Whenever I think about my own online dating mistakes over the years, my mind goes back to a 1966 spaghetti Western I would watch with my dad. The film that comes to mind is Clint Eastwood’s “The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly.”
If you’re wondering, there isn’t much in the movie that relates to Catholic men and women’s online dating experience in 2021. However, the title alone captures my own online dating experience. I’ve done some things well. But other times, my online experience didn’t look so great.
I’ve learned a lot from the mistakes I’ve made when using online dating apps or online platforms. Here are four online dating mistakes I’ve made so you don’t have to!
1. Getting overly attached to the outcome
I don’t know about you, but sometimes I get attached to the outcome of a potential relationship way too early. I build up how things will play out in my mind. Then, my heart becomes too attached too soon. It is perfectly normal to feel happy, excited, even giddy about a budding new relationship. However, making up stories about the outcome or attaching too quickly at the beginning isn’t the best emotional heart practice. Ask me how I know!
Be open, but be careful about getting too attached to one person right away.
How can you avoid this mistake? I’ve learned to take a step back by connecting with and being open to different men at the same time. This way, I get to know several people slowly instead of throwing all my eggs in one basket right from the beginning.
2. Giving into ghosting
There have been a few times where I ghosted someone. I deeply regret it. One time, I made a hasty assumption that turned out to be wrong. The other times, I just didn’t have the courage to be honest about where I was at. I felt guilty about being unkind, especially when I did not like experiencing that in my life.
When I committed to never ghosting again, I came up with a purposeful statement. With this statement, I can be honest, kind, and truthful with someone. For me, this statement would sound something like this: “Steve, thank you for the enjoyable dinner on Saturday evening. I appreciated your attentiveness to my sharing and you made it easy for me to laugh. My intuition is telling me we are not the right romantic fit and I just want to be honest and upfront with you about that.”
Read more: Break These 5 Bad Online Dating Habits
Having a statement in my back pocket has helped me to not ghost other people so I can be honest but not avoiding a difficult conversation.
3. Making hasty judgements
We’ve probably all been told to not judge a book by its cover. I think that saying could equally apply to being single, dating and relationships. Have you ever been hastily judged by a man or woman before? How did that make you feel? I imagine probably not so great, perhaps it even stung your confidence a bit.
In my own undue haste, there have been a few instances where I too quickly made a judgement about a man before giving it a chance to get to know him further. After the fact, I regretted how I acted. Be open and give people a chance. As much as possible, try not to make snap judgments or assumptions about people. Yes, have your personal boundaries and standards in dating, but balance that with being open to giving the other person a chance.
Be open to the person right in front of you or who you are messaging with. Trust your gut, but don’t make too hasty of a judgement on someone right out of the gate.
4. Leaning forward too much
This is a helpful concept I learned from a girlfriend who is both a life and dating coach. Leaning forward too much towards a man never works out the way a woman imagines. It can turn a guy off, and set you up to act in ways that are not inside your own integrity as a woman. When I talk about leaning forward, I mean trying to make things happen in your budding relationship.
Similar to getting overly attached, leaning forward with someone you’re interested in can actually push them away and not bring you the result you desire. When I have leaned forward too much with other men, it causes me to not b my full, authentic self. Sometimes instead leading me to act in ways that might feel needy or insecure. Working through those tendencies in therapy has been helpful for me to take responsibility for myself.
When I sense myself leaning forward too much with a man, I remind myself to take the focus off him and lean back more deeply into my own life. I take care of myself and do life-giving activities for myself. When I take my attention off someone I am interested in, it allows me to be more present in my own life.
Looking at your own life and dating journey, what would you do differently with online dating if you could do things a little different?
What have been some of your biggest takeaways?
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