The 3 Biggest Online Dating Mistakes Women Make
Today, dating can feel confusing, scary, messy, and at times, a bit overwhelming. I never would have imagined I would find myself at thirty-four trying online dating and rebuilding a new life for myself after a divorce and annulment.
After my divorce, I took a lot of time to do my own healing work. I needed to understand what I brought into my first marriage. I had to look at the real reasons why I got married and the role I played when things became difficult.
In short, I had to take responsibility for myself.
Fast forward to the present, almost four years later. I have had one serious relationship since then. While it did not work out, I am very grateful for what it has taught me about what I am looking for in a serious relationship.
I am learning to date in a different way than when I was dating before I got married.
I often talk with my single girlfriends about dating. One of the things I have been reflecting on in my own life lately are the various dating mistakes I see Catholic women making—yes including myself! Here are three mistakes you should avoid in your own online dating journey:
1. Getting emotionally attached too soon
This is the online dating mistake I most struggle with in my own life. Women tend to live more in their thoughts, feelings, and emotions. I know I do! When you’re getting to know someone, it feels thrilling, new, and exciting.
However, sometimes as the feelings of connection grow and develop, it can be easy to get attached too soon. Getting to know another person takes time. It does not happen overnight.
I know sometimes I have become emotionally attached in my heart or mind to a man. Maybe we have been on a few dates or are in the early stages of getting to know each other, but I can easily jump off the deep end. The next thing I know, I am imagining my wedding day or trying on his last name!
When we know better, we can act better.
This is a mistake I have made, and I know it can be a struggle for other women.
How can you avoid this mistake? Stay focused in the present moment. Do not be attached to a particular outcome. If you lean forward and start focusing too much on the other person, lean back into yourself and your own life.
2. Not being honest in your feelings
If a woman knows she is not romantically interested in a man, the best thing to do is be honest and upfront about that right away.
Ladies, I know this is messy and you want to be nice. But being dishonest about your feelings and delaying the inevitable only makes it worse.
Being honest about your emotions sounds like a great idea, but what does it actually look like in dating?
Allow me to share a helpful tool from my dating toolbox. I call it the “2 Compliments + The Statement.”
When I know I am no longer romantically interested in a man, I offer him two (sincere!) compliments and this statement: “My intuition is telling me we are not the right romantic fit and I just want to be honest about that with you.”
Here is an example: “Hi Drew! Thank you so much for dinner last night, I felt so taken care of when you picked a location near me. I appreciate how attentive and thoughtful you were in conversation. You definitely made me laugh and were easy to talk with. My intuition is telling me we are not the right romantic fit and I want to be honest about that with you. I appreciated getting to know you and wish you all the best.”
I have found when I am intentional and genuine in this way with men, they overwhelmingly respond graciously and respectfully.
3. Not dating enough people
Even with a lot of good teaching on morality and sexuality, sometimes Catholic people have very weird (and even unhelpful!) ideas about dating. One thought I have heard interesting opinions on is dating many different people until you are exclusive with one person.
I have found going on lots of dates with different people helpful in a number of ways.
First, it helps me to not become too attached to one man out of the gate.
Second, it allows me to practice and work on my dating skills, as well as learn from mistakes. We all will make mistakes in dating, so just accept that. This dating practice gives me a chance to focus on the things I am looking for in a significant other.
Going on a variety of dates with different people allows me to practice discernment of knowing when someone is or is not the right fit.
I think there are more we could add to this list, but these are ones I see women (myself very much included!) struggling with navigating modern-day dating as a Catholic.
What mistakes would you add to the list? What has your own experience taught you?