less calories. So when you get off your diet, you gain the weight you lost back quickly as fat and not muscle. The is one of the causes of yo-yo dieting and over repeated dieting cycles can lead to being seriously overweight with little muscle mass to exercise or burn fat with.
Before you start any exercise program, always make sure you have your doctor’s or primary care provider’s permission to exercise. Also, if you’ve never worked out or gotten in shape before, get proper training first and start slowly. You don’t want to hurt yourself when you are just starting out.
If you plan on including a diet in your get fit program, please stay away from fad or extreme diets. A healthy, balanced diet program like the South Beach Diet will work just fine. Also, throw away your weight scale and pay attention to how your clothes fit. You may not actually lose weight when you get in shape this way because you are replacing fat with muscle, which weighs more than fat.
Also, you don’t worry ladies if you think you are going to bulk up. Unless you are a genetic freak or have a hormone problem, you will only tone and strengthen your muscle and not build bulk. Besides, if you do start to build too much muscle, you can always shift your workout to doing more cardiovascular exercise and less strength training.
As always, please share your thoughts, comments and suggestions below.