Internet dating is becoming more widely acceptable as a means to meeting new people. There are still the sticklers for meeting people the traditional way – through friends, at a bar, bumping trolleys at the supermarket and through your kids, but when your social time is limited and you are restricted to the confines of your home most nights, the traditional way is definitely less effective.
The main difference between internet dating and the traditional method is that the ‘appealing’ attributes of the person you are about to meet have been emphasised in their profile. They have blatantly told you what their favourite characteristics are about themselves, and what others have told them about them, plus they have listed their pre-conceived ideals that they want in their new mate. Whereas, the traditional methods, everything is left up to surprise and your first spark is mutual attraction (and maybe some notes from friends who’ve tried to set you up).
So, how do you decipher what is real and what masks the truth? As a copywriter, it’s interesting how many people say to me “when I read ‘renovator’s delight’ that means it’s falling down and the bulldozer would make a better impression on it than a renovation.” There are many ‘codes’ in the words we see and how they are interpreted. I, have my own set of codes, for instance, when describing bedrooms, a ‘double’ bedroom fits a ‘double bed’; when I say ‘3 lovely bedrooms’, the bedrooms are of various sizes so I can’t talk about their size, when I say ‘3 big bedrooms’ the bedrooms really are oversized for the era of the home or today’s expectations. But others might read things differently, and that is what we need to remember.
So when we look at the ‘personal ads’ on the internet, are we looking at what is being actually being said or our own set of codes that we ‘believe’ is being said? Are we dismissing people off too quickly because all too often we’ve come across ‘self employed’ to find that he struggles to make $300 a week and still lives with his parents? Are we being too restrictive in our ‘want’ list to instantly dismiss someone because he has one attribute off our ‘don’t want’ list? Are we being too concerned about looking for Mr Right, when Mr Right Now could actually be just as appealing?
I know for me, when someone approaches me on an internet dating website, they must show me their enthusiasm for life or pick up on something in my profile that is important to me when they say hello. Most of them won’t ‘have me at hello’, because it’s boring and unadventurous. They have to show me some spark in their conversation opener and their profile becomes secondary to their conversation.
Life is too short, no doubt. And when you’ve been stuck in an unhappy relationship for what feels like decades, you do want someone who reveals your inner you, and that is why we are so concerned about finding Mr Right, because Mr Right Then was sucking the lifeline out of us. But is life too short to be always wishing you could find Mr Right when you could be enjoying someone for their companionship, intimacy and a few laughs? Who knows what it could turn into? But then, who do you be true to? If you are seeing Mr Right Now and Mr Right comes in on his horse with shining armour sweeping you off your feet, ‘saying’ that he will give you everything that you want in a relationship, so you tell Mr Right Now where to go, only to discover twelve months later that Mr Right was full of himself and you wish you had Mr Right Now back in your life, who’s the idiot now?
Relationships are complicated and people will drift in and out of our lives for one reason or another. We can’t afford to be fixed on the ideal that we will be with someone for the rest of our lives anymore. We need to live more for the moment, as life is way too busy and complicated to be dwelling on the ‘dream’ and foregoing a chance of happiness in the meantime. Live for each day, take a risk, trust your inner feelings, and who knows? You might find someone to complement you in every way possible. But it is only you who can take that chance…