Sophie Watson

Four common online dating rules (that you should ignore)

There are countless articles out there designed to teach people about the online dating rules. But, here's the thing: as online dating changes, so do the rules. And that means that some rules which were seen as gospel truth are no longer relevant in today's dating environment.

We've uncovered four such outdated tips: four widely-believed dating rules that, actually, you are better off ignoring if you want to find online success.

Dating rule #1: Online dating is incredibly desperate

Chances are you’ve heard the lofty remarks about how online dating is somehow inferior, a belief supported by the notion that singles can only really find love when introduced by friends or via some sort of adorably contrived movie meet cute.

Of course, when you think about it, what seems more silly: joining a community of fellow looking-for-love singles, who are introduced to you based on potential compatibility? Or heading to the nearest bar, feverishly scanning for someone who ‘looks' single, then hoping like mad that a) they’ll notice you and b) that you have something – anything – in common? 

New rule: Online dating is incredibly normal. Clearly, the first method makes more sense. And the statistics support this: recent research has shown that internet dating is now the second most-common way to find a partner, while as many as 1-in-3 marriages start online.1,2

READ MORE: Wish your next first date could be with someone you genuinely get along with? Find a date with EliteSingles.

Dating rule #2: If it’s meant to be, it shouldn’t take work

It’s a tale as old as time: if love is meant to be, it will find a way. Your soulmate is out there – all you have to do is be patient and wait for the fates to make their big reveal.

While that’s a nice enough plot for a Tom Hanks/Meg Ryan film, reality doesn’t work like that. If you sit around in anticipation of love, all you’ll get is a long wait. Indeed, if you’re serious about finding a partner, it’s ok – and even necessary – to work at that goal.  It doesn’t make the love you find any less worthy or any less real.  

New rule: Nothing worth having comes easy. So put the effort in: make your dating profile count with great descriptions and photos; send messages to those who seem interesting and take the plunge by going on actual, offline dates.

READ MORE: How to take better profile photos: try these tips for online dating success!

Dating Rule #3: Men should make the first move

Dating etiquette can be very useful indeed and we should all abide by it, even the dating rules that rely on old-fashioned stereotypes (such as expecting blokes to make the first move).

Nonsense. In these times of increasing equality, this attitude just doesn’t seem fair – to anyone involved! It can be nerve-wracking to say hello to someone new, but what’s even scarier is the thought that this should be left in the hands of just one gender. Not only is that a lot of pressure for the men to deal with, the women run the risk of missing a connection with someone wonderful, all because they were too shy to ask him out on a date.

New rule: if you like someone, let them know. A great thing about online dating is that those you meet via your partner suggestions have already declared their availability. This can take the fear-factor out of sending a quick message to say hello. Still too shy? Try clicking the ‘Send Smile’ button on a promising profile – it’s a more subtle way to show your interest.

READ MORE: Want to know how to overcome dating shyness?

Dating Rule #4: The first date is the be all and end all

First dates are exciting, there’s no doubt about it. In fact, they might just be the last first date you’ll ever have to go on – so you have to make them count.

While the excitement part of this is hard to control, it is wise to not put all your hopes in one date. In fact, you may find it more productive to look on it as a first meeting rather than a traditional first date. This is because while you can find compatibility online, you can’t test the spark until you meet in person – and, until you confirm that, you mustn’t get your hopes up.

New rule: The second date is where it starts to count Because the first date is more of a chemistry test than a romantic rendezvous, it’s perfectly fine to keep it brief: think coffee or a quick drink. Save the candlelit dinners and the butterflies for the second date – because then you'll know if you have the compatibilty and chemistry to take things further.

READ MORE: Top ten first date questions: how to get the conversation started!

As online love becomes ‘mainstream,’ it makes sense that the online dating rules need to change to reflect its new popularity. And it makes sense that ditching the old dating rules and adapting to the new ones may see you having more success online. Of course, there’s one rule that doesn’t change – and that’s to have fun with it. Finding a long-term partner does take work but, with the right dating site to back you up, it should also be an adventure.

Are you ready to begin your adventure? Join EliteSingles today to get started.

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